Nov 26, 2007

Sandia layoff numbers reduced

One of the benefits of having diversified their non-DOE work portfolio.

Also note the comment: "We want to make sure the employees know what's happening before the public knows," from a Sandia spokesperson. A management style worlds apart from Anastasio and LANS.



By Sue Vorenberg (Contact)
Monday, November 26, 2007

Sandia National Laboratories could lay off between 40 and 80 employees to meet projected federal budget cuts in 2008.

The labs' executive office will make a final decision on the number of cuts in early December, Michael Padilla, a spokesman for the Albuquerque labs, said today.

The reductions are significantly less than those projected for Los Alamos National Laboratory, which is anticipating between 500 and 750 layoffs out of its 12,000 employees.

In June, Sandia officials had projected they might have to cut some 625 full-time positions and 300 contractors' jobs. Sandia has a work force of 8,400.

Both labs are facing possible budget cuts as Congress debates funding for the system of national nuclear weapons laboratories.

Lawmakers have not yet come up with a final budget for the fiscal year that began Oct. 1.

Layoffs will come from all areas of Sandia, Padilla said.

Sandia has been reducing its work force by attrition in preparation for the cuts, officials said. The labs also have been shifting employees to other work areas deemed more important, Padilla said.

"One key factor is that our work for others (agencies) has increased over a number of years," Padilla said. "The skills of our work force have diversified intensely, thus making our employees more able to move to other areas of the laboratories."

Severance packages will be offered only if other jobs can't be found for the employees. Those packages generally provide one week's pay per year of service after 1993 and a percentage of salary for years before that - but they will differ based on the individual, he said.

So far, the cuts are just projections - and there's a possibility there could be no cuts at all, Padilla said.

"It's all based on a big `if,' " Padilla said.

Employees will be notified of layoffs before the news media are, he said.

"We want to make sure the employees know what's happening before the public knows," Padilla said.


Eric said...

Doesn't Lockheed Martin run Sandia?!

Anonymous said...

"We want the employee's to know before the public knows"...I think that statement says it all....LANL has become a second class Institution...and it shows...(are you listening Mikey?)

Anonymous said...

They could have been running LANL, Eric, but LANL staff "wanted UC to win the contract so that their benefits were preserved."

And so NNSA obliged.

Anonymous said...

When did we improve to second class?

Anonymous said...

None of the people I work with had any delusions that "UC winning" would preserve benefits. This was PR crap distributed by NNSA to try and placate the public. It only worked on the news media and low level support side employees, many who were also suckered into TCP1.

Anonymous said...

So, has anybody heard whether the site specific 3161 got approved yet, and if the lab is accepting SSRIF applications yet?

Anonymous said...

UC won the contract, right?

Anonymous said...

The old Aesop's fable of the ant and the cricket comes to mind after reading this news story.

SNL (the ant) prepared for the approaching hard days of winter.

LANL (the cricket) fiddled around and did nothing to prepare.

Winter is here, and the cricket is about to freeze to death.

Anonymous said...

6:09 PM

You do your credibility a great disservice by suggesting that LANL staff had any influence on the contract award. NNSA obliged? You're a real joker, aren't you?

LANL employees were promised substantially equivalent benefits prior to the contract award. In other words, both LANS and Lockheed bids had substantially the same benefit packages. The reason LANS won was they underbid Lockheed by $70M over the 7 year contract.

Anonymous said...


As a former LANL employee who left a few years back, and has worked extensively with Sandia since, I can tell you that these numbers, and the planning behind them, are consistent with the manner in which that Laboratory is operated.

If you spend any time on the Sandia "campus" you notice quite a few differences between it and the foremost scientific institution on the mesa --- workers have clean and modern offices, in mostly new buildings that don't leak. Sufficient parking! And lots of little things like plumbing that isn't leaking onto the floor etc. Most notable is the difference in morale.

Anonymous said...

Not to worry, everybody. Mikey has been telling the media that he feels LANS "generous" voluntary buyout offer will cover for the necessary 750 reductions at LANL. I'm sure Mikey must knows of what he speaks.

Anonymous said...

I have previously written in a paper dated November, 2006:

"The announcement from DOE/NNSA on December 21, 2005 that the M&O Contract for LANL has been awarded to Los Alamos National Security,LLC - e.g. University of California, Bechtel National, Inc., BWX Technologies, Inc., Washington Group International, Inc., in shorter words: UC/Bechtel with Dr. Michael R. Anastasio from LLNL as Laboratory Director and John Mitchell from Bechtel as Deputy Laboratory Director, due effective June 1, 2006.

But, I do consider the bet from Lockheed Martin Corp. and University of Texas with Dr. C. Paul Robinson as proposed Laboratory Director and Don Cook as proposed Chief Technology Officer would better be a decision for the future, a better momentum could probably be achieved, due to the fact that UC represents the past, a very important historical past, but nowadays mostly has been synonymous with security failures and bad management. (I sincerely hope the lab with the new management will be back to the important key-words: ´trust and responsibility.´)"

(My remark: History since June 1, 2006 has proven me wrong.)

Dr. C. Paul Robinson has previously written:

"A Letter from C. Paul Robinson

Dear Friends and Colleagues:

I am writing to you regarding the competition for the management and operating (M&O) contract for Los Alamos National Laboratory. I am aware that the days of uncertainty leading up to the Department of Energy´s decision in December may be adding stress to your lives. In 1992-93 employees at Sandia went through a similar experience when that laboratory´s contract was competed. We shared some of the same feelings and fears you are now experiencing. Looking back, our fears proved to be unfounded. In fact, we were pleased to see Sandia´s new M&O contractor introduce many positive changes that enabled the laboratory to enjoy an era of great accomplishment and success.

