AmmoPryr - Veterans Rights Advocates Stories

These stories are from veterans who have tried and are trying to regain their workplace rights as veterans under VEVRAA and the OFCCP and/or USERRA and VETS.  They have and are providing the Ammo for a possible Veterans Class Action Lawsuit (VCAL) lawsuit.  Names will be changed if asked and/or the storylines will be altered to protect the authors right to privacy.  Veterans are encouraged to vote by clicking here.

April 4, 2003 - WB - (Note: Some Veterans have been fighting for 30 years.

Wes Brickner
800 Oro Terrace
San Pedro, CA 90731-2936
(310) 519-0314

April 4, 2003

Judge David V. Kenyon, Ret.
3676 Yorkshire Road
Pasadena, CA 91107

RE: DOL-OFCCP AND VETERANS RIGHTS

Dear Judge Kenyon:

The fate of twenty-six million veterans are at stake. forty percent (40%) of the homeless in this country are veterans.

I felt it is my duty, as a Vietnam veteran and one of the co-founders of Veterans Rights Advocates (www.V-R-A.org) , to inform you of the abuse of power, abandonment, denial of jurisdiction, misconduct, moral turpitude, willful suppression of evidence, obstruction of justice, conspiracy and collusion being perpetrated by our government, specifically the DOL-OFCCP and the US Solicitor’s Office.

Your Court Order, in Fairchild v. DOL-OFCCP, Sec. of Labor CV 92-5765 Kn, is still being ignored by the OFCCP and the US Solicitor’s Office. 

It has been eight (8) years and four (4) months since you ordered the OFCCP to enforce the law on my employer, Pacific Maritime Association (PMA).

It has been six (6) years and ten (10) months since the OFCCP has sent an “enforcement recommendation” to the US Solicitor’s Office and nothing has been done, in a timely manner, as you ordered.

These government agencies are making a mockery of justice and your Court Order by stating that they are still analyzing if they have jurisdiction over the PMA.

I am not one of the named plaintiffs in the above action, however, I have been actively pursuing my veteran rights for over thirty (30) years with my employer, PMA.

Please examine the enclosed documents and tell me if I am wrong about the OFCCP’s and the US Solicitor’s abuse of power, obstruction of justice, conspiracy and collusion.

If you check out our website, as noted above, you will find that the OFCCP’s “systemic pattern and practice” is the same within all federal contracting industries. 

The OFCCP has consciously and expressly adopted a general policy that is so extreme as to amount to an abdication of their statutory responsibilities. 

Is this what our returning military forces, in Iraq, have to look forward to when they return to their jobs with federal contractors?

It seems a pity that veterans, who have given service and fought for our country, have to sue the government in order to obtain the rights they have earned protecting our nation.

These actions, by the DOL-OFCCP, DOL-VETS and the US Solicitor, have dishonored and shamed the memory of our brother veterans who have died for our country. Those who have died would not be proud of how our government has treated their brother veterans who have served, fought and survived.

We need your help and any assistance you are able to offer.

Your help can be to represent us, refer us to attorneys who have knowledge of the law and are willing to represent us or any other help you can suggest. We are open to any ideas and consideration as we have been trying for many years to secure our rights as veterans.

Please feel free to contact me at the above address or phone number.

Thank you.

Sincerely,

Wes Brickner VRA

enclosures

CC: Scott Linsley VRA
Mike Lee VRA
Charles Fairchild
Harold M. Busch OFCCP
Secretary of Labor Elaine L. Chao 
Kenyon4-02-03.wpd

December 3, 2002 - SL - This appeal requires emphasis and has been added to the following stories as a constant reminder.  

