Via ABC News:
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.”