ND Soldier Laid Off While Still Overseas - Valley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks

ND Soldier Laid Off While Still Overseas

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A soldier fighting a war overseas is laid off from his job with no warning but a letter he received a month and half after it was sent out.

The North Dakota soldier is one of many laid off at LM Wind Power in Grand Forks. In all, nearly 350 full-time and temporary employees and contractors lost their jobs.

We had the chance to talk with the soldier about his mindset knowing he does not have a job when he returns home.

That soldier, Gerald Hawk Jr. says he first found out on December 7 when he received a care package from his mother. The care package contained his mail. In that mail was a layoff notice dated September 27.

"The whole situation is a shock," said Hawk Jr.

The letters said things like: "Starting December 1, the layoff is a permanent layoff," "your position will be discontinued due to economic downturn," and "this in no way reflects negatively on the quality of your employment."

To make matters worse, Hawk Jr. has not had the chance to try talking to LM. He says, "Phone access and time difference make it difficult for me to call. Although my supervisor and co-workers had my contact email and my Facebook."

So we wanted to call one of Hawk Jr's supervisors, either Bill Burga or Dan Gordon to find out why, if a soldier is overseas and has no control over the situation, he is laid off, and if the soldier has any options.

A receptionist at LM told us, "The guy you need to talk to is Dan, and he is out of town right now."

We had been trying to get a hold of those people for about a week. Nobody has been able to get back in touch with us to give us answers.

Despite not having any answers, Hawk Jr. knows it is not just him involved in the situation. He says, "I have an 8-year-old son that lives with me full-time. I will do everything I can to not let this affect him in any way. He's been through enough with me just being gone."

He is trying to remain positive because in a few short months he will be back in the states. At that point, he says his determination and years of service will have to lead him in a time of uncertainty.

"I'm confident that I will be able to find employment in the Grand Forks area when I return home," he says.


If you are wondering if LM Wind Power can legally layoff a soldier overseas, the company can. We talked to the North Dakota Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve which helps soldiers with employment.

They said because the layoff happened because of economic hardship and not because of his service, there is not much they can do.

They do, however, have many jobs available through a program called Hero to Hired.

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