WH to defense contractors: If you could not hand out pink slips before the election, that’d be awesome

posted at 8:08 pm on July 31, 2012 by Erika Johnsen

I grew up in the Northern Virginia area, and I can tell you just from personal experience that there are a lot of people in the suburbs surrounding DC who work for defense contractors — both young professionals and adults with families alike. There are a bunch of Virginia voters working through these companies on contracts at the Pentagon, the CIA, etcetera — and Virginia, I don’t need to remind you, is a very crucial swing state.

If lawmakers don’t do anything to stop the currently scheduled automatic spending cuts set to go into effect this January 2nd, the Pentagon is going to see its budget slashed by about 10 percent. That likely means fewer available projects, and defense contractors will have to make some adjustments. Typically, these companies will send notices to their employees 60 days before their contracts are expected to terminate in order to give them some warning — and they do this because it’s required by federal law, the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notice Act.

The Labor Department, however, would like federal contractors to know that, hey, it won’t be necessary to send out pink slips that would arrive in the mail a matter of days before the November election, because the White House is working to prevent the sequestration from actually happening. Never fear, says the DOL:

Although it is currently known that sequestration may occur, it is also known that efforts are being made to avoid sequestration.2 Thus, even the occurrence of sequestration is not necessarily foreseeable. In addition, the sequester’s impact on particular accounts will depend at least in part on Fiscal Year (FY) 2013 funding that Congress has not yet enacted. Perhaps more importantly, Federal agencies also have some discretion in how to implement the required reductions if sequestration were to occur. Given that Federal agencies, including DOD, have not announced which contracts will be affected by sequestration were it to occur, and that many contracts may be completely unaffected, the actual contract terminations or cutbacks that will occur in the event of sequestration are unknown. Thus, in the absence of any additional information, potential plant closings or layoffs resulting from such contract terminations or cutbacks are speculative and unforeseeable.

Uh huh. As Joel Gehrke reports:

…Congress is currently trying to prevent what’s been dubbed “sequestration,” a $110 billion budget cut, half coming from defense, that will take place on Jan. 2, 2013, if they cannot reach agreement on a deficit reduction package. Well, there is currently no agreement, sequestration is looming and bothsidesare pointing fingers over this.

…60 days before Jan. 2 is Nov. 2. Election Day this year falls on Nov. 6. The Aerospace Industries Association estimates that as many as 2.14 million jobs could be affected. That’s an awful lot of layoff warnings days before an election – and Republicans having [done] their best to pin the blame on the White House.

Need I say more?


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…this makes angrymike angry!

KOOLAID2 on July 31, 2012 at 8:13 PM

Out: Velvet Revolution

In: PinkSlip Revolution

faraway on July 31, 2012 at 8:14 PM

As Obama’s policies prove more and more successful expect GOP to try to claim ownership of them.
 
lester on May 8, 2012 at 8:49 PM

rogerb on July 31, 2012 at 8:14 PM

…I think someone is going to break the law again!

KOOLAID2 on July 31, 2012 at 8:14 PM

Obama to send out notice that the government won’t enforce the 60 day rule on defense contractors until Nov 7. DWS to come out with subtle hint that anyone actually abiding by the law may find a less the welcome reception on that date.

Betenoire on July 31, 2012 at 8:14 PM

Elections have consequences.

Vote wisely.

RealMc on July 31, 2012 at 8:15 PM

“On the other hand, the DoL will need to find more inventive reasons why companies laying off employees in the third quarter (ending September 30, 2012) will not be required to notify anyone other than the individuals employees unil November 7, 2012.”

/s

PolAgnostic on July 31, 2012 at 8:16 PM

Elections have consequences.

Vote wisely.

RealMc on July 31, 2012 at 8:15 PM

Bingo!

KMC1 on July 31, 2012 at 8:21 PM

The Labor Department, however, would like federal contractors to know that, hey, it won’t be necessary to send out pink slips that would arrive in the mail a matter of days before the November election, because the White House is working to prevent the sequestration from actually happening

The Labor Department knows damned well that federal contractors are not going to ignore what they have to do by LAW because the White House is working to prevent sequestration. A situation, I might add, would be unnecessary if the White House actually worked to implement the suggestions of Simpson-Bowles and the Supercommittee. Both sanctioned by the White House to prevent this situation.