Today, I have the honor of leading the Los Alamos Alliance LLC proposal team, an absolutely stellar group of scientists and executives. I want you to know our team is working hard to ensure an equally smooth and positive transition experience for you, if we are selected to become LANL´s M&O contractor.

We know many of you are concerned about the inevitable creation of stand alone pension plans, no matter which team is selected to become the Laboratory´s M&O contractor. During my tenure as Sandia´s director, I made pension benefits this same high priority in our bid for LANL´s M&O contract. DOE has publicly said the Laboratory´s new M&O contractor will provide transferring employees with benefits that are substantially equivalent to those they enjoy today. We intend to fully meet the intent of this DOE requirement. Please keep in mind - if only from a timing perspective - that DOE must approve all changes to the pension plan before the new M&O contractor can introduce and discuss them.

I also want to share with you our team´s unwavering commitment to the primacy of science at Los Alamos. Los Alamos has an unequalled record of contributions in science, especially in support of the nation´s nuclear weapons programs. I am pleased to have been a part of that history during my 18 years (my remark: 1967-1985) service at Los Alamos. Science and National Security are the foundations of Los Alamos and must remain so. I assure you that, should DOE select our team, we will work to provide the support systems to enable and encourage great science at the laboratory. We also will work to align the laboratory´s science programs to more closely support its missions than you have experienced in recent years.

Our academic consortium of nineteen leading scientific universities around the nation, led by the University of Texas System, will offer the Laboratory broad based peer review and a strong national network for scientific collaboration. The Alliance´s world-class management and academic systems will actively support and enable science to once again flourish at the Laboratory.

My ten-year affiliation with Lockheed Martin Corporation has been exciting. Lockheed Martin has a record of excellence in the management and operation of large, complex facilities, including DOE sites at Sandia, the Nevada Test Site, Knolls Atomic Power Laboratory and the United Kingdom´s Atomic Weapons Establishment. Its presence at these facilities has been positive for both employees and the local communities. Belive me, the Alliance understands the critical need to attract and retain exceptional employees in order to achieve the highest standards of scientific excellence. We also understand the importance of being a good citizen in the local communities in which Laboratory employees work and live. If given the opporunity by DOE, these same principles will guide our team as we work with you to transition the Laboratory to its new operating contractor.

Los Alamos has an inspiring legacy of scientific achievement, and its name is respected worldwide. The Alliance would be proud to join you in your important work. It also would be a distinct, personal pleasure for me to re-join Los Alamos. Together we can create a scientific renaissance at Los Alamos - awakening traditions of the Laboratory´s great past, while encouraging, supporting and enabling the laboratory´s talented scientists to meet the great challenges the nation now face.


C. Paul Robinson"


But, now you have to read:

"/---/ In April 2005 Robinson stepped down as President and supported Lockheed Martin Corporation, Information and Technology Services, as an advisor for a special poject. He retired from LMC and Sandia on February 1, 2006." (My remark: Dr. C. Paul Robinson is today Chairman for the Space Operations Committee, for the NASA Advisory Council.)


Anonymous said...

"Most notable is the difference in morale."

Yeah, well layoffs will do that.

Anonymous said...

I am curious as to what information the public knows, or has known, about this situation before the employees. Does anyone have specific examples?

Anonymous said...

From 11/26/07 9:22 PM "Not to worry, everybody. Mikey has been telling the media that he feels LANS "generous" voluntary buyout offer will cover for the necessary 750 reductions at LANL. I'm sure Mikey must knows of what he speaks."

Is it just me or does anyone else seem to notice that Mikey talks mor to the media than the Lab employees?

Anonymous said...

Anybody notice how much better Sandia is managed than LANL?

Anonymous said...

11/26/07 6:45 PM

So, has anybody heard whether the site specific 3161 got approved yet, and if the lab is accepting SSRIF applications yet?

YES. It was approved on Friday. Watch the internal mail for your eligibility letter, maybe today or tomorrow.

Anonymous said...

"Most notable is the difference in morale."
--11/26/07 8:58 PM

Thank you for the comparison. It's nice to know the rest of the world isn't like Los Alamos. Decent leadership leads to decency in the workplace. Many of the comments on this blog speak volumes as to the lack of decency in the LANL workplace, particularly those attacks on individuals who dare not to embrace the preferred dogma that Los Alamos somehow still remains at the center of the universe. Good luck with your new career at Sandia, and congratulations to the leadership of SNL for doing the decent thing by reducing the need for layoffs to the bare minimum. That’s true leadership.

Anonymous said...

And, Sandia is having an actual RIF, not a volunteer departure as LANL is having.

By having an actual RIF, SNL will keep the best workforce possible consistent with the mission of the laboratory.

LANL's volunteer RIF assures a number of things:
1. The deadwood will stay.
2. The best and brightest will leave.
3. The overhead rate will go up.
4. Avoid litigation.

Of course, item #4 is of paramount importance.

Anonymous said...

I heard from another source that DOE approval was last week and division leaders are going to start revealing the rif plan on Wednesday. Anybody seen anything yet?
Suppose this will be like the TCP1 scam where they kept promising information on the plan but to this day never have revealed it? If they handle the rif that badly they will guarantee they get sued.