How potentially devastating would massive layoffs be for the incumbent if they occurred just prior to the election? That is the question President Obama and his administration asked themselves when presented with the fact that, due to looming massive budget cuts to military funding, hundreds of thousands of workers would be laid off at the start of 2013. Haven’t heard about this? If not, you shouldn’t be surprised. This is just another example of the hush-hush that has occurred countless times over the last four years. You are now probably wondering why these workers would be notified two months prior to the layoffs in the first place. Why? Because, it’s federal law.
The WARN Act (which you can find at www.dol.gov/compliance/guide/layoffs.htm), states:
WARN protects workers, their families, and communities by requiring employers to provide notification 60 calendar days in advance of plant closings and mass layoffs. Advance notice gives workers and their families some transition time to adjust to the prospective loss of employment, to seek and obtain other jobs and, if necessary, to enter skill training or retraining that will allow these workers to compete successfully in the job market. WARN also provides for notice to state dislocated worker units so that they can promptly offer dislocated worker assistance.
The law also says that, if these requirements are not followed:
Workers or their representatives, and units of local government may bring individual or class action suits. U.S. district courts enforce WARN requirements.
An employer who violates the WARN provisions is liable to each employee for an amount equal to back pay and benefits for the period of the violation, up to 60 days. This may be reduced by the period of any notice that was given, and any voluntary payments that the employer made to the employee.
An employer who fails to provide the required notice to the unit of local government is subject to a civil penalty not to exceed $500 for each day of violation. The employer may avoid this penalty by satisfying the liability to each employee within three weeks after the closing or layoff.
So, mass layoffs will occur on January 2, when the military budget cuts are to take place. With that being the case, in order to follow federal law, these employers must send out pink slips to the hundreds of thousands of workers 60 days prior – on November 2nd – four days before the election. Lockheed Martin (lockheedmartin.com), a corporation that designs, develops and manufactures products and weaponry for the U.S. military, is one of many that said it would be forced to lay off all of their employees. In Lockheed’s case, that’s 123,000 workers. Last month, CEO Bob Stevens pushed the issue, stating that he must follow the U.S. labor law. In response to Stevens and the other company’s requirement to follow the federal law, the Obama administration gave them this order:
Don’t do it.
That’s right; the administration has issued memos to these companies, military contractors and other Pentagon-affiliated workers, urging them not to send out pink slips prior to the election. What comes next is absolutely criminal.
The memo directed to these companies’ CFOs contain bribery that would send most U.S. citizens to prison. Here’s what the memo says:
“Any resulting employee compensation costs for WARN Act liability as determined by a court, as well as attorney’s fees and other litigation costs (irrespective of litigation outcome) would qualify as allowable costs and be covered by the contracting agency, if otherwise reasonable and allocable.”
In other words, don’t send out the pink slips and if your ex-employees sue you, we’ll cover it. These companies obliged, and have agreed not to send out the notices. This is a bribe, plain and simple, with no explanation other than to boost President Obama’s reelection odds.
How potentially devastating would massive layoffs be for the incumbent if they occurred just says prior to election?
Now you know the answer.