Chrysler Earns Top Employer-Support Award
By John J. Kruzel
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Sept. 3, 2008 Defense officials have chosen Chrysler to receive the department's top employer-support award for providing exceptional financial and emotional support to its employees who deploy as National Guard or reserve members.
Chrysler will receive the Freedom Award along with 14 other companies in a ceremony Sept. 18 at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center here. The Freedom Award was instituted in 1996 under the auspices of the National Committee for Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve to recognize exceptional support from the employer community.
The automaker provides pay differential and full benefits for up to 48 months of military service for all its Guard and reserve employees.
“The fact that Chrysler made up my pay was a huge help, because I don’t think I could’ve made it financially without them,” said Navy Reserve Petty Officer 2nd Class Theresa Jones, a Chrysler employee who has spent two years away from work fulfilling reserve duties.
In addition to providing pay and benefits, the Chrysler Veterans Committee regularly collects items and sends comfort packages to deployed employees and other servicemembers.
“It was so nice to receive care packages from my colleagues at Chrysler while I was serving in Iraq,” Jones said in a news release. “They even sent me a microwave so we could pop our own popcorn!”
Robert Nardelli, Chrysler’s chairman and chief executive officer, signed a military support agreement in May that pledged the company’s commitment to supporting employees who are called into military service.
“I just want to thank all the men and women who give of themselves, who are apart from their families, who are enduring tremendous hardship to maintain the freedom, the democracy on which this country was founded,” Nardelli said at the May 5 signing of the ESGR 5-Star Military Support Agreement.
Meanwhile, Chrysler is sponsoring an ongoing program called “Freedom Calls” to allow families of deployed troops to participate in a video-teleconference with their loved ones in Iraq.
The Freedom Award recognizes U.S. employers that rise above the requirements of the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act.
As shown by testimony from Air Force Tech Sgt. Robert Langlois, who has spent an average of 100 days a year on security-force tours in Germany, his national service likely wouldn’t have been possible without Chrysler’s exceptional support.
“If not for the incredible support of Chrysler, both financially and emotionally, I don’t think I could’ve stayed in uniform serving this country,” he said in a statement. “I’m so very thankful to them.”