Oct 19, 2007

Workforce Restructuring-Comments or Concerns

UPDATE: Thanks to a story by Wendy Brown of the Santa Fe New Mexican we've discovered there is an extra week to comment on the workforce restructuring plan.
Sorry for the mix up....the release on the LASO web site is incorrect. It was supposed to have been changed Friday. I am in the process of getting the correct one on the site. The date for accepting comments is through Oct. 19th.

If I can be of any further assistance please let me know.

Thanx

Bernie

Bernard R. Pleau, Jr.
Mgr. Intergovernmental &
External Relations
Los Alamos Site Office
505-667-6691
The stakeholder comment period on the draft workforce restructuring plan for Los Alamos National Laboratory ends on 12 October 2007. Until that time this post will remain open for comments, which I will email to DOE en masse.

The benefits of voicing your comments and concerns through the blog are:
  • everyone else can read them
  • DOE will not know your email address
No profanity please!

189 comments:

Pinky and The Brain said...

I'll go first. My concern is that the comment period is too short. Will it be extended?

Gussie Fink-Nottle said...

This post clearly demonstrates that Pinky is a nicer person than Gussie. I'd have let them submit their comments without any hand-holding, myself. I think you're coddling them, Pinky. The "Workforce Restructuring Plan" AKA "Official Notice of Intent to RIF" has a clickable email link right there on the page for emailing comments.

In any event, as others have noted, the document really isn't a plan at all, merely a bunch of ass-covering legalese that clears the way for the RIFS to actually start mid-November. As such, I can't imagine comments having any effect at all. It's a bit late for telling DOE/NNSA/LANS that they shouldn't be preparing to conduct a RIF at LANL.

--Gussie

Pinky and The Brain said...

I doubt I'm any nicer but thanks for saying so. We just tilt at the same windmills with different styles.
Pinky Panza

Anonymous said...

If the plan is to provide a vehicle to generate as many involuntary separations as possible, this will do it.

Anonymous said...

Reposted with a little more info-

In 2006, LANL employees were able to change a few issues on the RFP. They sent in emails during the comment period. The emails were 'binned' (separated by subject) into about 7 main points and answered by DOE. Note that it is better to send several separate comments with one major idea each. This is strictly a numbers game. But a few changes were actually generated...

The DOE response was a chart with # of comments and (major) subject groupings. Then those comments were answered. Do not bother to send a comment about your specific situation, as those are somewhat dismissed.

LANL has had a very stable work force, so the average employee is probably about 47 with ~20 years of service. When RIFfed, this person is too young to retire outright. So they are forced out of TCP-1 (or TCP-2), lose their future retiree healthcare, and any accumulated sick leave (maybe 1500 hours per person!) Their pension will kick in eventually, but on a much reduced scale calculated on a 10 year old salary. The 10 or 20% chosen for reduction will bear a very heavy financial penalty.

I will try to compose a 'sample' email to DOE and post it here. Maybe if DOE receives 1000s of emails from LANL, SNL, and LLNL we can at least reduce the consequences.

"Sam"

Anonymous said...

LANL has had a very stable work force, so the average employee is probably about 47 with ~20 years of service. When RIFfed, this person is too young to retire outright. So they are forced out of TCP-1 (or TCP-2), lose their future retiree healthcare, and any accumulated sick leave (maybe 1500 hours per person!) Their pension will kick in eventually, but on a much reduced scale calculated on a 10 year old salary. The 10 or 20% chosen for reduction will bear a very heavy financial penalty.

With this I say that the RIFs should be performed as the following: last in, first out. The new, young TSMs can find work elsewhere without too much loss.

Anonymous said...

8:33PM I'm with you all the way except you forgot one inportant concept.... NNSA and the real world knows that a herd of baby boomers will be and are living the work force in the next 5 years.. they figure why not get rid of anyone over say 50ish now and let the younger employees gain the knowledge need to to make the 2030 complex plan work. Let face it if any of us older more experienced workers were asked, we would say your making a big mistake. This all reminds me of that great "WHO" tune "WE All Been Fooled Again" U know "Meet the new Boss, same as the old Boss" only this boss is a heck of a lot less forgiving!!

Bruzer in Livermore!

Anonymous said...

"With this I say that the RIFs should be performed as the following: last in, first out. The new, young TSMs can find work elsewhere without too much loss."

You are assuming that LANS actually cares what happens to you after you are RIFed. Younger TSMs are cheaper and can be more easily molded towards whatever function LANS requires. Younger staff are still trying to find stability at work and want a steady paycheck to pay back student loans and other debt, therefore they will tend not to rock the boat as much. Just a few reasons why this RIF might be a FIFO rather than a LIFO. And think about all that money LANS will save by paying out reduced pensions to the TCP1 RIFees.

Anonymous said...

3:01 pm:

"If the plan is to provide a vehicle to generate as many involuntary separations as possible, this will do it."

Actually, I think the intent is to scare as many as possible into taking whatever "incentive" is offered, so that the number on record as "involuntarily" separated is a small as possible, minimizing the number of potential subsequent lawsuits. Pretty clever.

Anonymous said...

8:33 pm:

"With this I say that the RIFs should be performed as the following: last in, first out. The new, young TSMs can find work elsewhere without too much loss."

Sorry, the only way any managers worth the title would do this is to RIF the lowest-performing tier of their workforce, based on easily-defended long-standing low performance scores, If I were a manager, I would jump at the opportunity to do this! If your goal is the long-term viability of the organization, tell me what different method you would choose?

Anonymous said...

Another option is to RIF anyone who has had ANY blemish in their records such as a clearance dicrepancy, invesitigatory leave, etc. You could justifiably kill numerous individuals with one sweep with that criterion.

Anonymous said...

This action will disproportionally affect workers over age 40, with 20 or more years of service credit. LANL will be dumping them out of the pension plan and force them to have much lower benefits.

Data: Demographics from ~2005.
a.TSM 4000, TEC 2000, SSM 2000, Othr 800
b. Male:Female 2:1
c. Anglo 5000, Hispanic 2700, Othr 500
d. Service credit in 5 year bands:
Under 5 2300, 1700,945,1060,1065,800,400
e. Age in 5 year bands:
Under 30 500, 710,935,1420,1650,1490,1185

Presumably those age 55+ (1185) are mostly Double Dippers and are 'safe'.

But that leaves 4560 people over age 42, whose retirement will be vastly reduced if chosen for the RIF.

It is harder to tell about service credit, but probably 2000 people have more than 20 years.

Anonymous said...

LANSWorkforceRestructuring@doeal.gov
Here are a few comments:

1. Assuming that anyone who could retire did so (from UC) at the change of contract, remaining employees CANNOT retire yet and many are just under the age vs. service ratios.

2.The LANS RIF will disproportionally affect older LANL workers with many years of service credit, effectively dumping them out of the pension plan before they can collect.

3. Any LANL employee with 20+ years of service has earned 100% retiree medical coverage. But since those remaining can not retire, RIFees are being unfairly dumped out of this benefit also.

4. This RIF action will instantly zero-out thousands of hours of accumulated sick leave, in some cases 1500-2500 hours. (That’s one way to clear the books.) Therefore, to be fair, all Involuntary RIFees should be allowed to apply unused sick leave to service credit even though they can't retire yet.

5. LANS can use this RIF to unfairly clear MILLIONS of dollars of accumulated retiree benefits earned by older workers who don't have time left in their careers to recover.

6. Workers over 40 are each going to be RIFed out of hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of benefits by this one LANS action.

6. This RIF will target an economically depressed area, Northern New Mexico.

7. This RIF will disproportionally affect women and minorities in an area where it is difficult to find other technical jobs.

8. LANS should hold several technical job fairs BEFORE they RIF people to let any employees who are interested find other jobs.

9.LANS should offer educational support (as in the 1995 RIF) to anyone who wishes to voluntarily separate.

LANL employees: Pick your favorites and send them in ASAP. Better yet send one per email, because they count comments. Please post any new comments that occur to you here for others to consider. You have one week from last Friday. We probably can't save your jobs- but saving your sick leave or retiree medical would be great.

"Sam"

Anonymous said...

This may sound harsh, but no employer owes a job to a 40+ year old employee just so he/she can keep their pension intact. In fact, this dilemma demonstrate a solid reason for employees to make use of a 401K for their future retirement rather than risking it all on one unreliable employer and the pension the employer may offer.

If it can be shown that layoffs were done *specifically* to attack the pensions of older employees, then there is strong cause for legal action. Previous court rulings have determined that this is illegal. I doubt, however, that LANS is this stupid.

Anonymous said...

10/7/07 10:47 AM

Pinky. You know they have a plan and a date of execution. These plans have probably been in the works for years and those at the top have known about it all alone. They were just waiting for permission to tell the working people. Nothing is going to stop the freight train from coming through, on time.

Anonymous said...

This isn't going to happen

With this I say that the RIFs should be performed as the following: last in, first out. The new, young TSMs can find work elsewhere without too much loss.

10/7/07 8:33 PM

The idea is to get rid of the old. They make more money and are about to draw a retirement which is a burden NNSA / DOE have to support. The sooner they get rid of those who are or were eligible for retirement the bigger savings to them. That's been the game plan since the introduction to privatization. It is the only way that the national labs can save money. I'll bet that this was the advise given to LLNL and LANL by Hewitte Associates or some other cut throat consultant firm. It's all about how to screw the people over, get the most out of them and then toss them to the wolves.

Anonymous said...

When I saw the NTS draft (where many noted that it was a quickly hacked version from something that Pantex had published) I thought there was a typo on the last page. To be considered eligible for the meager preferences, you must have been employed in the complex before September 1991. I see that the LANL plan has that date as well. It must be tied to something in the original guideline. I wonder if the plans for the rest of the complex are also set for the September 91 cutoff.

Anonymous said...

Isn't the pension plan concern a bit of a red herring? TCP1 is a self-contained pot of money that the employees will be stuck paying for, not the employer. The employer (LANS/NNSA), once they announce the shortfall (now May 2008?), will simply cap their payments at whatever they are paying TCP2. The employees will be required to pay the rest, will scream, and the plan will be dramatically altered or frozen. The older employees are known liabilities, the younger ones are around longer to tap to keep paying into the plan and have greater uncertainty in what their true liability to the plan is. Thanks to the change to an ERISA private pension plan, NNSA can keep the TCP1 costs under control, no matter what they do, just like the rest of corporate America is doing.

Here's the more important paradoxes. Anastasio said himself at the big announcement a few weeks ago that there are no RIF funds available. The long-term employees have substantial RIF benefits built up, the recent hires have very little. In the very immediate future, it's cheaper to lay off the recent hires. But, because of the seniority-based raises, the long-term employees generally have much higher salaries, so more will be saved off of projects in the near-term. So just how much money will NNSA allocate/allow for the immediate RIF benefits? Can they just change the Admin manuals to reduce the benefits?

