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Should defense contractors warn workers?
A-T Solutions is one of the Fredericksburg area defense contractors that could be affected by sequestration.
PETER CIHELKA/THE FREE LANCE-STAR
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Since sequestration isn't a sure thing, the Department of Labor opined this summer that federal contractors should not give WARN notices to employees "because of uncertainty about whether sequestration will occur and, if it did, what effect it would have on particular contracts," according to the OMB memo.
"In reaching this conclusion, DOL explained that giving notice in these circumstances would waste States' resources in undertaking employment assistance activities where none are needed and create unnecessary anxiety and uncertainty for workers," the memo said.
Apparently, though, some contractors have said they're still considering issuing WARN notices and asked whether federal agencies would cover costs related to sequestration.
The OMB memo is intended to answer that. It says if sequestration cuts happen and contracts are changed so that contractors must lay off workers in such a way that they should have been subject to the WARN act, and if contractors have up until then acted under the DOL's guidance in not issuing WARN notices, then contracting agencies would likely pay employee compensation and attorney fees if the contractor was sued by employees.
Republicans say that's nothing but pure politics, intended to prevent a sea of pink slips from going out right before President Barack Obama hopes to be reelected.
"For an administration that talks a lot about transparency, it is disappointing that they apparently think it is more important to protect their political interests than give hard working families any indication that they might in fact lose their job in 60 to 90 days due to inaction by the President and Senate Democrats," said House Majority Leader Rep. Eric Cantor, R-7th, in a written statement.
South Carolina Republican Senator Lindsey Graham told Politico that the OMB's promise to cover legal costs was purely political and in no way binding on Congress.
"They fail to issue these notices at their own peril. I hope they get sued," Graham told Politico. "There will be absolutely no way Congress will reimburse any contractor one penny if they find themselves in litigation. By not issuing the notices, they're on their own."
Chelyen Davis: 540/368-5028