Tyson, Wal-Mart give back to veterans

by The City Wire staff ([email protected]) 103 views 

Veteran’s are held in high esteem and honored by many companies on special holidays like the upcoming Veteran’s Day, Nov. 11.

Tyson Foods is one of those companies that works hard to recognize veteran’s for their service year round.

The company makes no bones about its patriotism, saying it is an American-based company “that supports the United States and especially our troops stationed around the world to protect the people of our country.”

For starters Tyson Foods provides differential pay for all of its employees called to active military duty. This money makes up any difference between military compensation and their normal paycheck at Tyson Foods.

Since Sept. 11, 2001, Tyson has provided $2.2 million in differential pay to more than 400 employees.  Tyson has been the winner of the National Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) Freedom Award because of this program.

Another local corporate giant, Wal-Mart Stores Inc., will sign a statement of support for the ESGR on Monday, Nov. 12. Bill Simon, president and CEO, of Walmart U.S., will sign the pledge at a ceremony at the corporate offices in Bentonville.

Simon served 25 years in the United States Navy and Navy Reserve  The retail giant is also conducting a national Statement of Support signing initiative at 10 regional locations.

That pledge states: We fully recognize, honor and enforce the Uniformed Services Employment and Re-Employment Rights Act (USERRA). Our managers and supervisors will have the tools they need to effectively manage those employees who serve in the Guard and Reserve. We appreciate the values, leadership and unique skills service members bring to the workforce and will encourage opportunities to hire Guardsmen, Reservists and Veterans. We will continually recognize and support our country’s service members and their families in peace, in crises and in war.

A pledge without action is useless, so Simon said the retailer is actively looking to fill positions with service members and their job openings have been made available via the Reserve Affairs Hero 2 Hired program at www.H2H.Jobs. The service is free for military members and employers.

“The men and women of the Guard and Reserve give so much for our country, and Wal-Mart is proud to support them,” Simon said. “Our company will be with our associates and their families in times of crisis and times of calm. We have a long history of hiring veterans, Guard members, and Reservists because of their unique leadership skills and strong values, and we will continue to seek out and hire our heroes.”

At any given time, Wal-Mart has between 3,000 to 4,000 employees on military leave of absence.

Of the more than two million Americans who have gone to war since Sept. 11, 2001, almost half have been members of the Guard and Reserve.

Tyson spokesman Worth Sparkman said a year ago Tyson Foods and other military commissary suppliers committed to hiring more veterans and military spouses over the next two years.

As the leading supplier of food to the Defense Commissary Agency, Tyson says it has helped to feed U.S. military families for more than 50 years.

Tyson Foods and the Walmart Foundation worked together to organize and sponsor the very first Northwest Arkansas “Honor Flight.” The October 2009 charter flight transported more than 90 military veterans free of charge to Washington D.C., to visit the World War II Memorial and other monument. Since 2009, these companies have helped coordinate and finance six of these flights for more than 400 World War II veterans.

In May 2010, the late Don Tyson and Tyson Foods awarded a $75,000 “challenge” grant to an organization seeking to provide more burial space for military veterans at the Fayetteville National cemetery. The Regional National Cemetery Improvement Corporation is using the money to support the group’s mission of securing nearby land to “insure the cemetery can continue to receive veterans for burial.”