From: "USvets" <USvets@v-r-a.org>
To:  "Colonel Joseph N. Smith" <jnsmith@co.la.ca.us>; "Colonel Jerry Hansen" <Hansenj@oig.ca.gov>; "Mike Lee" <royalfiredude@yahoo.com>; "Wes Brickner" <wesoat@aol.com>; <vetsprobono@rcn.com>; <david_addlestone@nvlsp.org>
Cc: "Scott J. Linsley" <Scott@v-r-a.org>
Subject: Lawyer Referrals
Date: Tuesday, December 03, 2002 7:28 PM

The Phoenix Rises From It's Own Ashes Every 500 Years...
USvets, VRA
Visit: www.v-r-a.org
E-mail: USvets@v-r-a.org

Decemberr 3, 2002

Dear NVSLP and VCPBP,

We too are trying to find lawyers that will fight for veterans rights in the workplace. Please see letter that follows.  We get about 1 or 2 inquiries every other month from lawyers. The 30 year fight is against the OFCCP (Office of Federal Contract Compliance) and "qualified" Federal Contractors whose deceptive practices and total avoidance of the VEVRAA mandates have left veterans completely isolated from the legal system and their workplace rights. The OFCCP and unsupported VEVRAA probably contribute a significant number of veterans to the homeless (40% are veterans). VEVRAA is almost the last bastion of affirmative action for veterans.

We have been carrying the NVLSP Lawyers Referral List, http://www.v-r-a.org/docs/lawyers.htm, as the only resource for veterans who have been discriminated against. We can scan and proof-read this list if the NVLSP sends us revised hardcopy. Obviously, we would make the NVLSP list available to the NVLSP on a reciprocal basis.

Any lawyer can sign on to the VRA website at http://www.v-r-a.org/legal.htm and follow the instructions to go to AskTell page and enter their legal background and contact information.

Our contact information is: Veterans' Rights Advocates, Usvets@v-r-a.org.  Or, please visit www.v-r-a.org and go to AskTell to submit your information.

Yours truly,
Veterans' Rights Advocates, VRA
Visit: www.v-r-a.org

cc: Name Deleted, Colonel Joseph N. Smith, Colonel Jerry Hansen, Mike Lee, Wes Brickner, Scott J. Linsley

From: "Name Deleted"
To: "Veteran Issues by Name Deleted" <VeteranIssues@yahoogroups.com>
Subject: [VeteranIssues] Veterans Need Your Help: Volunteer Lawyers Needed
Date: Tuesday, December 03, 2002 10:18 AM

News Release
Veterans Need Your Help: Volunteer Lawyers Needed

Lawyers contact: david_addlestone@nvlsp.org
http://www.nvlsp.org/
or
http://www.vetsprobono.org

The Veterans Consortium Pro Bono Program
Case Evaluation and Placement Component
601 Indiana Avenue, NW, Suite 1010
Washington, DC 20004-2935
Direct Phone: (202) 628-8164
Fax: (202) 628-8169
Toll Free: (888) 838-7727
Internet: http://www.vetsprobono.org
Email: vetsprobono@rcn.com


Since 1933, veterans of the United States Armed Forces have been frustrated
by laws which prohibited judicial review of denials of their claims for
federal veterans benefits. With the landmark Veterans' Judicial Review Act
now in place, veterans who have been denied benefits by the U.S. Department
of Veterans Affairs (VA) can now appeal to a new federal appeals court--the
U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims.

The new Court has sparked an enormous demand by veterans seeking judicial
review. More than 20,000 veterans or their dependents have filed appeals in
the Court. Most cases involve claims for VA disability benefits.

Unfortunately, for many veterans the promise of effective judicial review
has proved elusive. More than 70% of those who have appealed to the Court
have been unable to secure representation. This is in large part because
they are unable to afford an attorney.

Unrepresented veterans are obviously at a significant disadvantage in
litigating against the VA General Counsel's Office, which represents the VA
in all Court proceedings. Mentally and physically disabled veterans
especially disadvantaged.