If you lay off someone on overhead, that's money in the bank, since somewhere is a direct-charge still generating the funds for that position. If you lay off a direct-charge (who is still direct charging), then you risk losing the substantial overhead he was generating, unless you fill in with some other direct charge. What does NNSA want? Since LANL is "their" laboratory, at the end of the day NNSA doesn't care about overhead rates, since they figure they pay the full bill anyway. That WFO crowd hollering about rates is just a nuisance. There has never been a single positive action by NNSA to indicate they care about WFO at LANL.

NNSA runs the show now, completely. LANS just responds (actually jumps gleefully, so they get bonuses) to the demands. The employees are at will and screwed.

Anonymous said...

In May 2007, DOE had a white paper out for comment on how to reduce its future pension/medical burden across the complex. Is it just a coinsidence that LANS is rushing to clear out 100s of employees who are going to be expensive? By straight demographics, more half of those let go will be older than 40 and currently in the pension system.

Consider a TSM who is 47 and has 20 years of service. Getting this person out of TCP-1 will save DOE retiree medical @ $6000/yr for life, conversion of 1 year sick leave ($100K X .025= $2500/ yr) for life, 13 years of additional service credit( 13 X 100K X.025% = $32,500/ year). $40K per year savings for RIFing the average TSM!!!

If 1500 people (500 @ 3 labs) fit those numbers, (over 40 with 20 yrs. service) DOE saves 60 Million a year.

It is illegal to dump employees out of a pension system just before you have to pay them...

Anonymous said...

Comment:

1. LANS receives a financial benefit from RIFing employees. Therfore, DOE should 'share the pain' and reduce its fee in proportion to the RIF action.

Anonymous said...

It’s obvious that NNSA plans to target older employees in the upcoming RIF. People with 20 - 30 years of service and age 50 – 60 make up a considerable percentage of the LANL workforce and a correspondingly large financial burden to LANS/NNSA. These folks were not quite ready, or able, to retire at the time of the transition: their retirement percentages are likely in the 55% to 65% range. Many of them have sick leave balances of a year or more--some approaching 2 years—that would add a non-trivial amount to their pension percentages. They had hoped to work another few years to pay down mortgages, to support children in college, help care for elderly parents, etc. They have planned their futures around their expected retirement benefits, believing that they would remain ‘substantially equivalent’ to those under UC.

Facing the prospect of being RIF’d is bad enough. But now employees must also consider the possibility of losing several percent off of their pensions due to the loss of their SL, potential future reductions in the pensions themselves, AND maybe their retiree medical benefits. This is NOT what they have been planning for and is, in NO way, ‘substantially equivalent.’

If RIF’d, many of these employees may be forced to sell their current homes and move away. The price of housing in the area will tank which will reduce the equity they have in their houses. This will further reduce their ‘nest eggs’ and many will spend, literally, the rest of their lives trying to recover from it.

As residents leave the area, local businesses will see a reduction in their customer base and be forced to close.

The negative socioeconomic impact to the area cannot be overstated. Yet we hear little, if any, discussion from local government officials. Los Alamos County Council, City of Espanola, the local Pueblos: what say you?

Anonymous said...

A comment to pass along to DOE:

In the draft WRP, Section III.C.1 (Skills Inventory), it states "Employees should be encouraged to ensure that the information available accurately reflects all their education, retraining, certifications, etc."

Since very few employees know that such an inventory of skills even exists, let alone how to access or edit the information it contains, the section needs to be reworded: "Employees SHALL be allowed to review their listing within the inventory and should ensure that the information available accurately relects all their education, retraining, certifications, etc."

Anonymous said...

Re: 9:29's comment -- It's kind of sad watching you guys try to polish this turd. The RIF is a done deal, it's going to happen. DOE, NNSA, and LANS want to get rid of staff. The budget situation makes it possible for them to do this now. You'd be better off polishing up your resumes and interviewing skills, because a sizable number of you are going to be out the door soon.

Anonymous said...

To my knowledge, the only place where educational degrees are on record is in the Oracle HR system, and much of this data is incorrect.

A young TSM said...

"Last in first out" would be a disaster. It would sway the LANL workforce even more towards high-paid, older workers, and what would happen when these older workers retire? Who in their right mind would come to work at LANL knowing that the last RIF was decided based on start date rather than merit?

I do feel bad for those people that made plans based on expected retirement benefits that they might not receive. But please don't disregard the effect that a RIF would have on younger TSMs. It may seem like we can just pick up and find another job but it's not that easy. Many of us bought houses on the hill within the last 5 years and will be taking a huge loss when we sell or possibly foreclosure. So should LANS find out how much each person owes on their mortgage and how much savings they have and then only RIF those who can afford it? It sounds like people want the RIFs to be based on personal need, which is just plain nuts. I don't want RIFs either, but if they have to happen, I hope they are not "last in, first out," or "first in, first out," or any other arbitrary method that doesn't take into account merit or the institution's needs.

For the record though, I think RIFs will be done in whatever way minimizes LANS' overall costs, including those incurred by possible lawsuits. I just wonder if they're capable of performing that calculation. All signs point to "no."

Anonymous said...

'I don't want RIFs either, but if they have to happen, I hope they are not "last in, first out," or "first in, first out," or any other arbitrary method that doesn't take into account merit or the institution's needs.'

I have been trying to pay attention, but I have no idea what 'the institution's needs' are right now. The only institutional need that is apparent is for LANS to keep a contract from NNSA to do whatever NNSA wants done, preferably including the building of new buildings.

Does anyone have a clearer or different interpretation of 'the institution's needs.'

Thanks,

Anonymous said...

LANL: The ... has been running for years now.

Still, there is no organized resistance to NNSA/LANS plans.

If I were either NNSA or LANS, I would be delighted.

Tom D'Agostino said...

We *are* delighted. We expected no less from the people who brought us "The World's Greatest Science Serving America".

Anonymous said...

"The price of housing in the area will tank which will reduce the equity they have in their houses. This will further reduce their ‘nest eggs’ and many will spend, literally, the rest of their lives trying to recover from it." (9:05 AM)

I saw this happen to several staffers after the '95 RIF and it was sad to watch. Expect to see lots of emotional problems in the community emerge (divorce, depression, drinking problems).

For those close to retirement with a mortgage on a LA house and with kids in college, their world is about to collapse in a violent manner. The pension doesn't begin to accelerate payoff until you hit those golden years of 55-60 with around 25 to 30 years of service. The gold ring, which was so close, is beginning to slip away for a large section of LANL's staff.

Of course, NNSA head honchos, LANS' executives, and most of our local politicians really don't give a shit anymore. They got theirs. You get to lick the crumbs off the plate.

Anonymous said...

For you folks who doubted Mikey when he said LANS had no rif plans. Here's a direct quote from the LANS contract:

"PART III - SECTION J
APPENDIX Q
CONTRACTOR’S TRANSITION PLAN
To be released at a later date"

So you see he was telling the truth, LANS has no plans at all!

Anonymous said...

10/8/07 9:05 AM

They don't care as long as you are gone, lost your pension and out of their hair. Gee, when are you guy going to get it. Just accept your pink slip with grace and move on down the road even though that means you may lose everything you have worked for. It's no longer UC. It's the real world. Just get your head out of the sand and tell yourself, I'm going to make it in spite of these bastards. On the way out the gate give those SOB's the middle finger and tell them thanks for nothing butt sniffs. Then chalk it up to a lesson learned. No matter what you do or write is not going to change their minds. They have a mission and that mission will be accomplished. End of story. It's over, stop pissing in the wind, you're only going to get wet and salty.

Anonymous said...

Unclear 9:05.

The age factor at 50 is 1.1%; 20 years service credit would give you 22% of your high three year average salary, and 30 years gives 33%. At 55 the corresponding age factor is 1.8%, and numbers for 20 and 30 years are 36% and 54%, respectively. That considerable percentage with a 55-65% benefit conjecture would seem to be questionable.

Some numbers revisited - See Executive Summary, and Exhibits A and B of the Segal UCRP Special Interim Addendum Report, June 1, 2006:

9570 Active Members in UCRP just prior to transition
---Transition------
6532(68.3%) to LANS TCP1
1219(12.7%) Terminated Non-Vested – No Vested UCRP Benefit – To LANS TCP2
1819(19.0%) Terminated Vested – Vested UCRP Benefit – To LANS TCP2

TCP1 – 6532(68.3%)
TCP2 – 3038(31.7%)

4077(42.6%) had svc credit < 5 yrs [Non-UCRP Vested]
2858 -> TCP1
1219 -> TCP2

5493(57.4%) had svc credit > 5 yrs [UCRP Vested]
3674 -> TCP1
1819 -> TCP2

The average age of the 9570 Active Members in the UCRP before the transition was 44.3 years with 10.3 years of service credit. Average compensation was $90,895.

The average age of the 6532 employees who went to LANS TCP1 was 43.6 years with 9.2 years of service credit. This number would be the size of the fixed pool of TCP1 members for future reference. Average compensation was $89,450.

Exhibit B provides further breakdown of the 9570 Active Members before the transition on 6/1/06:

4077(42.6%) had svc credit < 5 yrs, avg. comp $74,220. [Non-UCRP Vested]
1778(18.6) had svc credit 5-9 yrs, avg comp $97,330.
981(10.3) had svc credit 10-14 yrs, avg comp $107,733.
820(8.6) had svc credit 15-19 yrs, avg comp $107,768.
978(10.2) had svc credit 20-24 yrs, avg comp $106,920.
641(6.7) had svc credit 25-29 yrs, avg comp $101,020.
295(3.1) had svc credit >=30 yrs, avg comp $104,529.

Note the 4077 employees who had joined LANL after 6/1/01. The data lend support to the statement made several times that roughly half the Lab’s current employees have been hired since the beginning of 2000.

Of the 1914(20%) employees who had more than 20 years of service credit, data from Exhibit B show that at the time 608(6.4%) were under age 50, and 158(1.7%) were age 60 and over. That leaves 1148(12%) who were between 50 and 60 with more than 20 years of service credit.

There were 6457(67.5%) employees under age 50, 2660(27.8%) employees between 50 and 60, and 453(4.7%) employees over 60.

Age - # Employees – Avg Comp
Under 25 – 352 - $37,360
25-29 – 720 - $59,858
30-34 - 1003 - $75,106
35-39 - 1194 - $86,928
40-44 – 1484 - $95,834
45-49 – 1704 - $96,339
50-54 – 1518 - $101,332
55-59 – 1142 - $106,480
Over 60 – 453 - $116,307

The roughly similar average compensation in the service credit bands is due to avg compensation generally peaking at intermediate values of service credit for a given age band. For example, in the 45-49 age band, the avg comp for 0-4 yrs svc credit was $82,673, for 5-9 yrs svc credit it was $101,551, for 10-14 yrs svc credit it was $111,785, for 15-19 yrs svc credit it was $109,627, for 20-24 yrs svc credit it was $99,972, and $78,357 for 25-29 yrs svc credit.

