Right before Election Day, the company is likely to notify the “vast majority” of its 123,000 workers that they’re at risk of being laid off, said Greg Walters, the company’s vice president of legislative affairs.
Walters’s comments are some of the most specific threats yet from an industry that’s trying to head off the $500 billion in automatic cuts in defense spending set to begin taking effect Jan. 2. Called sequestration, the cuts are being phased in over 10 years, with about $55 billion slated for 2013.
Unless Congress reaches a deal to stave off the cuts, “we will find it necessary to issue these [layoff] notices probably to the vast majority of our employee base,” Walters told POLITICO. …
Strangely, as the piece goes on to note, only a tiny fraction a Lockheed Martin’s 123,000 workers would ultimately lose their jobs, even if the entire sequestration happens. And almost none of those jobs would be threatened for many months or (more likely) years after January 2, since the cuts will be spread out over a decade. And yet somehow the company feels it must alert the “vast majority” of its workforce just before Election Day that they could soon be out on the street
Why? Here’s how Politico sums up the explanation:
The company has little choice [about timing], he explained, because federal law requires large employers to provide two months’ notice to workers facing layoffs. … [T]he company plans to send out mass notifications because it is unsure exactly which employees would be affected.
Which is to say, it never occurred to Lockheed Martin that it might be able mobilize 100,000 highly-motivated lobbyists on its own behalf in the most politically sensitive moment on the calendar. The company is just acting out of respect for protocol and a general abundance of caution, with the interests of its employees—let’s call them the “Lockheed family” if they don’t already do that in Bethesda—front-and-center.