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Obama: Ignore WARN Law, We’ll Pay The Costs

From ABC News:

At White House Request, Lockheed Martin Drops Plan to Issue Layoff Notices

By Jake Tapper, Mary Bruce | Mon October 1, 2012

Defense contractor Lockheed Martin heeded a request from the White House today — one with political overtones — and announced it will not issue layoff notices to thousands of employees just days before the November presidential election.

Lockheed, one of the biggest employers in the key battleground state of Virginia, previously warned it would have to issue notices to employees, required by law, due to looming defense cuts set to begin to take effect after Jan. 2 because of the failure of the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction — the so-called Super-committee, which was created to find a way to cut $1.5 trillion from the federal deficit over the next decade.

Such massive layoffs could have threatened Obama’s standing in the state he won in 2008 and is hoping to carry again this November.

On Friday, the Obama administration reiterated that federal contractors should not issue notices to workers based on “uncertainty” over the pending $500 billion reduction in Pentagon spending that will occur unless lawmakers can agree on a solution to the budget impasse, negotiations over which will almost definitely not begin until after the election…

In reality there are only three exceptions to the WARN Act. (See below.) None of which apply in this case.

In July the Labor Department issued legal guidance making clear that federal contractors are not required to provide layoff notices 60 days in advance of the potential Jan. 2 sequestration order, and that doing so would be inconsistent with the purpose of the WARN Act.

In Friday’s memo, the Office of Management and Budget reiterated that notice, urging agencies’ contracting officials and CFOs to “minimize the potential for waste and disruption associated with the issuance of unwarranted layoff notices.”

The guidance issued Friday told contractors that if the automatic cuts happen and contractors lay off employees the government will cover certain liability and litigation costs in the event the contractor is later sued because it hadn’t provided adequate legal warning to its employees, but only if the contractor abides by the administration’s notice and refrains from warning employees now.

In other words, the Obama administration is saying: ‘ignore the law, we’ll pay your court costs. And if you don’t…’

After “careful review” Lockheed announced today that it will abide by the administration’s guidance

And by "guidance" they mean threat.

Meanwhile, we have this from The Hill:

Sen. Graham: Obama move on defense layoff notices ‘patently illegal’

By Jeremy Herb | Mon October 1, 2012

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) says that he will do anything he can to block the Obama administration from reimbursing defense contractors for severance costs if the firms don’t send layoff notices to employees…

Graham and other Republicans were livid after the Obama administration issued the guidance on Friday telling contractors that their legal costs would be covered due to canceled contracts under sequestration, but only if they did not issue layoff notices before sequestration occurs — and before the November election.

“I will do everything in my power to make sure not one taxpayer dollar is spent reimbursing companies for failure to comply with WARN Act,” Graham told The Hill in a phone interview Monday. “That is so beyond the pale — I think it’s patently illegal.” …

Illegality does not appear to faze Mr. Obama. And he also also has no problem ‘bypassing Congress’ with (illegal) executive orders.

Graham said Monday he was “very surprised” that Lockheed decided not to issue the notices, which could have come as early as Wednesday in states with a 90-day notice requirement.

“This is a complete turnaround,” Graham said. “This reeks of politics, and quite frankly the legally reasoning being pushed by OMB makes no sense for me.” …

There is no legal reasoning. The law is plain.

As we noted back in July, according to the WARN Act, there are only three exceptions allowed to the 60-day notice:

The Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act

Notification Period

With three exceptions, notice must be timed to reach the required parties at least 60 days before a closing or layoff.

(1) Faltering company. This exception, to be narrowly construed, covers situations where a company has sought new capital or business in order to stay open and where giving notice would ruin the opportunity to get the new capital or business, and applies only to plant closings;

(2) Unforeseeable business circumstances. This exception applies to closings and layoffs that are caused by business circumstances that were not reasonably foreseeable at the time notice would otherwise have been required; and

(3) Natural disaster. This applies where a closing or layoff is the direct result of a natural disaster, such as a flood, earthquake, drought or storm.

There is no mention of any exception being granted because giving notice might hurt Obama and the Democrats in an upcoming election. But as we have seen time and again, laws mean nothing to the from the Obama administration.

This article was posted by Steve Gilbert on Tuesday, October 2nd, 2012. Comments are currently closed.

5 Responses to “Obama: Ignore WARN Law, We’ll Pay The Costs”

  1. GetBackJack

    Best friend’s wife, 25 year Lockheed employee has already been told about layoffs. I really don;t know what this story means because 10,000 LM employees already know they’re getting ash-caned.

  2. Anonymoose

    Agreed; this is not longer a back room deal. The defense industry employees getting laid off would work if no one knew, but whether they get the notice before the election or just after makes no difference, they’re still getting laid off. The question is how many employees will really use that as their rationale for voting–if they do then they’re just idiots.

    The real story is how the media is spinning this yet again as cover for Obama–already saying “could have” threatened and not looking at what all these people are going to do for jobs–but also Obama offering to pay the legal expenses if they deliberately delay sending out notices. It’s simply against the law, something Obama, Clinton, and every Democrat has flaunted at their convenience.

  3. Petronius

    What extraordinary times we live in –– when the President can nullify the laws of Congress, but the Supreme Court and States cannot.

    • GetBackJack

      What extraordinary times we live in when the Supreme Court nullifies the Constitution and the neither Congress nor the President do anything about it.

  4. BigOil

    I was unaware of the Constitution granting the Executive Branch the power to appropriate funds. At least now we can save money by disbanding Congress. Maybe Congress can issue some stern letters to the regime on their way out the door.


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