*The number of employees in the 0-4 yrs service credit band for every age band was substantially larger than any other 5 year service credit band in the same age band.* For example, in the 50-59 age band:
Svc Credit - # Emp
<5 yrs - 657
5-9 - 309
10-14 - 255
15-19 - 291
20-24 - 484
25-29 - 417
30-34 - 224
>35 - 23

I calculated the average service credit for the age bands using band midpoints. I obtained an overall svc credit average of 10.4 years. The value given in the Exhibit was 10.3 years.

Age - # Employees – Avg Svc Credit(yrs)
Under 25 – 352 – 2.6
25-29 –720 – 3.1
30-34 - 1003 – 4.1
35-39 - 1194 – 5.9
40-44 – 1484 – 9.2
45-49 – 1704 – 12.9
50-54 – 1518 – 15.5
55-59 – 1142 – 16.9
Over 60 – 453 – 14.7

Now, 30 years of service credit at age 55 gets you to a 54% benefit. It takes 20 years at 60 and over to get you to 50%. Given the data binning in the Exhibit, I include in a tally of those perhaps “thinking” of retiring all those 60 and over with 20 or more years (min 50% benefit), 158 employees; age 55-59, with 30 or more years (min 54% benefit), 142 employees. These are the only bins that guarantee a min 50% benefit. That gives 300 employees, or 3.1%.

Similarly, a subset of 111(1.2%) employees out of those 300 employees were in bins guaranteeing a min 60% benefit.

Including as “maybe thinking” about retirement, the bins with age 55-59 with 25-29 years (min 45% benefit) gives another 180 employees; age 55-59 with 20-24 years (min 36% benefit) gives another 209 employees; age 50-54 and 30 or more years (min 33% benefit) gives another 105 employees. Portions of these bins get into the Total of these “maybe thinking” bins is another 494 employees, or 5.2%.

The employee count in these bins is split between TCP1 and TCP2. That detail is not provided in the Segal Report. In addition, there was hiring and attrition this past year which would change the numbers.

Anonymous said...

Like an earlier post said - last in (< 5 years), first out ... it is what most corporate entities do anyhow, so why not Bechtel/LANS/DOE?

Anonymous said...

Some of these discussions about FIFO and LIFO are just about as useful as who screwed FIDO.

If this process would concentrate on the real f!@#-ups at the lab, there would be plenty of people to get rid of. My personal top picks would be those who:

1. Use lab resources to further their external business for profit.

2. Use the lab network to build their music or porn library.

3. Continue to make the same basic security mistakes over and over and over again.

Keep thinking something simple-minded like FIFO or LIFO and we'll still keep many of the bottom-feeders that continue to put this lab in the wrong headlines. It's time to start cleaning up around here.

Anonymous said...

"The negative socioeconomic impact to the area cannot be overstated. Yet we hear little, if any, discussion from local government officials. Los Alamos County Council, City of Espanola, the local Pueblos: what say you?"

The City of Espanola does not have a clue.

The local pueblos do not have a clue.

Los Alamos County Council is too busy kissing up to the LANS management team and planning on how to revitalize the County and employ all the unemployable bomb designers in a great retail development with more HOUSING! If they don't have enough unemployed LANL staff, they will bus workers up from the valley. After all, the County has already dumped $2million into a local regional transit authority just to be able to have a workforce. They have a perfect opportunity to try to develop independent research and an educational facility with plenty of staff, but they are only interested in a big box store where we can buy cheap underwear made in China.

Since St. Pete got all this great land for the County and wants the County to develop it, we must. After the County spends $70 million in bonds on Airport Basin, builds several 20+ million dollar buildings downtown, and then learns that the GRT revenue from LANL is not going to pay off everything it needs to, the property taxes will go sky high and force out the few people who have managed to hold on to their homes after NNSA pulls the plug on LANL.

And of course the Schools have not yet figured out how they will be impacted by the RIF. Fewer students means less money from the state. So they will have to let teachers go, and probably LANL will cut way back on renting school properties because they'll be able to pull back across the bridge. The Schools will owe the County money for their share of Airport Basin, which they will have to pay no matter what. But they will probably use less space because they'll have fewer maintenance people so they will have to renegotiate their contract with the County which will mean less money to the County to pay off their obligations so up will go the taxes.

There is no reason for a RIF. There's plenty of money - it's just being spent the wrong way. If this were a true business run the way a true business should be run, management would not draw the kind of salary it draws without performing. LANL management is not performing. What LANS wants is to be as rich as Microsoft but without expending any effort at all. LANS is the worst example of the gimme generation. There's no management talent, there are no goals, there's no leadership from DOE/NNSA. It's a gross waste of taxpayers' dollars.

I sure hope you mean this will go to the DOE. It should be on record that the DOE/NNSA has singlehandedly destroyed the weapons capabilities of this nation. DOE/NNSA are criminals. They have endangered the security of our country with their decisions because they are criminally incompetent.

Pinky and The Brain said...

Yes, I will email it to DOE Friday and it will remain available on this blog.

Anonymous said...

I for one am tired of hearing about all the deadwood at LANL. How can anyone evaluate who is or is not deadwood in their hallway, group, division, etc.? Maybe the real deadwood are the ones running around thinking that others are deadwood.

However, we can all agree that the excessive layers of management is deadwood. If management can't get trash picked up, common areas and hallways vaccumed, generate reasonable budgets that gets the work done without wasting it on paperpushers, develop sensible safety and security programs, then we all know who the deadwood is.

Instead of a workforce restructuring, let's have a management restructuring. DOE can do that very easily without developing a plan, following a timeline, etc. DOE, get rid of all the paperpusers, the chiefs of staff, the useless baggage that sucks up money and provides no product. Make Herr Direktor earn his gross salary. Make him manage LANL. If he can't do it, FIRE HIM. Put all the rest of the management deadwood to work at salaries preLANS, and see what they can produce. Get rid of all the ones that were not even employed at LANL preLANS. Clean the house, DOE, not of the staff, but of those who prevent work from being done while at the same time making it cost more.

And BTW, DOE, check with your Inspector General to see how many waste, fraud, and abuse complaints have been filed with that office since LANS took over. You might be surprised.

Anonymous said...

clue 1 - the govt has no money.....it belongs to the people who earned it.
do you still think big govt is the answer to all your problems? this country is NOT great because of govt.

Anonymous said...

9:49 pm: "If this were a true business run the way a true business should be run, management would not draw the kind of salary it draws without performing."

Hehe - maybe you should wake up now. Maybe look at the corporate salaries, stock options, and severance packages paid to CEOs who drove the companies under and trashed their stock values before leaving. Compared to them, LANS managers are pikers, but they are committed to learning.

Anonymous said...

10:39 pm: "Maybe the real deadwood are the ones running around thinking that others are deadwood."

Maybe the real deadwood are those whose performance scores over the past number of years indicate that in the opinion of their superviors, they are deadwood. Generally, their coworkers agree.

Anonymous said...

Government is supposed to provide for the common defense. It's one of their jobs, and they have been doing it very badly for the last 10 years or so. Our tax dollars are supposed to pay for that, not for highly inflated LANS salaries.

Scores are not objective. They're based upon how someone feels about you on a particular day unless you have cranked out paper after paper while developing the next weapon. Managers have no idea how to evaluate the work people do. They just know how to evaluate those that have figured out how to impress them. There's no concrete basis for the scores. Coworkers' opinions are not important, and if people have so much time to discuss others' work, then we have identified one category of deadwood.

Face up to the fact that corporate greed is wrong, corporate greed in weapons research is DANGEROUS to this country, and the responsibility for enabling the greed is DOE/NNSA and Congress.

Anonymous said...

"It should be on record that the DOE/NNSA has singlehandedly destroyed the weapons capabilities of this nation." -- 9:49

Unfortunately that's true 9:49. However, no one with political authority really cares right now because the public doesn't care. Looking back in history it's always been like that -- when threats to national security are perceived as gone they no longer get any attention until something drastic happens like Pearl Harbor or 9/11. Then the finger pointing begins. Mark my words, the weapons labs will get blamed for not being prepared, and those responsible for the Labs' downgrade will be at the front of the pack pointing fingers. The weapon's Labs are subcontractors of DOE and we get the blame. We have no choice but to keep quiet or else we are out of a job. The public doesn't understand this and our lack of protest to accusations implies guilt in their eyes.

Anonymous said...

Although Last In First Out is the most legally defensable RIF option, the Bechtel Boys would be the most impacted and that just won't happen!

Anonymous said...

From an early comment:
4077(42.6%) had svc credit < 5 yrs

I think that shows that management has been hiring entirely irresponsibly. Futhermore, I would be that that a closer look would find most of those people in the overhead areas.

Anonymous said...

10/8/07 2:49 PM: "Expect to see lots of emotional problems in the community emerge (divorce, depression, drinking problems)."

More than usual?...You bet! Lots of stress. Lots of bitter feelings about being misled, about not knowing what the future holds, about knowing that lots of DOE revolving door beneficiaries like Rich Marquez have feathered their retirement nests extremely well at the expense of hundreds, if not thousands of Lab workers. Mikey and his Bechtel friends will come out of this well fed as well. This is LANS, the best and brightest management team money can buy. Can't help but wonder whether Lockheed Martin would have been any better. Right about now, it doesn't appear they could have been any worse. Happy holidays!

Anonymous said...

10/8/07 9:49 PM said "The City of Espanola does not have a clue. The local pueblos do not have a clue."

Really? What makes you so all knowing? Of course people living in these communities understand the implications of a major layoff occurring at Los Alamos. What communities do you think took the brunt of the adverse economic impact associated with the 1995 layoff. So why don't you just stiffle, moron!? You obviously don't know diddly squat!

Anonymous said...

8:13,

I'm afraid most LANL staff misled themselves. There is no shortage of information about Bechtel, and how they operate their other DOE facilities. There is no doubt that Lockheed would have done a much better job of running LANL.

Eventually one pays the price for choosing to remain ignorant.

Anonymous said...

Get a grip, 10/9/07 8:19 AM

If Espanola and the Pueblos were really knowledgeable about the issues, we'd hear from them. The state would be hearing from them. The Congressional delegation would be hearing from them. It ain't happening.

