Jun 25, 2007

Listen, Learn, React

[When this was originally posted on Thursday, hits and comments to the blog soared. Currently only the Polygraph post has more comments. The NNSA received a lot of comments too. See the story below]

Pinky and the Brain,

Please post anonymously. Thanks.

To: All LLNL Employees

For anyone from LLNL that may be reading the LANL blog hoping to find information about the benefits package please read closely.

Having attended the 3:00 PM presentation today, I immediately found at least four items that I find totally unacceptable and have one question to ask, but first I'd like to point out that the date on the presentation was the 18th of June not the 21st. This may explain why the clock to respond to NNSA started three days ago and you now only have until (high noon) June 28th , 2007 to respond to issues that you dislike or will not accept. If you don't, you will get exactly was presented today and NNSA will be laughing all the way to the bank. Why? Because they could care less about you, your pension or your livelihood. So with that said here are four bullets for you to fire back at them with warp speed.

  • All of you that are going TCP-2 and establishing a 401K with LLNS, LLC should note that the matching contributions of 6% and the additional 5 % are almost half of what LANL got. See page 10 of the presentation.
  • If you are a new hire and go TCP-2, you will not get medical and dental when you retire (ever).
  • The contract allows LLNS, LLC to change the level of contributions, among other things, every two years.
  • It was said that all TCP-1 people will be contributing 5% of their salary to the pension plan and that contribution will mirror UC, so you should expect a steady increase in contributions as years go on until eventually the 16% is coming directly out of your pocket.

And now the question to NNSA, DOE and UC that was asked. How do you expect HR to entice anyone to work at this facility with what you have to offer? Anyone with a brain is going to look at this and laugh as they go out the door. I can only assume that your goal is to dismantle all of the DOE facilities, get rid of some of the best people on this planet, and hire those who were previously in the welfare lines to do the work that will secure this nation. To date you have ignored the advice from the MERCER report and done just the opposite. You have successfully proven your ignorance.

For those of you at LLNL who haven't paid much attention because you thought you were going to get the same deal that LANL did, think again. You are getting the shaft. You must take the time to read this presentation carefully, bullet by bullet, and comment on every item of dislike. Unless you "demand" what can be seen on page 54 of the presentation with firmness and give the NNSA no alternative but to implement it, you are going to get what you deserve; "nothing". NNSA / DOE and UC are hoping you are complacent and asleep. The question really is, ARE YOU? Please voice your opinion at www.llnsllc.com, because it counts. Comments are to be directed to this e-mail address: llnlemployeebenefits@doeal.gov

[Download the LLNS employee benefits presentation here.]


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Anonymous said...

You were not paying attention -LLNL is not getting a worse deal. LANL got the same TCP-2 matching, 6% plus some other amount (between 2 and 5%)for years of service- not double. LANL TCP-2 does not get medical after retirement. And LANL will have 5% contributions to TCP-1 as soon as UC does.

But I agree that we all got screwed and who would come here now... In fact, at LANL the best are slowly riding off into the sunset, leaving the also-rans firmly entrenched.

Anonymous said...

(Pinky - Please remove the long "Eric" post crap from this section. It doesn't belong here!)

Interesting to hear that LLNS mentioned a 5% contribution for those going with LLNS TCP1. This means LANS will be doing likewise, though Mikey hasn't had the guts to tell us just yet. When the TCP1 salary takeout eventually ramps up to 16% (which it will), the financial pain will be enormous! This pain will be especially burdensome for those who have 15 to 20 more years to go before retirement.

LANS only gave out a minor 2.5% salary raise last year and we'll likely see no raises at all this year. Now, add in the 5% pension salary reduction. Finally, add in the fact that real inflation is currently running at over 6%. Once you do this little mathematical exercise, it quickly becomes apparent that the true salaries of LANL workers are quickly moving backwards! By next year, you'll see a reduction in buying power of about 10% compared to this year. Every following year will only get worse. People who are staying at the labs because of the "good salaries" need to reconsider.

Of course, those at the top of LANS management are doing better than ever given their LANS executive pay boosts. Likewise, those at the top of the LLNS management will soon be seeing an enormous boost in their salaries. Is it any wonder that LANS demanded that all LANL salaries now be considered private information?

As far as Retirement Medical benefits goes, it's not a guaranteed benefit. You can expect it to be disolved in the next few years as the weapon budgets go down hill and DOE demands even more cuts in contractor benefits.

Pinky and The Brain said...

If I made a "Flame Eric" post could everyone keep the flames in there?

Anonymous said...

I'm glad I went with TCP2. It's looking more and more like the smart choice, especially if LANS decides to take the full 16% out of worker paychecks. And since LANS has no extra money in the operating budget to help prop up the pension, I'm guessing they'll have no choice but to take out the full 16% from TCP1 pay checks.

Anonymous said...

TCP-2 retirees at LANS do get access ("access-only") to the same retiree medical plan as TCP-1. It's just that LANS contributes nothing to their premium. Retirees under TCP-1 have a portion of their premium paid by LANS, based on years of service.

So it's incorrect to say that LANS TCP-2 retirees do not get medical after retirement. At least in theory. I don't know anyone yet who has actually retired under TCP-2. The LLNL docs have the same wording.

Anonymous said...

Regarding the "flame eric" post, please do. That long stream of text at the beginning of this thread of comments is totally off topic and about as annoying as Eric is. At least Eric keeps his posts short so they can be scrolled past with minimal effort.

Anonymous said...

IIRC 12:11, LANS contributes towards the access only medical premiums of TCP2 people based on years of service needed for coverage when they were hired. Years of service for coverage percentage were frozen at the time of transfer. Taking a lump sum from UC removes the access only availability for those that chose TCP2 at transition. If you understand otherwise, please explain.

Anonymous said...

I think it is galling
and a slap in the face
to have NNSA submit
a lesser offer to LLNL
than LANL.

Any credibility and what
little good-will that was
felt by employees is
quickly being drained away.

Anonymous said...

Moderator -- please remove Eric's off-topic job listing before this blog becomes degenerates to a job fair advertisement.

GussieFinkNottle said...

I couldn't stand it -- I deleted Eric's self-promotion comment.

Pinky, my suggestion is that you just keep an eye out for his posts and ban them. I feel his presence is too disruptive here.


Anonymous said...

I believe that at LANL, TCP-2 retirees will be allowed to be in the LANS medical plan but will have to pay the full cost.

Anonymous said...

All of you that are going TCP-2 and establishing a 401K with LLNS, LLC should note that the matching contributions of 6% and the additional 5 % are almost half of what LANL got.

I think what he was saying is that if you look on page 10 of the presentation you will see that LLNL is being offered only 1/2 of what LANL got.

Now that is a slap in the face and cause for everyone to walk out the door and tell NNSA/ DOE and the UC to pound sand.

Anonymous said...

Just dropped a line to the address supplied by the posted to DOE and told them they have successfully made the blog once more suggesting that they may want to visit. One more reason to get Erics post and other non related post off of this topic.

Anonymous said...

Please notify SPSE of LLNL to make all 8000 employees award that this topic is on the blog and that they should blast NNSA and DOE off the face of the earth publicly, but tactfully if possible while the adrenaline is flowing while at the keyboard. Having the establishment execute their transition just as I was approaching the point on the curve where I was actually going to start reaping some benefit from putting in 33 years of hard work and then have them strategically and with perfect timing execute an alpha strike on me and my benefits, is demoralizing and publicly humiliating to say the least. I am now wondering why I pledged allegiance to the cause only to have the people who lead me to believe that it was my duty, slit my throat. No wonder our country is going to hell and patriotism is a thing of the past. Believe it or not NNSA /DOE it has a lot to do with work ethics and employee / employer loyalty. No matter what greedy corporate America says, its' not all about money. I will never be able to understand how upper level management gets up in the morning and can look at themselves in the mirror and be happy knowing what they have just done to the employees of our national labs and the America people. Hypocrisy must flow in their veins and money their driving force or in some cases their God.

Anonymous said...

Is there any legal action that can be done
on the llnl contract regarding reduced employee benefit? If so, is there legal firm looking into this?

Anonymous said...

There seems to be confusion caused by the LANS and DOE policies of keeping everybody in the dark.
As a notorious double-dipper under LANS TCP2 here is what we get:
1) A matching contribution of up to 6% of salary which is paid into the the 401K every paycheck.
2) A contribution of 3.5% @ 0-9 years, 4.5% @ 10-19 years and 5.5% with 20+ years of service which is paid in February of the year following the service year. (We got the 5.5% earned for June 2006-Dec 2006 in Feb 2007)

Now I retired under UCRP and joined TCP2 based on my estimate of probable TCP1 forced contributions, assuming a 6% stock market return, and using the IRS life expectancy tables. At 6% return I would break even between TCP1 and TCP2.

Also note that to this day the legal contract between LANS and TCP1 employees (the Plan Documents) remains unavailable to the employees. This is a direct violation of ERISA law but NNSA and LANS don't seem to care.

Good luck to LLNL. My advice is to get your money away from NNSA influence as fast as possible.

Anonymous said...

Last night I posted a response to the original post on LLNL benefit questions from June 9, 2007 (mine was comment 39):


The LLNS website now (as of June 21) includes their proposed benefit package.


Under TCP2, for service-based contributions, the 401(k) company contribution for LLNL employees is significantly less than for LANL employees:

0-9 years is 1% vs. 3.5%

10-19 years is 1.75% vs. 4.5%

20+ years is 2.75% vs. 5.5%

No doubt this is a result of a BenVal study, which caps benefits at 105% of benefits at comparable companies. I'd tend to believe this reduction will be reflected in the LANS benefits as well, maybe LANS TCP2 employees will see this reduction for their CY2007 company contributions to be distributed at the end of February 2008.

Because the original post is buried pretty far down, and because it may be the next thing to hit LANL employees, can you please bring this to the top? It could be important to many employees at both labs."

In analyzing the LLNS presentation material in more detail last night and early this morning, it's pretty obvious that LLNS' and LANS' intial and long-term approach to meet the 105% cap on TCP2 benifits is as follows:

1) Reduce TCP2 company service-based contributions over time (until zero)

2) Reduce percentage company match on employee contributions over time (until zero)

3) Increase required employee contributions towards medical benefits (until some point where potentially the employee pays most of the premiums)

4) Reduce employee paid time off

It may be that after 1) and 2) are implemented, 3) and 4) are implemented in some combination - increase employee medical premiums and reduce paid time off.

Can anyone at LANL point to documentation that specifically says the BenVal study-driven reductions in benefits to keep at or below 105% can only be implemented every two years? The LANL Summary Plan Description (http://www.lanl.gov/worklife/benefits/docs/pdfs/tcp2_spd_06.pdf) doesn't address this question - I assume the LANS contract (http://www.doeal.gov/laso/NewContract.aspx)provides the detailed information to answer this question. I'll start to take a close look, but maybe someone else has already done their homework.

So far, the reponses to this post have overlooked the potential for significant benefit reductions coming for current LANL TCP2 employees.

Anonymous said...

Things to consider in your TCP1 / TCP2 decision.
1) Page 91 of the House Approp. report clearly is targeting the "overly generous" lab pensions.
2) A 401K is your money, LANS seemed really pissed when they found they couldn't touch it.
3) TCP1 is a dead plan meaning nobody new is entering it so liabilities increase over time while income drops. (check out what happens by looking up the dead US Steel pensions)
4) The DOE order eliminating new contractor defined benefit plans still exists but has 'delayed' implementation.
5) If LANL/LLNL retirees under UCRP are singled out for special treatment then UC violates the anti-discrimination clause in their Plan. This provides a basis for a remedial lawsuit.
6) Do you really want to trust your families future to a phoney company with zero assets and NNSA whims?

Anonymous said...

I find it highly unusual (and suspicious) that LANS is not one of the comparator companies for the Hewitt 2007 Benefit Index Study used in determining the LLNS proposed benefits. I intend to include this in my comments to NNSA.

Anonymous said...

LLNL employees should contact Congresswoman Tauscher (not only is LLNL in her district, she also is Chairwoman of the House's Strategic Forces Subcommittee). Her Washington DC Office number

202-225-5914 (fax)

Simon Limage, her Deputy Chief of Staff, is the point of contact for LLNL issues.

Anonymous said...

Pinky and the Branin 11:37 Only if Eric keeps his comments in there! Better yet, go with Gussie's 4:43 AM post.

Anonymous said...

Page 35 vs 54 in the handout of this posting describes the new unmatched 401(k) contribution (0.75 - 2.75%) vs an alternative TCP2 plan of (3.5 - 5.5%). Indeed, the LANL TCP2 is the latter alternative, but the LLNL proposal as it now stands is the markedly smaller amounts.

I presently contribute 6% to my 401(k), so I get 10.5% (15 year employee) matching a year total. Under the LLNL plan, I would get 7.75%, a very annoying drop. Among the peers I know in industry, 10% was ordinary, so I don't know where they are getting these new numbers.

And why is there this "alternative" TCP2 plan in the documents, equal to the LANS TCP2? It does seem obvious to me that if LLNS goes with the smaller TCP2 amounts, then LANS will in short order decrease theirs to match.

Anonymous said...

Anon at the top, inflation at 6%??
You are out of your mind. Try 13% and
heading higher. Check shadowstats.com

Anonymous said...

For those of you who are LANS TCP2 employees, I'd urge you to take a VERY CLOSE LOOK at your future. All it takes is a simple analysis of the information on Page 58 of the LLNS benefits proposal (http://www.llnsllc.com/file/Employeebriefing062007.pdf).

- LANS TCP2 is currently at 112.5% vs. 105%

- In order to obtain 105%, 3.5% service-based company contribution would have to be reduced to 1.25% for 0-9 years; 4.5% would go to 2.25% for 10-19 years, and 5.5% would go to 3.25% for 20+ years. IN ADDITION, employee contributions for medical would have to be increased by 50% AND employee paid time off would have to be reduced to 82% of comparator companies vs the current 103.3% (for those employees currently accruing 24 days of vacation, they would have to lose 5 days of vacation - 24 days times 82/103.3 = 19 days for a loss of 5 days).

Read 'em and weep.

Anonymous said...

What's this going to cost them. $1400.00 a month without a group rate for a family of four? This is shameful and by all means needs to be amended for the people that actually work for a living instead of being parasites as many of our population is. Please explain to me how they can screw the working class out of medical while giving it free to illegal aliens. Maybe the thing to do is go to Mexico and become a citizen, then come back across the border claiming my benefits such as free medical and social security. Corporate America is sure watching out for the workers aren't they.

Anonymous said...

I don't understand all of this, so if someone (LANL or LLNL) could please explain something for me...

TPC1 is a closed plan after Oct 1 - no new members to the pool of covered individuals (employees and retirees) - it size will only decrease. Tom (What a Jerk) Gioconda, LLNS's transition manager, said in the presentation that TPC1 was an "allowable cost" under the NNSA contract, which to me means NNSA is reimbursing LLNS for the full cost of all LLNL employee benefits (pension/medical) covered by TPC1.

UCRP on the other hand is a continuously expanding pool of UC employees, of which the State only pays a portion of the cost with the difference being made up by the returns from the investments made by UCRP. With the investments and State portion not keeping pace with UCRP's projected future retiree costs, UC is considering reinstating mandatory contributions from both UC and employees.

The TPC1 population in only going to shrink, and its costs are fully passed on to NNSA by LLNS as a cost of doing business. In the presentation LLNS said they would consider any future UCRP changes. So if UC reinstates employee contributions for UCRP, why would LLNS have to do the same for TPC1?

Anonymous said...

Don't forget that most pension plans
these days are chock full of CDO and
other toxic waste, now going tits up on prime time.

Anonymous said...

Which is better TCP1 or TCP2?
We DON'T have enough information to know! DOE is likely to screw with both plans in the future.
The only indicator for the LANS TCP2 folks is that LLNS is reducing the percentages. This means DOE thinks LANS gave too good a deal. It appears DOE's goal is to herd LLNL into TCP1 and then what?
The biggest plus with TCP2 is when you retire you know where you stand and have severed ties with DOE.

Anonymous said...

Can anyone at LANL point to documentation that specifically says the BenVal study-driven reductions in benefits to keep at or below 105% can only be implemented every two years?

This was told to the people that attended the 10:30 AM 400 series meeting before they gave the one at 3:00 PM to the general populace. The 5% contributions and expectation that the LLNS pension plan is to mock UCRP contributions is fact. It will mirror UCRP needs. This was stated verbally to the audience. They do not want you to know this stuff because it would make the major of the people go TCP-2, lump sum and get the hell out of dodge, but it's all factual. I was there. One fellow asked a simple question, "if I retire under UC will my pension be handled by UCRP". The answer was yes. He got up and said that is all I needed to know an walked out. The HR rep who asked, "how in the heck do you expect me to do my job and recruit people with this offer", is factual. She was told to ask that question to NNSA. There are many more surprises in the background that you will not know about until after you sign the acceptance letter. It's the bait and hook tactic. As far as I am concerned, anyone that goes TCP-1 is a fool, or in some cases for the younger generation with very few years of service will have no choice.

What's important now is for all of the LLNL people to do what is best for them in hopes to regain the millions of dollars that have taken away from them over the course of their lifetime. Everyone is looking at the difference between their retirement check now, in comparison to what their retirement check would have been at 59.5 years old if they would have been allowed to start UC, but what they have missed; was that by not being allowing you to continue their contributes to their 403b, NNSA and DOE have cheated you out of at least and no less than $250,000 - a few million dollars. For this they should be liable.