What Is the Veterans Consortium Pro Bono Program
In 1991, the Court responded to the problem of its large pro se caseload by
asking Congress to reallocate part of the Court's own budget into efforts to
secure representation for needy claimants. As a result of the ensuing and
subsequent legislation, a consortium of four organizations received a grant
to operate a pro bono program. The program recruits attorneys willing to
volunteer to represent needy individuals in the Court. The program screens
appeals so that free representation can be provided in the most meritorious
cases, and offers comprehensive training and support to those participating
attorneys. The organizations comprising the consortium are The American
Legion, the Disabled American Veterans, the National Veterans Legal Services
Program, and the Paralyzed Veterans of America.

How You Can Help
The Veterans Consortium Pro Bono Program is seeking attorneys to represent
one appellant before the Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims. We are also
seeking firms to accept a block of cases. Private attorneys with no veterans
law experience have demonstrated their ability to capably represent
appellants in the Court. Most cases can be completed in 50 hours. To date,
over 1,000 attorneys have accepted 1,500 cases under the program.

How the Veterans Consortium Pro Bono Program Works
The cornerstones of the Veterans Consortium Pro Bono Program are screening
of cases for merit and attorney training. The program's staff of experienced
veterans law specialists screens the appeal of every individual who seeks
pro bono representation from the program. Only those appeals that appear
meritorious and meet income eligibility guidelines are referred to volunteer
attorneys.

Before accepting an appeal, all attorneys will have the opportunity to
attend a training program conducted by experts in the field. In a very few
cases, a training videotape is available for those unable to attend in
person. Each attorney upon accepting a referral will receive a free copy of
the latest edition of the Veterans Benefit Manual, a comprehensive guide to
litigating veterans benefits claims and any current update, once accepting a
referral. Upon accepting a referral, each attorney will receive a memorandum
discussing the facts and legal issues in the appeal, the name and telephone
number of the veterans law specialist who screened the case, the manual, and
the name and telephone number of an assigned mentor from one of the
sponsoring organizations and who specializes in this area of the law.
Mentors will be available to discuss litigation strategy, provide sample
briefs, review draft pleadings and conduct a moot court if oral argument is
granted.

Why Do Your Pro Bono Work Through the Veterans Consortium Pro Bono Program?
There are many ways an attorney can do pro bono work. But participating in
the Veterans Consortium Pro Bono Program offers several advantages:

The program provides one of the few opportunities to obtain appellate
litigation experience while performing pro bono service. In addition to
brief writing, many cases involve oral argument before a panel of three
judges.
Representation before the Court can provide an opportunity to make new law.
Since the Court is relatively new, many of the cases present issues of first
impression.
The program provides significant support and training to ensure that your
time is used effectively:
--cases are prescreened for merit in advance of assignment;
--volunteer attorneys are quickly oriented to the case with a memorandum
describing the facts and legal issues;
--further assistance is available both from the assigned case-monitor and
assigned mentor;
--volunteers participate in an in-depth full-day training program by
experts, and receive a detailed practice manual after case referral.

Malpractice insurance is provided.
CLE credits are available in most states (for seminar only)
Scheduled Training classes are:
___ November 12, 2002 (Charleston, WV)
___ Nov. 15, 2002 (Washington, DC)
___ April 18, 2003 (Washington, DC)
___ Spring 2003 (Minneapolis, MN)
___ November 14, 2003 (Washington, DC)
To request information about volunteering please contact David Addlestone or
to register for a training contact Teddi LeaBough (anyone registering for a
training should provide: 1) full address; 2) organization/firm name; 3)
phone and fax numbers; and 4) email address)

Executive Board of the Veterans Consortium Pro Bono Program
David B. Isbell, Esq., Covington & Burling, Chairman

Carol Rutherford, Esq., The American Legion

Donald Purcell, Esq., Disabled American Veterans

David F. Addlestone, Esq., National Veterans Legal Services Program

Lawerence B. Hagel, Esq., Paralyzed Veterans of America

Private Bar Recruitment Committee, David B, Isbell, Esq., Covington & Burling,
Chairman

Richard J. Bednar, Esq., Crowell & Moring, L.L.P.

Berl Bernhard, Esq., Verner, Lüpfert, Bernhard, McPherson & Hand

David T. Case, Esq., Kirkpatrick & Lockhart, L.L.P.

