Sunday, October 7, 2012

Warning Over the WARN Act

The US Department of Labor website defines the Federal Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (WARN) as a program to protect workers, their families, and communities by requiring employers with 100 or more employees to provide notification 60 calendar days in advance of plant closings and mass layoffs.

Liberals and labor unions love the WARN Act.  In fact, when Obama was in the Senate, Democrats introduced a bill requiring employers to give even more notice to employees about impending layoffs.  In Obama's home state of Illinois, the WARN Act applies to companies as small as 75 employees.  I suppose I would love such a law too, even as a Libertarian.  I've been fired and laid off more than once and never received any such notice.

Apparently, the Obama Administration isn't so fond of WARN legislation anymore.  The looming threat of sequestration has politicians on both sides of the aisle scrambling to place blame, to spin public opinion, and to do pretty much anything except be accountable for creating the National debt that caused the mess in the first place.

The timing of the Presidential election and sequestration have created an alignment of planets that is highly unfavorable to President Obama and those who support him.  Workers in the defense industry are among the first to be impacted.  One might think that people working for Defense contractors might lean towards voting for conservative candidates who traditionally believe in a stronger American defense.  After all, it's not like their jobs depend on it.  Yet, working onsite at a defense related company, I see many pro Obama bumper stickers on the employees' cars.  I attribute this to the influence of labor unions which, in the case of the company at which I have been working, are very prominent.

One might reasonably expect a responsible and accountable Chief Executive to do his best to broker a deal that could actually avoid sequestration from taking place. Instead, what we have is a President who, rightly fearing voter retribution, is strong arming employers into ignoring the WARN Act altogether and not give their employees the legally required notice of their impending layoffs.  As if this weren't a hard enough slap in the face of these affected workers, The Obama Administration is even promising to pay the cost of litigation these companies will most assuredly face for breaking the law.  The sad reality is that many of the impacted workers aren't likely to comprehend for themselves that the debt our government has incurred - has just cost them their jobs.  It's a given that their unions aren't going to tell them either.  That said, it's even more unlikely that these same workers will see the irony of the Obama Administration's willingness to incur increased debt from paying off lawyers for defending the these companies who were given expressed permission to break the law over which they are being sued.

You will be hard pressed to find any of this reported in the mainstream media as anything remotely negative to the Obama Administration doesn't meet their political leanings.