I am convinced that this transition was a well though out and executed plan for the sole purpose of cutting the older work force at the knees and it is my hopes that some lawyers will see this and clean their clock in court. I see this as an age discrimination suite.

Anonymous said...

I am (6/22/07 12:11 AM), responding to (6/22/07 1:07 AM).

I kept the above answer simple for the new-hire case. For transitioning employees, there is a complicated option.

Retiree Medical for TCP2

LANS and LLNS seem identical on this point at this time.

New hires go directly to TCP2, and upon retirement (>50 and 10 years of service), get "access-only" to retirement medical. That means they have to pay the full premium, but the important issue is that they do get access to what will "presumably" be good group rates relative to the open market. Time will tell, but it's nice to have the alternative, particularly if you are less than age 65 at retirement, where the open market can be brutal.

For those who transferred from UC into TCP2 (i.e. not new-hires), there is a unique opportunity to have the same retiree medical as TCP1 employees. If upon termination you immediately elect to take annuity from your UCRS inactive pension, then a portion of the premium will be paid by LANS/LLNS based on years of service. If you take lump sum or remain inactive in the UCRS, then you get "access-only".

In my own case, I don't see lasting here until 60, so when I retire under TCP2 in my 50s, I plan to stay inactive in UCRS, waiting for my age factor to improve. Thus I would have "access-only."

For both TCP1 and TCP2, the "years of service" formula is complicated, but first the entire retirement premium is broken down into two parts, employer vs employee. Just like active employees, the retiree pays the full amount of his part of the premium. If you have 20 years or more service, then LANS/LLNS will pay 100% of the employer-portion (not the full premium, just the employer portion). At 10 years of service they pay only 50% of the employer portion, and from 11 - 19 it ramps up 5% a year.

For this unique category of transition employees into TCP2, who take annuity from UCRS upon retirement, then their years of service is frozen at the time of transition. I went TCP2 last year with 14 years of service, so I am forever locked in at a 70% payment by LANS of the LANS portion of the premium, if I take annuity from UCRS at time of termination from LANS. The "years of service" continues to grow for TCP1 members
(thank God I have a Ph.D. to keep all of this straight in my head).

The speculation (nation-wide, not just LANS) is that retiree medical premiums for these employer-based retirement plans will sky-rocket as the baby-boomers retire, starting now. The employer will keep his portion of the premium fixed, so all retirees (from "access-only" to 100% LANS/LLNS paid) will see their employee portion of the premium sky-rocket.

And the entire LANL retiree medical is paid out of the current contract, not pension funds, so it could also be simply dropped by DOE at any time. I presume LLNL is in the same situation. Note this applies to ALL current and future retirees. All of the retirees from LANL still alive today have their retirement medical now processed through LANS/Hewitt, regardless of when they retired.

Anonymous said...

"The only indicator for the LANS TCP2 folks is that LLNS is reducing the percentages. This means DOE thinks LANS gave too good a deal."

Back to my earlier point - because of the contractual requirements, LANS must, in response to every-two-year BenVal studies and annual benefits cost analyses, propose to NNSA a plan to bring the benefits back down to 105% of comparator companies. The LLNS presentation (Page 58) makes it very clear in black and white - LANS TCP2 benefits HAVE TO BE reduced over time, maybe very soon.

Anonymous said...

9:07 am read the contract wording carefully.
The 'allowable' cost is only the LANS or LLNS employer contributions.
DOE does not guarantee any benefit, the government will not guarantee a private pension plan.
If TCP1 goes bankrupt it is taken over by the PBGC (see www.pbgc.gov) which, by law, reduces your pension to somewhere between a maximum of about $15,000/yr at age 50 to about $30,000/yr at age 60.
Also by law there are no COLAs and no medical benefits.
Your only legal option is to sue the company (LANS or LLNS) for your benefits. But since they are shell LLCs they have no assets to go after.

Anonymous said...

Please do make your comments and make the most of whatever you can at LLNL. I think you should be aware of some inaccuracies previously posted here, before forwarding them along as feedback to LLNL. Best to have informed and accurate criticism/feedback if you want anything to change:

1) 16% Contribution to TCP1. This is misunderstood. 16% of your pay will not be reduced - this is an aggregate number. The strategy for these types of things is to get a cumulative, life-time, employee share of pension at x%. UC targeted 16%. This is not intended to be a "per paycheck" deduction.

2) Comment was posted that LANS is violating ERISA by not having SPD available. It's been online since last Sept (prior to the ERISA deadline, in full compliance. Believe me - I checked). Here's the url for all the LANS SPDs, TCP1 and TPC2 included: http://www.lanl.gov/worklife/benefits/summaries.shtml

3) Pension Funding for TCP1. Steel mill comparison is a bad one. LANS TCP1, despite the populist skepticism, is a well funded healthy plan, and there are currently no plans for LANS employees to contribute, even if UC employees do. So, don't believe this connection of "if UC does it, LANS or LLNS will have to do it."

4) Mad at LLNS/LANS, instead of DOE. Get mad at DOE. If you're mad at the reduced benefit, don't blame "corporate America" blame the deptartment that is directing them to cut the benefits within such narrow parameters. Your benefits people can only do so much with a certain $$ allowance... don't shoot the messenger. LANS and LLNS might have a whole host of problems, but keep the benefits thing in perspective - who is telling them to reduce the pension, cut the service-based contributions and restrict the retiree medical? Yeah... DOE.

5) Again - argue for the best you can get, don't misunderstand me, but even the reduced LLNL offering actually beats most Fortune 50 benefits packages. It's hard to find a pension, a healthy 401k match or even Access Only retiree medical, let alone subsidized. These horrible cuts have been going on in the "Real World" (outside the public sector) for over a decade. Welcome to the party... hope you guys at least get a good seat!

Best of luck!

Anonymous said...

9:29 am: The Summary Plan Document is not the legal contract. In fact it probably includes a disclaimer that that Plan Document has precedence. The UCRP SPD is a few pages whereas the UCRP Plan Document is hundreds of pages of legalese.
I have advised TCP1 enrollees to request the Plan Document from their LANS HR department. So far nobody has received it.
The Department of Labor agrees that LANS is in violation but will not do anything unless an individual in TCP1 is willing to be named in a grievence. So far nobody will volunteer for that suicide mission.

Anonymous said...

"If upon termination you immediately elect to take annuity from your UCRS inactive pension, then a portion of the premium will be paid by LANS/LLNS based on years of service. If you take lump sum or remain inactive in the UCRS, then you get "access-only"."

This is not entirely correct - if you go inactive in UCRP and start taking your annunity (pension) within 120 days of separation from service, you get retiree medical premium contributions as if you were an active TCP1 employee. BUT, you must pay the entire premium for the interim period in order to maintain this option - this could be up to 120 days (in my case, I'd rather get the extra four months of age factor). As explained to me a while back by a LLNL benefits representative, this has to be set up in advance of separation from service. This last part is VERY important, or you could lose all future retiree medical coverage - you can have NO LAPSE in coverage. I asked this question assuming I'd find employment elsewhere (good luck at my age). I'm not sure how the details would work if you continued on with LLNS as an inactive transferring employee, then retired within 120 days - would medical coverage simply be switched over to the retiree plan?

Anonymous said...

At 08:44 AM 6/22/2007, nvrpc wrote:

The LLNS presentation (Page 58) makes it very clear in black and white - LANS TCP2 benefits HAVE TO BE reduced over time, maybe very soon.

6/22/07 9:24 AM

So what indicators are there that things are going to get better or that the 16% contribution to the pension plan in order to keep it 80% funded will not be passed onto the employees gradually. If you believe it will not, then I have some land 100 miles west of SanFrancisco to see you. And, if you think that they will not find a way to eventually have you pay full medical out of you pocket, think again.

The best LLNL people can do for now is have DOE / NNSA match what was given to LANL and accept nothing less. I would however expect that if you get it, within two years it will revert back to this first offer, but that's not a good enough reason to give in; just because someone says that what they are offering is better then most fortune 500 companies do. That's them and we need to do what is best for us. Oh and BTW, LANS and LLNS is going to be contributing 5% of each paycheck to the pension plan right after they rope in all of the LLNL employees and that contribution will be going up year after year. It is in the presentation so well hidden and not so clear but again was stated verbally at the 400 series meeting.

Then there is the newspaper article today. See URL http://www.insidebayarea.com/trivalleyherald/ci_6202210

Anonymous said...

"This was told to the people that attended the 10:30 AM 400 series meeting before they gave the one at 3:00 PM to the general populace."

What day are you referring to? How were these meetings publicized to LLNL employees? I don't recall anything on the LLNL transition website, the daily NewsOnline, or e-mail. I have been checking for information daily at work, and was at work all day yesterday (June 21st).

Anonymous said...

Hi All,

I work in Benefits at LANL.

If you are a LANS TCP1 employee and you want any LANS TCP1 documentation then email "benefits@lanl.gov" right now and request it.

You will get everything the law requires, if not more. The only thing we won't share is proprietary information. Nothing to hide, here and no one has reported any difficulty receiving docs to me, yet.

Anonymous said...

Its sad you now need a law degree to work at a national lab to prevent getting screwed by these LLC's and the DOE.
My advice, Take the money and run!

Anonymous said...

Clarifying/Correcting some statements of (6/22/07 9:29 AM).

See C11attachment1 for full details of how TCP1 was actually funded at LANS. It was underfunded as of last June 1, 2006.

UCRP calculations are that 16% of payroll must be contributed to UCRP in order to maintain benefits. That's every paycheck. Since ~1990, nobody (state or employee) has paid a penny to UCRP. That has to change, and the big question is how much the employer vs employee will pay. The present proposal by UCRS is 5% from the employee, the rest by the state. The State of CA is balking at this new 11% cost, and the unions are already lining up to fight the 5%. See Update Regarding UCRP Contributions and Parsky's Party .

Since TCP1 has virtually identical benefits, a good assumption is that LANS/LLNS must also be putting 16% of payroll into their plans to stay solvent. For the present, LANS TCP1 employess pay nothing. LLNS TCP1 participants are proposed to be 5%. LANS TCP1 employee contributions will almost certainly be updated to match, if not greater.

The LANS TCP1 plan is already underfunded and headed south, since no new funds have "apparently" been added. I say "apparently" because as others have noted, a year later we still have no formal documents and filings. As the UC docs reference above show, the payroll in TCP1 is ~$600M, so ~$90M should have been added this past year alone. Given the budget shortfalls, I doubt it.

That said, I think any discussion of PBGC is a red herring. To send the plan in default to PBGC, you have to convince a judge that there are no other choices. I think a judge would take one look at the parent companies and DOE and laugh that claim out of court.

The more likely scenario is what is already happening at firms like IBM and others. Within a few years, the costs of TCP1 will finally be recognized as too high, the plan will be frozen, and everyone forced ito TCP2. Under ERISA, the future pension benefits are not guaranteed, so they can also reduce costs by stretching out and reducing the age factors.

Anonymous said...

For you LLNL folks just joining the debates in this blog, you might also like to read the post and comments in Update Regarding UCRP Contributions .

Anonymous said...

"This was told to the people that attended the 10:30 AM 400 series meeting before they gave the one at 3:00 PM to the general populace."

It was yesterday morning 6/21/07 for all 400 series. There were limited number of seats and you had to sign up for them. This meeting was to assure that supervisors got the facts and should in turn tell their troops that "all is not good" and that we are not getting what LANL did and to advise the troops that they need to speak up and the deadline. As a matter of a fact most of the information was not to the employees advantage. What the majority of the people heard at 3:00 PM was a watered down version and because they did not explode during the presentation when the facts went up on the screen and ask questions, they assumed all was well. You must ask questions and voice your opinion profusely and with firmness and demands. NNSA and DOE must understand that the people of LLNL are not going to roll over tuck their tails between their legs and kiss their butts goodbye without a fight. If that mean ruffling some peoples feathers and chapping their asses, then so be it. These people are not doing you any favors. If you do not by noon of the 28th you lose. At least after attending the meeting I know we have some middle management with balls. I can't say much for upper level management who are about to get huge increase in their base pay at your disposal.

Anonymous said...

With the level of mistrust you all have (not saying it's not deserved, mind you) it's a wonder you choose to work at either institution. Your pension plan could be well funded or not, it's still only as good as the people running it. If they aren't trustworthy, then the best funded pension plan in the world can still get in trouble (eg: Parsky/UCRP). On the contrary, if they are trustworthy, they can take an underfunded plan and make it solvent in a couple years of good returns on the market.

So... if you don't trust them, just quit and stop agonizing about it.

Anonymous said...

Dear National Laboratory Employee:

Thanks you for selecting a Government-owned, contrator-operated organization to donate your career in the service of national security. Please select one of the following options for your sign-on bonus with our new, privately managed contractors:

a) a TCP-2 matching plan at 112% of comparables to private industry

b) selecton as the RRW design laboratory of choice

LANL takes a), LLNL gets b). Seems fair to me.

Anonymous said...

TCP1 vs TCP2? Some Data Points

Just to give the LLNL gang some tiny case histories I know of at LANL on decisions to go TCP1 or TCP2.

Me: 48, 14 years of service, was restless to leave soon anyway, and my salary has flattened out. TCP2 locks in a 14*2.5 = 35% of my salary as a pension when I turn 60, and even has a COLA on my frozen salary in the meantime. A solid part of my retirement portfolio, particularly since UCRS is a public pension fund, and I did not like being captive to a private ERISA pension fund. I'm also happy to have an additional 401(k) whose funds I can directly manage.

Colleague 1: 48, 4 years of service (i.e. unvested), no other pension plans in his life, went TCP1 so that he would at least have a pension plan.

Colleague 2: 57, 30 years of service. Took TCP2 and simultaneously retired from UCRS, one of the so-called "double dippers." (Silly term, since his pension comes from UCRS, and his salary from LANS, and he is still a valuable employee. We should still value our older employees, even if they already are drawing pensions from other companies.)

Colleague 3: 50, 20 years of service, looking for substantial raises in the near future as he moves into higher management. Took TCP1, since his last few years of salary could be substantially higher and the returns under TCP1 therefore far greater than TCP2.

Colleague 4: mid 30s, finishing her Ph.D., so again looking at a substantial pay increase in the near future. TCP1.

Colleague 5: 60, many years of service, retired before the transition, came back as affiliate.

Colleague 6: 54, 8 years of service, substantial other IRA savings already. Took TCP2 for reasons similar to mine. Also, the age factor for 54 is too low to consider retiring now, so will wait a few more years before retiring on inactive status from UCRP.

So each case has its own unique characteristics, and the choice of TCP1, TCP2, or retirement can be a good one based on personal economics, life situation, and the risks one is willing to take.

So I get annoyed when someone states that "you're a fool to take ...".

But I'm far more angered that we were forced into these choices in the first place, with so little hard information or guidance. These are megabucks decisions.

Anonymous said...


Your Rights Under ERISA:

You're entitled to an SPD and SAR. SPDs are posted. SARs are forthcoming for LANS, but since it's an annual report, the plan has to exist for a year before the financial data can be provided. The Plan Document/Contract is not necessarily covered in the reporting requirements of ERISA.

Anonymous said...

Reply To 6/22/07 10:44 AM:

Parsky is also the Chair of LANS and LLNS boards. So I think concern about the future returns on the pension plans at either LLC are well-founded, given his actions with UCRP.

Even though LANL is in the state of New Mexico, when I hired on in the early 90s, we literally stood up, raised our hand, and swore an Oath of Allegiance to the State of California as part of the hiring process. Sounds quaint now, but that was part of the loyalty we felt in joining the lab and pursuing national problems.

As a professional, I won't easily just simply quit, but you're right, that time has come.

Anonymous said...

So... if you don't trust them, just quit and stop agonizing about it.

6/22/07 10:44 AM

May I suggest that you be the first one out the door with a boot up yours

Anonymous said...

May I suggest that you be the first one out the door with a boot up yours.

I think the boot should be shoved up nnsa and doe butt by simply having as many people as possible do a lump sum and everyone go tcp2 leaving tcp1 for llnl total vacant. Now that would be justice served. I wonder how many people at llnl have the balls to cut does throat as they did theirs. These people are not your friends. Again someone w should invite doe to this blog and let them read how the people feel..

Anonymous said...

The full matrix of possibilities of how much you get for retiree medical is on the 38th page (Appendix A) of LANS Summary Plan for Retirees .

As (6/22/07 9:51 AM) pointed out, you have to be careful in the interim transition period to remain fully covered. Read the whole SPD carefully.

And note the disclaimer at the beginning, LANS, in its sole discretion, reserves the right to amend or terminate in writing at any time the Plan, SPD and/or any Benefit Program. No benefit described in the Plan will be considered to “vest.”

Anonymous said...

Parksy is on the Board of Governors, but thankfully absent from the Benefit Investment Committee or Pension Administrator duties. If that changes, my cautious realism will transform to abject panic in a heartbeat.

Safe (for now).

Anonymous said...

"Re: May I suggest that you be the first one out the door with a boot up yours."

I don't understand the hostility to an objective observation. I'm just pointing out that if you don't trust the company you work for, you might consider going somewhere else. It wasn't meant to be a jab.

Also, you assume I'm a labbie, rather than already an ex-labbie whose taken his boot, and the place it's been stuck, to greener pastures.

More hostility than sense will get you nowhere. Except maybe a spot on the Board...

Anonymous said...

6/22/07 10:41 AM wrote:
At least after attending the meeting I know we have some middle management with balls.

