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DOL obstructing oversight of controversial WARN Act guidance, says Workforce Committee

House Education and the Workforce Committee Chairman John Kline (R-Minn.), along with Workforce Protections Subcommittee Chairman Tim Walberg (R-Mich.) and Rep. Phil Roe, M.D. (R-Tenn.), have renewed a request for documents and communications related to the development of guidance concerning sequestration and the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act. In a letter dated September 24 to Labor Secretary Solis, the committee members noted the DOL’s failure to provide a response to the committee’s August 2 efforts to gather additional information about the guidance.

“The Labor Department is trying to hide the consequences of sequestration from workers,” said Kline. “The department’s refusal to answer our questions regarding its controversial guidance and how it will affect families and businesses across the country is just the latest in a disturbing pattern of congressional obstruction. With thousands of jobs on the line, Secretary Solis has an obligation to provide Congress [with] this information without further delay.”

The WARN Act requires employers with more than 100 employees to give affected workers 60 days’ notice of mass layoffs or plant closings. On July 30, the DOL’s assistant secretary for the Employment and Training Administration released guidance stating that the WARN Act does not require federal contractors affected by sequestration to provide notice.

On August 2, the committee requested documents and communications concerning the DOL’s “misleading and incomplete” guidance by August 16. Since that time, the committee has not received any of the requested material or an adequate explanation for the lack thereof, said Kline.

Source: WKL&B Editorial Staff.