I work in this world. Federal contractors understand that there might well be some 11th hour solution that prevents sequestration but that doesn’t ensure them that they don’t have to go through the process of laying off people. Their contracts have not been renewed and the shut-down process is built into law for many of their employees. It is pure partisanship for the Labor Department to suggest that they ignore what is supposed to happen at this point.

Happy Nomad on July 31, 2012 at 8:22 PM

Isn`t that nice, Virgina voters. Obama wants to delay firing YOU until HIS job is safe. :-P

ThePrez on July 31, 2012 at 8:25 PM

Happy Nomad on July 31, 2012 at 8:22 PM

And to add this final comment. Sequestration is only immediately dealing with the FY13 budget. Larger budget battles are looming when we get into the full five-year budget discussions.

Do you really want a jug-eared Kenyan who doesn’t call himself an American to decide how to deal with the issues or do you want a real American who was raised here?

Happy Nomad on July 31, 2012 at 8:26 PM

We’re only doing this because the GOP establishment didn’t have the balls (nor the desire) to STOP the debt ceiling raise.

HondaV65 on July 31, 2012 at 8:26 PM

Isn`t that nice, Virgina voters. Obama wants to delay firing YOU until HIS job is safe. :-P

ThePrez on July 31, 2012 at 8:25 PM

Needs to be said again and again !

burrata on July 31, 2012 at 8:28 PM

Do you really want a jug-eared Kenyan who doesn’t call himself an American to decide how to deal with the issues or do you want a real American who was raised here?

Happy Nomad on July 31, 2012 at 8:26 PM

Stay Classy.

HondaV65 on July 31, 2012 at 8:28 PM

My heart goes out to every employee who will be laid off or otherwise affected by this action.

Defense contractors should do the right thing: Follow the law and post those WARN notices as soon as you become aware of the cuts. Give your employees a chance to find new jobs or transfer within your company.

Can the affected employees potentially take legal action against their companies if WARN notices are not posted at least 60 days prior to the cuts (depending on if their company is covered by that law)?

Philly on July 31, 2012 at 8:28 PM

The richest irony:

Isn`t that nice, Virgina voters.

Obama wants to delay firing YOU until HIS job is safe. :-P

ThePrez on July 31, 2012 at 8:25 PM

RealMc on July 31, 2012 at 8:29 PM

Once again the Obama administration is picking and choosing which laws they will follow!!!

Zcat on July 31, 2012 at 8:29 PM

Isn`t that nice, Virginia voters. Obama wants to delay firing YOU until HIS job is safe. :-P

ThePrez on July 31, 2012 at 8:25 PM

Amen to that. Mitt, you need to steal this quote. It’s true. That’s why Barry needs to get a one-way trip back to Chicago.

Philly on July 31, 2012 at 8:31 PM

Isn`t that nice, Virgina voters. Obama wants to delay firing YOU until HIS job is safe. :-P

ThePrez on July 31, 2012 at 8:25 PM

This is why the Congressman most resembling a rat (not a
Democrat but a real rat) Gerry Connoly is demanding that Congress bypass any days off until they solve all these issues. He represents a Northern Virginia district and can campaign around his legislative responsibilities so his demands are somewhat absurd. BUT the reason he is making these stupid statements is because his district is filled with voters who will get these lay off notices between now and November and, unlike the commie that represents my district, he is vulnerable if too many of these notices go out.

Happy Nomad on July 31, 2012 at 8:31 PM

Boy, wouldn’t that create a nice class action suit?

mchristian on July 31, 2012 at 8:32 PM

If DoD can’t figure out how to cut 8% of it’s budget, then they are more incompetent than I had feared. There’s wiggle room of atleast $300bil, minimum.

John Kettlewell on July 31, 2012 at 8:35 PM

Boy, wouldn’t that create a nice class action suit?

mchristian on July 31, 2012 at 8:32 PM

Naaahh…some judge like Judas Roberts will just call it a tax and
deem it legal

burrata on July 31, 2012 at 8:36 PM

Yeah, right, so these contractors listen to Obama and break the law. Just what do they think he’ll do to them after he gets elected when he doesn’t need them anymore? These companies need to screw Obama lest he screw them.

natasha333 on July 31, 2012 at 8:37 PM

I guess I could be fired.

hawkdriver on July 31, 2012 at 8:39 PM

Par for the course for this fascist regime.

rbj on July 31, 2012 at 8:40 PM

Do you really want a jug-eared Kenyan who doesn’t call himself an American to decide how to deal with the issues or do you want a real American who was raised here?

