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Bismarck Accuses Fargo Over National Guard Support

7/27/2017:

Ever since the American Revolution, our country has relied on the citizen soldier. This reliance continues today with the National Guard. National Guardsmen have to leave their families and their jobs to respond to natural disasters and national security needs. According to the United States Department, the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act was designed to protect those who had to leave jobs behind to answer their country’s call. It guaranteed employment upon completion of their service.” Military service cannot be considered a break in employment when figuring pension benefits, and employees cannot be required to use vacation or earned leave days for a military leave of absence.

But it wasn’t always that way. At one time, National Guardsmen had no protection when it came to employment. Employers could legally fire an employee who was called away for military service.

On this date in 1912, the Bismarck Tribune accused Fargo of lacking patriotism. The newspaper reported that Captain Fraine would recommend that Company B of Fargo should be mustered out. The Fargo Forum responded by saying that this was due to a lack of patriotism on the part of employers who did not support the military service of their employees. The Tribune warned that if Fargo wasn’t careful, Company B might move to Grand Forks.

Although the Tribune pointed the finger at Fargo, there was a similar problem in Bismarck. The city sent 35 enlisted men to the annual encampment, far short of the quota. This was because many employers refused to allow their employees time off. Some men attended the encampment only to discover on their return home that they had been fired.

Bismarck businessmen had invested a considerable amount of money in the armory. If Company A of that city was mustered out and the armory closed, the businessmen would lose their money. The Tribune said it was up to the employers and citizens of the city to support the Guard. That would be the only way to keep Company A at full strength. The newspaper also urged every town in the state with a Guard company to provide support before their companies were mustered out.

Dakota Datebook written by Carole Butcher

Sources:

Bismarck Tribune. “Fargo Lacks Patriotism.” 27 July, 1912.

United States Department of Justice. Employment Rights of the National Guard and Reserve. "https://www.justice.gov/sites/default/files/usao-ednc/legacy/2011/04/29/EmploymentRights.pdf" https://www.justice.gov/sites/default/files/usao-ednc/legacy/2011/04/29/EmploymentRights.pdf Accessed 15 June, 2017.