Petition to the Committee on Veterans’ Affairs,
U.S. House of Representatives
Failure to Enforce The Vietnam Era Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act
in Southern California and the Nation, 1975 to 2001.
May 6, 2001
To: The Honorable Christopher Smith, Chairman
and Members of the U.S. House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs
Re: U.S. Department of Labor, OFCCP, Enjoined Investigations #I960037 and #I990026, at
California State University, Long Beach, September 1995 through March 2001.
California State Auditor Investigation #I990041, inception April 1999.
The Vietnam Era Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act of 1974 (VEVRAA), 38 U.S.C. 4212, was passed by the United States Congress and signed into law by The President of the United States in December 1974. The Act, which is codified at 41 CFR 60-250, was to ensure that Federal contractors did not discriminate against qualified veterans in employment practices, and also to provide affirmative action in the employment and advancement in employment for those veterans. The Act requires that Federal contractors provide an “Invitation to Self-Identify” to employees being hired to identify veterans who qualify for benefits. The Invitation is to include: (1) a question inquiring whether the veteran wishes to “benefit” from the contractor’s affirmative action; (2) a summary of the Act outlining the regulations; and (3) a summary of the contractor’s affirmative action program for qualified veterans. In 1998 the provisions of the act were extended to all veterans of the Armed Forces of the United States who were awarded a campaign ribbon while on active duty.
Enforcement of VEVRAA is the sole responsibility of the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP), a division of the United States Department of Labor (DOL). It is the responsibility of the OFCCP to approve Federal contractors’ Affirmative Action Programs (AAP) for qualified veterans and conduct periodic compliance reviews addressing compliance with the regulations. The OFCCP also investigates veteran and third party complaints against Federal contractors for both discrimination and non-compliance with VEVRAA. Without enforcement of the regulations of the Act by the OFCCP, there is no affirmative action for qualified veterans, no compliance with regulations by Federal contractors, and no concern about discrimination against veterans in the work force. This petition is in regard the general failure of the United States Department of Labor, under the authority of the Secretary of Labor, to uphold and to enforce VEVRAA in Southern California and elsewhere in the nation since its inception.
We petition the Committee because our experience with the Pacific Region and the Washington, D.C. offices of the OFCCP have demonstrated a flagrant disregard for the enforcement of the VEVRAA regulations prior to September 1999, and complete non-compliance with the regulations by our employer, California State University, Long Beach (CSULB) and the California State University System (CSU) prior to March 2001. We are
requesting a field hearing by the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs in Long Beach, California for the purpose of our providing evidence and testimony about the OFCCP’s failure to enforce the law and its regulations prior to March 2001. Since the beginning of the year, three other groups of Southern California veterans, in addition to the CSULB veterans, have lobbied House Committee members’ Congressmen Bob Filner and Buck McKeon for Congressional oversight hearings as to why the Regulations pursuant to VEVRAA have not been enforced in the Pacific region. We expect that this petition will be joined by those groups [Pacific Maritime Association veterans, Los Angeles County Firemen, and independents] and possibly others.
In December, 1994 a summary judgment was entered in Los Angeles Federal District Court against the OFCCP for having perpetrated, in the words of the presiding Federal judge, a “sham investigation” in the matter of the Pacific Maritime Association veterans’ VEVRAA complaints. Elements of this issue are still at litigation at this time. In 1996 the veterans at CSULB also suffered a “sham investigation” by the OFCCP. Like the Pacific Maritime Association veterans, the CSULB veterans fought back against OFCCP’s failure to enforce the VEVRAA. A very different outcome occurred as a result of our more than eight year long fight. As evidence of the OFCCP’s failure to enforce and uphold the regulations of the VEVRAA, we are providing you with the following partial chronology of events associated with our formal complaints against our employer and our experience with the OFCCP’s failures to enforce the VEVRAA:
Ø California State University, Long Beach (CSULB), is the “flagship” campus of the California State University (CSU) system. The OFCCP had “rubber stamped” its VEVRAA compliance prior to the start of veteran activism during the 1992 layoffs wherein veterans were differentially targeted for layoffs. The OFCCP had previously found the University to be in full compliance with the regulations - yet in August 2000 they adjudicated that it was in complete non-compliance? Both discrimination and retaliation against veterans who complained of VEVRAA violations and non-compliance was proven. CSULB was not, nor had it been, ever in compliance with VEVRAA.