They'll lose them fast for a simple reason you LLNL folks need to recognize: You are about to become "at will" like we LANS people are. You will be employed solely at the convenience of the employer, and you can be terminated without cause. This will be spelled out in the simultaneous termination / offer package you will receive in the mail in the coming months.

Your middle managers that stay through the transition will quickly become petrified that speaking up will cost them their job in a heartbeat. Your top management will probably get what ours got: 20% bonuses for good performance (see LANS Key Salaries). Congress and DOE are now delighted to have what they call an "incentivized management" i.e. the top managers are now responsive to DOE demands, if they want their bonuses. Now our top managers reign terror down on our middle managers, who hop to every demand. A single phone call by a DOE official to a LANS top manager, and you're fired.

That's one simple reason nearly all of these postings are now "anonymous."

Congress needs to be aware that by having Los Alamos and Livermore as "at will" LLCs, they have no hope of ever getting an honest assessment on any technical matter, ever again. Forget Stockpile Stewardship. You will only get the party line.

Anonymous said...

"The more likely scenario is what is already happening at firms like IBM and others. Within a few years, the costs of TCP1 will finally be recognized as too high, the plan will be frozen, and everyone forced ito TCP2. Under ERISA, the future pension benefits are not guaranteed, so they can also reduce costs by stretching out and reducing the age factors." - 10:05 AM


BINGO!!! This is one of the most critical factors you need to consider.

You can take out your spreadsheets and do all the calculations you want, but plan on the TCP1 pension being converted to a "hybrid" plan within 5 years. Congress and DOE will demand it. When this happens, the pension will be frozen and you'll receive no more service credit. From that point forward, you'll only be given access to a 401K plan, and even that will have minimal to no employer match.

This is the direction that even the biggest corporations in America have now been heading in the last 5 years (IBM, Verizon, etc). Don't trust DOE/NNSA to "do the right thing". Those jerks are out to screw the weapon lab workforce in any way they can. They'll give you sweet verbal promises during your benefit presentations, but those are all worthless if they are not in a binding legal contract.

The only ones who benefit from this LLC mess are the top executives at your lab. They will see a huge increase in salary and the top people will be given special pension protections (like LANS' Mikey) so that even if the TCP1 pension tanks, they will not lose a cent from what the UCRP pension would have given them. It stinks to high heaven!

It today's America, anyone who is not at the top 1% of the income ladder is being feed crap and crumbs. You're 2 years behind on the learning curve out there at LLNL. You had best wake up start studying the situation very carefully. From this point onward, things at your lab will only get worse for most of the employees.

Anonymous said...

Apparently you can not write an e-mail Representative Ellen Tauscher - Name and Address Entry but you can FAX that information to her at 925-932-8159 with your contact information so that she can get back to you. If anyone knows how to FAX comments from the blog via the web please post those step for all of us to follow. I am sure she will love to hear your input on the transition.

Anonymous said...

1:19 Pm...

You can email Congresswoman Ellen Tauscher at


However, you need to use an address and zip code from her district... the LLNL mailing address and nine digit zip code also works if you're at the lab. She (or her staff) do read these emails and I have always received a letter mailed to me at LLNL from her specifically discussing my email comments/concerns.

Anonymous said...

6/22 8:54, I almost believe that the pg 58 reference to LANS is an error. The discussion they provide talks about what tradeoffs are needed to allow increased employer contributions for the 401k based on the LLNS numbers 1%, 1.75%, 2.75%. Those aren't LANS figures.

Anonymous said...

6/22/07 1:53 PM I think the belief is that if LLNS does NOT get the higher rates that LANS has, then LANS will almost certainly follow suit in the near future and cut their unmatched contributions to the new lower amounts at LLNS.

Anonymous said...

The point is that what NNSA /DOE is offering LLNL 1/2 of what LANL got and they are not going to stand for it.... Yes, if they get away with it with LLNL they will come back to LANL next year and cut you guys off at the knees, that was made very clear when they said that they can change what they want every two years if they wish to exercise that option. It just keeps getting better

Anonymous said...

6/22/07 1:53 PM

Look carefully at Page 54 - from what I read into this NNSA asked LLNS to calculate what it would take to match the LANS 401(k) contributions. Page 58 summarizes the results. The thing to keep in mind is that in the time since the original LANS BenVal study was done early last year, the comparator companies have reduced their benefits. As a result, the LLNS BenVal study HAS to point to lower LLNL benefits - this is the intent of the NNSA-directed every-other-year BenVal study - to keep pace (in a declining perspective) with how other large R&D companies are doing in providing benefits.

This trend is 180 degrees from the situation when I first entered the workforce after graduating from college a very long time ago - I worked for one of the large multi-national oil companies and was getting tremendous annual salary increases in order to keep pace with what the small independent companies down the street were offering experienced engineers. My employer and other large oil companies had no choice but to keep up, or they would be drained of all talent. Unfortunately, this is is no longer the trend as US companies try to remain competitive in the global market.

Anonymous said...

Yes, poster 2:20 pm. Chinese and Indian scientists could do our work much cheaper. In fact, they would love to take on this work. Just don't let NNSA get clued in to this idea, as I'm sure they would decide to go for it.

Anonymous said...

I'm surprised that the "at will" status has not alarmed more people. I think a lot of my colleagues just assume that due process is a right.

During the recent Carpenter lawsuit against Sandia for wrongful termination, it was reported that "An attorney for the lab also argued that Carpenter was an at-will employee who was not entitled to due process." Santa Fe New Mexican

Anonymous said...

National security work offered one of the few bright spots left in the declining American economy. Now, even those positions are starting to slide downhill here at LANL and LLNL, thanks to DOE and Congress. Just whose asses are we trying to save from our enemies, anyway? Some days I'm not so sure. Certainly not guys like Dingell, Stupak, Hopson and Barton. Certainly not Bodman or D'Agostino. We give the labs the best years of our lives and they are waiting at the end to screw with our promised benefits. What a rotten deal!

Anonymous said...

"At Will" fears are unfounded. LANL has a structured process that must be followed in order to terminate employees. The same goes for RIFs, which includes a review and approval process by DOE. Before the flames start, can the system be abused? Probably, but was it not under UC (non-At Will)?

Anonymous said...

Physicist George Miller, president of Lawrence Livermore National Security LLC, complained to federal weapons officials at the National Nuclear Security Administration that the leaner plan could persuade Livermore Advertisement employees that the federal government isn't committed to maintaining "world-class talent at the laboratory."

"Under such conditions, many more employees will consider retirement and leaving the laboratory now," Miller wrote.

I sincerely believe that this is what NNSA and DOE want. If that be the case then lets line up starting Monday and exit asap concentrating on depleting the UCRP fund as fast as possible.

Anonymous said...

2:20, 1:53 here, I certainly agree with your, and others, assessment of pg 54 and 58 and its potential implications for LANS TCP2.

I read pg 54 to say that to match the LANS 401k TCP2 would put LLNS TCP2 RBVI at 112.5%. It is unclear to me that it says LANS TCP2 itself is currently at 112.5% I read pg 58 to address the effect of tradeoffs on that LLNS 112.5%.

From the LANS Rev2 VGs, LANS TCP2 was at 105 based on 2006 Hewitt BIS (pg 28 in R2). TCP1 was at 129.9 (pg 9 in R2).

The corresponding numbers for LLNS from their VGs, is also 105 for TCP2 based on Hewitt 2007 BIS (pg 34). TCP1 is at 130.7 (pg 14).

I agree, different dated studies, but the same index values. I don't know what LANS's TCP2 index is (or would be) based on the 2007 study.

A common reference is the April 04 Hewitt study. The LLNL figure was 128% (pg 12) and the LANL figure was 119% (pg 7 in R2). There must have been something to make the LLNL index higher. Perhaps the same thing required an adjustment in the 401k non-match to bring them to 105. Whatever it is, it does not seem to be quite as visible as the % non-match.

Anonymous said...

The "at will" status changes the internal LANS termination process into simply guidelines. As the Sandia lawsuit showed (which Carpenter was able to win, but his is a singular case), the legal argument is now simply "at will employees are not entitled to due process."

Anonymous said...

6/22/07 3:24 PM strikes me as a theoretician. Myself, I'm a practitioner, and as such I have complete faith that LANS and DOE will exercise LANL employee's at will status, and the RIF mechanism to the fullest extent possible.

Anonymous said...

1:53, 2:20 here,

Thanks for adding your additional perspective. Seeing as how both LANL and LLNL had almost identical benefits under UC at the time of the LANL transition to LANS (I know, I've worked at both places), and would have gotten off to a pretty much equal start had both laboratory contracts been competed at the same time, why the rather large difference in TCP2 service-based contributions? Something must have changed with comparator company benefits between 2006 and 2007. If so, I'd anticipate the same trend over time at both laboratories, continuing first with a reduction in TCP2 401(k) benefits, with other benefit reductions to follow.

Anonymous said...

So three things have to be changed immediately on the LLNL offer and they would be in order of priority.

#1) We will not settle for anything less that what is shown on page 54 of the presentation.

#2) Medical for all TCP-2 people will be there at the reduced group cost and not at full cost, this is not to go to 50/50. Medical is the most important benefit one can have and without it, "there is no retirement " ever.

#3) The actuary tables are not to be changed and they are to stay as is UCRP to date. We know that you have been advised by MERCER to do this in the future and we want it locked in place.

#4) The ability for NNSA or DOE to change our benefits at will must is to be dissolved and surely not to be every two years

# 5) LANS and LLNS are to be exempt from any contribution (ever) to the pension plan and surely not to UCRP's at that 6 % - 16% graduated per year increase.

Anonymous said...

Woo hoo! 6/22/07 3:51 PM is on the fast track to learning the meaning of "at will" employment. Just keep making those demands -- quickest way to get your name on the list.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
Woo hoo! 6/22/07 3:51 PM is on the fast track to learning the meaning of "at will" employment. Just keep making those demands -- quickest way to get your name on the list.

6/22/07 3:53 PM

And is this supposed to scare people into silence. If that be the case you may as well be in Russia or China. The last time I checked I was still in United States of America where we can say what we want, when we want. So don't give me that BS. You can take that someplace else and stcik where the sun doesn't shine. They asked for input and I have full intenet of giving it to them. Anyone that doesn't is a coward and I don't have much use for people like that. Sheep !!!

Anonymous said...

Poster 3:11 PM, you don't get it. We do US national security these days to protect powerful financiers like LANS/LLNS own Gerald Parsky and Blackstone's "Golden Ass", Steve Schwarzman:


OK, people. Practice time for those out at LLNL. Now, repeat after me:

"Yes, sir. Thank you, sir. May I have another?"

"Yes, sir. Thank you, sir. May I have another?"

"Yes, sir. Thank you, sir. May I have another?"

Very good! Keep practicing and you'll eventually get the hang of it. With time, you'll even learn to enjoy it.

Anonymous said...

This was posted before, but it seems relevant in light of the current dicussion. The LLNL employees can get an idea of what the LANL employees decided.

Data are from the UCRP Addendum Report dealing with LANL. In Sec 2, Exh B on page 3 (reflects data before transfer elections) I calculate the following:

Total Active – 9570

<5 yrs Service Credit (Unvested) – 4077 (42.6%)
5+ yrs Service Credit (Vested) - 5493 (57.4%)

Using that data and the Transfer Election Summary on pg iii:

Total Elections - 9570

Total to TCP1 – 6532 (68.3%)
TCP1 (Vested) - 3674
TCP1 (Not Vested) – 2858

Total to TCP2 - 3038 (31.7%)
TCP2 (Vested and Eligible to Retire, UCRP Inactive) - 1239
TCP2 (Vested and Ineligible to Retire, UCRP Inactive) – 580
TCP2 (Not Vested, UCRP Terminated) – 1219

Anonymous said...

I want to know why the full presentation that was given at 3:00PM yesterday and all of the question can not be view either on site or off site. Seems to me that with holding valuable information like this is somehow illegal. With only four days to make a choice we all need to see this both LANL and LLNL employees. What's'up with the withholding of valuable information??

Anonymous said...

I know this is about UC and LANS and LLNS, but I have a friend who is a prof at the Univ of NM and this is what his setup looks like.

Members of the system contribute 7.75% of their total earnings, deducted before taxes, from each payroll check. The deduction amount will increase by .075% beginning July 1 [2007] until July 1, 2008 when the employee contribution will be 7.9%.

The employer (school board, institution of higher learning, state agency, etc.) contributes an amount equal to 10.15% of a members’ total salary. The employer contribution will increase by .75% each year until July 1, 2011 when the employer contribution will be 13.9%.

That total goes from 17.9% to 21.8% of payroll. He tells me the plan is underfunded and that the NM ERB will be likely be moving some assets into hedge funds.

Anonymous said...

If that be the case then I say scrap the pension plan all together. Put everyone on TCP-2 and that will be the end of it. Those with 20 or more years can retire on UCRP and those with less go on a 401K starting Jan 1st ,2008. It is obvious that if this amount of contribution can not keep the fund at 100% then it will never be and there is no hope of it being there in the future. With the ever rising cost of fuel, housing, and cost of living retirement theoretically is a thing of the past. All that you can do now is take what little you have and make it work for as long as it will. I see a depression on the horizon. With that in mind, is your home and cars paid in full? Hope so.

Anonymous said...

Be realistic about the Defined Benefit Plan (DBP, aka UCRP and TCP1). Thanks to the outstanding successes under Patricia Small and others in the UC Treasurer's office, for over 15 years UCRS participants were in the unique position of contributing nothing, nor were there any contributions from either CA or DOE. An absolutely free ride that is over, period. See Parsky's Party.

DBPs like ours cost 15% of payroll or dramatically more, as many large corporations and public governments have painfully discovered (like 6/22/07 5:26 PM above). Either the employer or the employee MUST pay if the plan is to stay solvent. Simple economics.

To ease the transition pain back to paying for the pension plan, UC has suggested a sliding scale over the next few years to get the total contribution to 16%. California is suffering its own budget problems and is balking at paying anything yet, so UC has delayed the resumption of contributions for employees, too (ref Update Regarding UCRP Contributions). But that delay will only intensify the need for rapid resumption of contributions from both employer and employee.

So get real. TCP1 must be paid for by its participants. Just how much do you think DOE will pitch in? 10%? They're barely willing to pay that for TCP2 participants. Hence the LLNS employees will be paying 5% of their salary, at least, for their portion of the "premium" to keep the plan solvent. LANS TCP1 participants have yet to see the bill, but it is coming.

There's also a HUGE difference between public and private pension plans. TCP1 is a private, ERISA-backed, plan. The rights under the plan are not "vested", so they can be simply scaled back as the costs soar. Read the disclaimer on Page 1 of Summary Plan Description for Employees.

Age factor of 2.5 at age 60? Forget it, too expensive, let's adjust it to 2.0 at age 65. It's that simple for the employees who have yet to retire. Or just freeze the plan, nor more accrued benefits. Many private corporations are hurrying to do this, particularly after the bell-weather company IBM threw in the towel on DBPs last year (ref IBM Press Release.)

Under most public pension plans, however (and I think UC is included, but I'm not sure), the pension rights are "vested" and guaranteed by civic charter. Thus the current employees cannot have their promised future pension benefits reduced. They can only be reduced for new incoming employees. We will soon see in this country virtual public bankruptcies starting with Illinois, Colorado, New Jersey, and San Diego, as these public pensions suck the tax coffers dry trying to keep up with the retiring baby boomers who were promised way too much in the heyday of the 1990s. Our whining here will be lost in the huge public uproar as communities shut down every public function in order to feed the vested public DBP beasts they created, while desperately attempting to raise state, city, and property taxes. Not a pretty picture, eh? Be sure to read NY Times: Public Pension Plans Face Billions in Shortages.

So DOE's plan is simple, and it will happen. Get us terminated out of the public UCRP plan and into a more convenient private ERISA plan of an LLC, where they have more flexibility in stretching and terminating the unvested rights. Funny thing is, DOE started this process in the mid 90s because they wanted a refund on the surplus in the pension plan Special Audit of Pension Plans, quoting "The renegotiation process provides the Department an opportunity to recover at least $620 million in excess assets from the pension plans it has funded for University of California employees at DOE's laboratories and to improve the Department's management of those pension funds." (my emphasis).

Well, the excess is gone today, but it's still an excellent maneuver to strip us of vested rights and dramatically reduce the pension costs.

So I went TCP2 at LANS. Today, my vested inactive pension sits in the public UCRS plan, in the portion called UCRS-LANL, which DOE has guaranteed to UCRS will remain 100% funded forever. Indeed, UCRS calculated the amount required to have UCRS-LANL 100% funded today, and LANS TCP1 only got the remainder. Thus TCP1 has already started life underfunded. Read TRANSFER OF ASSETS AND LIABILITIES and its attachments for the full details.

I can only assume that LLNL will see a similar deal with UCRS. But, as discussed above in (6/22/07 11:08 AM), there are valid reasons to consider TCP1 as well.

Anonymous said...

Again I will say, TCP-2 , retire and take what you can now because its not going to be there later. This is obvious since the labs will not hire anyone on these terms and there are plenty of places to work where you can make your own 401K. It's over. Have a good day people. Why would anyone give up 15% of the check to put into a fund that will only feed others when they can put 15% into their own 401k and feed themselves. By doing so its your to control as you wish and no one can take it. Your main concern from day one of employment is bank all you can, pay the house off as soon as possible and live without the toys. Helloooo !

Anonymous said...

