ABC News reports that the White House has asked Lockheed to postpone announcing layoffs until after the elections. The news was reported in font family Helvetica, size x-small, broken inconveniently over two pages. What follows is a reproduction of the news story in the original style.
White House Request, Lockheed Martin Drops Plan to Issue Layoff Notices
2 hours, 4 minutes ago
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.
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.
Such massive layoffs could have threatened Obama’s standing in the state he won in 2008 and is hoping to carry again this November.
On Friday, the Obama administration reiterated that federal contractors should not issue notices to workers based on “uncertainty” over the pending $500 billion reduction in Pentagon spending that will occur unless lawmakers can agree on a solution to the budget impasse, negotiations over which will almost definitely not begin until after the election.
Contractors had been planning to send out notices because of the WARN Act – Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act – which according to the Department of Labor requires “most employers with 100 or more employees to provide notification 60 calendar days in advance of plant closings and mass layoffs.”
In a statement Friday, GOP Senators John McCain, Lindsey Graham and Kelly Ayotte accused Obama of putting “his own reelection ahead of the interests of working Americans and our national security by promising government contractors that their salary and liability costs will be covered at taxpayer expense if they do not follow the law that requires advance warning to employees of jobs that may be lost due to sequestration. … Apparently, President Obama puts politics ahead of American workers by denying them adequate time to plan their finances and take care of their families. The people who work in the defense industry and other government contracting companies deserve as much notice as possible that they are on track to lose their jobs.”
In July the Labor Department issued legal guidance making clear that federal contractors are not required to provide layoff notices 60 days in advance of the potential Jan. 2 sequestration order, and that doing so would be inconsistent with the purpose of the WARN Act.
In Friday’s memo, the Office of Management and Budget reiterated that notice, urging agencies’ contracting officials and CFOs to “minimize the potential for waste and disruption associated with the issuance of unwarranted layoff notices.”
The guidance issued Friday told contractors that if the automatic cuts happen and contractors lay off employees the government will cover certain liability and litigation costs in the event the contractor is later sued because it hadn’t provided adequate legal warning to its employees, but only if the contractor abides by the administration’s notice and refrains from warning employees now.
After “careful review” Lockheed announced today that it will abide by the administration’s guidance.
“We will not issue sequestration-related WARN notices this year,” Lockheed announced in a written statement. “The additional guidance offered important new information about the potential timing of DOD actions under sequestration, indicating that DOD anticipates no contract actions on or about 2 January, 2013, and that any action to adjust funding levels on contracts as a result of sequestration would likely not occur for several months after 2 Jan. The additional guidance further ensures that, if contract actions due to sequestration were to occur, our employees would be provided the protection of the WARN Act and that the costs of this protection would be allowable and recoverable.
“We remain firm in our conviction that the automatic and across-the-board budget reductions under sequestration are ineffective and inefficient public policy that will weaken our civil government operations, damage our national security, and adversely impact our industry. We will continue to work with leaders in our government to stop sequestration and find more thoughtful, balanced, and effective solutions to our nation’s challenges,” Lockheed said.
- Jake Tapper and Mary Bruce
What does this news story say?
- I can’t read it.
- It says the check’s in the mail.
- It says we’re going to kick the can down the road.
- It says ‘get with the program’
- It says ‘Romney did it’
The Hill says it is about Obama using taxpayer money to his political advantage. “The layoff notices have become a politically charged issue because they could have come just four days ahead of the election because of a 60-day notice required by federal law for mass layoffs.”
Graham and other Republicans were livid after the Obama administration issued the guidance on Friday telling contractors that their legal costs would be covered due to canceled contracts under sequestration, but only if they did not issue layoff notices before sequestration occurs — and before the November election.
Yeah, but who’s gonna know if they can’t read the fine print? Perhaps there was one other time in the history of the Republic when typefont had a political import at a time of financial crisis. It was when George Washington was asked by a disgruntled group of officers to lead them in obtaining their unpaid salaries by threat.
Washington then gave a short but impassioned speech, the Newburgh Address, counseling patience. His message was that they should oppose anyone “who wickedly attempts to open the floodgates of civil discord and deluge our rising empire in blood.”
He then took a letter from his pocket from a member of Congress to read to the officers. He gazed upon it and fumbled with it without speaking. He then took a pair of reading glasses from his pocket, which were new and few of the men had seen him wear them. He then said: “Gentlemen, you will permit me to put on my spectacles, for I have not only grown gray but almost blind in the service of my country.” This caused the men to realize that Washington had sacrificed a great deal for the Revolution, just as much as any of them. These, of course, were his fellow officers, most having worked closely with him for several years. Many of those present were moved to tears, and with this act, the conspiracy collapsed as he read the letter. He then left the room and General Henry Knox and others offered resolutions reaffirming their loyalty, which were accepted by the group.
Washington is no longer with America. But it does have Obama.