Ø In 1995 Raymond Renaud requested a VEVRAA compliance review of CSULB from the Washington OFCCP office. It was approved, and sent to the Pacific Region office for action. That compliance review was suborned into a “discrimination” complaint by the OFCCP. Ultimately 20 other veterans joined in a class action in January, 1996. After ten (10) months of ‘investigation’ all discrimination complaints were denied. There was NO determination of VEVRAA compliance by the OFCCP during the investigation. Yet, the findings issued by the OFCCP stated that the University ‘claimed’ compliance.
Ø In 1996 the OFCCP investigator at CSULB came into direct contact with criminal and/or other illegal actions by CSULB management affecting discrimination and compliance issues. The OFCCP states that policy requires the discovery of criminal/illegal activity by the Federal Contractor during a VEVRAA investigation must be referred to “proper authorities.” The OFCCP did not report those actions then, but appeared to assist CSULB in a cover-up causing harm to veterans (more below).
Ø The California Bureau of State Audits is tasked with investigation of state government corruption and government ‘white collar crimes’. The Bureau opened an investigation in April 1999 that was directly linked to the 1996 OFCCP discrimination investigation. This was apparently the first time that a state investigative agency had ever accessed the case files of a VEVRAA investigation for the purpose of gaining criminal evidence!
Ø The VEVRAA requires that a Federal Contractor supply the OFCCP with all paperwork and employee records relevant to an investigation. In 1996 the OFCCP accepted multiple denials by CSULB management for access to veteran employee records, which resulted in harm to veterans. This issue surfaced again in April/May 1999 (see below).
Ø Twelve veterans appealed the OFCCP findings in November 1996. In June 1999 it was discovered that those appeals had never been reviewed. Yet in November 1997 OFCCP Regional Director Helene Haase issued a fraudulent Appeal Denial letter to Mr. Renaud alone. The other veterans were not notified of the status of their appeals by the OFCCP.
Ø In 1998 Congressman Stephen Horn sponsored three letters of inquiry to Director Haase regarding the alleged review of the appeals. Her responses incriminate her. She replied that ‘if appeals had been sent, they would have been reviewed’. Her assertion was proved false. Veterans suffered retaliation during the Appeal phase of the 1996 investigation.
Ø Congressman Horn holds an unusual relationship to the investigations. He was President of CSULB for approximately 10 years during the 1970s and 1980s. That period is characterized by the growth of affirmative action for women and minorities at CSULB, and also growth of discrimination against Vietnam Era veterans. Mr. Horn also held the position of Vice Chairman of the Commission on Civil Rights during that period.
Ø Congressman Horn’s office apparently shared one of the confidential letters of OFCCP Director Haase with CSULB management on or about March 1999 for the purpose of dismissing claims that OFCCP investigators were accepting management lies (see below).
Ø In 1996 a CSULB management representative willfully misrepresented himself to the OFCCP as a veteran for the apparent purpose of suborning the investigation. This individual was responsible for retaliation against two class action veterans. The lie was challenged in the appeal phase. Director Haase confirmed the “misrepresentation” to Mr. Horn, yet stated that witnesses lying in a VEVRAA investigation were of no consequence.
Ø In August 2000 the OFCCP referred the 1996 matter of CSULB management lying to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Los Angeles. First came much turmoil and the remanding of the 1996 investigation. The OFCCP accepts unverified and willful miss-information from management in order to repudiate VEVRAA discrimination and compliance complaints.
Ø In 1998 CSULB veterans, and Col. Joseph Smith (U.S.M.C. ret), Director of Los Angeles County’s Department of Military and Veterans’ Affairs, independently met with CSULB management to attempt to gain some VEVRAA compliance. Those three meetings produced no results. Dr. Walter Moore, Jr. then took initiative and reviewed 38 U.S.C. 4212, and discovered that an individual is allowed by law, despite the claim of the OFCCP, to request a ‘VEVRAA Compliance Review’ of a Federal Contractor.
