A soldier serving in Iraq learned only Tuesday that he's been laid off from his civilian job driving a city bus - and now he has to worry about his family on the homefront.
Shell-shocked Anddy Moreno, whose situation was featured in the Daily News last week, said he was counting on hisNYC Transit checks to help support his wife and kids while he's overseas.
"I'm going nuts right now," Moreno told the Daily News in a call from Iraq last night. "I don't know what to do."
Moreno, a supply soldier, said he's constantly on the move bringing equipment to different units across Iraq and doesn't have regular access to the Internet.
So while his sister last week sent him an e-mail about possible problems with his employment, Moreno didn't know the details until he read articles about his layoff on the Daily News Web site Tuesday.
Moreno, a National Guardsman, thought federal law guaranteed soldiers wouldn't lose their jobs while at war. But the law doesn't offer such a blanket protection. An employer downsizing doesn't have to make an exception for soldiers on leave from their civilian jobs.
"It's not fair," said Moreno, 37. "I'm over here fighting for everyone."
Moreno said he hadn't yet spoken to his wife, who took their three children to Florida to spend the summer with relatives. The MTA pays servicemen the difference between their civilian pay and military pay.
The MTA has laid off hundreds of workers in recent weeks from its NYC Transit division, citing large budget deficits.
About 50 NYC Transit drivers who were also laid off, but had more seniority than Moreno, accepted jobs at another MTA division - MTA Bus - where there were vacancies, officials said last week.