Del S. Dameron, Esq., McKenna & Cuneo, L.L.P.

Sara-Ann Determan, Esq., Hogan & Hartson, L.L.P.

Chris Herrling, Esq., Wilmer, Cutler & Pickering

Barbara Kagan, Esq., Steptoe & Johnson, L.L.P.

Robert H. Koehler, Esq., Patton, Boggs, L.L.P.

Stuart L. Land, Esq., Arnold & Porter

G. Paul Moates, Esq., Sidley, Austion, Brown & Wood

David Ober, Esq., Reed Smith, LLP

Raymond J. Rasenberger, Esq., Zuckert, Scoutt & Rasenberger, L.L.P.

William A. Roberts, III, Esq., Howrey & Simon

Theresa Wynn Roseborough, Esq., Sutherland, Asbill & Brennan

Frederick C. Schafrick, Esq., Shea & Gardner

Thomas Schattenfield, Esq., Arent Fox Kitner Plotkin & Kahn

Jonathan S. Spaeth, Esq., Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld, L.L.P.

William R. Stein, Esq., Hughes, Hubbard & Reed, L.L.P.

For further information, call (202) 265-8305, extension 126
david_addlestone@nvlsp.org

November 13, 2002 - WB - (Note: This letter, A Secret Revealed, the following letter, A Minority Report, should be read with the following two stories by Wes Brickner dated November 10, 2002 and November 5, 2002.)  Please click here.

November 12, 2002 - WB - (Note: This letter, A Minority Report, should be read with the following two stories by Wes Brickner dated November 10, 2002 and November 5, 2002.)  Please click here.

November 10, 2002 - WB - I, Wes Brickner , vote yes on a class action lawsuit against the DOL-OFCCP to secure our rights as veterans.

I am writing again to update the abuse of power, collusion, conspiracy and obstruction of justice perpetrated by our government, the DOL and federal contractors.

In my last Ask/Tell “YES” vote for a class action lawsuit I documented how the OFCCP had sent to the national office of the U.S. Solicitor’s office an enforcement recommendation against my employer for their failure to act in good faith, comply with Judge Kenyon’s court order and has failed to have an Affirmative Action Program for their employees.

I also documented the “recess appointment” of Eugene Scalia, by President Bush, to the national office of the U.S. Solicitor’s office and that this was a conflict of interest since Mr. Scalia works for the law firm which represents my employer.

I am sure you are all aware of the labor dispute and “Lockout” of longshoremen in all of the West Coast ports by the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA)(who is my employer) and the effect it has had on the economy and the country.

In a letter to the OFCCP’s national office by attorney Dennis Gladwell, of Gibson, Dunn and Crutcher (who represents the PMA), he states that “...given the fact that the PMA is a small, non profit corporation, is not an employer of longshoremen...” shows the obstruction of justice, lying to federal investigators and the lengths the PMA will go to avoid complying with the laws protecting veterans. 

President Bush invoked the Taft Hartley Act in order to have the PMA lift the lockout and allow longshoremen to return to work. He also appointed a mediator to come to the West Coast to help resolve this dispute. Guess who he appointed as mediator? He appointed Mr. Eugene Scalia of the U.S. Solicitor’s office who, as we know, works for Gibson, Dunn and Crutcher who represents the PMA.

Once again this is a conflict of interest, abuse of power, collusion, conspiracy and obstruction of justice by our government.

I was surprised why the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) did not object to Mr. Scalia’s appointment as mediator as they are well aware of his employment with the law firm which represents the PMA.

All of these events and actions are suspect and demonstrates the abuse of power, collusion and conspiracy that runs deep in our political system with federal contractors and the government.

I shall continue to update these actions and events as they unfold.

Thank you Scott for all of your work in protecting veterans and their rights.

Wes RATM 

November 5, 2002 - WB - I,  Wes Brickner, vote yes to a class action lawsuit to protect the rights of veterans under the Affirmative Action Programs administered by the DOL-OFCCP.