Ø The OFCCP has interpreted VEVRAA regulations [41 CFR 60-250] as not allowing an individual to request a VEVRAA compliance review. Dr. Moore’s first contacted House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs Chairman, the Honorable Robert Stump, in October 1998 during the fight to have a compliance investigation opened against CSULB. Dr. Moore’s compliance investigation was opened in January 1999 with legislative assistance. Representative Christopher Cox, 47th District, was also instrumental in having the OFCCP open and address Dr. Moore’s compliance complaint. Non-compliance is one of two areas for which a veteran may file a complaint against a Federal contractor and it took U.S. Representatives to force the OFCCP to comply with its mandate from Congress!
Ø In March 1999, Director Harold Busch, Division of Program Operations, OFCCP was contacted by John Whittaker, class action veteran, about Pacific Region Director Haase’s review of the 1996 discrimination appeals. Mr. Busch was Director Haase’s immediate supervisor. He implemented two separate investigation ‘paths’ for Mr. Whittaker, to pursue. This led to the California Bureau of State Audits investigation of the criminal events affecting the 1996 OFCCP investigation. The OFCCP seemed to assist CSULB in the cover up of criminal actions which led to retaliation against Mr. Whittaker during the investigation! Retaliation against Dr. Steven Hutchison, class action veteran, in the appeal phase was also related to the criminal activity.
Ø The October 1996 OFCCP investigation findings labeled five (5) of the twelve (12) appellant veterans as having “not self-identified” as VEVRAA veterans to CSULB at the time of hiring. That meant they neither deserved, nor were qualified to receive the “benefits” of VEVRAA. In their appeals the veterans claimed that they had “self-identified” at the time of their hiring, but the OFCCP did not respond. In April/May 1999, the OFCCP investigator taunted several of the “not self-identified” veterans that they were still not self-identified, and therefore still not deserving of the “benefits” of the Affirmative Action Program at CSULB! At that time there was still NO Affirmative Action Program for VEVRAA veterans, as required by law, at CSULB!
Ø The “still not self-identified” assertion led to great ire. The OFCCP again claimed the University was denying access to records in violation of VEVRAA. California has a law designed to help Citizens access personal files controlled by recalcitrant government officials. Mr. Hubert Lloyd, class action veteran, inspired the use of the California Information Practices Act of 1977 to access individual employment records at CSULB. All “not self-identified” appellants were proved to have self-identified to the University at the time of their hiring, which in some cases was prior to the inception of VEVRAA!
Ø The California Information Practices Act provides for punitive damages when access to records is denied. The Director of Employee Relations at CSULB was targeted with the requests for hiring records. Again in 1999, the OFCCP would not require CSULB to supply hiring documents of veterans as proof of qualification for VEVRAA “benefits.”
Ø The statistics of veteran employment at CSULB, the VEVRAA mandated “VETS-100" yearly report, has been fraudulent since its inception. CSULB and the OFCCP would not investigate until forced to do so by the California Information Practices Act!
Ø In the 1996 investigation, the OFCCP monitored multiple denials (5) by CSULB for Information Practices Act access to a critical employment document of a class action veteran. In May 1996 the President of the University was threatened with litigation and in June the document was released. The OFCCP then refused to consider that document! In the remanded investigation that document became key evidence. The VEVRAA requires access to veteran employment documents, yet the OFCCP will not enforce this provision.
Ø Multiple violations of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and Privacy Act by the OFCCP occurred during the investigations at CSULB. In the Appeal phase, November 1996 - November 1997, the OFCCP committed two major violations. (See below.)
Ø CSULB’s Director of Staff Personnel was allowed complete access to the investigation’s case file in the OFCCP Los Angeles office in July 1997. There was no release obtained from class action veterans for his access to their personal information and evidence. A precedent for a ‘release’ from CSULB for a veteran’s FOIA request to see CSULB submitted evidence occurred in November 1996. Yet CSULB was permitted to view veteran evidence without such a release? This violates the Privacy Act, and discriminates against veterans in favor of the Federal contractor.
Ø Mr. Renaud received an illegal FOIA distribution from the OFCCP of the reputed ‘entire case file’ after the above incident. Those materials obtained by Mr. Renaud, appear to document a later purging of the case file of criminal related materials. In a response on behalf of the Inspector General of the Department of Labor it has been asserted that the case file is not purged of evidence relating to the criminal actions. Yet in a later FOIA disbursement OFCCP Regional Director Woody Gilliland seems to indicate that the case file has been purged? Mr. Renaud was not required to obtain a release from other veterans to access their personal case file materials - including criminal allegations therein.
