House Armed Services Committee Chairman Howard "Buck" McKeon (R-Calif.) yesterday released an angry response shortly after the Department of Labor issued guidance saying federal contractors, including Defense Department contractors, did not have to provide Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) notices 60 days before any contract termination or reduction if sequestration kicked in Jan. 2.
"Instead of working to bring his party in the Senate to the negotiating table to resolve sequestration, the President is focused on preventing advance notice to American workers that their jobs are at risk and on perpetuating uncertainty,” McKeon said in a short statement.
DoD contractors were particularly mentioned in the guidance letter, and the answer regarding whether they need to give employees notice is “no,” said the Department of Labor guidance letter, which was posted on its website.
Concerns about job cuts at defense contractors have resulted in at least one report commissioned by the Aerospace Industries Association (AIA) (Defense Daily, July 18). George Mason University professor Stephen Fuller predicted just the first year of defense and non-defense sequestration cuts would lead to the loss of 2.1 million U.S. jobs. The defense cuts alone would kill one million jobs, according to the report, which was released last week.
McKeon added: "As it stands, the only certainty we are dealing with is that dramatic cuts will force huge job losses. And as a result of (Department of Labor) Secretary (Hilda) Solis’ politically motivated guidance, people will still get laid off because of the President’s irresponsibility, but they won’t have the notice to protect themselves and their families.”