Judge Kenyon found, in 1994, that the OFCCP’s investigation of my employer was a “SHAM” and ordered the OFCCP to enforce the law on my employer until they were in compliance.

In 1996 the OFCCP’ national office sent a letter of recommendation to the U.S. Solicitor’s national office to initiate enforcement proceedings against my employer for their failure to “act in good faith”, to comply with the law and for their failure to perform the promises they made to the OFCCP.

In 2002, President Bush, made a “recess appointment” to the U.S. Solicitor’s national office of Eugene Scalia, who just happens to be the son of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anton Scalia and in addition is an attorney for Gibson, Dunn and Crutcher who represents my employer. 

This is an obvious conflict of interest when the man responsible for enforcement of Affirmative Action Programs also represents the client he is supposed to be enforcing these laws on.

It is no wonder why the U.S. Solicitor’s office, under Eugene Scalia, has done nothing in over six years to enforce the law on my employer which whom his firm represents.

These are blatant acts of abuse of power, obstruction of justice, collusion, conspiracy, corruption, abdication of their statutory responsibilities, misconduct, willful suppression of evidence and moral turpitude.

Therefore I vote YES emphatically in pursuing a class action lawsuit to secure our rights as veterans.

October 10, 2001 - SL - Over the last 30 years, many veterans have been unsuccessful in obtaining their workplace rights from their Federal Contractors and the OFCCP.  There are many reasons for the veterans' failures.  One good reason, is the huge public relations gap caused by Federal Contractors who do not tell the veterans about their rights under the (Vietnam Era Veterans' Readjustment Assistance Act) VEVRAA of 1974 amended even though the Federal Contractors are mandated by law to do so..  Another good reason is that there is no government supported legal aid for veterans once they learn about VEVRAA.

About 6 months to 10 months ago, a concerted effort was made by a dozen veterans to get the attention of someone in the Federal Government with the authority to rectify the above legal imbalance between veterans and their Federal Contractors and the OFCCP.  These veterans held meetings with their U.S. Representatives and wrote letters to others.  The U.S. President was written 4 times and his office responded all 4 times in 30 days.  Some of these letters along with other letters were referred to or went directly to the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) of the Department of Labor.  A petition was the frontal assault of the veterans' campaign and is on this website under Links.

Today, October 10, 2001, the news that the OIG had decided to investigate the OFCCP was announced to many veterans shortly after it was announced to the OFCCP.  The OIG is reviewing all veterans' files currently held in all OFCCP offices.  However, one detail that needs to be addressed by the OIG came from a letter sent some months ago to the OIG after some veterans noticed that some OFCCP veterans' files have disappeared in less than a year and a half.  If you are a concerned veteran who has a copy or part of a copy of your OFCCP file, you may want to send a copy and a note with your concerns about the record keeping procedures of the OFCCP to:

Gordon Heddell, Inspector General

Office of the Inspector General (DOL)

200 Constitution Avenue, N.W.

Washington, D.C. 20210

While the OIG has already been notified that they should review the OFCCP record keeping procedures along with all phases of OFCCP record processing, your file contributions might just be the weight required to change how the OFCCP does or doesn't do business.  To send an e-mail to the OIG, go to WWW.OIG.DOL.GOV.

September 8, 2001 - WB - ON THE WATERFRONT

MY name is Wes Brickner. I am a Vietnam veteran who has been fighting for my veteran rights since October 1972.

My fight began with my employer, the Pacific Maritime Association, who denied me my rights under the Veterans Re-employment Rights Act (VRRA).

I contacted the Veterans Affairs Office to make a complaint. They said that they did not know who handles VRRA complaints and that they would get back to me. They never did.

I eventually discovered the agency from a vet counselor at the college I was attending under the G.I. Bill.

I contacted the agency, Department of Labor-Labor Management Office and submitted a complaint. This is when I discovered the “systemic pattern and practice” of government agencies.

First, they ignore you and your complaint hoping you will go away frustrated and discouraged.