An absolutely free ride that is over, period. See Parsky's Party.
So with all this failure they put the same dumb SOB in charge of LANS,LLNS,UCRP and CALPERS. Now that's a very smart move on their part. Does this give you a warm and fuzzy feelings? To me it feels like a colonoscopy.

Anonymous said...

"Under such conditions, many more employees will consider retirement and leaving the laboratory now," Miller wrote.

Apparently, that's what LANS thought too. They'll consider it, but it's unclear they'll leave. The ones that are old enough and have enough service credit will go to TCP2 and draw their pension from UC while they figure out what to do. They're guaranteed a job. Estimates are some 500-600 at LANL did this. (IIRC, originally, there was no guarantee of a job if you wanted to lock it up with UC. That got changed. Someone correct me if my memory is bad.)

Supposedly LANS's estimates of the TCP1 and TCP2 splits were off.

Also, the projected attrition at LANL has fallen short of reality and LANS headcount goals. I know employees whose plan is to not leave LANL until they are RIFed. These guys have substantial assets, so they have time to find other employment when the time comes. Have to see how it works out for them; under LANS policy, it looks like employees cannot volunteer to be RIFed (officially anyway). This stuff might be more applicable to LANL though, due to budget uncertainty issues.

Anonymous said...

Lots of outrage about pensions.

Not much outrage at LANL's inability to keep nuclear secrets.

Any wonder why the nation and the Congress is fed up?

Anonymous said...

Pensions are people's #1 concern, The rest is supercilious BS and with out a secure future, people are for sale. As security knows it can only get worse. Financial security is one thing they look for. As long as its there all is well. When it is gone people start looking for alternative incomes.. This makes me wonder even more why they are doing what they are doing. How stupid can they be.

Anonymous said...

So restore the pensions or more nuke secrets leave???

Anonymous said...

Reply to 6/22/07 6:24 PM, cheap shot. Maybe it's because we know the press is way overhyped. The FBI lost ten classified laptops in the latest report, and they were congratulated for losing fewer than in the previous period. Go figure.

Anonymous said...

Yes. Two wrongs do make a right. I stand corrected.

Anonymous said...

This is just a tiny bit off topic, but nevertheless relevant - certain parts are as applicable to LLNL as they were to LANL at the time. Some of the characters are the same, but in new roles. As for other details, substitute as you will. I don't think the original author will mind a bit that it reappears on P&TB's blog ;)

Walkin’ out of LANL while it Stands*

For the car, and the hard discs,
We've been slammed, by the Congress,
They put us up for bid,
For the things they say we did,
Walkin' out of LANL while it stands.

Most of us, who are vested,
From our hands, pensions wrested,
By the SEB we're screwed,
(Led by Tyler who?),
Walkin' out of LANL while we can.

We had Browne, then the admiral,
With the "buttheads", had his hands full,
Director Bob does what he can,
For the junior Lab's top man,
Walkin' out of LANL while it stands.

They've got plans, and an org chart,
Would be nice, to see our part,
Getting ready for the switch,
Employee's have the itch,
Walkin' out of LANL while we can.

Now they've picked, who will run us,
Hope they're good, on their promise,
Better pull out all your loot,
Before you get the boot,
Walkin' out of LANL while we can.

Get us prepped, for what's coming,
Can't yet tell, who'll be running,
The LLC is here to stay,
Say goodbye to good old days,
Walkin' out of LANL while it stands.

* Sung to the tune of “Winter Wonderland”

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
So restore the pensions or more nuke secrets leave???

6/22/07 6:35 PM
A better answer to this dumb ass is:

The Gap Between Rich and Poor
Although poverty does not directly cause crimes, it often serves as a catalyst for criminal activity and violent behaviour. The primary effects of poverty, such as lower physical and mental health, lower academic achievement, parenting difficulties, reduced employment opportunities and stress can combine to influence a person toward criminal activities or acts of violence. Studies have shown that when such poverty-related risk factors are reduced among young children there is a corresponding decrease crime.

Anonymous said...

Hey 5:52! When I retire in 2009, I'm pretty sure I won't remember your advice (tirade?). Goodbyyyyye!

Anonymous said...

6/22/07 7:35 PM

It's TCP-2 and draw, draw, draw.. now !!! before the pot is gone.

Anonymous said...

Insightful post, 5:37 PM. There are several ways in which I think LANS (and LLNS) can wiggle out of the upcoming TCP1 funding shortfalls, but none of them are very savory. First, they could do what much of corporate America does and say "to hell with 100% or even 80% funding of the pension". Keep it at 65%, make rosy predictions, and hope for the best.

Another means to make up for the shortfall would be to take on much greater risk (for greater returns) with the investments. That's what many states and cities now facing a pension "time bomb" are currently doing. They fork over 20% of the pension assets to a high-risk private hedge fund and try to juice-up the returns by getting 25% on their investments. Great when it works, but the private hedge fund business is about to go belly up in my opinion. Just look at the the current Blackstone IPO. Way too many people see private hedge funds as means to easy riches and most of these private funds are now paying way too much for the business that they take over, rape, pillage, and then sell to a bigger fool. Note that Gerald Pasky has many friends in the private hedge fund business and may want to pass on some of the juicy TCP1 business their way. The money that these private hedge funds make for investing pension assets are extremely rich, so everyone now wants to get into this business. And best of all, there is little regulation of what they do because they are private funds, and not public.

I think that LANS and LLNS very much want their employees to choose TCP1 over TCP2 for a simple reason. TCP1 is a FUTURE liability that won't have to pay out cash until maybe 15 to 20 years down the road. By then, the LLCs may not even exist, or new laws will allow the LLCs to weasel out of their pension obligations. In contrast to this, TCP2 is a CURRENT liability that has to be paid out of the operating budget. This is very painful and creates an immediate problem for the LLC. Thus, they strongly imply to their employees that they will be better off going with the TCP1 pension.

Sorry to see that you guys at LLNL are only getting a few days to review all this, but that is all part of the plan. The more you know, the worse off the whole shell game becomes for those in power. DOE wants you to be confused, stressed out, and then just take the "easy" decision of going with TCP1. Just don't trust whatever DOE or LLNS tells you in their presentations. If it's not in writing in a legal document, it's totally worthless. Remember that, if nothing else.

Anonymous said...

As far as retirement health care goes, be very careful about depending on Medicare. The financials on Medicare look pretty bleak at this point in time. You should expect that Medicare benefits will be means-tested out of existence for those who retire 10 to 15 years down the road and are pulling in excess of $70K in yearly income. Thus, if you can keep an employer retirement medical policy, your going to be in much better shape. Of course, there is no guarantee that LANS or LLNS will continue to supply this benefit. In fact, I fully expect them to end it with DOE's blessing within the next 5 years.

Anonymous said...

Private hedge funds, current and future liabilities, pension "time bombs"? I'm just a low level employee at LLNL with a community college education, and not some super smart math Phd. How in hell am I suppose to figure out this very important decision that effects my entire life in such a short amount of time? This is very unfair!

Anonymous said...

3:43 & 3:45 Several "at will" states with DOE sites - "at will" never exercised. Always done with a defined termination process or long drawn out RIF process. We have enough real worries without creating new ones. Not my opinion, just facts. Check'm out for yourself.

Anonymous said...

10:03 Don't let the chatter here add to your confusion. There is some good information here, but it is mixed in with a lot of opinions from self-styled experts that is far off the mark. If you're young and in doubt about the length of time you will remain at the lab, go with TCP2 - at least it is portable (can go with you when you leave). Other than that simple advice I can only advise that you review available information, ask questions, and make the best informed decision you can. Don't be intimidated by higher degrees - makes them great scientists, doesn't necessarily make them great businessmen (as evidenced by some of the chatter here).

Anonymous said...

Maybe its time to give LLNL an entirely different plan than they gave LANL simply because we all know that someday a TCP-1 participants are going to be forced to go TCP-2 simply because there will not be enough people to pay into the fund than are extracting from the fund and therefore there is no way to keep the pension at 80-100% level.

So lets cut to the chase and give LLNL another option and stop the inevitable. As of Oct 1st, 2007 all employees who are at age 50 with 20 year or more of service will be given an option. They can retire under UCRP by Jan 1st, 2008 or all of their UCRP assets will automatically be transferred into TCP-2 where they will get the same interest percentage of return offered to LANL on their 401k plan. All others under 20 years and under age 50 will automatically go into TCP-1 with the understanding that they may someday be required to transfer their assets to TCP-2 as does everyone in the private sector. Lets stop the game playing and get this over with. We have four days to implement this option. LANL will follow suite in one year.

Anonymous said...

I agree and since you are able to exercise this option every two years lets just getterdone. LANL has had one year of fun already. What the hell is with all the game playing.

Anonymous said...

Yes, yes, yes. This put the mass majority on the UCRP pension plan as it should be and gets them out of the TCP-1 pension plan of which we all know is not going to last many more years anyway. Let the employees manage their own future. I am sure that the mass majority would much rather put 5 to16 percent into their own plan than to put it into a plan that supports others and in the end will get nothing out of it. That would be fare. Having people give up 5-16 % of their wages to take care of others, into a plan that is doomed; is crap to say the least. UCRP investment screwed this up with Parsky so they should carry the burden. Why should DOE or NNSA make up the short falls. That's passing the buck to the American tax payer. NOT !

Anonymous said...

Anyone with a brain should see that TCP-1 for LLNL should be done away with and all employees should be required to go TCP-2 if they stay. That is going to be the end results anyway if about five to six years when the mass majority tell DOE to pound sand and non one is getting hired on with these packages they have available. Oh and BTW, the wages better start going way up if you want people to go TCP-2, bank 16% of their wages and still live in Ca. The people here are going down hill on a daily basis.. Give 1% pay raises and then take 5-16 % back is negative equality in anyone's world. Hell just to catch up you'd have to give everyone at LLNL a 12% pay raise in Oct just so that you can take 5% back and then maybe the can put gas in their cars and get to work. Even then they'd only be breaking even.

Anonymous said...

6/22/07 10:03 PM,

"How in hell am I suppose to figure out this very important decision that effects my entire life in such a short amount of time? This is very unfair!"

The deadline for comments on the proposed benefits plan is June 28th. The final outcome of the plan after comments have been reviewed and resolved will be reflected in the LLNS employment offer we'll all receive in mid-July. From what I've read on the LLNL transition web page, employees will have 60 days to respond to the offer letters. That gives you until mid-September to decide what's best given your personal situation.

I'd urge you to stay informed as this process plays out. I understand there will be "town hall" meetings scheduled at LLNL once the NNSA has approved LLNS' benefits package. Let's hope LLNL employees get more support in understanding their options than LANL employees got.

Anonymous said...

(6/23/07 8:14 AM) writes or all of their UCRP assets will automatically be transferred into TCP-2 where they will get the same interest percentage of return offered to LANL on their 401k plan

Let's clear up some misconceptions in the above few posts.

There is no "interest percentage" on the pension funds. The percentage you are talking about only applies to your salary, if you join TCP2. If you are in TCP2, LLNS will put a small percentage, 1% to 2.75%, of your salary into a 401(k) for you, no questions asked, automatically setup and done for you. At LANS, they are currently offering a higher percentage of salary, 3.5% to 5.5%. At both sites, you can optionally set aside up to 6% additional of your salary, and it will be matched dollar for dollar into the same 401(k). Nearly every financial planner will tell you to put in the entire 6%, it's free money. You have to self-direct where it is invested, but when you terminate/retire, every last dollar in there is yours, both the 6% you put in and the money LLNS give you. (There are penalties for withdrawing it before 59.5, and you pay tax on what you withdraw, standard IRA stuff.) That's the inherent attraction of the Defined Contribution Plans (DCPs).

So if you join TCP2 and set aside 6% (not 16% like said above) of your salary into a 401(k), LLNS will give you an additional 7% to 8.75% of your salary into the same 401(k). And it's all yours when you retire.

UCRS and TCP1 are Defined Benefit Plans. The money in those plans is NOT yours. If you follow the rules and retire properly, you get a payout (benefit) that is unrelated to the amount (if any) that you put in over the years. For the last 15 years, nobody has put a penny into UCRS, and retirees are walking away with handsome retirement pensions. That game is over, and in the future active members of both UCRS and TCP1 will start paying dearly for membership in this club.

To start, LLNS TCP1 members will pay 5% of their salary into the plan. Unlike TCP2, however, they never see that money again. It's like an insurance premium. Keep paying the premiums, and when you retire, you get your benefit. You are completely dependent on the financial prowess of the guys managing your premiums, hoping that they can get the kind of returns that will eventually pay your benefit. UCRS was outstanding in the 80s and 90s, but today is in debt in keeping up with its promised benefits to all of the members. By their calculations, 16% of payroll needs to be going into the plan, plus investments, in order to keep it solvent. The employees are being asked to pay 5% of that now. The question is how much will they be asked to pay in future, if the employer (State of California or LLNS) is not putting in enough.

If you join TCP1, you are asking to transfer your membership in the DBP from UCRS to LLNS. At Los Alamos, 6500 employees did just that. When the dust settled this past spring, UCRS gave LANS $1.28B to fund the plan, but UCRS noted by their own calculations that LANS probably needs at least $1.4B today in order to meet their future obligations. And that assumes that 16% of payroll is added to the amount each year, in addition to standard investment returns.

This past year, LANS TCP1 employees put nothing into the plan, and since the Summary Annual Report has not been filed, we have no idea how much LANS put in, nor its investment returns. It seems to be a train wreck waiting to happen.

The news for members who stayed in UCRS and went inactive (i.e. joined TCP2 at LANS) is much better. UCRS kept $3.2B in order to ensure that the inactive and retired members from Los Alamos were 100% covered today for their anticipated future obligations, and DOE agreed to keep that segment 100% covered until the last annuitant died. That's to pay 4,500 current retirees, plus 1,780 inactive members who will apply for retirement some day.

We have seen no such assurances from DOE about TCP1.

Most DBPs are unfortunately run like Ponzi schemes, using the new-comers' premiums to pay the old timers' pensions. TCP1 is a closed pension, there will never be any new members, and the members in it are in a race to see who can retire first. When you are retired or inactive, you don't pay premiums. Thus the remaining declining active members will have to pay larger and larger percentages of their salary to keep the plan solvent. At some point, it simply can't work, and the plan will be shut down.

Will DOE rescue TCP1? What part of limited liability corporation don't we understand?

As noted above, you still have a couple of months to make this huge decision. The question to start asking fast and furious now is (1) who actually owns TCP1, is it LLNS or is it actually DOE, with LLNS as the caretaker, (2) will DOE financially back TCP1, like they did the inactive UCRS-LANL? (3) Will the same LANS "A-B" formula for calculating the transfer from UCRS-LLNL to LLNL-TCP1 be used, i.e. will the inactive employees who remain in UCRS-LLNL receive the same guarantees as UCRS-LANL?

Anonymous said...

Great post and very accurate but what the LLNL people have to realize is that they are not getting that 6% +5% on top of their 6% contribution. Read pages prior to page 54 of the presentation and you'll see that they are about 1/2 of what LANL got. That is a big NO for me. I personally will not go TCP-1 because I do not believe in it and feel that as more people leave, there will be lees to fund it and contributions will have to go up to feed others. NO way and I taking a $640 a month cut in pay knowing that I will be asked for more in the future with no end of donations in sight. That was an eye opener for me that I am not willing to go. It will just keep getting worse

I think the better idea for LLNL is to let LLNS, LLC run the place but keep all people on UCRP with whom they hired on with while all knew hires will go TCP-2 doing away with TCP-1 at both facilities ASAP. It's a worthless venture that sooner or later will become TCP-2 anyway..

DOE/NNSA are you listening. Get your head out of your butt and act in the next four days, please.

Anonymous said...

At Los Alamos, we too tried the suggestion that there was no compelling reason to drag employees out of a huge active UCRS into a closed, dramatically smaller (frankly, tiny) TCP1. Just leave the current employees in the bigger UCRS pool. It's like an insurance game, the more members, the more diverse the risk. Put new employees into TCP2.

The argument fell on deaf ears.

DOE wants the control. Read the memo from 1996, IG-0394. At that point, they were trying to "recover" the surplus amount in the pension plans, but they also wanted more direct control on benefits and costs.

They now have it in the form of TCP1. They are not letting go.

Anonymous said...

Just when TCP1 needs the most DOE financial help, say in about 15 years, the government budgets will be wiped out by the surge of aging Baby-Boomers and their claim on promised entitlements, esp. Medicare. In this scenario, how likely do you think it will be that the DOE will be willing to bail out the pension of one of their contractors? It won't happen, no matter what verbal promise DOE, NNSA or LANS/LLNS give you in your townhall meetings at LLNL.

LANS and LLNS know this all too well. They also know that the financial figures for TCP1 start to look pretty dismal about 15 years out. Thus, they have no plans on continuing TCP1 into the future. As others have forecast, they'll likely freeze the pension in a few years. This is almost a sure bet. The question in my mind is what does freezing of the pension do to the long term financial health of TCP1? It would seem to me that it would make it even worse, as it cuts off incoming funds to TCP1 from the younger employees, and thus could hasten its collapse. Anyone have some clear ideas on this? What did freezing do to the long term health of the IBM pension?

Anonymous said...

Rising health care costs that bankrupt familites and pension promises being broken by sleazy employers.

And Congress wonders why their approval ratings are at all time lows? We've been sold out by our politicans in their Parliment of Whores.

Anonymous said...

