Nov 22, 2007

LANL Chief Hopes to Avoid Layoffs

ABQ Journal
Thursday, November 22, 2007

LANL Chief Hopes to Avoid Layoffs

By Raam Wong
Journal Staff Writer

Los Alamos National Laboratory director Michael Anastasio on Wednesday held out hope that enough lab workers would accept voluntary buyouts that layoffs may not be necessary.

The lab announced Monday that between 500 and 750 jobs need to be cut. If not enough workers leave voluntarily, the lab, which is northern New Mexico's largest employer, will then proceed with layoffs.

But Anastasio told the state Legislature's LANL oversight committee that he hoped pink slips could be avoided. That's because the large number of employees who are eligible to retire this year who may be encouraged to do so given LANL's generous severance offer, the lab boss said.

"If you've been waiting for a deal, this is the deal," Anastasio said. "The deal's not gonna get any better."

Anastasio said the number of people who chose to retire last year— 107— was "surprisingly low" given that about 400 workers leave in a typical year.

Anastasio said the job cuts were being driven by rising operational costs, flat revenue and talk in Washington of slashing the lab's budget.

Anastasio said he did not develop the workforce restructuring plan with a specific dollar amount in mind that needed to be cut. Instead, he felt that 750 jobs— or about 9 percent of the regular workforce— was the most that could be eliminated without compromising the mission of the lab. Anastasio said the average lab worker makes $120,000 including benefits, so a cut of 750 jobs would be a savings of roughly $90 million.

The lab director declined to speculate about how many workers might leave voluntarily. "It's hard for me to predict exactly what the workforce will do," he said.

Several members of the LANL Oversight Committee voiced fears about what the cuts would mean for northern New Mexico communities, where lab workers took home $911 million in salaries last year. Committee chairman Phil Griego, D-Santa Fe, said that lab managers had their "hands tied" by decisions being made in Washington.

The restructuring plan must still be approved by the National Nuclear Security Administration. Under the plan, about 7 percent of workers would not be eligible to leave the lab either voluntarily or involuntarily due to their critical role at Los Alamos.

One lingering question on the minds of many Los Alamos workers is if they'll be eligible for unemployment insurance if they leave voluntarily.


Anonymous said...

what a pack of Mikey bullshit.... and why is the lab still doing external hiring of regular employees and contractors? The internal hirings makes some sense but why hire new people as you fire others?

Anonymous said...

How touching ...

Anonymous said...

Mike, why don't you and your overpaid cronies leave? We would have money to HIRE people then.

Anonymous said...

"Anastasio said he did not develop the workforce restructuring plan with a specific dollar amount in mind that needed to be cut."

So, Mike pulled this figure of 750 workers out of thin air? Come on, Mike, we are not all that gullible. Start telling us the truth for a change. You know where that figure really comes from... straight from the puppet masters over at NNSA.

Mike's "No RIF and no plans for a RIF" statement made continuously over the last year demonstrates just how gullible these people think we have become. The strings being pulled that operate LANL are now being pulled directly from NNSA. LANS is their obedient little puppy.

Regardless of what LANS may say in the future, plan for a total multi-year layoff of about 20% (or 2000 workers) over the next few years. We haven't seen the worst of it yet. Don't expect LANS to tell you that, though. More lies are on the way.

Anonymous said...

11/22/07 8:42 AM

They are doing the same thing at LLNL right now and we haven't even had our first RIF. I'll tell you what it's about. They are firing those who they do not like and make good wages, then they are hiring these people from the east coast to do the same job for less because the people have no idea of what it cost to live out here. remember it's the golden state, the land of opportunity. They didn't tell them you need a family income of ~$250 to have a life unless living from pay day to pay day is what you call a life.

Anonymous said...

"Phil Griego, D-Santa Fe, said that lab managers had their "hands tied" by decisions being made in Washington."

