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Lockheed, Obama Administration in middle of political storm over layoff notice issue

Tom Paine

The US Department of Labor's guidance to defense contractors not to issue layoff warning notices (under the WARN Act) to employees who might be effected by sequestration has raised a political furor, and Lockheed Martin is in the middle of it.

Lockheed had said in June it was considering sending the notices to all of its 123,000 employees, which would go out shortly before election day. But on Friday the Office of Management and Budget said the contracting federal agencies would cover “employee compensation costs for [Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification] WARN Act liability as determined by a court”. Subsequently, Lockheed announced on Monday it would not be issuing notices as planned in early November.

Lockheed has tens of thousands of employees in Virginia, a key swing state, according to one estimate. Lockheed also has some 9200 employees in the Philadelphia area, according to the Philadelphia Business Journal. They are located primarily in King of Prussia, Newtown, and South Jersey.

Republicans assert that the Administration is skirting the requirements of the WARN Act for political expediency.