Sep 10, 2007

WARN Act Resources

In George Miller's 6 September memo on FY 2008 budget concerns he writes:
...we have been directed, along with other NNSA contractors, to actively collect information and prepare documents necessary to meet the legal requirements associated with 'workforce restructuring' (workforce restructuring is governed by 50 U.S.C. § 2704, often referred to as Section 3161 of Public Law 102-484, the WARN Act, collective bargaining agreements, and contracts). This action is being taken as a planning contingency due to the budget uncertainties.
With the help of our loyal readers and the following resources as a starting point, hopefully what can begin to grasp exactly what that means.

Work Force Restructuring

Section 3161 of Public Law 102-484

WARN Fact Sheet

Employment and Training Administration, Department of Labor

50 U.S.C. § 2704

19 comments:

Anonymous said...

From Section 3161 of Public law 102-484

(c) Objectives.--In preparing the plan required under subsection (a), the Secretary shall be guided by the following objectives:

(1) Changes in the work force at a Department of Energy defense nuclear facility--

(A) should be accomplished so as to minimize social and economic impacts;

(B) should be made only after the provision of notice of such changes not later than 120 days before the commencement of such changes to such employees and the communities in which such facilities are located; and

(C) should be accomplished, when possible, through the use of retraining, early retirement, attrition, and other options that minimize layoffs.

Anonymous said...

The biggest word in the english language is "IF".

The second biggest word is "SHOULD".

Anonymous said...

B) I think we just got our 120 day "notice"... So expect no actual termination dates before January, but notices could go out any time.

C) Retraining isn't going to cut it this round... unless a few PhD's and secretaries are going to get put in front of a Glovebox. Attrition is under full swing already (and we are still hearing numbers like 25% of the workforce). Early retirement would imply some new incentives (besides just general miserableness). UC had the funds (and motivation) to offer early retirement... it seems highly unlikely Bechtel does/will.

A) Minimization of social and economic impacts. What does that look like w/o at least retirement incentives?

Anonymous said...

Mike used a 2500+ figure as worst case, but LANS may be calculating that it would be better to just go ahead and make the big cuts this year regardless of the FY08 budget. That way they reduce future costs for NNSA (can you say "bonus time"!) and don't have to go through this ugly RIF exercise again in the next few years. It also makes it easier to hire lower cost employees when extra staffing is needed in the future. Again, this is something that will greatly please NNSA.

Cuts of this size will devastate the local economy but that is really none of LANS' concern. The gravy train days are over. People should have guessed that they wouldn't last forever.

Anonymous said...

10:18 PM: B) I think we just got our 120 day "notice"... So expect no
actual termination dates before January, but notices could go
out any time.

Could be, although someone at the all-hands meeting asked specifically about the start of this 120 days period. And Mikey responded that he is waiting for an official notice by DOE which would trigger these 120 days. And he will let us know when these 120 days start. So let's see. But I agree, in the worst case scenario this would mean January.

Anonymous said...

Poster 8:59 AM, yes, January would be the earliest that pink slips could go out. However, those given the pink slips then have 60 days before they are terminated, so they won't be leaving the payroll until around April. This means our dire budgetary situation will have to be spread through a large part of next year, thus inflaming the FY08 budget crisis to an even greater extent.

When all is said and done, FY08 is going to be the worst year for employees in LANL's history. Mike's sober message to the staff last Thursday was an attempt to prepare everybody for what is coming.

Anonymous said...

11:06, where did you get that 60 days before termination after being notified?

I would not be suprised if people find out they are terminated at the same time they are getting a security escort offsite and surrendering their badge.

Anonymous said...

"I would not be suprised if people find out they are terminated at the same time they are getting a security escort offsite and surrendering their badge."

That's generally how Bechtel Nevada did it at the NTS - proof positive that Bechtel already has the process perfected. The process starts when you receive a polite request to attend a meeting, but no reason for the meeting is given in advance. Make of this what you will.

Anonymous said...

"I would not be suprised if people find out they are terminated at the same time they are getting a security escort offsite and surrendering their badge."

Sorry folks, but LANL/UC already did that to people. Just ask Tom Meyer, Al Sattelberger, Mary Hockaday, etc. My suggestion is that you pack up and remove everythhing from your offices now and keep them at your house. It will happen - it is best if you have your resume and the like with you at your home.