What slimy turd this guy is. Of course he'd never blame the idiot leadership of LANS or UC for this. Hell no, that means his business dealings with the Lab could suffer. And so what's the difference between a brown nose and a kiss ass? If it's depth perception, Griego needs coke bottle glasses when it comes to the Lab because his whole head is up the Lab's a@#!

Anonymous said...

"Anastasio said he did not develop the workforce restructuring plan with a specific dollar amount in mind that needed to be cut."

Well that's not entirely true. The dollar amounts involved? How about something called "award fee" and "bonus?"

Anonymous said...

I'd volunteer to leave the Lab in a heart beat except that if I left now, the Lab would surely fall apart. I need to stay for that reason, and for the sake of the free world (more or less free) and our great nation. Bottom line: I'm just going to rely on the rest of you to do the right thing for once, and volunteer to leave so that this great institution can remain viable for generation to come. Sorry.

Anonymous said...

Hey, 12:29 PM, I know just how you feel. I'm in the same boat. I guess we are the only two left like this at LANL.

Keep a stiff upper lip and try to carry on. Life is so tough on us super-achievers. It's most unfair.

Remember to just keep telling yourself that you owe it to all future Americans to stay at LANL and continue to double-dip, no matter what the circumstances. It's your patriotic duty and don't let anyone convince you otherwise. When in doubt, just take out a shiny US flag pin and place in on your shirt to help remind you why we must suffer under a drowning hoard of LANL cash.

Greatness is it's own curse!

Anonymous said...

"Greatness is it's own curse!"

Indeed, yes it is...yes it is. Double dipping helps to ease the burden, but barely. A golden parachute would help, but then again the free world needs people like us, 5:34PM.

Anonymous said...

5:34 pm:

I am just tickled to see the continuing frustration and outright jealosy aimed at "double-dippers" as if they had anything to do with the current LANS/LANL problems. What a joke! You young guys who couldn't take advantage of the opportunity are just livid about your inability to move up against a solid wall of vastly experienced old-timers who won't budge to give you inexperienced, clueless youngsters a chance. We all had to pay our dues. You too. I am tired of asking, but please explain how our double-dipping hurts you?

Anonymous said...

"I am tired of asking, but please explain how our double-dipping hurts you?" (11/24/07 11:57 PM)

Just as severance payouts come directly from the bare-bones LANL operating budget, the generous double-dip 401k match also comes straight out of the operating budget. This means less funding for jobs at LANL.

Is this clear to you now, or do I need to keep explaining it multiple times because senility has overtaken your mind?

Anonymous said...

12:36PM, that's such a stupid answer to a legitimate question. By your argument, anybody on TCP2 drawing a 401(k) match is hurting the budget.

And "generous"? Give me a break. BENVAL guaranteed TCP2 was no more than 5% above average as of 2006. TCP1 is the real silent killer of the budget, it's just not as obvious yet. But both are part of standard compensation for employment.

You are the one missing the question. How does the other retirement income that the so-called "double dipper" is drawing from a different source have any impact on the current budget?

Any older employee had better already have some sort of a savings nest-egg built up. The "double dippers" are already drawing on some of that nest-egg from a different source. I already have a 401(k) earning interest in addition to my salary. What's the difference?

Are we to fire the older employees simply because they already have some other form of support? Even Anastasio stated that would be illegal.

Anonymous said...

You stinkin' youngsters. You are so jealous of all us old timers that you can't stand it. One more time dipwad - us double dippers only took what we had already earned and basically started over again. When you use that term you better belly up to the bar and get all the names - ex-military working etc. That takes into account the ADs Watkins, Knapp, not to mention the hundreds of others who served their country and now work here also. So - top you are they double dippers also?

If you youngsters don't like it GO SOMEWHERE ELSE. We don't need you here.

Anonymous said...

Nanos lived on the Hill, Mikey does not. It is a very sad state of affairs when we think of Nanos as having been more desirable than Mikey. But, I really do think that Nanos, although misguided, did have integrity.