And the 1995 RIF will pale in comparison to this one. They are clueless about what the effects will be because they have no idea how to measure those effects. LANS' poor decisions have trickled down all the way to small companies in Albuquerque that are either close to bankruptcy or have shut down completely. Some of those are not Hispanic or Native American so they don't get extra support. but don't believe the compact signed between LANL and the pueblos is going to amount to much. It's just a way of LANS trying to make everyone think they are truly good guys and believe in the contract they signed as they take their big bucks to the bank.

A management RIF is what is needed. Not a management restructuring. These guys, like the Entron guys, are crooks, taking the taxpayers' dollars, doing nothing to earn the money, and destroying the security of the country.

Anonymous said...

4077(42.6%) had svc credit < 5 yrs

I think that shows that management has been hiring entirely irresponsibly. Futhermore, I would be that that a closer look would find most of those people in the overhead areas.

10/9/07 7:37 AM

There was a wholesale conversion of limited term as well as contractors done in the preceding 6 months before LANS took over. I think thats why those figures are so high. The previous management did a disservice to the institution by converting a few thousand people to regular full-time. I know quite a few boneheads that benefited from this ill conceived decision.

Anonymous said...

To 8:50,

If your statements are true (most of them appear to be true), what needs to be done now and who will do it?

Thanks,

Anonymous said...

10/9/07 12:48

You're correct, except for:

"when threats to national security are perceived as gone they no longer get any attention until something drastic happens like Pearl Harbor or 9/11"

9/11 is completely insignificant compared to Pearl Harbor. The biggest current threat to national security is the bloated, ignorant incompetent, ever-growing federal bureaucracy (not just DOE), only a small amount of which is destroying the weapons labs. Bad as what is happening at Los Alamos and Livermore is, it is insignificant compared to the damage being done to national security by continuation of the war in Iraq. And if there is an extension into Iran, the negative effects will increase very non-linearly.

To 10/8/07 8:21pm: Assuming your information is correct, thanks for posting. It's something that competent managers at group level who are trying to salvage what they can of this mess might be able to use.

Anonymous said...

Maybe the real deadwood are those whose performance scores over the past number of years indicate that in the opinion of their superviors, they are deadwood. Generally, their coworkers agree.

10/9/07 12:04 AM

That may be true in some organizations but I feel that quite a few managers are totally clueless regarding if an employee is deadwood or not. Then compound the fact that there are quite a few managers that lack the courage and guts, to put it kindly, to actually
put it in writing that there performance and work ethic sucks. You have all kinds of misfits here that care nothing and know nothing about there jobs but always look good to management. Case in point.
Technician A takes 2 days to fix a problem that takes Technician B 5 minutes. Technician A looks great because he/she spent 2 days fixing the problem. Management is totally clueless because they themselves do not know how long it should take.

Then you have a team that was totally dysfunctional and had 6 employees. You get a new superstar and 2 idiots. The superstar carries the entire load and then some. The Superstar's salary is identical to the 2 idiots. When its salary increase time they all get the same increase because the "team" has to be equal. The 2 idiots performance scores are the same as the SS.

That my friends is why the overhead rates are so high and why we have become so dysfunctional.

That

Anonymous said...

8:33AM: Of course the staff misled themselves. I remember talking to coworkers at the time, and many had deluded themselves into thinking the competition was between UT and UC, not Lockeed and Bechtel. How many times did you hear "I hope UC wins"? I think some of these fools STILL think UC won.

Anonymous said...

UT did NOT win! You must not even work at LANL.

Anonymous said...

11:21AM: You're an idiot. I was referring to the fact that there are people who think UC won, not Bechtel. UT/LockMart are ancient history.

Moron.

Anonymous said...

UC did win! You must not even work at LANL.

Anonymous said...

Poster 10/9/07 8:13 AM writes
Lots of bitter feelings about being misled, about not knowing what the future holds, about knowing that lots of DOE revolving door beneficiaries like Rich Marquez have feathered their retirement nests extremely well at the expense of hundreds, if not thousands of Lab workers. Mikey and his Bechtel friends will come out of this well fed as well.

Instead of wasting time commenting, we should be trying to find an investigative reporter if they still exist. Gussie or Pinkie should have another comment area where we can put down some facts about what is really going on at LANS. Anyone have any hard facts or info about how LANS are putting their buddies in and inflating the management plus making all these hefty salaries? We need facts and not all this hearsay.

Anonymous said...

I'm a Bechtel transfer, retired from the DOE, and now double-dipping with the best of them at LANL. On top of that, today I just got an 11% raise. Who says this isn't a great place to work at?

Anonymous said...

Not much here that is relavant to the Workforce Restructuring document.

What is interesting, is that neither the document nor most of these posts say anything at all about restructuring the workforce to meet the needs of the Laboratory's mission. Although, I guess that would be quite difficult given that we do not seem to have a defined mission. Or, if we do, it is a secret.

Anonymous said...

4077(42.6%) had svc credit < 5 yrs

The figures are high because of the contractor conversion program (Contingent Worker Program) that started several year before LANS. Those folks are fodder for this RIF. Let's call a spade a spade, even if LANL does not like the acronym RIF. These folks were so happy to become UC employees that they put themselves on the line for LANL. Last In, First Out, except for the protected Bechtel boys. DOE should be disgusted at the way LANL has treated people. Of course, it was really UC then, but we all know who was in charge.

Let's put 9/11 into context. In 2001 terrorists killed 2,978 people, including 5 by anthrax, heart disease killed 700,142, cancer killed 553,768, accidents killed 101,537, suicide killed 30,622, and homicide (excluding terrorists) killed 17,330. Please get a grip before you start flaming me. I am not saying that 9/11 was not a horrible event. I am just putting the number of deaths into context.

"To 8:50,

If your statements are true (most of them appear to be true), what needs to be done now and who will do it?

Thanks,

10/9/07 10:02 AM"

Well, you don't sit around, moan about the issues, and then throw up your arms in dismay. This is an opportunity for well constructed comments that will go to DOE. At least DOE needs to know that a subset of citizens do not believe that DOE is making decisions that are in the best interests of the country.

THIS DOES NOT MEAN LANL IS A WELFARE PROGRAM, but DOE needs to fund diverse programs at LANL or make sure that LANS makes sure to fund diverse programs because once the talent is gone, it's gone.

And you folks who think that LANL is going to be a pit factory have not taken into consideration the NMED. You all think it's a done deal, but SF is planning on diverting water from sources that have shown to be contaminated by LANL wastes. You think these folks are going to be happy with pit production at LANL if it might contaminate their water supply? DOE might have to rethink their plans. So tell DOE what you think of how they have operated in the past and what you think of their pit production plans.

"Anyone have any hard facts or info about how LANS are putting their buddies in and inflating the management plus making all these hefty salaries?" Look at Alan Bishop who is now an AD, and who spent a couple of months in California helping LANS write its response. Any time he charged to LANL for being T Division leader during the time he was in CA is definitely a fraud. But look how he was rewarded. He's an AD and still the T Division leader, just not in name.

"What is interesting, is that neither the document nor most of these posts say anything at all about restructuring the workforce to meet the needs of the Laboratory's mission. Although, I guess that would be quite difficult given that we do not seem to have a defined mission. Or, if we do, it is a secret." And that's because of the totally incompetent DOE. What I don't understand is why folks working on unclassified projects do not band together, set up an outside entity to do the work, and compete for the project. Contribute to the Los Alamos economy, put local folks to work, and get the good work out of LANL before it's totally destroyed.

Anonymous said...

My Comment - We want a plan that is really a plan for where we'll be in a year, 2 years, 3 years, etc., what our main responsibilities will be, what the structure of LANL will look like, and where funding will come from.

This is what a restructuring plan is all about. What is presented as a plan is merely a way to make sure that everyone is covered in case of law suits. But what can we expect from DOE?

Anonymous said...

DOE has a 5 year restructuring plan. From the executive summary:

"The Department of Energy (DOE) has formulated a comprehensive 5-Year Workforce Restructuring Plan in response to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Bulletin 01-07, Workforce Planning and Restructuring, dated May 8, 2001. The DOE Plan was developed in the context of the FY 2003 budget request and annual performance plan and reflects additional guidance provided by OMB officials.

The Department’s fundamental goal is to improve mission delivery by fostering accountability, reducing unnecessary layers of management, streamlining operations and decision-making, moving resources to front line activities, modernizing core business practices, expanding e-government, transferring additional work to the private sector, and improving internal and external communication. Day-to-day efforts will constantly be aimed toward achieving intended results on time and within budget."

This is a plan, not a way of avoiding lawsuits.

Anonymous said...

That's not a plan. That's incomprehensible, meaningless bullshit.

Anonymous said...

Just got my ORC bullshit session done today. Work for one of the overhead organizations. You get penalized these days for being too quick and accurate with your work. "Why?", you might ask. Because my overhead org does not make as much money if the job doesn't have to be double and triple checked and reworked numerous times all at the customer's expense.

This is my first year here, but from what I've been told, this was in place long before LANS took over.

I'm going to grab a job in Santa Fe or ALB before the RIF craters the NNM job market like the local housing market. What a mistake it was coming here in the first place!

Anonymous said...

I hear Sandia's rif plan is out and it is similar to LANL's. Does anybody have a link to it?

Pinky and The Brain said...

Sandia Workforce Restructuring Plan

Anonymous said...

I hired on just before the changing of the guard. My husband has worked at LANL for 23+ years and enjoyed the 80's and early 90's but then he started sharing all these horror stories with me. I just could not believe it and thought he was just making things up. Well, after being here a few months I had to apologize to him as I found out very quickly at how dysfunctional LANL really is.

Then LANS got the contract and I thought that perhaps things will get better and the slackers, poor performers and just plain stupid people would get rooted out or at least accurately portrayed in there performance appraisals. This would identify the workers that should be riffed. I can report that this is not the case. LANS is no better and perhaps worse at knowing the difference between the best and brightest and the stupid.

I have come to the conclusion that LANL is doomed. Management refuses to deal with the REAL issues, have no balls and are letting the inmates and political concerns run the institution.

Anonymous said...

"Just got my ORC bullshit session done today. Work for one of the overhead organizations. You get penalized these days for being too quick and accurate with your work. "Why?", you might ask. Because my overhead org does not make as much money if the job doesn't have to be double and triple checked and reworked numerous times all at the customer's expense."

Nothing new about this. Happened all the time when LANL employees were sent to other groups under "form B", mainly for programming support.

Anonymous said...

"That's not a plan. That's incomprehensible, meaningless bullshit."

Well of course, but first you should download the document and read all of it. Then you should pick out on the goal of
"reducing unnecessary layers of management" which has to be applauded.

It pays to read more carefully!

Anonymous said...