Ø In April 1999, Director Harold Busch’s directed the National Omsbud Office of the OFCCP/DOL to assist with investigation as of the disposition of the 1996 class action veteran appeals. Mr. John Checkett, Omsbud, delivered several FOIA requests to Pacific Region Director Helene Haase for the explicit purpose of accessing appeal letters submitted by the veteran. The purpose was obvious: If Director Haase could supply copies of the appeal letters, it could be asserted that they were reviewed prior to denial.
Ø Director Haase denied the FOIA requests for copies of the appeal letters. The OFCCP National Omsbud office appeared to be fully aware of violation of the FOIA in denial of access to the appeal letters. Yet that Office appeared to collude with such denial in knowledge that Director Haase did not have copies of the appeals!
Ø In January 1999 OFCCP Los Angeles District Director William Smitherman was named as the supervisor of Dr. Moore’s compliance investigation. Mr. Smitherman was responsible for the 1996 “sham” investigation, so a petition was made to Director Busch to replace him with an unbiased supervisor. Director Victor Martinez, San Diego OFCCP District Office, became supervisor of the investigation. Director Martinez harassed veterans by instituting a “Five Day Response” requirement for written correspondence to the OFCCP. This arbitrary, and apparently punitive action was later overruled by Mr. Busch.
Ø Mr. Busch had instituted a second path of investigation to discover what had happened with the veteran appeals. In January 1997 the OFCCP changed their appeals processing policies. OFCCP Regional offices would now review the appeals that their district offices generated, instead of the Washington office? In November 1996 class action veterans submitted their appeals to the Washington, D.C. OFCCP office, as required. The appeals were never sent to San Francisco from Washington, D.C.
Ø In November 1997, Director Helene Haase issued a personal letter of Appeal Denial to Mr. Renaud. No other veteran of the twelve (12) whom appealed was mentioned. Yet during 1998 Ms. Haase informed Congressman Horn that the appeals had been reviewed.
Ø On August 20, 1999, twelve (12) veterans of CSULB signed a letter to Regional Director Haase accusing her of Obstruction of Justice among other crimes and violations of due process. There has been no response to the allegations of that letter from either Director Haase or her supervisor Director Busch.
Ø On September 16, 1999, Director Busch came to Los Angeles and told class action veterans that the 1996 discrimination investigation was remanded and enjoined with Dr. Moore’s ongoing compliance investigation - and, he announced that Ms. Haase had taken an untimely retirement. Without explanation, Director William Smitherman was reinstated as supervisor of the enjoined investigations.
Ø Immediately after, President Robert Maxson of CSULB was briefed by Veterans’ Spokesperson John Whittaker as to the status of the enjoined investigations. He then assigned Mr. Whittaker to work with CSULB Director of Equity and Diversity Barbara Franklin to achieve the earliest possible compliance with VEVRAA. Work began on October 5, 1999 toward implementing the VEVRAA self-identification process.
Ø In December 1999, during the active investigation phase of the remanded/enjoined investigations, the OFCCP in concert with the University, engaged in “Divide and Conquer” tactics against the class action veterans, “The Veterans Group at CSULB.” Two class action members were approached by the OFCCP with apparent illegal offers of “early retirement, as if you were age 62". This led to immediate conflict in the group, and served to greatly damage the unity and solidarity of the group.
Ø Inquiry to the Inspector General of the Department of Labor was made about such a blatant ‘Divide and Conquer’ tactic. The IG-DOL informed that an OFCCP investigator had been reprimanded for the violation! Given the paucity of the “actual damages” in an OFCCP “make whole remedy” for discrimination against a veteran, the magnitude of a bogus offer of ‘early retirement as if you were 62' makes the intent to damage the Veterans’ Group self-evident.
Ø In December 1999 the California Department of Veterans’ Affairs (CDVA) responded to a Petition to the Governor of California for Redress of Grievances by CSULB veterans. Since CSULB is a state institution, and Governor Davis has been so vocal in his support for veterans, we thought to ask him why a state university could so publicly violate the VEVRAA rights of veterans and discriminate? The CDVA brokered and monitored a negotiation between The Veterans Group and CSULB toward creating acceptable VEVRAA Affirmative Action Program documents to submit to the OFCCP for approval.
