Sep 25, 2007

What The FAQ?

LANS has plans to conduct a RIF at LANL. This FAQ is their way of letting you know that.

1. Could you explain the current budget situation and the impact of a continuing resolution?

Continuing Resolution (CR) is a stopgap funding measure passed by Congress to continue operations until regular appropriations are enacted. A CR can continue for any length of time (though typically it is for a relatively short period), but DOE will allot only enough money to cover the period of the CR. This can create a "cash-flow" issue if the amount to be funded in the CR is defined at a level less than the previous year or below planning levels. This means that LANL must curtail its spending during a CR to match the amount being allotted to the Lab from the DOE.

In summary, the impact of the CR is two-fold. First, the use of a CR means that a final appropriation has not been passed and thus a final budget can not be determined. Second, the terms of the CR may result in a level of funding that is less than current or planned levels and may also be different than what a final appropriation provides. All of this points to continuing budget uncertainty as long as a CR is in place.

2. Is LANL the only laboratory impacted by the Congressional FY08 budgets?

A. No. All NNSA sites within the DOE weapons complex are also affected by the Congressional budget uncertainties for FY08. As Director Anastasio highlighted in his September 6, 2007, memo to LANL employees, NNSA Administrator Tom D'Agostino's note, which went to all NNSA sites, said: "Since we have no ability to estimate how long we may have to operate under these conditions [the uncertain budget], we have to anticipate that it will be for an extended period of time. This situation unfortunately will cause some significant impacts to our sites' operating budgets and could affect our workforce."

3. What is the latest information on whether LANL will experience a workforce restructuring process?

A. The Laboratory is considering all options and searching for viable alternatives to a workforce restructuring. But, as Director Anastasio noted in his September 6, 2007, memo to the workforce "as a hedge against the uncertainties of the budget and its timing, we need to begin planning for a possible restructuring of our workforce." As part of that planning process we have submitted a general 3161 workforce restructuring plan to NNSA for their approval and adoption. As indicated in Jan Van Prooyen's recent memo that plan is a high level general plan, establishing the general framework within which any restructuring of the workforce at LANL would be implemented. You can read Mike's memo here and Jan's memo here.

4. What is Section 3161?

A. Section 3161 of the National Defense Authorization Act requires a Workforce Restructuring Plan to be developed whenever workforce restructuring occurs in the nuclear weapons complex. The primary objective of Section 3161 is to mitigate the negative impact on employees and communities whenever workforce restructuring takes place. Section 3161 is invoked when the Secretary of Energy determines that a change in the workforce at a Defense Nuclear Facility is necessary. The process begins by developing a Workforce Restructuring Plan after consulting with all stakeholders.
[See WARN Act Resources for further information.]

5. In the event of workforce restructuring, I understand the Laboratory would have to submit a General Workforce Restructuring Plan before submitting a Specific Workforce Restructuring Plan. What is the difference between the general and specific plans?

A. Before any restructuring can be implemented at the Laboratory, a Specific Workforce Restructuring Plan will be developed, as necessary, to outline specific restructuring activities associated with any reprioritization of work scope. The following excerpt explaining the two types of plans is taken from the recent Jan Van Prooyen memo updating workforce planning: Section 3161 establishes the planning process for a possible workforce restructuring and requires the creation and submission of a workforce structuring plan.

There are two types of plans required by Section 3161. Initially, a high level general plan, establishing the general framework within which any restructuring of the workforce at LANL would be implemented, is submitted to NNSA for their adoption. As has been discussed, this plan does not contain any specificity and is largely for the purpose of providing notice to employees and the community that a specific plan is being developed. Following the general plan, a specific plan is submitted that describes in detail how a workforce restructuring would actually be accomplished.

6. Where could I find the Workforce Restructuring Plan?

A. Once established, the draft Workforce Restructuring Plan will be posted on the LASO web site for a comment period that is scheduled to last seven days. The plan and any relevant associated documents will also be posted on this site.

7. What would be the difference between any potential Laboratory's workforce restructuring efforts and the Workforce Mobility Program?

A. As part of any potential workforce restructuring efforts, the Laboratory would be required to develop a Workforce Restructuring Plan. A Workforce Restructuring Plan for the Laboratory during times of budget concerns and uncertainties addresses how the Laboratory will assess and realign, where necessary, those skills essential to successfully complete its current and future mission and, as a corallary, those job categories where the Laboratory has surplus employees. A restructuring plan, in general, would include a description of all of the programs, tools, and resources that would be made available to the workforce and to management to make decisions that would ultimately align the Laboratory workforce with mission requirements.

The Laboratory's Workforce Mobility program has been in place since January 2007, and is not currently a part of the workforce restructuring planning efforts. The Workforce Mobility program is a tool designed to facilitate the movement of employees from organizations experiencing funding concerns to those organizations that are experiencing growth and need additional staff to meet their deliverables. The program, as designed, is focused on providing a mobility service to a very narrow population of the workforce. If LANL were to proceed with the implementation of a Workforce Restructuring Plan, the Laboratory might look to expand the workforce mobility concept to include a broader segment of the workforce.

8. How can I receive updated information about workforce restructuring efforts, and is there a comment period to provide input into such process?

A. Laboratory management is sensitive to the importance of timely, accurate communication during this challenging time and is committed to keeping staff informed of developments during any potential workforce restructuring efforts. The Laboratory has developed this web page to provide accurate, official information as it becomes available. This Question & Answers' section, for example, will be updated regularly to include new employee inquiries.

Additionally, the Laboratory will continue to keep employees informed through various channels, including all-employee meetings, periodic written communications, Links, and the online Daily Newsbulletin.

As always, employees are encouraged to address issues concerning their day-to-day work with their immediate supervisor.

[Last but not least, you can always turn to LANL: The Rest of the Story.]

