Home > Postal Service Terminates Iraq War Veteran


Postal Service Reinstates Kutz
PostalMag.com 12/24/06


"Ryan got an early Christmas present on the morning of 23 December 2006.  It came in the form of an Express Mail envelope. It contained a tersely worded statement from the plant manager to the effect that, "Ryan Kutz is reinstated and is instructed to report for duty 23 December 2006 at 10:30 PM."  Christmas miracles do happen. Ryan would like to thank his family, friends and supporters who helped make this happen. Undoubtedly one of the hundreds of letters or emails sent out, reached out and touched the right person. He's looking forward to having a fair chance to complete his probation and joining the ranks of career Postal Employees."
Postal Service Terminates Iraq War Veteran for Unacceptable Attendance
PostalMag.com 12/19/06


A disabled Iraqi War veteran has just received a very cruel Christmas present. His employer, the U.S. Postal Service fired him due to “unacceptable attendance” caused by his PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) and his hospitalization with stage four colon cancer. Please hear his story and do what you can.

Ryan Keith Kutz enlisted in the United States Army on April 2001 at the age of 17. He served for three years with the 101st infantry as a 240B, machine gunner. During his enlistment 13 months were spent in harms way in Mosul Iraq. While on patrol there, Ryan was shot in the chest at close range by an Iraqi with a handgun. Luckily, his body armour absorbed the impact, leaving him only badly bruised. He received a Good Conduct discharge upon his return in April 2004.

Ryan has had a hard time adjusting back to civilian life. At the end of his enlistment, he was brought back with insufficient time to out-process and didn’t receive the required transitional help. Since then he has been diagnosed with PTSD and tried to commit suicide twice. He’s tried to cope by working hard but has bounced from one low paying, unbenefited job to another. This year it looked like his luck had changed. He started at the Springfield Missouri P&DC on 30 September 2006. This could be a good thing since it pays well and has benefits, but . . .

The Postal Service has new hires work as PTF’s (Part Time Flexibles) and was requiring them to work 7 days a week, 12 hours a day according to the Tour 1 MDO. (After all, its cheaper to work one person 84 hours a week and not pay benefits on a second person.) The Union goes in each week and is sometimes successful in getting them a day off, but only after a fight. I don’t know many disabled vets who can work 84 hours a week. Ryan struggled. He’s called in and missed work a couple of times due to his PTSD. I’m confident this wouldn’t have happened if employees weren’t being taken advantage of and were given at least one day off a week. It’s hard for any person to work that many hours without any assurance of time off. How does a disabled veteran go see his doctor? How does a disabled veteran make it thru a tough week when there is no end?

After working 12 hours on Thanksgiving, Ryan was rushed to the VA Hospital at Fayetteville AR with abdominal pains. He spent three days there in the hospital and received two blood transfusions and numerous tests. When the VA found out he had private insurance they sent him to St. John’s Hospital in Springfield. He spent the next five days in the hospital, receiving another two blood transfusions and more tests. On 03 December 2006, he was diagnosed with stage four colon cancer at the age of 23. The cancer has spread to his liver and all they can do for him at this time is to start him on chemo. There is no history of colon cancer on either side of his family. Of all colon cancer patients, less then 5% are in his age group. How does this happen? One has to wonder if maybe his exposure to depleted uranium shells or time spent guarding Iraqi chemical weapons sites might have contributed to this.

Ryan was discharged on 06 December and released by his doctor to return to work. After working the next two days, he was abruptly sent home at the start of his shift on the third day. Postal management prevented him from working his next six scheduled days as they tried to decide what paper work they required. Ryan finally went back to work on Sunday, 17 December and was promptly handed a letter from the plant manager firing him for “unacceptable attendance.” Merry Christmas.

The U.S. Postal Service hired him knowing he was a disabled veteran and that he would need reasonable accommodation. They did not provide reasonable accommodation when they expected him to work seven days a week, 12 hours a day. While it’s true that Ryan missed 11 days while he was in the hospital, who could have worked during this time? To add insult to injury, the U.S. Postal Service caused him to miss the last 6 days he was scheduled to work. This was due to their incompetence and treachery as they prepared their case to discard yet another disabled veteran.

In my opinion, Ryan was fired because he can’t work 84 hours a week. Since when did we require our disabled veterans to ,”sell their souls” to get a decent job? The attendance is just a convenient excuse. If it were just for the money, Ryan would leave and never look back considering how badly they treat their employees. But its not, if he’s going to have a fighting chance to beat his cancer he desperately needs the medical insurance he’s purchased there. Ryan can work and wants to work.

Is this how we treat those who are willing to fight and die for our country when they return? Ryan is a hard worker who deserves better than this. He survived the worst that Iraq could throw at him. I hope he can survive being fired from the U.S. Postal Service. I’m confident I can speak for all my follow veterans when demanding Ryan be given a chance to continue to serve in the U.S. Postal Service.



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