Matt Doheny today called on the Labor Department to rescind its "guidance" to federal contractors that encouraged them to violate federal labor law by withholding layoff notices.
"President Obama and members of Congress, including my opponent, have failed to avert this coming "fiscal cliff,'" said Doheny, the Republican, Independence and Conservative parties' candidate. "Workers deserve to know if they'll be laid off because of the $1.1 trillion in cuts that may be coming -- and the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act allows them adequate time to prepare."
The cuts are from the Budget Control Act, which Doheny's Democratic opponent supported. Half of the cuts will be made in the Defense Department, which will have a negative impact on Fort Drum.
A senior Pentagon official has said up to 10 percent of the 800,000-strong civilian workforce may be cut. If similar cuts were made at Fort Drum, that could result in about 460 jobs being lost.
In total, New York could lose 42,100 jobs in 2014 as a result of defense spending cuts, the House Armed Services Committee estimates.
Fort Drum is a major source of revenue for contractors. There were $392.7 million worth of contracts awarded at the base in fiscal year 2011, according to a base economic impact statement.
"The Labor Department knew these layoff notices would go out right before elections. That's why they advised companies to violate the law," said Doheny. "Workers at Fort Drum and those across our district also affected by the cuts deserve much better than to be used as pawns in a political maneuver."
"Bill Owens helped make these layoffs possible," said Doheny. "At minimum, he should now stand with me and tell the Labor Department to reverse its policy. Workers deserve to be adequately prepared for any pending layoffs."