Destination 270

SMU Students Analyze the 2012 Presidential Election

A Public Relations Update

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The Obama Administration has been under scrutiny for a number of PR related incidences. The first took place after the September 11th attack at the US Embassy in Libya. UN Ambassador Susan Rice’s initial response has been highly criticized by the GOP and her resignation has been sought.

During the last 24 hours, the media have pointed out a second communication crisis of the President: a White House memorandum instructing federally contracted businesses NOT to warn employees of layoffs. A warning by the company is legally mandated for companies of 100 employees or more through the WARN Act. Moreover, the memorandum suggested that the US Department of Labor would aid the companies in any legal fees that might surface in light of this. The WARN Act “protects workers, their families, and communities by requiring most employers with 100 or more employees to provide notification 60 calendar days in advance of plant closings and mass layoffs”

In full disclosure, the memorandum states:

Despite DOL’s guidance, s.Qme contractors have indicated they are still considering issuing WARN ACT notices, and some have inquired about whether Federal contracting agencies would cover WARN Act-related costs in connection with the potential sequestration. To further minimize the potential for waste and disruption associated with the issuance of unwarranted layoff notices; this memorandum provides guidance regarding the allowability of certain liability and litigation costs associated with WARN Act compliance.

It just so happens that the overwhelming majority of defense contractors, to which this memorandum was issued, are operated out of Virginia, a highly contested battleground state where unemployment is at 6%.

Why would the White House ask defense contractors not to warm employees of potential layoffs?

Has there been substantial news coverage of this memorandum?

Will tomorrow’s debates bring light to this recent development?

Republican Senator John Thune of South Dakota said it was “troubling that the Obama administration would openly encourage the violation of federal law and offer to pay the legal fees that resulted.”


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