Ø Between December 1999 and March 2000, Mr. Glen Halsey, Chief, Veterans’ Services Division, CDVA, came to CSULB four times to monitor and assist in special negotiation meetings between the University and The Veterans Group at CSULB in development of documents for a VEVRAA-based Affirmative Action Program (AAP) at CSULB. The present Secretary of the California Department of Veterans’ Affairs, Mr. Bruce Thiesen, also attended one meeting. Col. Joseph Smith, Director, Los Angeles County Department of Military and Veterans’ Affairs, monitored all four meetings, as he had previously done for the three meetings held during 1998.
Ø On March 20, 2000, Chief Halsey, CDVA, declared an “impasse” in the negotiations between CSULB and The Veterans Group. The OFCCP stated they could not be involved in those meetings, yet had asked for “reports” from veterans attending. The House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs would receive much revealing testimony about VEVRAA enforcement in general, and at CSULB in particular, from Chief Halsey. He has discussed our concerns with the Committee’s Legislative Counsels when they recently met. We would like to see his testimony given to the Committee, and that of Col. Joseph Smith, LAC DMVA. They both have had a long involvement with the investigations.
Ø In April 2000 CSULB published a false claim that VEVRAA Affirmative Action Program documents had been sent to the OFCCP in “The Veteran” a newsletter controlled by CSULB “Special Advisor to the President for Veterans’ Issues.” In a
following public meeting in June, the OFCCP denied ever having received AAP documents. There was no credibility of good faith from either CSULB or the OFCCP in these matters. The OFCCP apparently considers public lies to veteran employees by the Contractor to not be bad faith? The official VEVRAA Affirmative Action Program for CSULB was first distributed in March 2001 - inspired by Mr. Renaud’s first efforts in 1993 and earlier.
Ø In May 2000 “The Veterans Group at CSULB” met at the request of CSULB “Special Assistant to the President for Veterans’ Issues” to continue ‘work’ on the VEVRAA Affirmative Action Program document elements. During that meeting a secret and illegal (in California) audio recording was made of portions of the meeting. That recording was later used to intimidate a new, very high ranking member of the campus veteran community (CSULB Director of Research) who was attending his first Veteran Group meeting. This was reported to both the University and OFCCP who took no action.
Ø The chill factor created by that intimidation was so great that there were no further meetings of “The Veterans Group at CSULB.” The group effort was ended in apparent conspiracy and unlawfulness, under the umbrella of the previous ‘divide and conquer’ tactics of the OFCCP. No investigation of the illicit recording was undertaken by either the OFCCP or the University; yet, California Law (Penal Code Section 630-637.9) is clear as to the recoding of such communications. Persons convicted of such crimes are punishable by fine or by imprisonment not to exceed one year or by fine and imprisonment.
Ø Furthermore, the President’s Special Advisor had presented a “take back” version of the primal VEVRAA “Invitation to Self-Identify” document at that last meeting. The key to VEVRAA non-enforcement is that the OFCCP allows Federal contractors to violate law by not requiring that veterans be informed of their VEVRAA rights and benefits as required by statute. The ‘informing’ is the “Self-Identification” process.
Ø In July 2000, it was discovered during a special telephone conference call between John Whittaker and Dr. Steven Hutchison and various OFCCP officers that material witnesses named by the veterans had not been interviewed. Since the first request for interview of one of the witnesses had been made as early as November 1996, there was great dismay over the discovery. OFCCP officers appear to be lying about named witnesses being interviewed or not. This matter has not been explained, and it appears that the OFCCP dissembles about interviewing witnesses to the detriment and harm of veterans?
Ø In November 1999, the University attempted a bogus “self-identification” process in which there was no mention of VEVRAA nor the rights and benefits of self-identifying as a Vietnam Era Veteran. On December 14, 2000, OFCCP Director Smitherman announced at veterans’ meeting held at CSULB that a new VEVRAA-compliant “self-identification” process was required for compliance.
Ø During the December 14, 2000, OFCCP meeting with CSULB veterans, private settlement discussions were held with several veterans. Those ‘discussions’ lasted approximately five (5) minutes each. So called ‘Make whole remedies’ were imposed without significant discussion or consideration of the veterans’ current status - this in light of the findings of retaliation against the veterans who had been “discriminated with harm.” The issue of “narratives” explaining exactly what manner of discrimination/retaliation occurred, and how the evaluation was made, has not been fully divulged by the OFCCP.