All that you have said is absolutely true so " WHY WOULD ANYONE GO TCP-1". This should tell you to go TCP-2 and make you own way. PERIOD...

Anonymous said...

It looks like they have been planing our demise for a long time, all along pumping us full of crap; while posturing on stabbing us in the back. Thanks for the ride DOE / NNSA. Now it my turn bozo's. TCP_2 , get it now and they can go right straight to he--....

DOE wants the control. Read the memo from 1996, IG-0394. At that point, they were trying to "recover" the surplus amount in the pension plans, but they also wanted more direct control on benefits and costs.

Anonymous said...

From (6/23/07 3:32 PM) What did freezing do to the long term health of the IBM pension?

IBM declared immediate profits by freezing the plan: IBM Changes U.S. Pension Plans, quoting, "savings of $450 to $500 million for 2006, and $2.5 to $3 billion for the period 2006 through 2010, based on year-end 2005 pension assumptions."

By freezing the plan (equivalent to going inactive in the UCRS and going to TCP2), the uncertainty of the pension plan for the future is greatly reduced, since no one is getting raises, no one is adding years of service, etc. It becomes a simpler actuarial exercise to figure out how much you need to pay all of the inactive members their future benefits.

The big advantage of TCP2 over TCP1 (DCP vs DBP, i.e. 401(k) vs pension plan) is that the costs are known and upfront. No future uncertainties, which is why IBM went this route. Note that their DCP will pay 7% to 10%(quoting, "6 percent of salary deferrals, and to make additional automatic contributions of 1 to 4 percent of employees' pay into their 401(k) account."), similar to the LLNS proposal to pay 7% to 8.75%.

The perverse logic from LANS and LLNS management perspective, however, as pointed out by others above, is that TCP1 is better than TCP2. Why? TCP1 is about future liabilities, and TCP2 requires cash now. There's no new budget for the cash needed for TCP2, the Fee, and the Gross Receipts, hence the dramatic loss of subcontractors at LANS (BUT: "there is no RIF"). Easier to herd the sheep into TCP1 and let someone else figure out the funding problem in the future. And as pointed out, when TCP1 folks start whining a decade or so from now, who will hear them above the uproar already raised by all of the other failed pension plans?

If you are already vested in UCRS, my recommendation is to go inactive (and retire if you are roughly 57 or older) and take TCP2. But I was in the minority who thought that way at LANS.

Anonymous said...

An interesting informal survey of my LANL colleagues reveals that almost all of them, regardless of age, have an exit plan. This certainly wasn't true even a few years ago. The consequences of the gross incompetence NNSA could be a rapid implosion of LANL. Do others see the same scenario developing?

Anonymous said...

If you are already vested in UCRS, my recommendation is to go inactive (and retire if you are roughly 57 or older) and take TCP2. But I was in the minority who thought that way at LANS.

I say if you are around 54 years old go TCP-2 , start drawing your pension and folk as much as you can into the 401K, $20,500 tax deferred and pour in some more to get the pot of money as large as it can be in order to make more interest. If you have excess funds above the $20,500, dump the rest on your mortgage and have the house paid off in 5-6 years, and you'll be home free. Use your UCRP retirement to build your own 401k retirement and keep the taxable income down as much as you can. Lock in the survivors benefit for your spouse and medical too. Do not let this opportunity get away or you will have missed the boat. It just as many previous post have said, why let them give you a pay cut between 5- 16% that will only put funds into a pot that you may never see anything from to support others when you can put that 16% in your own fund and support yourself.

Anonymous said...

(6/23/07 4:28 PM) writes I say if you are around 54 years old go TCP-2 , start drawing your pension

The age factor at 54 is somewhat punishing, vs waiting until at least 57 (age 60 the age factor is maxed, so it's a no brainer). If going TCP2 now at 54, you may be better off going inactive and starting the annuity at UCRS after 57.

One exception would be if you have excessive sick time accrued (because sick pay is added to years of service if you retire now under UCRS, rather than go inactive, where you lose your sick pay time), or if you really need the cash flow now. But if you are transferring to TCP2, you'll still have a job, so why do you need the cash flow now?

These are complicated decisions mandated by the contract change-over. You got two months to figure it out.

Anonymous said...

(6/23/07 4:05 PM) writes " WHY WOULD ANYONE GO TCP-1"?

Even with all of my cautions about TCP1, a friend of my mine justifiably took TCP1 at LANS. He was 48, with four years, so he was not vested in UCRS. By joining TCP1 and working just one more year, he vested in a good old-fashioned DBP. He'll probably quit in a year or two and move on to other companies with 401(k)'s, but he's got a small DBP in his back pocket that will help supplement his retirement some day. In my opinion, a good choice and worth the risk, given age, years of service, employment plans, and other savings.

Your mileage will vary.

Anonymous said...

I figure I better get what ever I can before they think of something else they can take from me with their two year ," I can change anything I want clause" is exercised. How can anyone trust and organization that has spent decades trying to figure out, "at what age can we cut the employees off at the knees legally and without recourse", so that we do not have to pay them the benefits they have worked for, for decades and save money and be fat, dumb and happy. Well, if you haven't figured this out yet this is exactly what they have done. These punks knew that the majority of people at LLNL were between ages 53- 60, the point on the retirement curve where you are just about to acquire what you deserve. Seeing this they knew that they needed to dump all of us now so that in five years they would not have to pay. It was a well throughout and executed plan paid for by your tax money where the plan was given to them in writing by MERCER and Hewitt Associates. They grabbed the opportunity and screwed you, and now expect us to stick around like fools and use our money to fund their project of demise. I don't think so. I hope that some lawyer in the future sees this well executed plan and takes their little asses to court whereby everyone one of use get reimbursed for every dime they screwed us out of and the interest that it earned and our retirement brought up to the level it would have been is we were allowed to have stayed in the UCRP and waiting until age 60 to retire. They have earned my total respect and I will pass the word as mush as I can.

Anonymous said...

4:21, while many of my colleagues have an exit plan, many are not worried yet as they think Sens Bingaman and Domenici will come to the rescue. I'm not kidding.

Who are your colleagues? TSMs, Tecs, etc? I ask because several years ago LANL hired several hundred people who had no degree. I am doubtful they will do better elsewhere in NM than they do at LANL.

Anonymous said...

We should all get Mikey's promise:

Following his service at LANS and when he retires, the purchase of an annuity (or buyback of UCRP service credit if appropriate) in the amount necessary to compensate for the loss in pension benefits attributable to his actual period of service at LANS rather than remaining under the UC Retirement Plan, to be calculated by appropriately offsetting the amount of employer contributions that he will have received in the LANS market-based benefit package.

See: ANASTASIO Compensation Package

Anonymous said...

Awh, the fantasy four saga, or should I say BOYS arise again. I wonder who LLNL BOYS will be.

Regardless, we all know that it will not be us and we need to watch out for ourselves since it is obvious that these people are company men, opps, I mean BOYS and not on your side. I only wish the AFLCIO was running this place.

Anonymous said...

5:18, "These punks knew that the majority of people at LLNL were between ages 53- 60, the point on the retirement curve where you are just about to acquire what you deserve."

Don't know about LLNL, but at LANL according to the UCRP Special Interim Addendum Report, Pg 1, Exh A, All active members category, before elections:

Number 9570
Avg Age 44.3
Avg Service Credit 10.3 years

Pg 3, Exh B shows that of the 9570, 2660 were between 50 and 60, and 453 were over age 60.

At LANL anyway, that 50-60 age group of 2660 does not appear to be "the majority of people".

Anonymous said...

Just for everyone's curiosity what are the age group percentages at LLNL? Does anyone have the facts, not that its going to make any difference. The bottom line is the older people are getting the bone_r and DOE / NNSA know it. I comment them on a plan well executed . Welcome to corporate America and their loyalty.

Anonymous said...

I'm a bit surprised no one has posted the equivalent of the UCRP LANL report for LLNL.

Anonymous said...

Great post found elsehwere

Anonymous said...

To NNSA,LANS,LLNS and et al.,

Let LANS/LLNS manage the Labs and return/restore all LLNL/LANL employees to the UC retirement plan (UCRP) that they have earned and so justly deserve . . .
It shouldn't be too difficult to reverse the glossy campaign that was unceremonially hoist up the flagpole (using the slang that our retired U.S. Navy NNSA managers are all familiar with) to both LANL and LLNL employees. The message that was conveyed to LLNL employees (using "Town Hall Meeting?!" venues) was portrayed as an expression of NNSA, LANS and LLNS heartfelt concern and gratitude to LANL and LLNL employees for their combined years of outstanding service in the defense of our nation's national security. According to Thomas D'Agostino, we are all ". . . valued team team members" - my impression is that if this is how he treats "valued employees" then I wonder what it would be like to be off of his personal Christmas Card list? But, alas it appears to me that an effective manager and leader in the NNSA world you only need to be a proven bean counter and not someone has a vision for the future or compassion for those in their charge (but wait NNSA isn't the military or is it?) . . .

NNSA, LANS and LLNS appear to have "sub-contracted" with "sub-standard" programmers who got their 1's & 0's reversed (we, as faithful NNSA employees, are certain that the outcome was a mistake and totally unintended); which, mistakenly produced a flawed, inverted, unsavory and questionable retirement plan output. Of course, now that the kitty is out of the bag, it appears to have drawn interest from some highly placed individuals in Congress who happen to value our votes.
As a suggestion:
Any future brainstorms that you (NNSA, LANS and LLNS) may have on the drawing board should be run through a debugger first before placing your misguided and untested plans into operational and production status.
Thankfully, we in the weapon's research arena, attempt to test and resolve problem areas prior to going into full production!
Finally, it may not hurt to contract your future plans and programs with proven LANL and LLNL expertise . . .
6/23/07 2:06 PM

Anonymous said...

Some of the LLNL posters remind me of the LANL posters over the last two years. They complained loudly about the benefit changes and said they didn't have to take this type of abuse from NNSA....but they stayed. Then came the urine test and they threatened, once again, to leave....but they stayed. Then came the polygraph's return and they threatened, once again to leave in disgust....but they stayed.

This has clearly demonstrated to both NNSA and LANS that they can abuse the workforce in just about any fashion they wish. The workforce will bitch and complain loudly and threaten to leave, but in the end they'll stay and continue to take the paychecks. Too bad, because I suspect that NNSA and LANS would really like to see more people leave the payroll.

All the current LLNL threats to leave are mostly a means of venting frustration and not much else. Like LANL, I suspect that most of the people at LLNL will stay regardless of the raw deal that NNSA and LLNS will give them. Just watch the employee numbers at LLNL over the next few years. I highly doubt you'll see an exodus.

NNSA knows they don't have to offer you a chance to stay in UCRP. You'll take pretty much what ever they give you.

Anonymous said...

6/23/07 11:06 PM

You are probably right 100%. Those who are old enough to obtain an income that will keep their heads above water will leave. The ones who can not will stay to get what they can in the next 5 - 6 years in order to make up the millions of dollars NNSA / DOE well executes extortion will bring. The bottom line is that these guys are no better then the MOB, its just that they are government sanctioned. Their paid for, and well execute MERCER / Hewitt plan takes the cake. My question is, why would anyone new ever come to work for them.

Anonymous said...

Please read documents starting on page 18, BACKGROUND, 2nd paragraph towards the bottom tells DOE / NNSA them what to expect.They ignored the facts and now look at what thye have caused. Talk about a bunch of clowns. Why is it that the congressman and senators are not on these people's asses like white on rice and get rid of these dysfunctional boneheads. Go here http://management.energy.gov/FRCommentsMay10112007.pdf

This is the MERCER report and read for yourself. If I knew a way to copy the text out of the .pdf file I would have posted it for the world to see. Anyone who works for these people should be ashame.

Anonymous said...

From the (click me) Mercer Report 18th page, and final Mercer summary, 29th page:

Dual Programs = Higher Cost. The Notice would directly increase contractor expenses by mandating two-tier benefit structures that will increase administration and communication expense and require more complex and expensive discrimination testing. After several years, such a dual program is likely to fail discrimination testing. These additional costs of maintaining dual programs are likely to persist for 30 years or more.

The Notice would also directly increase contractor expense for the next several years because of the age profile of new hires. New employees arc typically younger than the average employee in a workforce. Market-based defined contribution (DC) plans typically provide the same contribution level for all employees regardless of age. The cost of defined benefit (DB) pension plans is a function of age, with younger employees costing much less than older employees. This cost increase can be demonstrated by a simple example.

Suppose a contractor sponsors a DB pension plan with an average cost of 6% of pay for a workforce with an average age of 48. If the plan is closed to new hires and new hires are put in a DC plan that provides a 6% of pay contribution the contractor's cost will increase. The closed group of participants in the DB plan will age and the average cost will increase above 6%. New hires, who would have cost less than 6% of pay in the DB plan, will have a cost of6% of pay in the DC plan. Cost for this contractor will continue to escalate above 6% for many years. If the new hires were placed instead in the DB plan, then the cost may have remained at 6% (particularly with the cost stabilization techniques we recommend below).


Summary: The DOE has correctly identified the volatility of reimbursements for pension and retiree medical benefits and the design of these programs as serious business issues. However, abolishing plans will exacerbate problems as contractors will have increased costs, may be unable to retain workers and may have more difficulty managing the turnover ofthe workforce. Intermediate solutions exist that will mitigate volatility and provide valued retirement benefits to workers.

There you have it. DOE has received expert detailed analysis of the pension train wreck they are creating, and they have chosen to ignore it. Also read the full Mercer report detailing how retiree medical under the current approaches will be an even bigger train wreck.

Anonymous said...

Unbelievable!!! DOE paid MERCER to analyze DOE's two-track benefit plan. MERCER said it was a very bad idea. DOE was so hot-to-trot at fucking over their contractor workforce at LANL and LLNL that they did it anyway!

Do you need any further reason to start working now to see that our nuclear weapon labs are ripped from DOE/NNSA control? DOE/NNSA bureaucrats appear to get some type of sick enjoyment in screwing over their contractor workforce. It's not going to get any better as time goes on.

Anonymous said...

If only there were more people like this at Livermore. I only wish all 8000+ got on the same train. Remember the young ones need to look at the fact that the 5% UC /LLNS is asking you to take as a pay cut is only going into a pot to take care of others under TCP-1. You need to understand that the 5% in years to come will become 16%. If that be the case then why not go TCP-2 and stick that money and more into your own 401K and make it work for you, that way when they hand you the pink slip, which by the way is coming, you can take all those funds with you. It is absolutely foolish for any reason to go TCP-1. The bottomless pit is going to be frozen in a few years anyway and all have to go to TCP-2, therefore losing all the years and money the you contributed to TCP-1. Think hard people. Think hard.

Anonymous said...
Yes, being able to "double-dip" is WONDERFUL! I was 60 with 30 years service at LANL and thinking of retiring to get my UCRP monthly pension. Now, I have the best of all worlds. I don't have to retire, and receiving my UCRP pension check each month gives me the freedom to sock away lots of money, matched by LANS, into the new 401K. Since I was 60/30 on the UCRP, I wasn't going to benefit much by holding off on the UCRP retirement for much longer if the status quo held. Now, this new setup means I won't have to ever retire if I don't want to. I think I'll just keep working till I'm 75 and use the extra savings from the UCRP + LANS matched 401k + LANL salary to take some fantastic vacations and pass along a bigger inheritance to my kids and grandkids. For us "old-timers", the new setup is actually a huge advantage. NNSA was very kind to us. Your mileage may vary.

6/22/07 8:33 PM

Anonymous said...

Yes, the idea of putting 5-16% of my wages into my own 401K instead of TCP-1 sounds a lot better to me. You have totally convinced me to go TCP-2 and take care of myself. I will do my best to covey that idea to as many people as I can al LLNL to assure that no one goes into TCP-1.
TCP-1 should be entitled a _fools dream_ or maybe better yet a _wet dream_. Thanks for opening my eyes.

It is obvious that LLNS,LLC has nothing to offer and that what is being offered would have never materialized under any fortune 500 companies leadership, especially if their goal was to make a profits or attract educated people who have a desire to put into their position far more than what is required. This offer is a joke and so is the ideology that DOE and NNSA have gone out of their way to destroy at least two viable institutions whose service to this nation was impeccable, glorifying and noteworthy. What idiot was responisbe for this movement.

Anonymous said...


"It is obvious that LLNS,LLC has nothing to offer and that what is being offered would have never materialized under any fortune 500 companies leadership, especially if their goal was to make a profits or attract educated people who have a desire to put into their position far more than what is required."

Remember, the LLNS bid is in response to a RFP. Your issue is with NNSA, not LLNS. It is important that angst be directed at the appropriate party in all this.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know why the 401K employee contribution limit
is set to $15500 when the IRS limit
for 2008 is $16000? Is there any mention of resetting this to the IRS limit in the future? Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Your combined contribution to your 403(b) (public institution) and 401(k) (private institution) cannot exceed the maximum for either for the year. For 2007 it's 15,500, so you'll have to add the amounts you put in for your nine months at UC into your 403(b) and for your three months at LLNS into your 401(k). I think LANS did this automatically for us last year, I don't recall any problems. And every year, the new limit has automatically been applied, so I would think you'll see a $16K limit starting with your January check.

For those of you LLNL employees contributing also to the 457, please note the following. The 457 (public institutions only) is counted separately from the 403(b), so you presently can sock away twice the limit in tax deferred accounts. LLNS, a private firm, will be unable to offer a 457, so max out now your UC 457 before the transition in October, if you want the max deferrals for 2007. But move quickly, since there is a lag in requesting a larger 457 contribution from your paycheck.

