ATLANTA, Ga. — The United Parcel Service and the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve held a statement of support signing ceremony at the UPS World Headquarters, Feb 12.
Air Force Reserve officers joined with UPS senior executives and other Guard and Reserve military branches in continuing a 40-year-old ESGR mission of gaining and maintaining employer support for Guard and Reserve members.
“It’s great to have UPS recognize our military’s dual purpose,” said Brig. Gen. Merle Hart, Headquarters Air Force Reserve Command special assistant to the vice commander. “Being a Citizen Airmen is a very difficult job. This recognition is duly observed and much appreciated.”
Since 1972, the ESGR, a Department of Defense agency, has been advocating relevant reserve employment initiatives; this includes increasing awareness of applicable laws, recognizing outstanding support and resolving conflict between employers and service members.
“The parallel between the military and UPS is that we both have men and women everywhere in uniform,” said James Rebholz, ESGR national chairman. “Without the Guard and Reserve, we could not operate as freely as we do. You’ve always answered our call and we appreciate it.”
Veterans currently make up 7.5 percent of UPS’s global workforce and they hired more than 10,400 veterans in 2012.
“This is a special day for UPS because it gives us a chance to say thank you to the more than 23,000 employees who have served, or are now serving in the Guard or Reserve,” said Scott Davis, UPS chairman and chief executive. “Your leadership and selfless service inspire us all.”
Among the 23,000 veterans employed by UPS, about 2,200 are currently on leave from UPS and actively serving in military status. The military members know that UPS supports them and that their jobs will be waiting for them when they return, which is one less thing to worry about when deployed.
“UPS has a history of hiring vets,” said Col. Steven Clayton, 94th Airlift Wing Operations Group commander, Dobbins Air Reserve Base, Ga. “I worked for UPS from 1979 to 1982 and we had a lot of veterans back then.”
The parcel company also has a long military history. One of the founders, George Casey, served in the Navy during WW1 as a Petty Officer Third Class storekeeper, which is now referred to as a logistics specialist. There are three prior UPS chief executive officers who were military members as well.
“It should be no surprise that UPS, the global business and shipping logistics leader, has a history rooted in military logistics,” said John McDevitt, UPS Human Resources and Labor Relations senior vice president.
The company has received the ESGR Freedom Award, the nation’s highest recognition for employers supporting Guard and Reserve members, twice; in 1996 in central Florida, and in 2002 via UPS Airlines.
“UPS participates in programs like these not just out of altruism, but because it makes good business sense,” Davis said. “At UPS, we value integrity, good judgment and accountability. These values are also core values in our armed forces.”
All military branches were represented at the ceremony. Guests of honor included World War II veteran, Lt. Col. “Hap” Chandler; Tuskegee Airman, Tech. Sgt. Val Archer and Maj. Gen. Jim Butterworth, Georgia National Guard adjutant general.
“UPS has a long legacy of supporting military members,” Butterworth said. “That’s appreciated without a doubt.”
They have aided veterans by being a part of Paralyzed Veterans of America, the UPS Store Franchise program and Marine Corps Marathon.
Partnered with ESGR, UPS continues to be one of the biggest military supporters to date and by the looks of today’s ceremony, will continue to be a solid partner to veterans and service members everywhere.
“This longstanding relationship with UPS recognizes that the military makes good, stable and valuable employees,” Clayton said. “This partnership is key for military members returning to their communities and transitioning back to their regular way of life.”