Mass Job-Cut Notices Questioned

Defense contractors led by Lockheed Martin say they may send out you-may-be-fired notices to thousands ahead of fall election.

It’s enough to make a member of Congress take notice: the prospect that hundreds of thousands of U.S. defense workers will receive you-may-be-fired warnings in the mail shortly before the Nov. 6 election.

Companies led by Lockheed Martin Corp., the world’s largest defense contractor, say federal and state laws may require them to send out blanket notifications of potential job cuts before the election unless President Barack Obama and Congress act by October to avert automatic defense reductions of $500 billion over a decade that would start on Jan. 2.

Lockheed’s Stevens

Industry trade groups have predicted the automatic cuts may cost 1 million U.S. jobs, and Robert Stevens, chairman and chief executive officer of Bethesda, Maryland-based Lockheed, has led the way in promoting the prospect of mass WARN Act notices.

Virginia’s Dependence

Virginia is the state most dependent on federal defense spending through its contractors and military bases, collecting $56.9 billion in 2009, according to a Bloomberg Government study. It was followed by California and Texas.

‘Your Election’

Olsson said he tells them about the WARN Act notices and adds, “It’s about your election.”

General Dynamics

Some defense contractors aren’t ready to join Lockheed and their trade group in brandishing the prospect of WARN act notices, saying they are determining the possible effects.

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