Anonymous said...

6/24/07 6:54 PM

Then so be it. I hope NNSA is reading these post and understand what the people who are going to be working for them think. I am sure they will feel real comfortable knowing that they have a few thousand people think their deal stinks to all hell. I am on site to my eight hours and that's it. May I suggest that all LLNL employees adope the civil service mentality come Monday morning..

Anonymous said...

"But move quickly, since there is a lag in requesting a larger 457 contribution from your paycheck."

I submitted my request in late May to start contributing to my 457(b). The way I understand it, the deduction will be reflected in my July paycheck (which will be dated June 29th because July 1st is on a Sunday). I'll see if it happens on that schedule. If not, I won't have much time to bump up my contribution in time for the final paycheck in late September. BTW, I'm planning on cashing out my vacation balance and having it put into my 457(b).

The other thing that may not be well known is that you can start withdrawing from your 457(b) without penalty after you separate from service (from UC) even before you turn 59-1/2.

Anonymous said...

There is a lot of good information here and clearly a lot of extremely bright people at the Labs...but then, we already knew that. Too bad DOE/NNSA haven't figured that out. I definitely see the benefits of TCP2. Long before all of the contract info for LLNL was announced I feared having my retirement funds in a private company. The presentation Thursday and the blog entries have reinforced what I feared. At least with the 401K, as several have mentioned, the money is in my pocket. Personally, though, I'm already looking for other career opportunities outside of LLNL. It would be difficult working for a company that I can't respect or trust.

Thank you to all the LLNL and LANL employees who have helped clarify the confusion provided us on Thursday. I heard that LANL was able to fight to improve the benefits first offered by LANS. Can anyone tell me if this is true? If so, can you provide the details (before vs. after the fight)? Thank you!

Anonymous said...

Today's Google's "Quotes of the Day" seems cautionary, if not apropos :-)!

I prefer the company of peasants because they have not been educated sufficiently to reason incorrectly.

Michel de Montaigne
French essayist (1533 - 1592)

Anonymous said...

To add to 8:05, the limit is $20.5k if you are >=50 in 2007.

Anonymous said...

One tiny wrinkle (at least in the LANS transition process) I haven't seen mentioned here. For those going to TCP2 and considering whether to go "inactive vested" in UCRP or just retire from UC, the deciding point may be that (at least at LANL) such employees were allowed to keep accumulated UC sick leave (as opposed to transferring it to LANS) and count it as UC service credit, but only if they chose to retire within 120 days of termination from UC. The question is whether, if you are under 60, your age factor increase until you intend to retire outweighs the service credit bump corresponding to your accumulated sick leave if you retire within 120 days. It's a simple calculation, even taking into account the projected pay raises (if any) and UCRP COLAs.

Anonymous said...

It's interesting, but since the creation of NNSA, the tri-labs have seen nothing but decline, which shows some danger of being terminal.

In any organization, after it has aged a bit, there is usually a top 1% or so of the people who make things happen. The Google mode is not sustainable, in the long term; you can't have 100% of the people be PIs. When an organization starts to get unpleasant to work for, you start to lose those top people -- better options exist elsewhere.

Past a point, you've lost the top people that make the place go, and what you've got left are drones. Then things really start to fall apart. Drones don't like individuals. They like "process", and "team players", and non-boat-rockers. You can't get good people, because the organization is so stultified that no innovation or new ideas are acceptable.

In business, it's easy. The organization dies. Labs can't easily die, rather, they enter the kind of suspended death that can be seen at the various DoD labs -- Aberdeen, NRL, etc. -- no real work goes on, just contract management and employment for employment's sake.

LANL may take this route. I hope not. The loss of LANL would cause irrecoverable harm to the science base of the US.

But it's going to be LANL science or the NNSA. Either the NNSA gets killed or LANL does. No other option exists.

Let's hope somebody figures out it out undoes the NNSA before it is too late.

Anonymous said...

6/22 8:30 PM... so-called double dipper... not a good term... well your not too sharp are you. 30 years already and you want another 15? And if you wanted to leave money to your estate you should have taken the UC lump sum cashout. Now, when you, plus your wife maybe, kick the bucket all the dough stays with UC not going to your kids or grand kids. You could have invested the LSC conservatively in a tax deferred account and blown the crap out of your monthly stipend (which is taxed at full earned income rates). At least you didn't go to TCP1 like some financial retards at your age, but you didn't score an A+ on this test, not even close.

Anonymous said...

All of those who are double dipping it is my hopes that they took out survivors benefits (option A) whereby when they die their spouse gets 100% of his or he pay for the rest of their life. This is not free. It cost about $300, but well worth it unless your spouse works at the lab too and then there is no need for it. Then if you do not retire and die on the job your wife get OPTION A the day you die under U, however if you are not 50 and you die all your wife gets is what is in your 403b or 457 and $7500 dollars. So the point is, if you are 50 retire lock everything in and take the money. Take that full retirement check and put it into a 401K up to the legal limit. Take the rest and put it on the principle of the house. Pay the house as fast as possible so that if you should get a pink slip it won't really matter. If you still can't stay in the home, sell the materialistic piece of crap and down size, probably something you should have done from day one anyway instead of trying to keep up with the Jones. Time is a wasting. How long will it be before the light bulb comes on?

I sent the entire day during every converataion exeplain why people should go TCP-2 and NOT TCP-1 I helped a few people both young and old. As a matter of a fact TCP-2 is the best route for 30 year olds to go, at least they know what they have and they are not caputered in a plan that is doomed to fail.

Anonymous said...

Once you have read the benefits proposal made by LLNS to the NNSA (see attached) and want to provide comments, you may use any of the nine pathways listed below. Comments/questions are due by 12:00 noon this Thursday, June 28.

To contact Secretary of Energy, Samuel Bodman (email):

To contact Tom D'Agostino, Deputy Administrator for Defense Programs, NNSA (email):
Thomas.Dagostino@nnsa.doe. gov

To contact Congressman Jerry McNerney (web page):

Rep. Jerry McNerny
312 Cannon House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515
Phone:(202) 225-1947
Fax: (202) 225-4060

To contact Congresswoman Ellen Tauscher (web page):

Rep. Ellen Tauscher
2459 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington DC 20515
fax: 202/225-5914

To contact Speaker of the House, Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi (web page):
To contact Senator Dianne Feinstein (web page):

Senator Dianne Feinstein
United States Senate
331 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510
Phone: (202) 224-3841
Fax: (202) 228-3954
TTY/TDD: (202) 224-2501

To contact Senator Barbara Boxer (web page):

Senator Barbara Boxer
United States Senate
112 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510
fax 415/956-6701
(I was told that the fax goes to the San Francisco office and then would be electronically transmitted to the Washington DC office)

To contact NNSA (email):
To contact LLNS (web page):

Anonymous said...

Please keep the pressure on. MERCER must be thinking, "how stupid can one be "? Go here and look in the center of the page.

Rep. Ellen Tauscher Leads Bipartisan, Bicameral Group to Insist on Congruent Benefit Package for Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory


Anonymous said...

The solution to Tauscher's proposal is simple: decrease the LANS benefit to match LLNL. That'll bring congruence.

Anonymous said...

June 25, 2007

Rep. Ellen Tauscher Leads Bipartisan, Bicameral Group to Insist on Congruent Benefit Package for Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

Wins fight for public comment period

Washington , DC – Rep. Ellen Tauscher along with her California colleague Senator Diane Feinstein (D) as well as Senators Jeff Bingaman (D-NM), and Pete Domenici (D-NM) sent a letter to Secretary of Energy Samuel Bodman today stressing that a new benefits package for employees of Lawrence Livermore Laboratory can only be in the best interest of national security, scientific advancement and equity if it is congruent to the package being offered at Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico.

Rep. Tauscher led the bipartisan effort that spans both the House and Senate in her role as Chairman of the House Armed Services Strategic Forces Subcommittee.

The letter states “A key component of the nation's strategy to provide scientific leadership to support the nation's nuclear deterrent is sustaining two competitive design laboratories. Maintaining this vital competitive environment requires equity between these institutions, and success requires a stable workforce throughout the complex and the scientific and technical talent to deliver results to protect our nation.”

The letter comes on the heels of a request from Rep. Tauscher and her colleagues last week that the Department of Energy, at the very least, instate a public comment period for employees to voice their thoughts on benefit package. The DOE has agreed and this comment period will move forward.

“The whole point of the competitive lab structure is that competition breeds the best science in order to bolster our national security,” said Rep. Tauscher. “If the labs aren’t able to recruit and retain the best and brightest minds equally, then the whole concept of competition is lost, the best science isn’t being achieved, and our national security is weakened.” I will do everything in my power as Chairman of the subcommittee that oversees the labs to ensure the Energy Department gets this right. Anything but a congruent benefit package among the labs is not in the interest of national security, scientific advancement, or the spirit of fairness.”

The full text of the letter follows below.

June 25, 2007

Samuel W. Bodman
U.S. Department of Energy
1000 Independence Ave., SW
Washington , DC 20585

Dear Secretary Bodman,

As you know, we are all strong supporters of the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) and promote scientific capabilities in support of its missions. In particular, we support a well-balanced NNSA complex that can attract and retain the talent necessary to fulfill its national security mission and maintain a credible nuclear deterrent.

A key component of the nation's strategy to provide scientific leadership to support the nation's nuclear deterrent is sustaining two competitive design laboratories. Maintaining this vital competitive environment requires equity between these institutions, and success requires a stable workforce throughout the complex and the scientific and technical talent to deliver results to protect our nation. It is therefore critically important that the Department of Energy (DOE) carefully steward the transition of these laboratories to new contractors and enable the contractors to offer equitable benefits packages that support their contract obligations and empower them to deliver the results DOE and Congress expect from these contracts, which means that neither contractor should have a competitive advantage over another in terms of pay and benefits. We are extremely concerned about the impact of the recent contract competitions at the two design laboratories on NNSA's ability to fulfill its national security requirements, because we understand that just such an imbalance now looms among the different labs.

We recommend that DOE/NNSA accept the LLNS proposed "LANL comparable" pension and benefits plan for LLNL commencing October 1, 2007 to resolve the potential inequities between the two benefits packages. We further recommend that DOE/NNSA conduct a more relevant Ben-Val Study for the DOE labs and comparable FFRDCs to establish an appropriate and consistent market base that accurately accounts for the challenges of recruiting and retaining top quality scientific talent in our current economy. In order to avoid further problems, we urge you to undertake the appropriate Ben-Val revaluation at the same time.

We know that you share our commitment to support the scientific capabilities necessary to fulfill the NNSA’s vital missions and look forward to working with you to sustain as workforce that meets our scientific and technical needs today and into the future.


Rep. Ellen Tauscher

Sen. Diane Feinstein

Sen. Jeff Bingaman

Sen. Pete Domenici.

Anonymous said...

Why are we not receiving the same 401 k options as Los Alamos laboratory?
If the study done to see what benefits other companies offer was used as a guideline what companies were used for the Los Alamos contract?
If LLNS is to attract quality people and keep them for the long term how are they going to do this if you do not have a pension plan. One of the main reasons we come to work for the lab is because of the benefits that we had in the UC system.
In the private sector quality companies not only offer competitive salaries and pay for your medical in most cases a paid PPO, while also offering performance bonuses and stock options at the least.
So from what LLNS will be offering after October 1st to its new hires not included in the UC system is the same or less than they would have in the private sector. These sounds like the lab will be a stepping stone for quality employees to work and then move on. This is not a good approach to retain or attract the skill levels needed or to pass on that training to other personal to maintain all the goals that the lab strives to achieve including stockpile stewardship.
How are the new professionals going to feel working side by side other employees that are going to receive a pension and they will not?
The pension fund that is being offered in TCP1 is the money fully insured in other words if it is required that the employee contribute to the plan for example 5% is the other 95% insured.
It seems that the only money going into the fund will be coming from employees transferring from the UC system without any new funds going into this plan how do we know if that money will be their when we retire?

Anonymous said...

An analysis of the benefits impact on LLNL (and LANL after-the-fact) folks...

Both elements of the Total Compensation packages (TCP1 and TCP2) proposed benefits package fail to meet NNSA mission requirements as direct result of shortcomings of the NNSA request for proposal to manage LLNL. The TCP1 plan does not satisfy the Congressionally directed requirement of substantial equivalence. The TCP 2 plan will not allow LLNL to meet the requirement to attract and retain talent. TCP 2 starts a brain drain that fundamentally undermines the US nuclear deterrence posture.

A. Both LLNL and LANL TCP 1 plans are not substantially equivalent to the UCRP benefits for current employees

TCP 1 has nine significant take-aways and no offsets.

First, the nine significant takeaways.

1. The option of a lump sum cash out is no longer available. It costs the retirement system nothing more to allow it. It is merely assigning a precisely equivalent discounted present value to the equivalent promised lifetime cash stream. This option is particularly important to those who do not see the NNSA "mini-me" startups as secure.

2. Tax deferral of 457B plan is taken away. Over an employee's lifetime this tax deferral can be substantial. Up to $20,000 of salary per year can be tax deferred. Though not many LLNL or LANL employees use it early in their careers, many more will use it during their lifetime as it becomes feasible.

3. The plan to prorate the first year TCP1 COLA is an immediate 2% loss of benefits compared to what is available now under UCRP.

4. TCP1 retirement cash flows are more risky because it is not backed by either the full faith and credit of a government as UCRP is, nor even the LLNS managing partners because it is an LLC. NNSA provides no written assurances so the employees retirement cash flows are backed only by an undercapitalized startup.

5. TCP1 employees will have different employee retirement contribution rates over time than UCRP due to different cost structures, investment returns and actuarial assumptions NNSA provides no written assurance that they will be linked, only unenforceable and vague statements of intent.

6. Employment uncertainty - Many LANL and LLNL employees know that as a result of the employer change, their jobs are in far greater jeopardy that before. We know that the cost reductions needed to defray the increased operating costs of company profit and tax payments can not over time be borne without significant staff reductions.

7. Lower employee investment returns on 401k investments – smaller 401k funds have increased management costs, less investment options and are more likely to be poorly managed.

8. Higher medical payments will be needed because the new startup is a small company that does not have the market pricing power to negotiate the same economy of scale with medical plans

9. Time is not considered properly in any NNSA valuation –The NNSA Mercer Benval formula is a static comparison of benefits. Aggregated over time the likely difference between the UCRP plan and the proposed TCP1 plan to each employee is tens of thousands of lost dollars over their remaining careers. Losses compound, even a seemingly insignificant 1% loss per year is a significant 25% loss over 30 years.

Now consider the compensating NNSA “give backs” to bring TCP1 losses to equality with UCRP….


A reader can only conclude the two plans are not equivalent. A more honest representation sounds like something Groucho Marx might say….

“…the proposed plan is substantially equivalent except for the things we left out to make it look substantially equivalent….”

B. Shortsightedness of the LLNL TCP 2 Plan offered to new hires

1. The 105% TCP2 benefit limit in the NNSA RFP is now unworkable. Under this plan, all new hires, the brain trust of 2030, will receive a miserly 1% contribution to their 401k program as the only service related contribution to their retirement during the first nine years of service. This new LLNL startup will not be competitive in local markets. Would a Hertz fellow or a top Cal Tech graduate choose a life in weapons work when much better options exist? Locally in the Bay Area, LBL, Sandia, SLAC, Rand and many top firms in Silicon Valley, Oakland and San Francisco offer better packages.

2. Who, if hired under TCP2, will stay? There is no incentive to remain an LLNL or LANL employee. A new hire will develop a talent and market it elsewhere to gain the long-term security for his family that is absent at LLNL, LANL and better provided elsewhere… Millions invested in salary, billions in data and no strings are attached…..Given that it takes years to decades to make an effective weapons scientist, this is irrational.

At current rates, the US government has invested nearly a trillion dollars in the nuclear deterrent to protect Western Civilization. It takes years to decades to train a competent and credible cadre of weapons scientists that can understand and certify the complex weapons stockpile. Over the past 55 years the University of California wisely offered and attractive pay and benefit packages to be able to attract, select and retain talent that needed to be challenged and trained in the weapons sciences. This successful paradigm is being discarded. NNSA is conducting an ill-concieved experiment in organization redesign that threatens that core competence of both weapons labs. Not having a deep, talented staff to certify the stockpile in the next 50 years will undermine the deterrent and the investment.

Anonymous said...

Well, duh, 6/26/07 3:35 PM.

You're just now figuring this out? You've had the benefit of watching Los Alamos go through this exact transition on July 1, a year ago. Did you think NNSA was going to treat LLNL any differently than they treated LANL? Caring about the health and well being of our weapons labs didn't even make it on to NNSA's short list of things to care about.

Anonymous said...

6/26/07 6:02 PM
Hits the nail on the head, or maybe even the pecker. Ouch!