Ø At the beginning of the remanded/enjoined investigations in October/November 1999 many new veterans came forward with complaints. Testimony and evidence were taken from many veterans not part of the 1996 class action group. The OFCCP findings of August 2000 completely ignored those veterans who joined the complaint after the enjoining. Yet the findings cite the names of eight (8) veterans from the 1996 investigation who either “withdrew” or provided “no response” in 1996. Those eight veterans were offered monetary settlements? This makes no sense at all?
Ø In February 2001, Mr. Harold Busch, Director of Program Operations, OFCCP, refused to respond to a letter questioning why money has been awarded to veterans who “withdrew” or provided “no response” in the investigations. The same dollar amount of money was also offered to seven (7) other veterans who did remain part of the class action, did not withdraw, and who did provide testimony. What is that remedy award for? Why didn’t the new veterans who complained and testified during the remanded/enjoined investigation even get a mention? Mr. Busch has provided no response?
Ø On October 5, 1999, at President Maxson’s instruction, work began on the VEVRAA self-identification process at CSULB. Employees have never been notified that as Vietnam Era Veterans they acquire VEVRAA rights and benefits, and access to the CSULB’s Affirmative Action Program if they self-identify. As of the date of this Petition there has been no VEVRAA self-identification at CSULB. Mr. Renaud asked the Department of Labor about VEVRAA compliance at CSULB at least as early as 1993!
The failure of the OFCCP to require VEVRAA mandated self-identification of covered Vietnam Era Veterans (and now other veterans covered by the 1998 Veterans’ Employment Assistance Act) from Federal Contractors appears to be universal in Southern California and elsewhere. With the able assistance of both the California Faculty Association and the California State Employees Association, unions for faculty and staff employees in the CSU system, Dr. Walter Moore and John Whittaker were able to prove to OFCCP Pacific Region Director Woody Gilliland that the entire CSU 23-campus University system was in non-compliance with VEVRAA, and it has been allowed to be in non-compliance by the failure by the OFCCP to enforce VEVRAA regulations enacted by Congress.
Director Gilliland has written since that time, on several occasions, that the OFCCP has negotiated with the CSU system over this violation and non-compliance, and that he has in his possession a Letter of Intention from the CSU system to bring all 23 of its campuses into ‘pro-
active’ compliance with VEVRAA. This begs the question of the years of “rubber stamping” of VEVRAA compliance by the OFCCP. It would be very easy for an OFCCP investigator to request to see a Contractor’s self-identification forms to determine whether the disclosures of the veteran’s rights and benefits under the law are expressed on those documents. This is never done.
The singular fact of VEVRAA is that most veterans working for Federal Contractors have never heard of it, despite the law requiring that the Contractor explicitly inform the veteran of the law and it’s protections and benefits at various times during pre-employment and post-employment.
The corruption of the OFCCP is manifest in the Summary Judgment, written by a Federal judge, of a “sham investigation” on behalf of the Pacific Maritime Association veterans, and in the remanding, enjoining, and final disposition of the CSULB investigations. The accusation of obstruction of justice toward OFCCP Director Helene Haase is unanswered. The harm done to veterans at CSULB by the OFCCP is unanswered.
There are members of three other veteran groups we have contacted who wish to provide testimony and evidence of OFCCP corruption also, including the PMA veterans who obtained the “sham investigation” judgment against the OFCCP. It appears from our experience and investigation that the OFCCP provides miss-information to veterans and blatantly fails to enforce the regulations of VEVRAA; and knowing does so. These methods effectively cause veterans’ complaints to “disappear” and discourage veterans from filing complaints against Federal contractors. The ‘Rules of Evidence’ used by the OFCCP in the compliance reviews demands review by the Committee. The OFCCP merely “asks” the Contractor to provide an oral declaration of compliance, and even in an extensive discrimination investigation, no ‘evidence’ of VEVRAA compliance is required. This is documented in the 1996 OFCCP findings at CSULB.
Our experience with the OFCCP indicates that VEVRAA harms or destroys the lives of veterans who learn of it, and expect its regulations to be upheld by agencies of the Federal government whose sole purpose is enforcement. Attempts to have the OFCCP enforce the regulations and to stop discrimination are thwarted by Federal contractors and the very same Federal government agency mandated to enforce the regulations.