Second, when they see that you are persistent and not going away they claim that you have no case. This I call “Stonewalling”.

Then you present evidence to the contrary showing that indeed you do have a case. Now they perform “the paralysis of analysis”, more stonewalling.

This was my first experience, with a government agency, in trying to obtain my rights as a veteran. I discovered that this was not the exception but the rule.

The Dept. of Labor-Labor Management Office was changed to the Dept. of Labor-Veterans Employment and Training Services (DOL-VETS).

I have a three (3) inch thick DOL- VETS file filled with evidence and documents supporting my claim which they continue to ignore.

In November of 1989 I filed a complaint with the Dept. of Labor-Office of Federal Contract and Compliance Program (OFCCP) against my employer, PMA, who is a major federal contractor.

Over the last twelve (12) years the OFCCP has done one thing. They assigned me a file number in September 2000.

The OFCCP, to date, is still “Stonewalling” and performing the “paralysis of analysis” on the issue of jurisdiction.

Once again ignoring the facts that a document from the OFCCP, dated July 14, 1989 stated, “Although we originally took the position that the respondent, Pacific Maritime Association was not a government contractor, we have now established jurisdiction over this association....”.

Also, ignoring the court order and “Judicial Notice” of Federal Court Judge Kenyon who found that the PMA (Pacific Maritime Association) is bound by the Affirmative Action Programs under VEVRAA (Vietnam Era Veterans Readjustment Assistance Act) and Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.

Judge Kenyon ordered the OFCCP, in December of 1994, to enforce the mandated Affirmative Action Laws until the PMA was in compliance. It is now six (6) years and nine (9) months later and still they have failed to perform their sworn designated duties or comply with Judge Kenyon’s order. 
How long would you have a job if you failed to perform your duties for close to seven (7) years?

If veterans had fought the war the way our government has protected our veteran’s rights we would all be speaking Vietnamese now.

However, out of all of this mess something good has happened. I have made contact with Scott L., John W., Mike L., and other vets fighting the OFCCP, Federal Contractors and employers for their veterans rights, in their respective industries, as well as the creation of this wonderful site by Scott.

Now we have a place to network, exchange ideas and documents and to mobilize a force of VETS who are willing to fight the OFCCP or anyone else who would stand in the way of our rights as veterans.

Anyone wishing to read more about our struggle, on the waterfront, check out the “SHAM” investigation under LINKS on the V-R-A.org.

Anyone wishing to contact me feel free to do so at::

Wes Brickner RATM
800 Oro Terrace
San Pedro, CA. 90731-2936
(310) 519-0314
EMAIL: Wesoat@aol.com

Thank you Scott for making this all possible and a reality.

March 6, 2001 - SL - About 6 years ago, I went to all the legal referral services in Los Angeles looking for a lawyer who knew what OFCCP meant and what the OFCCP did.  I could not find one lawyer among 60,000 who knew the answer to my first question.  Nor could any lawyer answer my second question.  Did the lawyer ever represent a veteran in federal court or with the OFCCP regarding the veteran's workplace rights under the VEVRAA of 1974 amended?

I have made another round of inquiries 6 years later and have received almost the same results.  I went to local, state, and federal agencies trying to find legal assistance for veterans whose rights have been violated in the workplace.  I have failed miserably again.  For instance one agency gave me the Law Offices of Samuel L. Hart where I learned that these lawyers will only help veterans that have medical conditions that are being submitted to the United States Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims.

The good news is that the experience gave me references to the National Organization of Veterans Advocates (NOVA) and The Veterans Consortium Pro Bono Program. I got a third reference to the National Veterans Legal Services Program.  The bad news is that all three perform the same limited service for veterans with medical conditions as above.  None are willing to support veterans rights in the workplace according to VEVRAA.  I had an earlier experience with Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA) that was also limited to medical conditions.

The bottom line is that there are millions of tax dollars for legal assistance to people in jail and zero dollars to help veterans in the workplace with Federal Contractors..

 

 

 

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