Anonymous said...
As pink floyd would say:
Hello, is there anybody in there.We are desperately numb. Sounds
like the NNSA anthem.
NNSA must have seen the LLNL work force as a bunch of brain dead
kowtowing cowards who they thought they could trample on with
impunity as they employed their goose step tactics expecting
everyone at LLNL to be too fightened to speak up and question their
motives. What they found and awakened however was a sleeping giant
who possesses the brains, intestinal fortitude and DC connections
(skills attained while achieving tremendous technical and
theoretical strides as they faithfully supported the needs of this
great nation - in spite of years of DOE/NNSA meddlling, misdirection
and ineptitude) necessary to intelligently question this new
corporate direction. The voices that you have begun to hear will
only get louder and more persistent until you allow reason and
employee concerns to enter (and make a difference) in your decision
making pro cess. All we ever hear from NNSA is that without LLNL's
magnificent human resource this great institution would not exist.
You have very effectively reduced our efforts to cocktail chatter
and pandering praise - please keep those to yourself and give us
back a just and well deserved benefits package coupled with the
freedom to continue to make significant scientific discoveries.
Our NNSA leaders have provided LLNS senior management with huge
salaries, benefits and perks as long as they support and promote
this massive reduction of our health care benefits and pension
checks (makes me wonder if senior LLNS management should also have
poligraphs and be allowed to pee in a bottle - now that could be
called sloppin' with the pigs - 'er I mean cohabitating with the
working class - I, however, seriously doubt if that will happen).
I'm curious, have any DC NNSA types ever attempted to purchase real
estate or buy gas for the long commutes that we take to get to LLNL?
Please do a study on what it costs to live a lower to middle class
existence in Northern California. Perhaps you haven't considered or
don't care that increases in our health care costs and contributions
to the TCP1 pension plan may cause many employees to lose their
homes. Are NNSA/LLNS managers certain that your much "ballyhooed"
benefits plan will retain quality scientific and engineering staff;
while providing sufficient incentives to attract world class
scientific talent (at this point delusional comes to mind). NNSA
believes that they've won the battle but I wager that they have just
won the first round of this poker match and that their first shot
over the bow will not soon be forgotten by world class LLNL "UC"
employees! Their actions remind me of those many corporate leaders
and CEOs who reduced, stole or underfunded their employees
retirement funds while making tremendous salaries because their
cost-cutting ways provided stockholders wi th increased dividends;
only to find out that they are now serving long and justified prison
terms for their abuses. Do you really think that we are so easily
swayed by your "folksy" town hall meetings and that we trust you?
Respect and trust need to be earned and are not commodities that are
given away freely. Why is it necessary for LLNS LLC ( LLC,
translated from corporate speak, equates to a Limited Liability
Corporation). What "exactly" are you limiting your liability from?!
You have mentioned that you (LLNS) are working for (with?) us by
suggesting that we send our comments to NNSA in an attempt to make
this process an employee friendly implementation! This appears to be
a thinly veiled and feeble attempt to take some of the heat off of
LLNS and redirect this impending storm toward NNSA. It seems to me
that you are both playing in the same sandbox together. How many of
you have, with NNSA's Blessing, obtained a "golden parachute" as a
payoff for feeding us a "filtered and slanted" version of the
benefits plan.
What you gained by committing this tragic act is to ensure that the
country will now get employees who work from 8 to 4:30. You will be
able to hire those who lack scientific and research experience; also
those who are willing to appease the boss by hurrying the job, those
who are willing to cut coners on projects and materials and a staff
that will is incapable of providing the quality craftsmanship that
LLNL scientists, engineers and project managers have come to expect.
I predict that LLNL will soon become a mediocre laboratory and one
that has been severely diminished due to our legacy workers
departing for greener pastures. Additionally, I believe that those
who stay will no longer perform their assignments and tasks with the
same dedication because they are (rightfully so) feeling
disenfranchised by DOE, NNSA and LLNS and their grandious, less than
humanistic, plans for the future. Reminds me of a song that my
Mother would sing to me when I was young and concer ned for my
well-being - "Just a spoonful of sugar and the medicine goes down in
a most delightful way!" Sing along . . .
With that said, I have just a few questions/comments to make before
I wrap this up . . .
Have you considered that you (NNSA/LLNS) are being viewed in a less
than favorable light by LLNL workers, Congress and the People of the
United States because of your amateurish Management/Corporate 101
antics, skills and tactics?
Does the LLNS/NNSA management team realize that privitizing this
esteemed Laboratory (known for fostering greatness, ingenuity and
scientific discovery - a commodity sorely needed during this
dangerous time in our Nation's history) will most likely
dramatically reduce LLNL effectiveness and productivity; along with
adversely impacting the earning potential of the laboratory's employees?
Is anyone really going to want to go to work for NNSA/LLNS (knowing
how they treated their long-term employees by introducing a plan
that destroyed a pension plan that was, for the most part,
self-supporting)? Is this being done to save money, counter jealousy
and/or to implement a policy of equalization among DOE Labs?
If you think this endeavor has won you respect, think again. All you
have accomplished is to show your true colors. Over the last 50
years LLNL has been managed by UC and attained a level of
performance and success that others in this world can only hope to
So again I will ask you, "Is there anyone in there?" I guess not,
all I'm hearing is an echo and all I'm seeing is the picked over and
burned out carcass of the once famous Lawrence Livermore National
Laboratory . . .
6/26/07 6:02 PM

Anonymous said...

6/26/07 6:35 PM

Outstanding. Bravo Zulu to the composer of this fine piece of work. It's people like this that made our country great, not the weasels who are in charge of DOE and NNSA, or as far as that is concern the concubines who are about to have their salaries increased for become the hatchet men at LLNL and LLNS. These are the cowards the scientist and engineers of LLNL and LANL support and gave them an opportunity to rise to the top. If it was for us you clowns would still be lab rats. You have earned out total respect. Thank you sir. May I have another

Anonymous said...

6/26/07 6:35 PM

A shorter version seems to be:
National lab employees are selected to be people who will not stand up for themselves.

NNSA on the other hand is not evil. They are worse. They just do not care about employees at national labs and do not think that it worth their time to treat these employees better.

"Never attribute to malevolence what can be explained by stupidity."

Anonymous said...

Correction to response by 6/26/07 3:35 PM

"3. The plan to prorate the first year TCP1 COLA is an immediate 2% loss of benefits compared to what is available now under UCRP."

The proration of the COLA is actually a (very small) plus-up. Say you decided to retire on August 1, 2008. Under UC, you'd have to wait until July 1, 2010 to receive your first COLA. Under the LLNS proposal, you'd get 11/12 of the COLA on July 1, 2009 (for the 11 months from August 2008 through July of 2009). Given this, it still seems to me this would be more of an advantage to LLNS - they would not have to deal with a slug of retirees all coming through the benefits organization's door at the end of June, just because of an arbitrary July 1 date.

Anonymous said...

Repeat after me

It is my wish that all people find a successful means of making a living. Unfortunately, those who can't learn to play the stupid corporate games, often will end up on the losing end of the pay scale over and over and over again. Those who find my ass kissing techniques difficult, should form a support group and roll play different ass kissing situations until all the participants can handle themselves with confidence, a straight face and without losing their lunch. Just mastering the first three steps will separate you from the rest of the pack! Good luck with your careers!

"Kiss ass or be given the boot." - ANON

Anonymous said...

6:35 You tell'm. We ain't gonna change! We're the best! We got a 50 year history that includes an entitlement to keep slaries and benefits growning! The American Taxpayer just won't stand for these stupid changes! We don't need no stinkin' congressional funding . . . wait a minute, might need to think about that one a minute more . . .

Anonymous said...

I have to laugh watching the LLNL staff just now getting outraged about all that is happening with their privatization. You should have seen this coming over 2 years ago. At least you had a map (LANL's experience) with which to be prepared.

You'll likely end up handling things like most of LANL's staff. You'll begrudingly take whatever NNSA offers because you have no choice. Then, in a few years, NNSA will decide to offer you even less. Why? Because they can. The idea that you'll be able to force them to let you remain in the UCRP is hopeless. It's not going to happen. They'll offer you some meaningless verbal promises that everything will be OK and that you can trust them to do the right thing. Nothing more.

Anonymous said...

How have things changed at LANL? Except for the unfortunate release of employees whose employment had expiration dates (subcontractors and limited term employees), a few drug users caught by drug testing, aren't the majority of employees who were there last year still there? Including a fair number of double dippers (retiree rollovers). You got 112% to the proposed 105% here. You complain and predict doom, but from the outside looking in, things appear to be pretty much the same - paychecks still coming, raises still happening, even some hiring still going on. Tell me again when the sky is going to fall?!

Anonymous said...

6/26 10;11pm

What you say in true.

Anonymous said...

So what is an effective response?

Anonymous said...

6/26/07 6:35 PM

At the next presenataion or maybe on the day LLNS takes over, can we gather all 8000 employees outside their repectvie buildings at 8:00 AM and sing in unison:

.We don't need no education
.we don't need no thought control
.No dark sarcasm in the classroom
.Teachers leave the kids alone
.Hey teacher leaves the kids alone
.All in all its just another brick in the wall
.All in all you're just another brick in the wall

Anonymous said...

6/26/07 10:11 PM

Your post supports my argument even more as to why no one should go TCP-1 and "everyone should go TCP-2". Do any of you at LLNL have a brain or is it as the lyrics say from the song, "Another Brick in the Wall " or maybe the previous poster who referred to the song "Desperately Numb" Went is all said and done and HR releases the numbers the general public who know who the fools were and who were the smart ones. What group will you be in? NNSA and DOE are banking on the fact that you have no balls, can't see the freight train coming and will comply to their wishes. If that's what you want to be remembered for, then you are a disgrace to the nation and truly are no better then those who stand in the welfare line waiting for a hand-out. TCP-2 to bend over rover and Jimmy take over. MY hands will be on your shoulders. Both hands will be on on your shoulders as "we slip sliding away". Good luck people.

Anonymous said...

6/26/07 11:19 PM

You must live in a shell and have no clue as to what is going on or why. Go away.

Anonymous said...

I am a current LLNL employee and THANK GOD for all the information the "real LANL" employees are posting. I am very upset with the benefits (or shall I say lack of) that we were offered and have been mounting a "grass roots" movement to get as many people at LLNL as possible to respond to this.

We have been told we are being offered a susbstantially equivalent package to what the UC has offered and we all know how untrue that is.

My biggest question that I am hoping someone at LANL can answer for me, is how much did you medical premiums change? I know that you no longer have HMOS, but for someone with a PPO with UC and now with LLNS, what is the premium difference for a family?

Any help would be great and thanks for being such a great group with the REAL INFORMATION!!!!

Anonymous said...

"I know that you no longer have HMOS, but for someone with a PPO with UC and now with LLNS, what is the premium difference for a family? "

For that sir I will have to direct you to http://www.llnsllc.com/ since they now control the medical benefits package for LLNL people. There is a LANS contact there although some people have not found Lynda to be very helpful or concern about your issues. She is a LLNS spokesman/ women. Hope you have better luck with her than I did. Lynda Seaver 925-423-9477 or lseaver@llnsllc.com. When all else fails I start here, customer.service@ucop.edu

Anonymous said...

11:19, the sky likely will not fall until LANL's funding is cut (or if costs keep increasing with a fixed budget). One of LANL's issues is that LANL labor is a large part of LANL's total costs. They are squeezing relatively small cost categories, e.g., travel, to try to compensate for increasing labor costs.

Since mgt seems to like 6-sigma so much, it might be better to say they are not dealing with the primary cost category on a Pareto chart, but with the other smaller cost contributors.

People are expecting raises to be algorithmically administered - with a good chance of some zero raises for those on the bad side of the algorithm.

Anonymous said...

"- with a good chance of some zero raises for those on the bad side of the algorithm"

I would expect to see this pay raise for a number of years probably between 5- 7 years. The only want LLNS or LANS can show a profit is to top the salary ceiling and get rid of people. This mode of operation will continue until they get the cap where they want it to be, leaving nothing for the younger generation to work towards. The point being is that what you get hired on at, is where you are going to be for a long time. Once the old guys who are paid well are gone, that rate of pay will never be seen again, and if it is that's only an indication that inflation has caught up with that salary; leaving you still on the bad end of the stick. This in conjunction with asking the employees to contribute 5 - 16 % of their salary to TCP-1 , raising medical cost and having each person at the same time try and establish a 401K to make up the difference, well, it should take long to put your life in prospective with the economy and place in in a lower class of life. Don't worry, your future is all planed out for you. Just sit back and enjoy the rid

Anonymous said...

Okay I am tired of rumor control central. I want to know where it says that TCP-1 is backed by DOE / NNSA 100% in case LLNS or LANS fails. Can anyone show me this document. For sure this white paper does not say that. So please is anyone can point me to a link where it say this I would like to see the offical document. When I go here http://www.doeal.gov/llnlCompetition/QuestionsAndResponses.htm

and click on the Contractor Human Resources White Paper I do not see anything about a 100% guarantee of TCP-1 pension plan.

Anonymous said...

"I am a current LLNL employee and THANK GOD for all the information the "real LANL" employees are posting."

11:54, one advantage of being a "traitor" or "convert" (depending on what side you're looking at the situation from) is the added insight gained from having made a recent switch from one Lab to the other. Hopefully that insight and sharing of information will aid in the decision making of employees from BOTH Labs.

Anonymous said...

so NNSA... Do you want us working on national problems or personal ones? Time is limited. The choice is yours. Maslow tells you which order we will work them.

Sadly I doubt that you care enough to tell the difference.

How well are things working at LANL after the first year of amateur-hour organizational redesign?

NNSA answer, "I don't know".

Anonymous said...

It is backed by "allowable costs", but because DOE budgets are approved on an annual basis, you probably won't find the "backed 100%" words.

However, it does work. SRS has had to include pension support in the budget several times over the past few years due to the larger number of retirees (average age here is 52). The support was needed to keep the pension funded at required levels. Frankly I'd rather have it backed by the Feds than a state.

Anonymous said...

6/27/07 8:28 OK, can I assume that another thing that hasn't changed is your attitude?

Anonymous said...

6/27/07 9:14 PM

I have heard rumor that DOE / NNSA supposed to guarantee the pension plan until the last retiree dies. I guess my question what age group is that. However and regardless of the guarantee I still do not agree with the 5 - 16 % contributions that they will be taking out of all LLNS and LANS employees pocket very soon. Those contribution amount to a pay cut for everyone and I just can not stomach that. I just feel I am donating to a cause that is there to feed others and quite frankly I can not afford to take these pay cuts. I am still waiting on those pay raises that would put me slightly ahead of inflation. These have never materialized. So with that said I think I am going to have to go TCP_2. This is personal decision that each individual has to make, but with all the uncertainties and loop holes of being able to change things on the fly every two years I am not confident in the system or the future and feel that I must grasp what I can certainly put my hands on now. Anyway, I still want to see the 100% guaranteed funding ,not because it will help me, but because it will help those who are not going TCP_2.

Anonymous said...

(6/27/07 9:30 PM) I have heard rumor that DOE / NNSA supposed to guarantee the pension plan until the last retiree dies.

See the 5th page of (click me) UC Transfer of Assets, quoting:

Funding Agreement
The Funding Agreement clarifies and implements the commitment by DOE/NNSA under
the Contract to reimburse UC for any contributions made to UCRP to fund any existing
or future funding shortfalls in UCRP attributable to the LANL Segment. It also
establishes the methodology of calculating whether a current shortfall exists.

The DOE/NNSA has agreed to a target funded ratio for the LANL Segment within UCRP
of 100%. Any year that the segment is underfunded (using UCRP actuarial assumptions),
DOE/NNSA will begin seven years of level payments in an amount projected to restore
full funding by the end of the seven-year term. The DOE/NNSA will generally be
required to follow a similar seven-year payment approach with the corporate pension
plans at its sites under recent changes in the pension funding rules that apply to private
employer plans. Under the agreed-upon approach, reimbursements by the DOE/NNSA
will be the greater of the payment calculated under the seven-year amortization method
or the amount needed to meet liquidity needs for the LANL Segment. Liquidity needs are
defined as three times the amount of benefit payments and expenses for the LANL
Segment for prior plan year.

In return for clarifying its funding obligation and committing to a payment schedule if a
shortfall in the LANL Segment funding occurs, the University agrees that the LANL
Segment may remain within UCRP indefinitely, provided DOE/NNSA satisfies its
payment obligations.

Because the liabilities of the DOE/NNSA are fixed under the Contract as of May 31,
2006, DOE/NNSA will have approval authority over any ad hoc inflation-based increases
in benefits of Retained LANL Payees even if the adjustments are proposed for all UCRP
members and beneficiaries. DOE/NNSA will also have approval rights, which it cannot
unreasonably withhold, for any proposed changes to UCRP that would:

o Affect only Retained LANL Payees or, in the future, any retained LANL Payees
together with any similar retained members and beneficiaries associated with the
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory;

o Raise costs for the Los Alamos Segment beyond that of UCRP generally; or

o Use actuarial assumptions or an asset allocation for the LANL Segment that is
different from the assumptions and allocation used generally for UCRP.

The Regents retain all of the fiduciary authority to manage UCRP, but will continue, as in
the past, to provide notice to DOE/NNSA of changes to UCRP. The Regents will oversee
administration and management of UCRP and its trust fund without the need for prior
approval from DOE/NNSA, and take all actions it deems necessary to track the costs and
expenses properly allocable to the LANL Segment. The University will continue to
provide, at DOE/NNSA expense, an annual addendum report on the LANL Segment and
such other calculations as may be required to administer the Funding Agreement. A
portion of the costs of UCRP administration will be allocated as an expense to the LANL

When all benefits have been paid to the Retained LANL Payees, DOE/NNSA will be
entitled to receive any surplus in the LANL Segment, subject to regulatory requirements
on such a transaction, or will be required to pay any remaining deficit in the funding of
the segment.

I believe this agreement was signed shortly after this announcement. So the retirees and those at LANS who went TCP2 have the funds in a special category called UCRS-LANS that is contractually guaranteed to stay funded, until the last annuitant dies. So the Feds are backing their portion of the State's plan.