Anonymous at 10/9/07 5:35 PM writes:

"Just got my ORC bullshit session done today. Work for one of the overhead organizations. You get penalized these days for being too quick and accurate with your work. "Why?", you might ask. Because my overhead org does not make as much money if the job doesn't have to be double and triple checked and reworked numerous times all at the customer's expense."

No surprise here. What we need is some oversight of the overhead organizations by those of us who pay the taxes.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said at 10/9/07 5:35 PM...

Just got my ORC bullshit session done today. Work for one of the overhead organizations. You get penalized these days for being too quick and accurate with your work. "Why?", you might ask. Because my overhead org does not make as much money if the job doesn't have to be double and triple checked and reworked numerous times all at the customer's expense.

In my youth I worked under a union. The older guys were on my ass for working too hard because that would cut off their over time. The word was "don't kill the job."

Anonymous said...

Does anybody think (hope) that those fools at the DOE will read these comments and those under the RIF posting?

If they actually read them, then I would think that there must be some reason to declare LANS in breach of contract and throw their ass out.

If that is not possible, than at least a zero performance award would be in order.

Somebody needs to keep in mind that we are talking about people who have the nation's nuclear weapons secrets.

Anonymous said...

There have been a few
"What can we do?" questions.

Go to your computer, follow the links to LASO restructuring page.

Click the active button and send in your favorite comment- one per email. Actually, send in several comments from all the email address you have.

For example, express concern about losing saved sick leave and retiree healthcare, inability to retire due to age or service, or being replaced by Bechtelites.

If you don't know what to say, 10/7/07 11:35 PM gave you a list to pick from.

Get all your friends to send in comments. They will pay more attention to 500 than 5.

Anonymous said...

"Somebody needs to keep in mind that we are talking about people who have the nation's nuclear weapons secrets."

Woooo...boogy man threat. We couldn't keep a secret if our careers depended on it. Hmmm... enough said.

Anonymous said...

Management 101:

You are only as good as what you will tolerate.

Since it is evident that LANS will tolerate the same level of incompetence as UC its the end game folks. The current everyone is a wonderful performer, especially in the support organizations is a bad omen of things to come.

Beyond clueless. Why is the Performance Appraisal process so much like a experiment gone terribly wrong year after year. Why should one be a Star when the turds working next to you are treated the same and in quite a few cases even better.

I maintain that if the REAL boneheads get the Appraisal they deserve the RIF problem is solved. But alas it has eluded us for another year because of spineless managers and supervisors.

Had a Bechtel manager even state that he does not have time to deal with non performers and how does a non performer cause a problem for you?

Boy, if you need to spell and point that out to them they are beyond stupid.

Anonymous said...

"Why should one be a Star when the turds working next to you are treated the same and in quite a few cases even better."

This is why our postdocs become worthless sacks of *&^% once they have been working at LANL for 3-6 months. Why bother pushing the envelope and busting your ass in MPA when you can get paid as much as lazy postdocs in MST down the hall who end up getting hired?

Anonymous said...

Just remember this from clause H-17 of the LANL contract... "Persons employed by the Contractor shall be and remain employees of the Contractor and shall not be deemed employees of the NNSA or the Government"

NNSA does not care about LANL employees, and if it had its way there wouldn't even be a restructuring plan with incentives, and if LANS just wanted to use forced involuntary layoffs to cut the workforce that would be fine with the NNSA bean counters.

Anonymous said...

10/9/07 2:16 PM, amen. How about a plan for what strategic experimental capabilities we should be retaining, before we stupidly let go of all the people who actually know how to make them work?

Anonymous said...

7:59 pm:
"Woooo...boogy man threat. We couldn't keep a secret if our careers depended on it. Hmmm... enough said."

You asshole. Please report yourself to security immediately. If you have a clearance and have access to classified information, you need to be arrested and fired (not necessarily in that order). How anyone who is still a LANL employee can make fun of the necessity of "keeping a secret", i.e., protecting national security, boggles the mind. Go back to whatever mud-hole you climbed out of.

OK - all you clearance holders who think the anonymity of this blog shields you, feel free to blast the concept of keeping your personal oaths. How many of your ilk believe that it is ok to break an oath if you don't like the politics of the entity you made the oath to?
PS - your career DOES depend on it, jerk.

Anonymous said...

"Although Last In First Out is the most legally defensable RIF option, the Bechtel Boys would be the most impacted and that just won't happen!"

Actually, not the case. If you carefully read the service anniversary page of the LANL NewsLetter (before wiping your ass with it) you'll notice lots of "new" faces from Corporate who have transferred all of their service credit to LANS. Voila! Why it's almost like you could sit down with them and reminisce about a fun Saturday night with supper at Good Eats and a fun evening at the bowling alley.

Anonymous said...

8:36 PM, it is not just in your organization, it is also in C. Absolutely pathetic and we can't do a damn thing about it or the PDs will turn us in for "abusing them". This has been the case since what happened to the Aqua Regia TSM. A few of my colleagues have already been threatened when they have tried to tighten the screws on their PDs. But then our AD has touted the "quality of life" intiative and this gets thrown in our faces by the PDs when we try to force them to work past say 6 pm. The labs and hallways are empty by 4pm these days and there is not a damn thing we can do about it unless our AD actually grows a spine.

Anonymous said...

Are 8:36 and 11:08 both at 48?

Is it a C vs MPA problem, or a 48 problem?

Anonymous said...

11:08 pm:

"But then our AD has touted the "quality of life" intiative and this gets thrown in our faces by the PDs when we try to force them to work past say 6 pm."

Those with no personal lives, or those whose spouses have already found another warm shoulder, are happy to "work past say 6 pm." Those with balance in their lives (i.e. "quality of life", a good thing) recognize that life exists outside LANL, and most of those could easily find a job outside LANL, since they've learned perspective and family value.

The only advantage that late workers have over those that leave (and probably start) earlier, is that they grind their noses harder. Congratulations - think anyone cares?

If your reason for working routinely past 6 pm is "there's more work to do" when will that not be true? Isn't it true at 9:00 am on Sunday when you're in church? Oh, I forgot, you don't believe in church.

Do your kids know your face? Does your house need any work? Tell your wife I'm available any day after 4:30.

Anonymous said...

10/9/07 11:24 PM, "MST down the hall from MPA" implies MSL building or thereabouts.

Anonymous said...

Working hard at LANL is like wetting your pants in a dark suit: It gives you a warm feeling but nobody notices.

Anonymous said...

"down the hall" could also be figurative meaning a closely related discipline, so I was just curious.

(I wasn't being snarky, at least this time)

Anonymous said...

"Isn't it true at 9:00 am on Sunday when you're in church? Oh, I forgot, you don't believe in church.

Do your kids know your face? Does your house need any work? Tell your wife I'm available any day after 4:30."

And we can find you in Church on Sunday?

Anonymous said...

To 2:07 PM.

1. Why do you, or anyone else reading this, think that sending anonymous emails to 'a bunch of incompetents' is an effective plan?

2. As to spinning off unclassified work, this is a viable plan that the PIs of such work have not been willing to do. There is space outside the Lab. There are communities willing to help. So far, the PIs have not been willing to do their part. Maybe when the RIFs start they will.

3. As for me, I am making the companies and products that you want me to and doing it in Los Alamos County. In a business sense, I have ignored the Lab for years. To quote Packard (of Hewlett Packard) in his first business plan, 'the government is a lousy customer.'

Later

Anonymous said...

Instead of RIFing people, why doesn't LANS just look at getting rid of most of KSL?

The craftsmen and laborers at KSL are pretty decent workers, but you talk about non-productive and fairly inept management - and you have just talked about KSL.

Anonymous said...

"... my overhead org does not make as much money if the job doesn't have to be double and triple checked and reworked numerous times all at the customer's expense."

This is good reason why overhead functions should be outsourced to companies that actually have to compete for the business. Internal orgs have no incentive to provide good customer service at a decent price.

Of course, the pinheads controlling the purse strings would probably just select the company with the lowest price, completely disregarding quality of service...

Anonymous said...

"2. As to spinning off unclassified work, this is a viable plan that the PIs of such work have not been willing to do. There is space outside the Lab. There are communities willing to help. So far, the PIs have not been willing to do their part. Maybe when the RIFs start they will."

What amazes me is that these PIs have been smart enough to come up with an idea, get funds for it, and are directly supporting some number of people. However they seem to be inert about what they might need to keep their project running because of all the overhead LANL does that makes it "easier" for them to work, including expensive equipment that their funds helped to purchase and that they share with others

If they had to rent space, worry about dealing with a recalcitrant landlord, worry about networking, worry about equipment, they'd know what the real world is like. But in the end, they'd have more money for the research because their taxes would be so much less.

If enough PIs pulled projects out, either LANL would figure out that they needed fewer folks to provide overhead services or they'd raise taxes to cover the ones not doing a full day's work. Probably the latter which is why overhead is such a bad ides. Those with a lot of money help support those with less.

LANL is basically a small socialistic state and those with less money realize the free ride is almost up. If the PIs would step up to the plate and make the break, it would be much better for LANL and Los Alamos. And if Los Alamos County would step up to the plate and realize that a better way to provide retail is to provide more work that brings more folks to shop and to support a movement of unclassified work from LANL to the private sector in Los Alamos it would be better for the community.

It's too bad that DOE is not encouraging LANS to help in this endeavor because this is really workforce restructuring rather than a RIF which is called restructuring.

Anonymous said...

"LANL is basically a small socialistic state and those with less money realize the free ride is almost up." (10:04 AM)

Bingo! Good observation. There is a reason why staff at LANL put up with all the crap and the extremely low morale. It's called the free ride and a majority at LANL are taking it,
including most of LANL management. It's ironic that we helped defeat the Soviet Union only to become like them in many respects.

Anonymous said...

11:40AM, you're right on target, and 10/9/07 9:54 PM is a great example of what's wrong with the Lab these days. It's a McCarthystic-like mindset that's taken over the place. The Los Alamos Lab is no longer a conscious-driven free-thinking society reminiscent of the Manhattan Project days. It has become a haven for flag-waving conservatives that, ironically, somehow view themselves as being the protectors of our democratic freedoms when, in fact, democracy has nothing to do with the military-industrial complex or its limitless greed. In reality the county, where the country's greatest concentration of millionaires now reside, isn't very enlightened when it comes to anything that places their own economic interests at stake. At that point reason be damned! But hey...we do keep the nation's secrets now don't we? Or do we? Tell it to media. They could use a good laugh.

Anonymous said...

To 10:04

If you want to read about a society that functions the way that LANL currently does, read about the Eastern Settlement in Greenland in the 1100 to 1300s CE.

One place to look for this information is the book "Collapse" by Jared Diamond.

For your amusement, the Eastern Settlement built large buildings (think NSSB etc. but they were really churches in Greenland) just before the settlement died out.

Anonymous said...

