JWV fights changes in veteran hiring law

Norman Rosenshein Jewish War Veterans of the U.S.A
Norman Rosenshein
Jewish War Veterans of the U.S.A

The veterans-preference hiring system that has helped former U.S. troops re-enter the workforce is in jeopardy, according to the Jewish War Veterans of the U.S.A.

The National Defense Authorization Act of 2017, which sets out budget priorities for the Department of Defense, contains wording that would limit veterans to one-time use of the hiring preference, a point system which gives them an advantage over nonmilitary federal civil service applicants.

The unemployment rate for veterans in the United States was 4.6 percent as of 2015, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That figure rises to 5.8 percent for active-duty service members who have served since 2001. Those numbers could rise if veterans are restricted to taking advantage of the preference one time only, say JWV and other groups.

“Many veterans struggle to find a job that is the right fit for them after getting out of the service, and to penalize them for that is only going to hurt them,” a press release from JWV stated.


Veterans are eligible for hiring preference consideration if they were on active military duty, are not retired and received an honorable or general discharge. The system is tiered to give higher scores — that is, additional preference — to veterans who earned a Purple Heart or are disabled as a result of their service.

Veterans also receive a higher score if they were on active duty during the Korean War, Vietnam War, Persian Gulf War or the more recent wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

“If two candidates apply for the same job, and both are exactly equal in their qualification, the veteran automatically gets five to 10 points, which means he should be selected for it,” said Norman Rosenshein, chairman of JWV’s coordinating committee and a past commander of the organization. “What this new law is changing is that this only counts for the first job.”

JWV, a nonprofit organization, over the last few years has taken up advocating for reform for the VA hospital system and other benefits-related issues, with retaining the existing veterans-preference system as its latest mission.

Rosenshein was on active duty in the Army during the Vietnam War, although he did not serve in Vietnam. He worked in the television industry for a number of years after his service and was helped by the veterans-preference system when he sought a civil service job eight years ago. He said he worries about today’s veterans who have been deployed in the Middle East over the last 15 years.

“They volunteered their service,” he said, “and [the government] saying, ‘tough luck to you.’”

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