Skip to comments.US defense firms could push forward with layoff notices
Posted on 08/09/2012 2:01:15 PM PDT by jazusamo
Despite administration warnings that notices related to sequestration were unnecessary, Lockheed Martin and Pratt & Whitney are continuing their preparations.
Lockheed Martin and Pratt & Whitney are going forward with plans to issue layoff notices to thousands of employees due to looming defense cuts under sequestration, despite administration claims that such warnings are unnecessary.
U.S. defense companies planned to start handing out pink slips in November under federal mandates outlined in the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act, due to the anticipated $500 billion automatic cut to defense coffers are set to go in place in January.
But administration officials from the Department of Labor have argued that such notices did not fall under the act's mandates, noting the law only required notices to be sent out if layoffs are caused by a foreseeable event.
Since Congress has the power to come up with an alternative sequester plan, the White House argues, those automatic defense cuts don't qualify as a foreseeable event.
But lawmakers remain deadlocked on a viable alternative, increasing the likelihood of those cuts going in effect early next year.
That gridlock on Capitol Hill has prompted some American defense firms to begin preparing to send out pink slips to their employees.
"Right now the WARN Act is the law, and we always comply with the law, so we're not quite sure we understand the direction from the Department of Labor," Hess told Reutersduring an anti-sequestration rally in Florida on Wednesday.
"We'll make a decision in the future as to whether or not we'll issue WARN notices. Some of it may depend on what clarity we get in 30 days," Hess said.
If the firms decide to issue layoff notifications, defense industry employees would begin receiving those notices days before the presidential elections.
Top industry officials have said publicly that automatic cut under sequestration could lead to the loss of 1 million defense-related jobs.
Industry leaders and their supporters in Congress say those job losses would hit battleground states such as Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Florida particularly hard.
"Generally speaking, if we know there's a potential to have a major reduction in the future, we have to take appropriate action," Lockheed Martin chief Bob Stevens said at the same rally on Wednesday. "All we are trying to do is be transparent with our employees so that nobody is caught by surprise."
Stevens told Congress in July that his firm alone stands to lose 10,000 employees if the cuts go into effect as planned.
In August, Senate Republicans attempted to force legislation that would require U.S. defense firms to begin sending out layoff notices to their employees.
The legislation, introduced by Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), would have been folded into the Senate Appropriations Committee's version of the Pentagon's fiscal 2013 spending bill.
Graham argued that allowing individual defense firms to decide whether to issue layoff notices would only add to the growing fiscal uncertainty within the defense industry over sequestration.
Committee member Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) slammed the Graham amendment as a blatant political ploy, designed to use the threat of job losses as a "political football" in the runup to the November election.
Committee Chairman Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii) called the measure an "unnecessary modification" to the WARN Act for political purposes.
In the end, the amendment was defeated 17-13 by the committee in a party-line vote.
obamanomics: 4 straight years of layoffs.
This ENTIRE administration, across all Departments & Agencies, is corrupt and lawless.
At the moment I’m doing some work for L.M. as a contractor so things such as 60 days advance notice don’t technically apply to me. However, the actual L.M. employees I work with are a great bunch of dedicated, hard-working folks. Lockheed owes it to them to follow the law strictly. From what I’ve seen, Lockheed’s HR department and its policies/processes always correctly follow both the spirit and the letter of the law. And I hope they do this time also—and not fall into this latest “trap” of this criminal administration.
Like I said, LM and the other Contractors owe it to their employees.
I would think the contractors know better than to “take advantage of” some double-standard interpretation on this law. You can bet that, if the tables were turned, and some huge employers started laying off thousands without giving the notice, using the excuse that it was “unforseen” or whatever BS line is being used, the DOJ and DOL would be ALL OVER THEM with fines and lawsuits, etc.
They are going to send them anyway. They fear being sued by a laid-off employee long after this election is in the books.
This notice is laid out plainly in the WARN Act and is one more law Obama and thugs don't agree with because it will affect him adversely.
All employees deserve the 60 day notice if there's a chance of them being laid off.
I hope the defense department proceeds with the layoffs, but not until September.
We want the layoffs to happen before the election, but not too soon.
Yep, and I don’t blame them because it’s bound to happen if they don’t send the notices and workers are let go.
He is in over his head, out to lunch and exempt.
I wish they would do it today. Sends a clear message to the voters.
I am not so sure that I agree with you about the ‘deserve’ part, but it IS a law that the libs put forward, and it IS forseeable. So screw ‘em. Send out the notices on the eve of election day.
If they go ahead and send the notices, would Holder sue them for illegal campaign contributions to Romney?
The military industrial complex is fighting back against the lawless regime.
About G-D time, too.
Steny Hoyer is probably feeling the heat right now. This is probably the only possible thing that could result in him losing his office.