11:24 PM asked "Are 8:36 and 11:08 both at 48?"

Nope, 11:08 here. Although I cannot speak for 8:36, I live at 46 and reside in PCS.

Anonymous said...

The comment period ends 10-12-2007
I am 54 years old. Give me one year's pay.
I will leave and reduce the number of FTE's the complex is looking for. What do the rest of you want?

Pinky and The Brain said...

The original press release was incorrect. The comment period ends 10-19-2007. You can view the corrected press release here.

Anonymous said...

What happened to the LLNL blog? It was edited extensively and now has disappeared? Anybody know what happened?

Pinky and The Brain said...

I've emailed Vlad to ask. I don't know any details.

Anonymous said...

So does anyone know exactly what severance benefits we get? medical? COBRA? weeks of sev pay? The restructuring plan doesn't say.

Anonymous said...

Severance is calculated from years of service: 1 wk/yr for up to 6 years, then 2 wks/yr, but maxes at 39 wks. Medical is provided for 1 year after RIF. COBRA kicks in at 1/2 rates for second year. After that you are on your own.

But pay attention to this caveat: By current rules, if you have worked for LANL 20+ years, you have earned Retiree Healthcare. However, if you CAN'T retire directly after a RIF, you lose this benefit. You might want to write in to the DOE website and complain...

Anonymous said...

A bit hopeful 7:28, but hey, I'm with you. I'm over 50 and would leave for a year's pay as well. However, at ~2x what I'd get if riffed, I don't see that incentive happening. I'll go out on a limb and predict very few volunteers who weren't planning on leaving anyway. No real incentive.

Anonymous said...

If I want to read about LANL society, given what I see on this blog, I can go right to "Lord of the Flies".

You all seem to hate each other so much.

And you don't get the most elementary political principles. Running each other -- and the lab -- down in a public forum is hardly going to help make your case for preservation. Claiming that you are surrounded by deadwood, druggies, and security risks might lead NNSA/DOE/USG to believe that LANL is full of deadwood, druggies, and security risks. Imagine that! Someone might actually believe what they read here!

Anonymous said...

Poster 11:31 PM makes a very good point.

You can't retire until the age of 50, but you must start taking the retirement checks within 120 days of leaving LANL or you lose the retirement medical (currently worth about $12 K per year).

Thus, if you are 49 years old and get RIF'ed, you just lost access to a very important benefit.

Even if you are age 50 to around age 56, you probably don't want to start taking that retirement check because you'll end up with far less money per month. However, if you get RIF'ed at age 56 and then wait until age 60 to take the retirement checks you'll have lost access to retirement medical.

Medicare doesn't kick in till age 65. If a serious medical condition arises before this time and you don't have adequate coverage you will be financially wiped out. It happens to lots of people these days.

Most individual (i.e., non-group) medical policies can deny coverage for any existing conditions and, believe me, the insurance companies are brutal about looking for them once your bills start to rise.

The safest route is to be covered under a solid group policy like LANL's so that the insurance companies cannot target you for policy elimination when an expensive medical condition arises.

Anonymous said...

I predict there will be almost no takers of the voluntary termination offer. The most likely candidates would have been older staff, but they are likely to be (1) double dippers, with no reasons to leave given their lucrative situation, or (2) be in their early to late-50's, and don't feel they can start taking their retirement checks till age 60, yet don't want to lose the retirement medical benefits.

If LANS offered to let the staff over the age of 50 leave, not immediately take their pension checks, and yet guaranteed the retirement medical benefit, then they might get some takers from older staff in situation (2) who are fed up and ready to leave.

Anonymous said...

Be careful on the medical insurance thing. I you lose your employer medical insurance and have to purchase private insurance, the dreaded "PRE-EXISTING CONDITIONS" clause will kick in. Any illness that you had will NOT be covered. By federal law, employer provided medical insurance cannot have a pre-existing condition clause but this does NOT apply to privately-purchased policies. Also, not all privately-purchased policies have guaranteed renewal. And some companies just get out of the business.

So, the advice here is that if you are considering not having employer-provided insurance, either due to taking the UCRS lump sum, not beginning your pension within 120 days of separation, or some other reason, go out and shop for some private medical insurance.

Anonymous said...

10/10/07 11:54 PM, I'll accept the bad if NNSA also willingly believes that they have given us even worse management than before, that bureaucratic bloat and managerial indifference is killing our ability to land and execute new missions.

Or hell, maybe they already know that.

Anonymous said...

"Even if you are age 50 to around age 56, you probably don't want to start taking that retirement check because you'll end up with far less money per month."

Don't generalize, I know quite a few individuals who went TCP2 even though they are getting only half of what they would have gotten at 60 from UCRP.

I didn't trust the longevity of TCP1, and had so much accumulated sick leave that I decided to start drawing a pension check at only 37% of HAPC (I would have gotten 74% at 60). With at least 6 more years to work (hopefully) before 60, I can sock enough away in my 401(k) and after-tax accounts to be financially secure for the retirement I envision.

And don't refer to me as a double dipper - at 37% of HAPC I'm a long way from being a double dipper.

IMHO, anyone 50 or older with at least 20 years of service, especially if they had at least a year of sick leave, should have seriously considered drawing a pension as soon as they could.

Anonymous said...

Did anyone hear the C-Division presentation that Terry Wallace gave today? I understand that he indicated that the WFR plan was finialized and submitted today.

Anonymous said...

Regarding pre-existing conditions, check out the HIPAA regulations.

"Title I also forbids individual health plans from denying coverage or imposing preexisting condition exclusions on individuals who have at least 18 months of creditable group coverage without significant breaks and who are not eligible to be covered under any group, state, or federal health plans at the time they seek individual insurance."

Anonymous said...

From 4:53 PM - "Did anyone hear the C-Division presentation that Terry Wallace gave today? I understand that he indicated that the WFR plan was finialized and submitted today."

Well, if Terry said it, sheeeet it must be true. He never lies or talks out of both sides of his ass!

Anonymous said...

Terry has been going around to several of the Divisions giving talks about the upcoming layoffs. I would be very careful about believing anything that Terry has to say on this matter.

Anonymous said...

It is clear that the LANL employees do not trust the LANS management at all! While UC was not perfect, there was some trust in our management (at least prior to Nanos) and we all felt a sense of shared fate. Doing good science, getting project done on time, etc had some importance at all levels. That is clearly no longer the case.

Anonymous said...

There is no shared fate at LANL any longer. The top LANS executives are looking out for their own well being and personal gain. They will profit no matter what happens to the general workforce. In fact, they'll be rewarded with bonuses from NNSA if they act more severely in their treatment of staff and low-ball workers on both wages and benefits. The disorganized state of the workforce means they will be very successful in these tactics.

If you want to survive and see any future success at LANL, you would best be advised to kick and crawl your way into the management ranks as soon as possible.

Anonymous said...

At this point, I wouldn't be suprised if no incentive were offered.

Anonymous said...

What might you be managing if the workers leave and there are no project deliverables?

Anonymous said...

Does it concern anyone that we are not operating under some kind of hiring freeze? New jobs are still being posted for external applicants.

On Wednesday, STB advertised for an SSM-2 as a Science Education Specialist!

Anonymous said...

For 11:30 PM

As far as I understand it, you never worked for 'LANL' nor were you a Federal employee.

First you worked for the University of California. Then you worked for LANS.

Different laws apply.

Anonymous said...

1:54, would that job be an overhead funded function?

Ravenfriend said...

I was still at work on Oct. 5 when the email and attachment were distributed at 5:23 p.m. At the time I thought, "Yeah, right. Do it when everyone's gone home for the week."

I read it. It's cautious and self-protective, as one would expect. I didn't find any specific information; I didn't expect to. I'm sure LANS will communicate it to us just as effectively as they have communcated with us for their tenure. (snicker)

The document seems so caring ("we'll try to find jobs for and retrain employees"). Doesn't that kind of defeat the purpose of a RIF?

Make no mistake. This is going to be a wholesale slaughter.

LANS is The BORG!

Anonymous said...

> ...would that job be an overhead funded function?

Overhead or not, it's likely that someone has already been cherry-picked for the position. It's just that they have to advertise it to make it legal. Oh sure, there'll be other applicants, and some of those applicants will even get "interviewed", but mysteriously, the person for the job that they already had in mind will turn out to be the "best qualified" for the position. They played the same stupid game for the "contingent" worker conversion project.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said at 10/12/07 6:03 PM is a cynic, but a correct cynic!

Must be the spouse, child, or near relative of a Bechtel person who needs this job.

Anonymous said...

10/12/07 6:03 PM

"Oh sure, there'll be other applicants, and some of those applicants will even get "interviewed", but mysteriously, the person for the job that they already had in mind will turn out to be the "best qualified" for the position. They played the same stupid game for the "contingent" worker conversion project."

And don't forget Wallace's PADSTE position. LANS had an "exhaustive national search" and low and behold, we had the best scientific leadership already here. Amazing, simply amazing. I just can't figure out what idiots were on the hiring committee who decided that.

Anonymous said...

Ok! I know this belong here but as of yesterday the LLNL: Rest of the Story Blog has dissappeared?? Does anyone know or care ....WHY???
There was a lot of us at LLNS that were starting to follow ypours and ours???

Anonymous said...

You are correct. LLNL blog did disappear. "Vlad" was editing it a lot, removing posts, comments, all the time. Finally, the whole thing disappeared. Someone on this blog said they were sending him an email asking for an explanation. Never heard anything. I'm thinking about starting my own LLNL blog. What do you think?

Anonymous said...

LLNL blog has disappeared. I've started a temporary blog until Vlad gets back. Go to: http://llnl-new-rest-of-the-story.blogspot.com/

Cut and paste the link and post away.

Anonymous said...

Where did Vlad go? And under whose orders?

Pinky and The Brain said...

I think Vlad is out of the blogging business. He may have a final post or possibly decide to make a comeback. I'm hoping he'll make an appearance here and let us know.

Anonymous said...

Thanks... everyone needs a place to belong!! I sure can't get a warm and fussy feeling from LLNS thats for sure:(

Anonymous said...

10/12/07 1:54 PM, I was flabbergasted by this job posting. We're headed into a RIF but we need to hire a teacher to help with community outreach? What?!

Anonymous said...

10/12/07 8:52 PM

Due to several post and comments about LLNS new enforcement of time card keeping and enforcement of working hours that could lead to an audit or investigation brought on by those who were apparently very defiant when asked to comply to the new rule, it was felt that for the benefit of all concerned both LLNL blogs be shut down. Apparently this subject matter and post grabbed the attention of a few who didn't want Pandora's' box opened and therefore it was requested that closure was best avenue.

Anonymous said...

