Several Texas National Guard soldiers join a union amid reports of a troubled border mission ordered by Governor Greg Abbott, which has suffered from wage failures, rejected requests for difficultiesalcohol abuse and self-harm.
At least six Guardsmen are working with the Texas State Employees Union to try to unite the Guards, Military.com reports. The union has a long history of lobbying elected officials and filing lawsuits related to employment and wage rights on behalf of members.
“We are treated like …,” the soldier, who heads the association, told Military.com on condition of anonymity to avoid retaliation. “It’s all political. I voted for Abbott. I agree with many of his politicians, but not through the forced mobilization for 12 months. We didn’t sign it. We signed the dotted line, but not for that.”
The soldier hopes that joining unions can give the Guards the opportunity to communicate their concerns to elected officials and possibly lobby for legislative efforts they deem useful in the future. Until now, the military has had the opportunity to express their complaints to the press only specifically. But troops are hoping to coordinate more constructive messages with the union.
“These are people who have dedicated their lives to serving their country,” Will Atig, executive director of the Union Veterans Council, AFL-CIO, told Military.com. “These members clearly felt the need for a voice. What does that say about the state of affairs there?”
The move to unite came after the Justice Department said in a court statement in January that a federal law banning military personnel from forming unions does not prohibit state-ordered guards.
Guardsmen carry out the bulk of their service on government orders and are in fact civil servants and are not entitled to any federal benefits normally associated with active service. They cannot claim disability from Veterans Affairs Department if injured. At the behest of the state, guardsmen are often paid less than when they carry out federal orders – usually associated with domestic missions, when the president has declared a state of emergency in the country, such as a pandemic, and missions abroad.
It could become a hotbed for the rights of National Guard servicemen, on whom governors have relied heavily since the start of the pandemic for the domestic portfolio, while those troops are also fulfilling their federal commitments for missions abroad.
For months, soldiers have raised concerns in most media outlets that Operation Lone Star, a Texas border mission, has been suffering from problems since it began a year ago. Military.com it was reported that more than 1,000 servicemen faced pay problems, some of them exchange – often for thousands of dollars – and leave families with difficulty. Meanwhile, many soldiers are forced to remain on missionsendangering the financial security of their families, given that they often earn much more on their civilian work and their guards ’salaries have disappeared.
Meanwhile, according to documents viewed by Military.com, there have been several suicide attempts. An Army Times investigation found that at least four soldiers associated with the mission had died in suicide.
The mission was also marred by numerous behavioral problems. Earlier this month, police detained a soldier at 2 a.m. near the Texas border for passing the Stop sign, according to a report received by Military.com. During a search of his vehicle, authorities found open containers of alcohol and drugs, as well as two minors. Another soldier recently pulled a gun from a border guard at a bar in an obvious fight over a woman. He eventually dropped his gun when surprised by the arrival of police.
– You can contact Steve Bainan at Steve.Beynon@military.com. Follow him on Twitter @StevenBeynon.
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https://www.military.com/daily-news/2022/02/16/texas-guardsmen-move-unionize-pointing-troubled-border-mission.html The Texas Guards move to the alliance, pointing to a troubled border mission