Anonymous said...

9/11/07 8:47 PM

Sattelberger and Hockaday were not fired. But that's a technicality, your post still contains good advice.

Furthermore, if you anticipate filing or participating in a wrongful termination lawsuit someday, then it would be a good idea to start combing through your computer and belongings for items that could be construed as inappropriate or non-work related.

Anonymous said...

I know a few folks at INL. That's apparently similar to the MO there as well. Several sites around the Complex have laid off significant numbers over the years. It seems reasonable to assume LANS will look to their expertise.

Anonymous said...

Sattleberger hung on for a year or two, then moved to ANL. He was not in any way escorted out, unless you count that the director asked him whether he got the message and was he ever going to leave.

Anonymous said...

" Sattleberger hung on for a year or two, then moved to ANL. He was not in any way escorted out, unless you count that the director asked him whether he got the message and was he ever going to leave.

9/12/07 9:06 AM "

That whole thing was another Nanos screwup. He made Sattlerger out like he was some kind of monster. Well Sattleberger ended up with a much better job at a much more secure lab. Now Nanos is in a much worse job. More proof in any is needed that Nanos was beyond incompetent. Tom Meyer got a distinguished professorship at UNC. By the way Congress always uses the standown agiants LANL. Every hearing they go through the incidents and the standdown is always counted.

Anonymous said...

"My suggestion is that you pack up and remove every thing from your offices now and keep them at your house. It will happen - it is best if you have your resume and the like with you at your home." - 9/11/07 8:47 PM

Wen Ho Lee was worried about being fired and it's thought part of the reason for his creation of the tapes was due to this fear of job loss. RIFs have a tendency to put people into a nasty "self-preservation" mode of thought which can later cause repercussions for a business.

No wonder Mike ended his Thursday Doom-and-Gloom talk by imploring the staff to "work safely and securely." I'll bet that the next safety or security fiasco at LANL is probably just a year or so away. This, of course, will then be followed with even louder Congressional calls to "shut the place down!"

Anonymous said...

A question: All things considered, is it easier, institutionally speaking, to carry out a large RIF or a small RIF?

Anonymous said...

Another point that 9:25 AM omitted is that Sattelberger had no reason to leave since he was named a senior Lab Fellow by the Director. He was given return to research funds, which is funding a postdoc, and is still doing research in LANL space. He still has an office at LANL and he comes back every other week and tries to sit in on stragetic LANL meetings and then gets kicked out of some of them.

Anonymous said...

"..., January would be the earliest that pink slips could go out. However, those given the pink slips then have 60 days before they are terminated, so they won't be leaving the payroll until around April."

The 1995 RIF called for 60 days between announcement of the RIF candidates and the final day of work. While things didn't quite work out that way because of the lawsuit that was filed, under the old rules LANL had to give quite a bit of notice. We now operate under the rules that apply for an LLC. Many folks that I have talked with do not think that our new situation gives us any such two-month cushion.

Does anybody out there know any facts regarding the differences in the law between then and now?

We currently have severance pay but it is at LANS' discretion to keep it, reduce it or eliminate it. Supposedly, there is an account somewhere that has to hold enough money to cover the severance pay required by the current work force. If that money still exists after the transfer of contract then we may be okay but if we are relying on LANS to do the 'right thing' out of th egoodness of their hearts then we already know what will most likely happen.

Anonymous said...

"My suggestion is that you pack up and remove every thing from your offices now and keep them at your house. It will happen - it is best if you have your resume and the like with you at your home." - 9/11/07 8:47 PM

I have thought about this a bit as I have quite a collection of my own technical books in my office. I have heard of folks that have been fired recently that were not even allowed to go back to their office to get their car keys or coat. A secretary had to go back to get them for the fired person.

Just look around your work space tomorrow. How hard would it be to take all your stuff home if they gave you just one day? One week?

I know I collect way too much stuff. So things that I can not stand to lose to LANS are coming home. But I am being very careful that ANYTHING that can be even remotely considered 'work product' stays at work.

The office is getting more tidy everyday and I can actually find something that I need in less than a half hours search.

Now if I could only get my garage that clean.

Mira said...

Thanks for writing this.