Happy Nomad on July 31, 2012 at 8:26 PM

Stay Classy.

HondaV65 on July 31, 2012 at 8:28 PM

I fail to see your beef with my comments.

Obama was raised in foreign nations and an exclusive narrow society within Hawaii. There is nothing about his upbringing or ideology that you can peg to being American the way you can previoius Chief Executives. GWB served in the military reserve and was the son of a public servant. Bill Clinton was raised in the South and had an upbringing that Americans could relate to. GHWB was an establishment politician. Ronald Reagan- enough said……

Barak Hussein Obama is a guy who was raised overseas (and Hawaii counts in this context). Never part of a Pop Warner football league, a boy scout troop, or an athletic team. He lauds the fact that he was stoned throughout his years in High School at an exclusive institution. He spent years and untold effort in hiding his birth certificate for some reason (only released when a family friend became governor).

Obama may or may not be an American by birth but he does not understand Americans and those of us raised in this nation. Clear enough for you Phil Donahue types?

Happy Nomad on July 31, 2012 at 8:42 PM

Happy Nomad on July 31, 2012 at 8:42 PM

If you just concede he’s an Obama supporter, it makes complete sense. You insulted his guy.

hawkdriver on July 31, 2012 at 8:47 PM

Stay Classy.

HondaV65 on July 31, 2012 at 8:28 PM

Remember this ?
or this ?

burrata on July 31, 2012 at 8:50 PM

I work for a company in NorVA now that has a significant amount of income from government contracts. We’ve just gone through our third or fourth wave of layoffs because although we’re getting the contracts, we are not getting the task orders (a.k.a. money) from the government to fulfill them. The government is simply sitting on its wallet, and has been for several years now. Except, of course, for raising the salaries and perks of bureaucrats.

In fact, tomorrow is my first day as a part-timer. I’ve been downsized to work only on direct-charge jobs, and a small amount of overhead per week, in order to cut costs. For me, of course, costs go up (now paying for COBRA) and income goes down. And I won’t show up on the unemployment rolls, because I chose to keep the part-time hours and hope for the best.

You better believe I’m voting Romney in November.

Meryl Yourish on July 31, 2012 at 8:51 PM

I’m sorry about your situation, Meryl. I hope everything turns around for you.

Philly on July 31, 2012 at 8:59 PM

I guess I could be fired.
 
hawkdriver on July 31, 2012 at 8:39 PM

 
Sorry you had to find out this way.

rogerb on July 31, 2012 at 9:00 PM

hawkdriver on July 31, 2012 at 8:39 PM

Sorry you had to find out this way.

rogerb on July 31, 2012 at 9:00 PM

I need the time off.

hawkdriver on July 31, 2012 at 9:01 PM

i saw some idiots on msmbc a few weeks ago giddy at the prospect of shoving this problem down the throats of the Rs

r keller on July 31, 2012 at 9:01 PM

Whut no trolls to defend this silliness?

CW on July 31, 2012 at 9:02 PM

hawk, I hope you are OK and things turn out well for you.

Juan Williams is smoking something. Trying to dispute how bad the economy is on Hannity. This thread is just one example of how bad things are. I thought John Sununu was going to burst a blood vessel and Hannity is incredulous.

Philly on July 31, 2012 at 9:08 PM

I agree with the DOL. The only federal employee layoff notice/warning that needs to be mailed is one directly to President Obama.

Varchild on July 31, 2012 at 9:19 PM

I doubt that the suburbs around DC are even aware there was a recession.

As for the 60 day notice, I’m sure Barry can be ‘flexible’ on that.

After all, Her Highness of Health Care has put off killing Medicare Advantage this October. She’ll wait until next October. Not that it has anything to do with the upcoming election.

GarandFan on July 31, 2012 at 9:22 PM

Meryl Yourish on July 31, 2012 at 8:51 PM

Meryl,

I also work in DC in much the environment you describe. At this point, my job is safe but I do not for how longer that is a true statement.

Not to offend you but I will be praying for you and those in the same situation. I was born and raised in the DC area and this is the first time I can recall where job security has been an issue.

