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Obama induces contractors to violate the law for reelection

According to the Heritage Foundation, the Obama administration’s total disreagrd for the letter of the law comes to the fore once again, this time trying to get federal contractors to violate the law for Obama’s reelection effort, at taxpayer expense.

The law is the WARN Act, which requires the government to notify employees of federal contractors to send layoff notices 60 days before a plant closes or mass layoffs. So defense contractors would have to notify their employees by November 2 (four days before the election) of pending layoffs that take effect on January 2, 2013, due to automatic spending cuts because of sequestration.

Employers who violate the WARN Act deadlines are subject to fines for back pay for each employee and a penalty for each day that notice has not been sent to the local government where the layoffs will occur and lawsuits could occur for the violation.

Excerpts:

However, the White House has provided a taxpayer-funded guarantee as a way to counter their fears of enormous litigation costs. This guarantee is not only unprecedented but also potentially unlawful.

It is the ultimate abuse of the President’s executive authority: inducing federal contractors to violate a federal law and promising to use taxpayer funds to reimburse them for any resulting liability that they incur for violating that law.

Refusing to follow federal law has become the hallmark of this Administration, but the White House’s latest arrogant, unlawful ploy goes even further and may end up costing the American taxpayer a great deal of money.

This community organizer’s abuse of the law is only bounded by whatever it takes for him to be reelected to a second term.

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9 Comments

  1. Hmmm… layoff notices 60 days before mass layoffs… I wonder if anything went out to the Democratic appointees in the federal government.

  2. Barrel scrapings from the Heretic Foundation to deflect Republican indiscretions.

  3. Read it from the OMB:

    OMB: We’ll Reimburse Employers for WARN Act Fallout

    The Office of Management and Budget is now promising to compensate defense contractors for any legal penalties that would stem from violating the WARN Act, a federal law that requires employers to warn employees at least 60 days in advance of mass layoffs. The Obama administration had already been urging contractors to ignore the WARN Act in the case of the looming sequestration cuts, since the 60-day-minimum would mean hundreds of thousands of employees could get notices of pending layoffs just days before the presidential election.

    But it’s one thing for the Obama administration to tell contractors that they shouldn’t worry about the law. It’s quite another to promise that the cost of any resulting lawsuits will be covered by the government (read: the taxpayers):

    But the Friday guidance from the Office of Management and Budget raised the stakes in the dispute, telling contractors that they would be compensated for legal costs if layoffs occur due to contract cancellations under sequestration — but only if the contractors follow the Labor guidance.

    The guidance said that if plant closings or mass layoffs occur under sequestration, then “employee compensation costs for [Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification] WARN act liability as determined by a court” would be paid for covered by the contracting federal agency.

    There’s also a catch: employers have to agree to play by the “Department of Labor’s guidance” if they want any potential legal costs covered. The DOL’s guidance asks them not to send out layoff notices before the election.

    That seems to have satisfied defense contractors. Today, Lockheed Martin announced it would not issue layoff notices in advance of the sequestration cuts. Where is the campaign media on this? The Obama administration just told defense contractors that taxpayers would pay for any legal penalties for not complying with a law that would have complicated Obama’s reelection campaign. Does that not warrant some scrutiny, or do we need a billionth article on Romney’s “47 percent gaffe” instead?

    Source: http://www.commentarymagazine.com/2012/10/01/omb-well-reimburse-employers-for-warn-act-fallout/#more-807035

  4. According to the Department of Labor:

    The WARN regulations recognize that an employer may not always know exactly which workers will suffer an employment loss 60 days before it orders a plant closing or mass layoff…because circumstances make accurate prediction 60 days in advance difficult. Although some commenters sought to have the final regulations allow broad notice in situations like these, the Department rejected these suggestions, and the final regulations provide for a more focused notice. Indeed, in the preamble to the WARN final rule, the Department agreed with a comment that stated that “Congress clearly condemned” “overbroad notice.” In addition, the preamble states that “it is not appropriate for an employer to provide blanket notice to workers.”
    ————

    And according to the San Francisco Chronicle:

    [William] Gould, a former chair of the National Labor Relations Board appointed by President Bill Clinton, said the Labor Department was correct when it said the possibility of sequestration-induced layoffs did not warrant WARN notices. “The courts have been very clear that mere conjecture does not trigger the obligation,” he said.

    Rick McHugh, an attorney with the National Employment Law Project, agreed. “The obligation to give notice arises once the employer believes or should have known that a mass layoff or plant closing is going to happen at a particular worksite. At this point, no one knows with any certainty that layoffs will be taking place or not at a particular worksite,” he said.

    • Ted Biondo

      Pat, if the layoffs occur due to loss of money due to sequestration, the layoffs should occur on January 2 because, as usual, the government will not have the money allocated to pay for the work.

      I guess they could make the taxpayers pay with borrowed money, as the government usually does, for another 60 days after January 2 to meet the requirements of the law, but how many federal contractors would that entail paying.

      The lowest risk to taxpayers is to notify workers now, before the election – they are entitled to know their fate under this crappy government, whether the contractors have to notify them or not – but who gives a damn about the taxpayers, right?

  5. Carol Foster

    Desperation setting in Ted?
    Tell us all exactly which contractors will take the cut so they can give the 60 day notices???????

  6. JRM_CommonSense

    Another attempt to make a mountain out of a molehill!

  7. JRM_CommonSense

    Until the decisions are made as to which defense department projects will be cut, no one can know which companies will be affected and/or by how much. In reality, if the cuts are spread over all defense department projects, there may be no aerospace and defense sites which would reach the notification levels defined in the WARN Act. Should we take the same chicken little approach to warning workers that they may face layoffs that some people take to their wide-eyed approach to the PPACA impacts. I think not. That would be irresponsible if there has been no identification of the areas that will be affected by the sequestration cuts. To make uninformed and/or unsubstantiated statements of the numbers and types of workers that may face layoffs could cause unneeded impacts to the economy ands other parts of or societal structure.

  8. Ted, the WARN act states that notice must be given to the affected employees. Who exactly will be the affected employees? How many will there be? What if no layoffs occur because the republicans in congress finally start compromising?

    You just gotta stir the pot and get the natives restless with a story that was in the news months ago and deemed a non-issue.

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