When the administration first proposed this idea back in June, defense contractors patiently explained to the President that there is a law, the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification ("WARN") Act of 1988, that requires federal contractors to tell employees 60 days in advance of expected layoffs. There are quite a few layoffs expected for the end of the year as a result of an agreement between President Obama and Congress to cut astonishing amounts of funding for the Department of Defense. Companies that fail to meet their obligations under the WARN Act can be sued by their former employees. Defense contractors indicated that they would not be ignoring their legal duty under the WARN Act.
The Obama administration's solution for these companies: Don't warn employees that they're about to be fired and the Department of Labor will pay the legal bills after fired employees sue for violating the WARN Act.
This memo breaks the law. The President obviously wants to prevent thousands of employees, especially in swing-state Virginia, from being told that they are going to be laid off due to Department of Defense funding cuts. Because of the timing of the cuts, those notices would have been sent to employees just prior to the election in November. The man who signed those funding cuts into law would like to avoid that.
Ironically, the WARN Act is just the sort of employee protection that Democrats have traditionally championed. I suppose winning the election is more important.
FOR MORE: GO TO 'CURRENT EVENTS'/LOCKHEED LAYOFFS