Poster 1:11 AM, Mike did say during his All-Hands meeting that LANS would continue to make a few critical "strategic hires" during FY08 even with the upcoming RIF. This new hire must fit Mike's criteria.

Anonymous said...

anonymous at 10/13/07 10:55 AM writes:

"This new hire must fit Mike's criteria."

I guess that I could see this as a strategic hire at the DD level, but this ad was for a person at the level of a high school teacher.

Anonymous said...

Take a look at this:
http://www.usatoday.com/money/workplace/2007-10-13-depressing-jobs_N.htm

Working at LANL did not make the list.
Must have been an oversight.

Anonymous said...

You have to put carriage returns in your linkies b/c they go over the line length.

Pinky and The Brain said...

Here is his 5:48 PM's link.

Anonymous said...

Hey Pinky and/or Brain:

How about putting a post on your page directing people to the "LLNL: New Rest-of-the-Story" blog? I just added a post regarding Open Enrollment.

Without your help, I don't know how people will find out about the new blog. I'd sure appreciate some assistance. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the link.

"WASHINGTON (AP) — People who tend to the elderly, change diapers and serve up food and drinks have the highest rates of depression among U.S. workers."

Interesting. "People who make buckets of money while having few responsibilities" are not on the list. Who would have thought.

"Overall, 7% of full-time workers battled depression in the past year, according to a government report available Saturday."

That sounds about right going forward, from the rumors I hear.

Pinky and The Brain said...

10/13/07 6:50 PM (Bad Dog),
It's posted.

Anonymous said...

High school teacher. Doesn't that fit the typical wife of a Bechtel engineer with a Master's... She got a BS in education and then stayed at home to raise some kids and now wants to work. So let's get her hired into LANS now.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know what happned to the "LLNL: The rest of the Story" blog. It mytseriously disappeared Friday, Thursday, 10/12. Thanks

Anonymous said...

Why the LLNL: The Rest Of The Story has been eliminated for good

Due to several post and comments about LLNS new enforcement of time card keeping and enforcement of working hours that could lead to an audit or investigation brought on by those who were apparently very defiant when asked to comply to the new rule, it was felt that for the benefit of all concerned both LLNL blogs be shut down. Apparently this subject matter and post grabbed the attention of a few who didn't want Pandora's' box opened and therefore it was requested that closure was best avenue.

10/13/07 10:41 AM

Anonymous said...

In other words, 'Vlad' is a pussy, caving at the first bit of controversy.

Anonymous said...

10/14/07 10:17 AM,

Where's your blog?

Anonymous said...

10/14/07 10:17 AM

You could say that but I think he or she is just a little bit smarter than most of those who think LLNS isn't taking note of those who are breaking the rules. Then again I guess it's good to have people stupid people around because as you know LLNS is always looking for a few good men or women to RIF each Sept or Oct. So feel free to stay on your current path.

Anonymous said...

10/14/07 10:17 AM

LLNS is always looking for a few good men or women to RIF each Sept or Oct, so keep up the stupidity people.

Anonymous said...

i suspect Vlad was caught using lab computers and lab time to administer the blog and got caught. Bye Vlad.

Pinky and The Brain said...

There is a post about the new LLNL blog where these comments would be on topic.

Anonymous said...

10/14/07 11:11 AM

Nope, wrong again. The rules are well defined on that issue and in that area. The reasons were already stated on the blog in at least two areas. Who knows maybe the new blog mister on the New LLNL blog will have better luck or maybe he or she doesn't care about their job. Either way I am sure LLNS will care one way or the other and will take care of the problem.

Anonymous said...

Pinky/Brain: Please Post

I've changed my mind about running the LLNL: New Rest-of-the-Story blog, which was my first attempt to establish a blog of any kind. While I think that the blogs like the one I set up serve a useful purpose and can continue to do so, I don't really have the energy or time to keep running it. After only a couple of days, I've already found it to be dominating my life. And I have other responsibilities and things to do. Like family. Like my job. Like preparing for the rest of my career and eventual retirement. I wasn't pressured by anyone to quit, it's my own, independently derived decision.

While I still think that open discussion is best and that LLNL employees need an information-exchange forum, I'm just not the person to run this whole thing. I hope that someone else picks up the blog-master duties and runs with it. It's not very hard to set up. But be careful, you might find yourself spending all of your time on it. If you've got the time and interest, I say go for it. But it's just not for me. Sorry.

I am happy to have at least shed some light on the LLNL Open Enrollment issue. I hope that some people found that useful.

Thanks to Vlad and Pinky/Brain (LANL Blog) for the support. I admire what you guys have done, especially since I've gotten a taste for it.

Change is hard, and we've all got to deal with it. Like the Director (George Miller) said, "It is what it is." The road is, and will continue to be somewhat rocky for awhile. But we'll all get to smoother road eventually, one way or another. Look out for yourself, and remember, your job at LLNL, or anywhere else for that matter, shouldn't be the most important thing in the world to you. I wish good luck to all, including the new management at LLNL.

All that being said, I'm going to take the LLNL: New Rest-of-the-Story blog down in a day or so.

Respectfully and Regretfully,
Bad Dog

Anonymous said...

Anyone who thinks it's not tough running a LANL or LLNL blog should read Bad Dog's post several times over. It's got to be tough, both in terms of the time and the psychological toll that it takes.

Face it, it's tough watching LANL being destroyed right before your very eyes by LANS, NNSA, and Congress.

Thanks, Pinky and Gussie, for keeping the microphone open. Some real problems need to be aired out and, if nothing else, this blog helps LANL staff to vent their frustrations and get things off their chest.

Good work, boys!

Gussie Fink-Nottle said...

You're welcome, 11:51, although it is harder for Pinky than me, since it is his blog. I'm just the hired help around here.

However, as to your comment about who is destroying LANL, I believe you are leaving out the chief culprit: The University of California. It was through decades of poor-to-non-existent oversight by UC that the piss-poor caliber of on-site LANL managers was allowed to accumulate and help ruin the place.

Take WFO, as an example. Look at SNL -- about half of their portfolio is in non-DOE-funded programs.

Now look at LANL management, still making excuses about how impossible it is for LANL to diversify.

--Gussie

Pinky and The Brain said...

Thank you for the kind words and thanks for using that open microphone. Together we may have some impact. It's worth trying!

Anonymous said...

10/15/07 11:51 AM "Thanks, Pinky and Gussie, for keeping the microphone open. Some real problems need to be aired out and, if nothing else, this blog helps LANL staff to vent their frustrations and get things off their chest. Good work, boys!"

Ditto on that!

Anonymous said...

Straight from TW meeting this morning:
LANS rif plan won't be out until after Oct.19 comment period ends. The plan will allow 10 day decision period, 10 day processing, and you're out by Thankgiving. A bonus may be included to convince enough people to leave now.

Anonymous said...

10/15/07 5:36 PM - Thank you Terry, wait... let me bend over for another from you and your so-called "support". I sincerly hope you are one of the senior managers on the RIF list.

Anonymous said...

" I sincerly hope you are one of the senior managers on the RIF list." - 6:54 PM

Dream on, because Terry and the others of his ilk will be getting fat bonuses from NNSA for carrying out the layoffs. They appear to be following a plan coming directly from Tom D'Agostino, who is eager to begin downsizing the NNSA workforce.

The NNSA layoffs are being done to reduce manhour costs in preparation for the Complex 2030 rollout. One way or another, Tom will get his shiny, new toys, even if he has to get rid of some good people along with the deadwood. He just needs some obedient hatchet men to help him execute the plan.

Anonymous said...

Does anybody think that those shits that we have as ADs and DDs read this blog?

What we need are upward appraisals of them that go to the DOE.

Anonymous said...

The RIF rules will probably be (or have been) written to APPEAR to be fair in order to minimize lawsuits.

The problem is, that is not in the best interests of either the nation or personnel. There are certainly groups (and perhaps whole divisions) for which funding and staffing are already inadequate to perform the assigned work effectively. There should be no reduction in force in such groups unless the function of the group is eliminated. If that happens to a group, then all personnel in the group have to find jobs which are funded and for which there is (or could be with minimal training) a skill match. If not, then out the door, regardless of time on the job. Last In First Out, etc. make no sense.

Anonymous said...

Maybe it's time for a little black humor from a 7-year-old help wanted ad.

"Wanted: Gifted, energetic scientists trained at top universities. International reputation desirable. Knowledge of physics, chemistry, mathematics and computer science required. Willing to work long hours. Must be extremely flexible to adjust to rapid changes of policy and detailed direction by government agencies. Psychologically capable of withstanding ridicule by congressmen and media. Should have independent means as housing is very costly in isolated area and pension uncertain. Salary increases possible in years of budget surplus. Association with top university possible but not guaranteed. Able to obtain high-level security clearance. Willing to abide by stringent security regulations, with solitary confinement possible for mishandling of classified data. Occasional lie-detector tests and FBI interrogation. Active volunteer ski club maintains slopes but no snow in recent years. Should not enjoy tennis, as courts not maintained. Help with biking trails through novel Black Forest. Fight forest fires and support flood control projects in free hours. Should be willing to disarm nuclear weapons in emergencies including weekends. Free Red Cross lunches available. Apply to Box 1663, Santa Fe, NM 87545."

At least the forest is growing back.

But you'll not see any infusion of mid-career personnel, such as was possible when one could start with four weeks vacation and not have to start accumulating all over again. There is still some real scientific work occurring at LANL, in spite of DOE/LANS, but not much, and it will become less if the RIF is done in some "across the board" manner.

Eric said...

to 10:29

Superb

ROTFL


Second attempt

Anonymous said...

If the RIF is done "across the board," there will have to be exceptions. For instance:

Bechtel people

spouses, children, and relatives of Bechtel people

PAD, AD, and DD office staff

spouses, children, and relatives of PADs, ADs, and DDs.

Anonymous said...

10/17/07 10:06 AM
"The RIF rules will probably be (or have been) written to APPEAR to be fair in order to minimize lawsuits....The problem is, that is not in the best interests of either the nation or personnel."

I agree, especially if it's me being RIFed. That is definately not "fair." As for RIFing the next guy, well what's unfair about that? Gee!

Anonymous said...

Last in (last two years), first out, unless they have brought in their own funding and are not sucking off the teet of others. You would be surprised how many of the friends and family plan got brought in over the past two years. Take a look and see how many are either support staff or are just sucking off the teet of others because their are unfunded AD mandates.

Anonymous said...

10:29 AM: "At least the forest is growing back."

No it's not. Just another head-in-the-sand response. The ponderosas will take about 100 years to regrow. What you are seeing is scrub oak and aspen shoots fron the root network. Not a forest.

There is no regeneration within our lifetime, just like LANL.

Anonymous said...

Is this thread intended for comments on the RIF plan? I can't tell anymore. It seems to have deteriorated into the usual speculation and forecasts of doom.