Happy Nomad on July 31, 2012 at 9:39 PM

I doubt that the suburbs around DC are even aware there was a recession.

Bullshit! (and I usually use profanity)

Do you want to ammend your comments? You slack-jawed latrine rat?

Happy Nomad on July 31, 2012 at 9:43 PM

Can the affected employees potentially take legal action against their companies if WARN notices are not posted at least 60 days prior to the cuts (depending on if their company is covered by that law)?

Philly on July 31, 2012 at 8:28 PM

of course they can take legal action. Say, you are the CEO of Northrop Grumann or Lockheed Martin, if they came out with a class-action suit of a thousand dollars per employee, that would be $120 million. You bet they’re going to send out pink slips 60 days in advance. And actually, as Inhofe said in an interview recently, they don’t even have to wait until Nov. 2. They can send them out today if they want, they are private companies, even if they are defense contractors, the govt don’t tell them how to run their businesses.

jimver on July 31, 2012 at 10:09 PM

Obama to send out notice that the government won’t enforce the 60 day rule on defense contractors until Nov 7. DWS to come out with subtle hint that anyone actually abiding by the law may find a less the welcome reception on that date.

Betenoire on July 31, 2012 at 8:14 PM

What evil bastards, notice that they care nothing about the folks being layed off. With as fast as gas is raising in the last week or two and 9 Gigawatts of electrical capascity (coal plants) being shut down in 2012 these nut are trying to destroy the country before the election. It won’t be long before we resemble India.

whbates on July 31, 2012 at 10:14 PM

I could be one of those guys (and gals) who gets a pink slip on November 2nd. Three days before my birthday. Happy freakin’ Birthday to me…

Moose Drool on July 31, 2012 at 10:16 PM

I know I shouldn’t write this, but she is just butt-ugly. So is Pelosi.

JoAnn1965 on July 31, 2012 at 10:17 PM

Of course, the election is the day after my birthday. That could provide an even bigger birthday present.

Moose Drool on July 31, 2012 at 10:18 PM

Oops. Meant to post that on the Warren backpeddling thread.

JoAnn1965 on July 31, 2012 at 10:35 PM

WH to defense contractors: If you could not hand out pink slips before the election, that’d be awesome

Yee dogs! Perfectly headlined.

minnesoter on July 31, 2012 at 10:50 PM

If you just concede he’s an Obama supporter, it makes complete sense. You insulted his guy.

hawkdriver

I see someone else has caught on to his charade.

xblade on July 31, 2012 at 11:23 PM

Hmmmm, how long before Boehner and McConnell come to Obama’s rescue on this?

xblade on July 31, 2012 at 11:29 PM

Late to the party, so I don’t know if anyone said this already, but the correct hardball move would be for a group of potentially affected employees to issue a statement that if they do not get notices as required by law, and are then laid off because the problem doesn’t get fixed, they will sue for everything they can get. And the law will be clear and in black and white on their side when they do it. That the government ‘won’t enforce’ the law in this instance will be the least of their worries.

Just in case any company executive feels like rolling the dice that President McFoodstamps is telling the truth this time.

Dirty Creature on August 1, 2012 at 7:13 AM

I work in this world. Federal contractors understand that there might well be some 11th hour solution that prevents sequestration but that doesn’t ensure them that they don’t have to go through the process of laying off people.

Happy Nomad on July 31, 2012 at 8:22 PM

100% with you on this HN. I work in this world too and federal contractors live or die by following all the rules and laws that monitor the contracts business. Wilfull violation of the law can not only get you kicked off a contract, it can also get you disbarred from bidding on future contracts, essentially putting you out of business. Then again, maybe that’s the plan.

Trafalgar on August 1, 2012 at 7:50 AM

I doubt that the suburbs around DC are even aware there was a recession.
Bullshit! (and I usually use profanity)

Do you want to ammend your comments? You slack-jawed latrine rat?

Happy Nomad on July 31, 2012 at 9:43 PM

Yeah, things are really bad in the DC area. 4% unemployment, 25% increase in rents and housing prices, 25% increases in wages and 3 hour traffic jams because so many people are going to work and shopping.

Of course, VA will vote for oblamo because they have it so bad.

acyl72 on August 1, 2012 at 8:38 AM

Elections have consequences.

Vote wisely.

RealMc on July 31, 2012 at 8:15 PM

But. But. Think of the “history making”!!!!!!