9. I have heard that the Laboratory's management team has started identifying positions for separation. Is this true?

A. No. In order to plan for and develop a Specific Workforce Restructuring Plan, a number of scenarios need to be thought through and data needs to be gathered. As part of this process, LANL's senior management has been asked to participate in the first of likely many data gathering exercises. This first exercise was to identify job functions by organization that cannot be realigned because of critical mission delivery requirements. Every planning or data gathering exercise requires a target and, similar to a budget planning exercise, this workforce planning exercise was based on a target of 7 percent reduction. Again, the purpose of this initial planning exercise is to gather data so that the Laboratory can have a better understanding of the impacts of a potential workforce restructuring.

10. Why are LANL employees receiving annual merit raises, as approved, if the budget is so tight?

A. Each year the Laboratory receives approval from DOE/NNSA for a salary increase authorization that considers factors such as what proposed salary increases would cost the Laboratory and what it would take to keep the salaries at the Laboratory competitive. The Laboratory's senior management team has thoughtfully considered the implications of granting salary increases in light of FY08 budget uncertainties. Ultimately, the team decided that it is important to recognize and reward the many employees whose contributions have helped us achieve our mission during the past year and to remain competitive for employee retention. It is important to remember that even when decisions must be made to address immediate budget concerns and uncertainties, the Laboratory must also endeavor to make decisions that will not impact the long-term health and viability of the Laboratory and its workforce.


Anonymous said...

The lab's Workforce Mobility Program is a complete and utter dog, and even Mike seems to realize that point.

If you have no funding for your position at LANL, you are mostly on your own in rectifying the situation unless you are in a management or support organization.

Being a TSM on direct-funded programs is an extremely dangerous place to be because of the way management has decided to run the lab. During this RIF, we'll likely see direct-funded TSMs be the first ones kicked out the front door, even though they are the main reason for the lab's existence.

Anonymous said...

Just posted (9/25/07) internal news at LLNL....

Lab submits general workforce plan to DOE
Sept. 25, 2007

The Laboratory [LLNL] submitted a general plan to LSO/NNSA last week that lays the groundwork for workforce restructuring per the National Defense Authorization Act, Section 3161. All NNSA sites submitted similar paperwork.

“As I mentioned in my all-hands meeting a few weeks ago, we are required to submit this plan per NNSA directive and at the specific request of Administrator Tom D’Agostino,” Director George Miller said. “It is a contingency plan based on the possibility of a continuing resolution and a reduced FY2008 budget.”

The 3161 act governs the preparation of a workforce restructuring plan and requires entities to assess their workforce needs and identify ways that minimize involuntary workforce separations, reduce the social and economic impact of workforce restructuring on individuals and mitigate the effects of those actions on surrounding communities.

LLNL submitted a general plan to NNSA for their review. Once approved, the plan will be posted on NNSA’s external Website. The plan does not outline specifics related to how a workforce reduction would be accomplished. Rather, it identifies the programs the Laboratory may put into place — such as workforce re-training and career counseling — should a workforce reduction be ultimately required.

Miller asked Associate Director At-Large Bruce Warner to take the lead on the development of the general plan. Warner worked with a committee of directorate points of contacts, as well as HR throughout the process.

“This plan is meant to be an enduring document,” Miller said. "There is not a specific requirement or commitment to reduce our workforce right now. However, should budget uncertainties continue, we could be asked to develop a site specific workforce restructuring plan."

"Should a site specific plan be necessary at Livermore, the goal would be to retain a workforce with the skills necessary to continue the current and future mission of our Lab,” Miller said. “Workforce restructuring would not be based on the benefit selections individuals made as part of the LLNS employment offer.”

In 1996, LLNL had a workforce restructuring program that included a Voluntary Separation Incentive Plan (VSIP). Approximately 600 individuals participated in the voluntary program — ultimately negating the need for involuntary separations.

In 1993, a UC-sponsored voluntary retirement plan was offered. Unlike 1993, there is no possibility of a retirement incentive plan being offered this coming year if workforce restructuring is required.

“I plan to share more information with all employees as soon as it becomes available,” said Miller. “I realize this is a challenging period of time for us right now. I appreciate all the hard work that has been accomplished through transition.”

Anonymous said...

If you are unfunded, go ahead and apply for a CTN position. I hear they will be needing lots more computer overlords come October 1.

Anonymous said...

Just a reminder for everyone in CTN. Don't worry about this RIF mess. We are getting Director level support to begin instituting new overhead charges that will help keep CTN staffed at 100%. We're part of the winning team at LANL, so there will be no layoffs within CTN. The layoffs will be occurring in the program funded areas and those areas that don't do a good job of fully supporting LANL's mission. Go CTN!

Anonymous said...

In response to number 1 - it is pure #2. How many years has the laboratory operated on a CR for some portion of the year?

Methinks LANS just want to make sure they get their fee.

I think Oct ! the workfoce should have a work down. Stop all work.

Anonymous said...

How about a sick out on October 1st?

Of course, then they would find out how little we do.

Anonymous said...

You people honestly believe the senior management would notice if the workforce had a sick-out on October 1?

How, exactly? No morning line at the Love Boat Starbucks?

Anonymous said...

A big Sick-Out. That's the ticket!

It's a perfect way for the mostly passive-aggressive staff at LANL to take a real message to The Man that they are not going to stand for it one minute longer.

And after the Sick-Out, we can follow it by collectively holding of our breath and stamping our feet all in unison. That will show them that we mean business. Don't mess with us!

You know, it pitiful watching how LANL's staff responds compared to the recent workers over at GM. The GM workers get results. They were prepared to take $200 per week strike wages to make their point for as long as it took and they don't back down easily. Here at LANL, we meekly say, "Thank you sir, may I have another?"