Lockheed: Sure, we’ll keep our workers in the dark about layoffs

posted at 8:41 am on October 2, 2012 by Ed Morrissey

To quote Glenn Reynolds, they told me if I voted for John McCain that the corporations would conspire with the government to keep the working class in the dark — and they were right! Normally, Democrats would demand that companies considering layoffs tell their employees about it.  In fact, Democrats passed a law requiring corporations to do so, the WARN Act of 1988, which they passed with veto-proof majorities and which became law without then-President Ronald Reagan’s signature.

These days, they’re pressuring companies to keep quiet about layoffs that will occur when sequestration kicks in, and Lockheed has buckled:

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.

The law requires any company with 100 or more employees to provide a 60-day warning ahead of planned layoffs.  However, both the Department of Labor and OMB insisted that it didn’t apply to the sequestration issue, because no one really believes that Congress will allow the automatic cuts to go through.  That can be said about other kinds of layoffs as well, including those that don’t hinge on the whim of elections and politicians.

The kicker for Lockheed came when the Obama administration indemnified corporations for keeping workers in the dark:

So the Office of Management and Budget went a step further in guidance issued late Friday afternoon. If an agency terminates or modifies a contract, and the contractor must close a plant or lay off workers en masse, the company could treat employee compensation costs for WARN Act liability, attorneys’ fees and other litigation costs as allowable costs to be covered by the contracting agency—so long as the contractor has followed a course of action consistent with the Labor Department’s guidance. The legal fees would be covered regardless of the outcome of the litigation, according to the OMB guidance issued by Daniel Werfel, controller of the Office of Federal Financial Management, and Joseph Jordan, the Administrator for Federal Procurement Policy.

Democrats have now gone from demanding the WARN Act to paying companies to violate it.  I guess the working class is only valuable when they serve as a talking point, eh?  They told me that if I voted for John McCain, the working man would get screwed by Washington and the board room, and … well, you know.


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