America HAD to vote for Obama to prove it wasn’t racist despite the fact the man was as unqualified and inexperienced as they come.

<_<

Yakko77 on August 1, 2012 at 10:45 AM

Haven’t read all comments, so forgive me if I’m repeating something, but the DOL has taken the WRITTEN position in all past instances whereby the advise contractors the Department doesn’t have the authority to issue opinions on this law. Also, the law tells contractors that if they fail to issue notices, the contractor will be responsible for a severence package which includes continuation of benefits.

No contractor in their right minds would fail to issue these pink slips…unless they were notified by the Obama Administration that if they did issue them, they would get any more contracts. That’s assuredly a possibility and the contract might have to weigh employee lawsuits against being shut down completely by the government.

See how much fun living under fascism is? Make sure you eat at Chick-fil-A today.

Portia46 on August 1, 2012 at 10:59 AM

Cutting the DOD budget while forcing the Navy to buy green fuel at $59/gallon from an 0bama criminal friend and bundler.

Yeah that ought to work.

jukin3 on August 1, 2012 at 11:02 AM

I grew up in the Northern Virginia area, and I can tell you just from personal experience that there are a lot of people in the suburbs surrounding DC who work for defense contractors…

Erika, where did you grow up/go to high school in NoVa?

I grew up in the Fairfax area, and my family all worked for government contractors. Graduate of Robinson High School. GO RAMS! :)

gravityman on August 1, 2012 at 11:02 AM

Yeah, things are really bad in the DC area. 4% unemployment, 25% increase in rents and housing prices, 25% increases in wages and 3 hour traffic jams because so many people are going to work and shopping.

Of course, VA will vote for oblamo because they have it so bad.

acyl72 on August 1, 2012 at 8:38 AM

That would depend on where you live—the DC area comprises a lot of communities. Maryland is hurting and hurting badly. Montgomery County can’t even fill its pot holes because their expenses for feeding and educating illegal aliens have skyrocketed. Same for several other suburbs. Housing prices of decreased and rents increased because lower-priced rentals go to illegal aliens. And, BTW, recent college grads cannot find jobs in this area and they don’t get counted as unemployed because they don’t qualify for unemployment insurance. That covers all graduates since the great one took office.

Portia46 on August 1, 2012 at 11:06 AM

No contractor in their right minds would fail to issue these pink slips…unless they were notified by the Obama Administration that if they did issue them, they would get any more contracts. That’s assuredly a possibility and the contract might have to weigh employee lawsuits against being shut down completely by the government.

See how much fun living under fascism is? Make sure you eat at Chick-fil-A today.

Portia46 on August 1, 2012 at 10:59 AM

you are absolutely right, I actually posted the same (same idea anyways) up thread…they can be sued big time, and they won’t make themselves vulnerable to law suits, you can be darned sure that they will send those pink slips before the elections…now, the CEO of Lockheed Martin said something that given the scarcity of info and the fact that he govt has no plan and no info sent out there as for what parts of the defense budget exactly will be cut, they have no idea where exactly from across the aeronautics they will draw those 10,000 people or more to lay off, so they are considering sending pink slips to all 127,000 of their employees, to cover their butts and avoid being sued…now, that in itself is a bit crazy too, but I guess you can’t blame them…how would they know whom to fire really, since the Pentagon didn’t tell them yet clearly, we’re cutting funding for this and for that project…’

jimver on August 1, 2012 at 5:03 PM

100% with you on this HN. I work in this world too and federal contractors live or die by following all the rules and laws that monitor the contracts business. Wilfull violation of the law can not only get you kicked off a contract, it can also get you disbarred from bidding on future contracts, essentially putting you out of business. Then again, maybe that’s the plan.

Trafalgar on August 1, 2012 at 7:50 AM

However, this Administration’s boss has no history of being a competent or knowledgeable congressman, Senator or Chief Executive. The average HR professional at a DoD contractor knows the law better than the Obama team does.

I laugh–and cry–when I hear people talk about briefing this President. What good is a briefing when the Man in Charge has zero understanding of the underlying issues that made the briefing necessary?

The first message of this election should be: Competence Matters. Every other issue builds off of that. But if libs don’t believe that competence matters, why should we trust them for ANYTHING?

rwenger43 on August 1, 2012 at 7:33 PM