Anyway, my comment is that if there is to be a financial incentive to volunteer, it would be helpful to have the option to receive payment after Jan. 1.

Anonymous said...

I still don't see how a VSIP works well with keeping "the best and the brightest".

Many companies tried this in the 80s, including IBM. A friend who worked at IBM told me that the VSIP was always taken by the really good guys, who were risk-takers and able to get jobs elsewhere anyway. He claimed that the VSIP programs IBM ran directly contributed to IBM's near-death experience a few years later.

A VSIP represents the ultimate failure of a management group that doesn't know what it needs, and therefore doesn't know who it needs; or, worse, knows these things and is unable to take the hard choices; or, worse yet, doesn't know and doesn't care.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous at 10/18/07 1:15 AM is absolutely correct. VSIP is a ploy to minimize litigation. It is management malfeasance in that it does not serve the needs of the mission.

Anonymous said...

I still don't see how a VSIP works well with keeping "the best and the brightest".

That's not the goal. The goal is to reduce cost. That means you get rid of those whit the higher salaries, except management and cut cost at the low end. They don't need smart people anymore. They just need a warm body for 4 years, 11 months and 29 day and then they'll get rid of them before they are vested. This cycle will continue forever. When are you people going to understand that. It's no longer a career, it's a job. After you get laid off here and find a new job you can plan on this happening to you for the rest of your life. It's the way of the new world. Simply put, you are slave labor with no security. How would you like to be 20 years old and know what you know now.

Anonymous said...

"Anyway, my comment is that if there is to be a financial incentive to volunteer, it would be helpful to have the option to receive payment after Jan. 1."

As someone else has pointed out previously, there is little to no chance this will happen. The main reason? $$$s - the employer (LANS, LLNS, NSTec, etc.) would then have to pop in their share of FICA taxes for 2008. For the 1.45% Medicare tax - no difference either way. But the 6.2% SS tax on 2008 compensation (incentive $$$s paid in 2008) for all those employees whose salaries exceeded the maximum 2007 SS wage base of $97.500 would eat into the 2008 budget more than if the incentive $$$s were paid in 2007. In the case of LLNS, more employees could fall into the maximum SS wage base in 2007 because of the cashing in of vacation at contract transition.

Anonymous said...

If LANS can bring employees of the parent companies in to fill LANL positions in a non-competitive manner... Then shouldn't they also allow LANL IRIF'ees a crack at jobs (i.e. closed job fair) in the parent companies before termination?

Anonymous said...

10/18/07 3:59 AM said: "Anonymous at 10/18/07 1:15 AM is absolutely correct. VSIP is a ploy to minimize litigation. It is management malfeasance in that it does not serve the needs of the mission."

Maybe it does serve the needs of the mission if one of those needs to get rid of older workers, uppity minorities and women, and whiney old white guys always pining away about the good old days of UC's worthless oversight. If the objective is to clear out the "trouble-makers" who might be inclined to leave without clinging too much to cashcow's tit, well then...get the picture?

Anonymous said...

Also the SS wage base goes from $97,500 in 2007 to $102,000 in 2008, an increase of 4.6%. That increase could make it even more expensive for some at the top end.

Anonymous said...

The SS wage base is increasing from $97,500 in 2007 to $102,000 in 2008, an increase of 4.6%. That increase could affect some high end people.

Anonymous said...

Why in the world would you show again the Wen Ho lee case? That family- is trying to put this behind them. Those of us who supported the Lees are not happy with this post, What are you trying to do?
Back in 95 Group Leaders then used the RIF as an excuse to rid themseves of those they did not like. Same thing this time around? I lived through that RIF.
There is life after Los Alamos--and fun too!!

Anonymous said...

To 3:55 - WHL was the beginning of the end of LANL although I won't give him sole credit for the Lab's demise. The circumstances surrounding the fubar'd investigation, prosecution and sentencing all highlight problems at every level that coulda & shoulda been avoided. There's no 'woulda' because as far as I can see, because the Lab, DOE and other agencies involved weren't capable of fielding any better teams.

It's all smoke and mirrors in the case though so he can revel in claiming innocence as long as there's little or no risk of the real details of the case being released though, huh?

Anonymous said...

I agree with 10/18/07 12:59 am. Hope this makes into the comment time frame for response to the draft. Thank you.

Pinky and The Brain said...

I'll email all these comments (relevant or not) around noon tomorrow. If any comments arrive after that I'll send them in a separate email if possible.

Anonymous said...

The Laboratory is in the process of submitting the specific detailed plan to DOE for review and approval. The Laboratory plan includes an incentive for the SSVSP, but details cannot be shared until the plan is approved.
Will the SSVSP pay incentive be extended to take affect in 2008? January through March 2008 could be the best time to receive this incentive. If not received in 2008, this money will be taxed in 2007 FY with any FY 2007 income already received this year. 20% to $40% will be taxed.
The sick leave for TC-2 personnel in inactive retirement status will not be compensated. The time earned will not be given for any for service earned, as I understand it. (It takes 25 years, plus to acuminate this amount of time) Why? (I have 2200 hours of service sick leave accumulated.) Should I start using it now? Although I believe the new LANs Company was compensated and paid for the sick for my hours transferred from UC to LAN’s. Can anybody verify this? Did the taxpayers pay for this transfer to a private company? Do I get any compensation for my family if I get sick later after taking a SSVSP with the hours I have accumulated?
Do the dates provided give any new future in-active retiree’s time to activate the retirement, and the process, including medical coverage ? I understand it can months to activate retirement. Does anyone know? The New LAN’s HR does not offer any help? Call LANs and you are told “Sorry we can not help you, call UC”. The hope is when you call UC you can talk to a person and not a recording. Thank you. Best of luck to all.
PS- age 53.

Anonymous said...

What happened to the LLNL blog?

Gussie Fink-Nottle said...

LLNL's blogs aren't as robust as LANL's, 8:43.

-Gus

Anonymous said...

To 7:49 PM

To me the problem is not so much that it is very hard to get answers to your questions, it is that the answers change constantly so you cannot tell what you have agreed to.

There might be the beginnings of federal law suits based on the idea that you can't really agree to something that is changing all the time. Apparently Federal law says that you have to give employees of a private company something stable to sign.

Anonymous said...

8:43 Try looking here

http://llnl-the-rest-of-the-story.blogspot.com/

Anonymous said...

Dear 7:49,
If I'm not mistaken you took TCP2, froze your UC retirement but transferred SL & Vac to the new company. I'm personally sorry that you gave 2200 hrs of your personal hard earned life to a company you knew nothing about. I'm sure you did what you thought was right regardless and what is done is done. We are the same age, I had 30 years but turned my year sick leave in for extra years and retired. I hardly call it double dipping at 48%.But when given lemons you have to make UC aid! Personally I would come down with a real sickness or fall down onsite to start using my sick leave.As far as getting ahold of UC, stay on hold until you get a real person, they will send you the paper work. Heck a better idea would be to take a sick leave road trip to Oakland and do it in person. You must have a close relitive who died?? Well anyway you can start receiving money in a couple of months and never say a word to anyone on what your doing.Put that money in a ING savings account @ 4.5% and save it for a rainy day...you will be needing it. Keep the money liquid so you can get to it easily when or if you get laid off. Don't use any vacation as you can turn that into cash when you leave.
PS LLNS Blog was put to rest because of the short sightness of employees thinking it won't happen to them... but it will soon enough!!

Anonymous said...

Regarding the SSVSP, whatever form it ultimately takes: Delaying a separation payment until CY08 probably has significant tax advantages for most volunteers, but costs LANS the extra FICA taxes. Perhaps an option could be fashioned whereby SSVSP volunteers foot all (or perhaps most) of the additional LANS cost through a reduction in the separation payment. This would likely be a win-win for all--affected volunteers pay less in overall taxes, and LANS/NNSA get some additional people to take the SSVSP because of the more favorable net benefit, all at no extra cost to LANS (for any one individual). Just a suggestion.

Anonymous said...

Comment - Let's call a spade a spade.

This is NOT a restructuring plan. It is a Reduction in Force plan. Call it a RIF if you prefer, but let's quit playing games about what is being described in this plan.

If you, DOE, want to restructure, then work with the staff to determine what work can best be done outside the framework of LANL, help the PI's move the work and money to locations within local communities, turn over to them equipment purchased with project funding, and then reduce the overhead support staff and management that fed like leeches off these programs.

That's restructuring.

Anonymous said...

To the extent this thread provides a record of what has been going on in people's heads at LANL, it is beneficial.

That the comments will have any impact on how RIF decisions are made is unlikely.

Congress provides the funding. If congress provides less funding, let congress decide what work should not be done. (It is incapable of that, course. It can't even recognize the continued obvious idiocy of destroying Iraq, and scattering angry Iraqis all over the planet.)

The only function LANS management can now perform, if it has any capability, is decide what LANL functions can be saved and convince DOE bureaucrats that those are the correct functions to save.

DOE performs no useful function at LANL. This is from the DRAFT "Plan:"

"A. PLAN APPLICABILITY
This is an open-ended Plan without a termination date. Unless amended, withdrawn, or replaced, it will provide the guidelines for all future workforce restructuring actions involving operations conducted under Los Alamos Site Office. The benefits described in this Plan are subject to the availability of funds."

It's a sorry state of affairs, to be sure. One can only assume that the safety features designed into the weapons will continue to function as intended, and that worthwhile non-weapons work that can no longer be supported at Los Alamos can be moved elsewhere and receive money through some channel(s) not affected by the DOE bureaucracy.

Anonymous said...

"Congress provides the funding. If congress provides less funding, let congress decide what work should not be done." - 8:15 AM

A small minority of us, growing smaller each and every day, don't wait for buckets of money to decend on LANL from Congress or feast off the overhead taxes at LANL. We write proposals to outside funding agencies, get them funded, and then deliver on our promises. If we don't deliver, we lose the funding. It's high pressure work, but it allows a staff member some freedom in the type of work that they do.

I know this is not how most of LANL works, but I'm growing increasingly disturbed by the welfare mentality of many people working at LANL. It's pathetic. You would think they couldn't wipe their own behinds unless Congress was there to do it for them. And the worst part of this is that LANS management seems to be infecting the whole workforce with this passive attitude of "we can't do anything about it." Talk about a lack of leadership, LANS has none!

Pinky and The Brain said...

10/19/07 5:04 PM,
You certainly waited until the last minute to add your comment! I've already emailed the previous 187 comments to DOE. I'll send yours along too and hopefully it will be accepted.

Thank you to everyone who voiced their comments and concerns on workforce restructuring here. I've invited DOE to supply a response to the comments which I will post to the blog if they accept the offer.

And with that, commenting on this post is now closed.