We've seen no such assertions about the Feds similarly backing the private LANS/LLNS portions.

Anonymous said...

Well, I would say that if we get lucky enough for 8000 people at LLNL to read this before the 60 days is up, they will all be going TCP_2, take their pension and call it good. The question is, why would anyone go TCP_1, pay 5-16 % of their salary into a fund that is not backed 100% by DOE / NNSA, only in the end to maybe get .33 cents on the dollar. Sounds like a poor investment to me. The could easily tale that percentage of their earning and put it into a Fidelity 2010 plan where the investment is very conservative and in the end have every dime that they put into their own plan.

Realistically it seem that the young have an opportunity here of establishing a 401K over the next 17- 25 years and in the end will have something, where as the old who have their age and time have made out like fat rats. It is the people between 52- 60 that got the shaft big time, since the logical thing to do is freeze their UC retirement and start drawing, then dump as much as legally possible into their 401K banking on the fact that they will be employed for the next 5 - 6 years.

Regardless, there is no way that you can ever make up the difference that DOE/NNSA has cheated you out of if you look at what your retirement was to be and the what you 403b would have been. In my case I have lost 50% of my UCRP and a 100% increase of what my 403b would have been. Over my time left on earth if I assume I would live to only 72 years old, we are talking millions of dollars. How convenient for these two jealous government agencies and I congratulate them on their impeccable timing. Again the rich get richer and the poor get poorer, dividing the people into respective classes so as to assure dominance.

I'd like to say what I really feel in a barbaric manner but it would not be appropriate for the public to read.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
Anon at the top, inflation at 6%??
You are out of your mind. Try 13% and heading higher. Check shadowstats.com

6/22/07 8:50 AM

So how is anyone at LLNL / LLNS going to catch up with inflation if we are now only getting 1% raises if you're lucky and not on someone's "S" list. Top that with soon to have to give up 5-16% of their paycheck over time, plus put 6% in the 401K? Gee is there now end to this stupidity? TCP_2 for all. Please do away with TCP_1 now and put everyone in TCP_2 and maybe we'll have a chance. Please visit www.shadowstats.com and read for yourselves of just how far behind we are now. By the time these people get done with you, you'll all be eligible for food stamps. It will be hell stepping down that low. For some at LLNL, they are actually going to retire at a yearly income that is below the national poverty level. Isn't that a fine thought, but, I will assure you that it won't be the ones in the 111 castle.

Anonymous said...

Warning, Warning , Warning Will Robinson. From another post elsewhere.

"One area of concern to me has been the loss of jobs". Although LANS is quick to say that there have not been any layoffs, the truth is that hundreds of people have lost their job. While it is correct that no LANS employee has been laid-off, hundreds of valuable contractors, some with over 20 years at LANL, have lost jobs. I have seen no support for these employees from LANS nor the members of our congressional delegation who supported bidding the management.

Can LLNL say Ditto?

Anonymous said...

I heard that all of the questions and answers that LLNL emplyees had will be posted on the http://www.llnsllc.com/ site as of tomorrow. When, I do not know but lets hope it's before we all go home for the weekend since the July 2nd is the last day you can comment. I don't know if it's a 12:00 noon cut off on the 2nd or an 11:59:59 PM on 7/1/07. To be safe just get the comments in on July 1st

Anonymous said...

" The Tribune has long advocated a bottom-up, comprehensive review of U.S. nuclear weapons policy, its nuclear weapons complex and the nation's three nuclear research labs, on the premise the United States still needs a safe, secure and reliable nuclear arsenal. But it can and should be substantially reduced."

Could the last sentence be the real reason for the transition of both labs. " But it can and should be substantially reduced", meaning that the mission is gone for good, those who posses this information are no longer needed and therefore neither are the sites or any further development. Gee that is in total line with the budget cut, no RRW, no pit facility and certainly no justification to have two weapons labs on the payroll.

I guess the world is now going to be one big happy family and $$$ is the name of the game regardless of whom they have to dispose of in order to get it. I have spent my entire life fighting against one world order to assure that democracy prevailed only in the end to see hundred of thousands of people died so that the country can be given away to the corporate greedy bastards who never saw a day of combat. What a friggin waste. I

Anonymous said...

"corporate greedy bastards who never saw a day of combat." Your frustration is accepted. Unfortunately this one comment probably paints with too wide a brush. Lots of former military in the corporate world - and not all of them were desk bound.

Anonymous said...

My apology to all of those who have served their nation, I am just damn mad and sad at the same time. Lots of effort put into what I saw as a reasonable cause only to get slapped in the chops. Sorry.

Pinky and The Brain said...

Keep your powder dry, soldier. It ain't over yet.

Anonymous said...

In today's "Town Hall" meeting, I thought I heard the Director indicate that LLNS has sent a letter to NNSA requesting that LLNL employees be offered the same benefit package offered to LANL employees last year. Did I hear this correctly?

Anonymous said...

8:16 am 6/28/07 and 6/27/07 9:14 pm
Thank you both for your insights.
Much appreciated. This voyage beyond the edge of the known universe has been made a bit easier for today.

Anonymous said...

step it up guys and gals,

as of today NNSA has only received comments from 5% and are presuming everyone else is ok as is.

Anonymous said...

6/28/07 9:04

From reading your text, it is doubtful no matter what choice you make you that will you will put the same effort into the future.

Almost all lab leaders below the AD level are subject to the same reasoning because they are in the same age range.

So not only are the talented young-un with options heading for the Western gate (toward Silicon Valley), but those tricked into committing their work lives to the place are probably feeling a little unappreciated and unmotivated.

Too bad so many C students are minding the store. They slept through the lecture about reward leading to effort.

Tommy D'ag do you read this blog?

Anonymous said...

6/28/07 10:06 PM Yes, he did say that, and he did send the letter - as the LLNS Director. What many are missing is that the 105% was set by NNSA and LLNS was obligated to put together a package to meet that requirement. However, it is also clear that LLNS would rather establish a package that at least matches LANS. Regardless of how you feel personally about George, he is not an outsider - he is one of us, with the years to prove it.

re: 11:01's Post, you are correct and time is running out. Our folks need to keep those cards, letters, and calls coming in! If not, NNSA will be justified in thinking that the masses accept the current offerings.

Anonymous said...

Maybe someone should copy all of the comments on this blog an send it to them. Think they'd get a clue? A least reference the URL and why people chose to use the blog instead of their work e-mail address.

Anonymous said...

Well there was at least 500 - 1000 people at LLNL that made their statement to DOE / NNSA yesterday and hopefully it was loud and clear. They just up and left and retired. I don't know the real numbers but if anyone does have them please post the facts. I only wish it would have been 1000 more. Maybe that will come on September 30th. May the exodus keep going and going and going. The sad part about toady was that out of 8000 employees it appears that we only have about 1000 with the never to voice their opinion to NNSA. What a bunch of gutless swines. They talk a lot of trash in the hallways and among each other but when the time comes to stand up to management they are a bunch of cowards. The latest and greatest excuse I heard was that they were in fear of retaliation. One of the big wigs questioned their wispiness and said in so many words, why are you afraid. They asked for input, so give it to them; because if you don't you are going to get the bad end of the stick and for being the way you are, you're well deserving of end product. How much more encouragement does one need get off you butt and write. In case you forgotten who to write, here is who I wrote.

TO: llnlemployeebenefits@doeal.gov
CC: michael.telis@mail.house.gov, - ( congresswomen )
Thomas.Dagostino@nnsa.doe. gov,

Are your fingers broken?

Oh if you're going to ask how gutless am I, well, when I wrote to all of these people I signed my name and got a return reply from all of them and even got comments like, well taken and understood. Thank you for your comments .

Anonymous said...

Oh it gets worse than that. When a certain known person had lunch with a DOE representative, the DOE representative said, "I guess they can't be to unhappy since we only have about a 5% response". This is a clear indication to DOE / NNSA that the people of LLNL are totally happy with the package they were presented and they're are no issue that have to be addressed. What was an even more disgrace to the people of LLNL was when this person said, "do you know that there are more LANL people on the blog worried about the LLNL contact then there are LLNL people". How's that make you feel ? I just feel sorry for LANL since their 6% + 5% is going to be gone in about six month directly after the Ben-Val and all because of those who bowed their head between their legs and kissed their ass goodbye. Gee !!!!

How about doing all of us a favor. Everyone who gave input to DOE please take the time to copy that comment and put it on the blog, minus you name of course. At least that way the people know that you care. Make sure you state that this is my comment to DOE / NNSA.

We will all be grateful for your time and in the end so will you.

Anonymous said...

I got one better than that. How about because LLNL was so gutless in asking for what they really needed we take that 2.5 % that they were so afraid to ask for and give it to LANL so that they get 6% matching and 7.5 % on top of that. Why not, the squeaky wheel always gets the grease and since LANL people have far much more intestinal fortitude I think they are well deserving. Do I here a YES to that for a vote?

Anonymous said...

What do you think DOE. Are these people at LLNL more interested in going on vacation this weekend or what their future earnings are. Place your bets:

Vacation Children:_________

Responsible Adults:________

Anonymous said...

I haven't had any "motivational" training in the last few years, but these last posts don't seem to be the "stuff that motivates!"

A few examples:
- "They talk a lot of trash in the hallways and among each other but when the time comes to stand up to management they are a bunch of cowards."
- ". . . all because of those who bowed their head between their legs and kissed their ass goodbye."
- ". . . since LANL people have far much more intestinal fortitude I think they are well deserving."

Such rhetoric makes me want to stand up, cheer and march right into the mouth of NNSA's cannons!

P.S. The retirement number as of today was a shade over 300. If these posts are any indication, I'm sure many will find that number disappointing.

Anonymous said...

Sad and very disappointing. Just shows how complacent the people at LLNL are. Sheep

P.S. The retirement number as of today was a shade over 300. If these posts are any indication, I'm sure many will find that number disappointing.

300 people out of 8000. I guess LLNL really does like their package. Glad I never had to have these guys alone my side in a war zone.

Anonymous said...

"Such rhetoric makes me want to stand up, cheer and march right into the mouth of NNSA's cannons!"

Most "good" people or those who at least have self respect are naturally self motivated and don't need encouragement to do what is right and just. It comes from within and without thought. That being said, the lack of participation and comments in conjunction with only 300 retirees says all that needs to be said about the population of those who possess that one square mile from 8:00 AM to 4:30 PM, doesn't it. The word annelid as related to a spineless creature with sycophantic qualities comes to mind.

Anonymous said...

Regarding all the comments of spineless sheep staying - check the Livermore retirement numbers again between October and January 2008(120 days later). These mindless, boomer sheep understand the economics of retirement mathematics better than you think.

Anonymous said...

6/30/07 9:11 AM

Lets hope you are correct. The only problem is that what they are going to do will not hurt the work force or make for sudden decline in talent. All it will do is create a need for a RIF sooner. DOE and NNSA needs a wake up call not a pat on the back. After seeing the response from the people at LLNL over their inadequate package I have no doubt as to why SPSE can not obtain membership and therefore have any power. Power comes in numbers and obviously it does not exist at Livermore. Please bring back the Teamsters. They knew how to pursued others to do right what was to the employees advantage.

Anonymous said...

Teamsters! Right!! Why do a one person job with two people when you can get it done with five people.

Anonymous said...

"They knew how to pursued others to do right what was to the employees advantage."

I think the part that he or she was referring to about the Teamster's was their persuasionary tactics. Maybe that was before your time. Better look back about a few years and then you'll understand how business was conducted. It wasn't in the now days PC sissified manner that you young un's have today, nor did we have corporate America subscribing to cheap foreign labor to assure that you were unemployed, well, at least not for long. A little visit for some physical consultation and therapy took care of that quite quick. I guess for the best and brightest intellects the nation has to offer being handed a substandard package non equivalent to their sister lab in NW is considered satisfactory and meet with open arms. Hallelujah brother, it's all good. Hows about given me some more

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
Teamsters! Right!! Why do a one person job with two people when you can get it done with five people.

6/30/07 9:57 AM

Buddy, let me tell you that is just how Bechtel operates. They attack a problem in force in order to meet a deadline. Doesn't matter if the damn thing works after they get done. All that matter is they made it. Then the pull the best people off of that incomplete job and send them to fight the next fire, leaving behind those who are less talented to mop up. Maybe after a few extension of the contract they get their first project to work. So you are in for a treat people. The good old days of mech tech being able to do it all are gone. It now will take five people to do one guys job. That's the way of the new LLNL. If you want to see the predecessor to this type of project management, visit the most funded project at LLNL and you'll see these practices often. They are notorious for pulling the people who originally designed the apparatus off the job just prior to completion and then putting in a new crew that hasn't a clue of what was done or why and expect the project to be brought to complete in the same time and with the same professionalism and functionality. Moronic to say the lease.

Anonymous said...

Having read all of the post under this heading in their entirety I have come to the conclusion that DOE and NNSA will never be trusted again no matter what reconciliations are made from this day forward. The dedication to duty and patriotism are leaving, and it will continue to do so over the next five to six years until in the end all you'll have is a bunch of contract employees who are there for a paycheck until such time they are laid off; because they know that their job is on a _day to day_ basis.

All DOE facilities from now on are nothing more than training facilities where new employees will come, get trained and then leave; and if given a clearance during that time of employment so will the secrets they've acquired. Are you listening?

The remaining work force knows that effective Oct 1st, 2007 that there is nothing to stay for. The young who are currently employed and all new hires will soon realize that the 401k with matching funds can be found anywhere. On the up side, the good news for them is that they can take their 401k and the skills acquired and use them as bargening chips to get better pay, benefits and recognition elsewhere. Mission accomplish NNSA.

So, to the individual who was responsible for the privatization of the national labs I quite frankly think you have done this nation an injustice and decades from now the people of America are going to pay dearly for this foolishness. If your agenda was to set the example for a peace loving world by disarmament you can now come out of your comma, get off the legal or illegal substance that you've been utilizing.

In conclusion I will reference all further readers of this blog to a post who the author sumed up matters rather well. (See URL Below ). Not only that but the author has correctly identified and selected a songs title and lyrics that fit perfectly to the situation and the hollowness of this entire fiasco. To DOE and NNSA, well, I'd have to say you're accomplishments are quite noteworthy, but not worthy of any award unless there is one for having a bad case of cranium rectum inversion.


Take care. My work ethics as of today have taken a 180 turn and I will now become a subservient employee who knows their days are numbered and therefore expect nothing from you, as you should expect nothing from me.

Anonymous said...

The American taxpayer, Congress, and the media wanted change. The Labs refused to even acknowledge that change was necessary. We balked at oversight, we argued that injuries are just a part of the dangerous work we do, we viewed security as requiring far too much time and effort. Well, it would appear that the taxpayer, Congress, and the media have decided that they still have a say in the matter - we are now privatized. Yet, still we resist. Our future is ours to destroy. Departure is one solution, change is another. Perhaps the least damaging and the most beneficial to us and to the country.

Anonymous said...

7/1/07 12:05 PM

Spoken like true upper level management that is entitled to getting their salary quadrupled by kissing ass and being a hatchet man or women. Don't give me that BS guilt trip that it's our fault for not changing. Change could have been accomplish in a much more professional manner than cutting the balls off of the entire work force and bending them over to give a full body cavity search. The ideology that "we" need to comply without being damn mad so that it will be business as usually to assure upper level management gets the kudos is not going to happen.

The people below AD's level have the full right to revolt in any manner they wish and it is my hopes that they will, and will do it forever. You bozo's could have easily made change by bringing both types of work into the labs over the last ten years, phased out the work that you did not want.

Having been employed for a long time and seen weapons work, alternate fuels, snoopy snoopy work, etc, I will tell you that the private sector is so far ahead of you goons that you'll never see daylight. Your entire mode of operation and the idea that you do not make a marketable produce is going to be your downfall. Your ideology that there is this endless pot of money to keep research going with no return is crap. It's going away my friend and its going away because of the way you conduct business, and again do not make anything that is marketable. Until such day you can compete with the private world of which by the way this privatization contract is not going to achieve, you will slowly but surely diminish in size and your credibility will go with it.

Again I will say that the idea of blaming the worker bees for what has occurred is dead wrong. It was upper level management that was responsible for bringing work into these labs that has failed us and will continue to do so until everything from the top down is replaced and business practices are changed. The amazing thing is that it is these clowns that make the most money and continue to be rewarded for their incompetence. How ironic

Again there was no reason to screw the people over and talk us out of UCRP to accomplish the desired mission nor was there any reason to hide the facts from the people. The transitions were just a way for UC/ DOE and NNSA to get out of any current or future obligations while at the same time avoid a law suite. PERIOD.


Anonymous said...

If I might ride 7/1/07 1:11 PM's horse a little further, LANL/LANS senior management left us almost completely directionless after at least two years of no major program development. Once they started writing the proposals in ernest in 2005, they knew who was in and who was out in the coming years. Upper management spent all of 2006 and this year retiring, moving, rearranging the deck chairs, etc, saving their own skins, but they were not apparently back East promoting ours.

Without strong program development helping guide Congress and DOE in the right directions, we're now at the mercy for major existing program cuts. Congress now has the perception that the work we do is no longer important.

Hence every minor event will be greatly magnified and used to beat us further. Simply apologizing at every turn and promising more controls only increases the feeding frenzy. It may be too late to get effective senior management in place that can swing the tide of opinion and promote in the Halls of Congress what is good about LANL.

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