No veteran at CSULB is happy with the results of events. Several have had to start new lives due to the extent of the discrimination, harassment and retaliation that the OFCCP appeared to monitor and even supervise during their 1996 and following investigations. The OFCCP appears to have been involved in a cover up of criminal activity during 1996, and has apparently taken efforts to eliminate case file materials documenting those events.
Beyond all the above, there is something worst. Much worst! The only two ‘known’ VEVRAA compliance enforcement actions by the OFCCP have both taken place in the past decade at major Universities. Indeed, as we now have proved, the entire 23 campus CSU system has never been in VEVRAA compliance.
Why is it that VEVRAA compliance and discrimination issues are most successfully explored at institutions of higher learning? Why is it that discrimination and retaliation against Vietnam Era veterans are taking place with such high profiles at Universities? We have brought to the attention of both Congressmen Filner and McKeon of the Committee that San Diego State University of the CSU system, where Congressman Filner taught History for so long, has one of the worst Affirmative Action Programs in the system. There is little or no mention of veterans in it. Copies of the SDSU AAP were given to both Congressmen during our visits to them since the first of the year. Mr. Filner knows that SDSU veterans do not have ‘writers’ like the CSULB veterans have!
Apparently VEVRAA is so designed by Congress and implemented by the Department of Labor as to require both advanced education degrees and an unheard of “tenacity” to achieve any of the protections it claims to provide. There is no evidence whatsoever that VEVRAA has ever provided any veteran any “benefits” of “self-identifying” to the Contractor. What we do know is unending grief, lies, deceit, corruption, betrayal, and of course, the timeliness of an entrenched government bureaucracy.
What of the average American Citizen that fought in Vietnam? Recall that the vast majority of those veterans were drafted from working class households while college students were given educational deferments! That Average Citizen Soldier cannot write a ‘book’ to fight for his/her rights under the law. VEVRAA is not for them according to the OFCCP. We are enclosing the letter of past-Chairman Bob Stump to the Secretary of Labor on our behalf. We do not believe that the OFCCP nor it’s parent organization will tell you the truth of VEVRAA enforcement and the harm that comes from learning of VEVRAA. Veterans who learn of VEVRAA after years of working for noncompliant Federal contractors are never the same. They ask in vain, “The law says they have to tell us about VEVRAA, why have they lied to us for so long?”
We petition the House of Representatives Committee on Veterans’ Affairs for oversight hearings against the OFCCP for its failure to enforce The Vietnam Era Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act of 1974, as amended, in the Pacific Region and elsewhere since 1975. The intent of Congress in the creation of VEVRAA - for the protection of and assistance for Vietnam Era veterans in their employment by Federal Contractors - has been nullified by decades of malfeasance by the OFCCP.
The Vietnam Era Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act of 1974, as amended, and the Veterans’ Employment Assistance Act of 1998 are laws of the land. Congress must ensure the enforcement of the Acts to provide affirmative action to all self-identified qualifying veterans, just as Congress has ensured affirmative action for other groups of Americans. Failure by the Congress to ensure enforcement and compliance (by an agency mandated to enforce the regulations and staffed by persons being paid a salary and benefits by taxpayers of this Nation) will appear to be a political decision not to support veterans of the Armed Forces of the United States who are entitled to the benefits of the Act.
Letter from Chairman Stump to Secretary of Labor, January 12, 2000.
Members of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs
Members of the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs
Senator Barbara Boxer
Senator Diane Feinstein
Congressman Christopher Cox
Governor Gray Davis
California Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee
California Assembly Veterans’ Affairs Committee
Secretary Anthony Principi, U.S. Department of Veterans’ Affairs
Secretary Bruce Thiesen, California Department of Veterans’ Affairs
Chief Glen Halsey, California Department of Veterans’ Affairs
Director Joseph Smith, Los Angeles County Department of Military & Veterans’ Affairs
Mr. Daryl Kehrer, Esq., Legislative Counsel ( Rep.), HCVA
Mr. Todd Houchins, Esq., Legislative Counsel (Dem.), HCVA
Ms. Catherine Kennedy, Esq., California State Employees Association
Mr. James Semelroth, California Faculty Association
Mr. Dan Weikel, Los Angeles Times