War Veterans and Employment

December 6, 1944

Report Outline
Employment Rights of Discharge Service Man
Veterans' Rights and the Seniority System
Position of Management on Veteran Employment
Special Focus

Employment Rights of Discharge Service Man

Latent Conflict Over Priorities in Employment

Reemployment Rights of demobilized war veterans, as established in the Selective Service and Training Act of 1940, have received warm support in public statements by spokesmen for both management and organized labor. Controversy has arisen, however, over administrative interpretations of the act by the Selective Service System which have brought job claims of service men into conflict with the seniority system generally accepted throughout industry as the basis for priority in employment.

The President said, Dec. 8, 1942, that returning service men should have maximum protection so that they would be able to “step back into their jobs with a minimum of loss.” At the same time he spoke of the fact that “seniority privileges have become an institution in American industry” and seemed thereby to imply that reemployment of veterans should be accomplished within the framework of the seniority system. And he urged that employers “give the same assurance [of job reinstatement] to their employees who leave for war work as they are giving to employees who are leaving to join the armed forces.”

Need for Clarification of Veterans' Rights

Clarification by Congress of the intent of the reinstatement provision of present law will probably be necessary in order to establish a uniform administrative policy that will be accepted as consistent with that intent. Present rulings of the Selective Service System, which call for reinstatement of veterans without regard to their seniority rank, are widely held to go beyond the provision of the Selective Service Act which says that veterans reinstated in employment shall be so restored without “loss of seniority.” Labor leaders say failure to observe seniority status will produce serious clashes between job claims of veterans and deferred civilian workers and also between the claims of veterans discharged at different periods of time.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
World War II Demobilization
Nov. 18, 1950  Conservation of War Materials
Jan. 04, 1946  Future of Light Metals
Jul. 21, 1945  Aid to Displaced War Workers
Dec. 06, 1944  War Veterans and Employment
Nov. 11, 1944  Reconversion of Agriculture
Jul. 28, 1944  Priorities in Demobilization
May 16, 1944  Termination of War Contracts
Jan. 17, 1944  Lend-Lease Settlements
Nov. 30, 1943  Disposal of Surplus War Materials
Nov. 11, 1943  Military Government of Occupied Territory
Oct. 22, 1943  Government War Plants
Sep. 27, 1943  Termination of War Controls
Aug. 21, 1943  Demobilization
Unemployment and Employment Programs
Veterans' Services