Nov 19, 2007

Transcribed Minutes from Today's All Hands RIF Meeting

This is the detailed plan that follows the NNSA call for a Workforce Restructuring Plan following the general plan submission on September 20th. In this site-specific plan, there are a number of driving issues:
  • Flattened budget
  • June ’06 began substantially extra costs to absorb due to structure of the new contract at LANL
  • Last year we took aggressive action to deal with those extra costs which helped us get through FY07 although this has reduced the normal flexibility that used to be available to address budget concerns
  • Unusually large uncertainty around the budget for this and future years
  • Continuing Resolution is at FY07 level which may look well on paper but does not portend what the budget will really end up being for FY08 and out years
  • Over the last 2 years we have had extremely low turnover (attrition) in the Lab

Due to these points, there aren’t many options to deal with the budget issues however we are working to protect the long-term well being. The vitality of the institution to carry out the mission now and in the future is my (Anastasio’s) responsibility.


  • Reduce workforce by 500-750 employees – 6-9% of the workforce, applies across the Lab and at all levels from entry level and management
and to ensure that we
  • Don’t allow there to be any compromise of the safety and security of the Lab

Conforming to the 3161 process, this action will be done in three phases:

  1. Self-selection program
    1. Minimize the need for a potential involuntary separation (Phase 2 or 3)
    2. Employees (LANS) who are eligible can volunteer to separate

i. Full time or part time employee, at least 50% time

ii. At Lab for 1 full year at least

iii. Willing to accept terms & conditions of self-select program

1. Not successful for any enhanced incentive

2. This will be the only opportunity to voluntarily separate with financial benefits – there will be no other opportunity (this is the best and only opportunity)

3. Will receive benefits for either voluntary or involuntary separation

a. Monetary (severance benefit) x yrs of svc

b. Continuation of medical benefits for defined period of time

iv. Not Eligible:

1. submitted resignation

2. limited term employee

3. Under grad or other student

4. apprentice or other training program participant

5. in process of being terminated for cause

6. Necessary employee

We must ensure that we maintain the right skills and expertise in order to fulfill our current and future missions. Some employees will not be permitted to apply; employees in those job classifications will be notified following NNSA’s approval of the plan. In addition, Lab management will review each individual application in order to accept or deny based on:

· An employee separation will interfere with meeting key deliverables

· An employee has demonstrated performance in attracting large grants/funding that support critical missions

· An employee has special clearances or skills that contribute to key missions

Employees will be notified of their eligibility (or ineligibility) following NNSA’s approval. Communication will be given via meetings, mailings, etc.


If approval happens this week:

Announce today 11/19/07

Application period 2 wks 11/26 – 12/5/07

Employee Rescission 12/6/ - 12/10/07

Approval Process 12/11/- 12/19/07

Employees notified 12/20/07

Employees depart 1/10/08

After applications, notification of receipt of application, assess where we are at – looking at workforce that remains (flexible workforce, realignment) to conclude Phase 1.

2. Phase 2 will be addressed following conclusion of Phase 1.

Based on skills mix requirement and budget information, a decision will be made whether there will be a need for an involuntary reduction that would be Phase 2. It will follow quickly after the conclusion of Phase 1. The eligibility criteria will be the same as Phase 1 (for a period of 12 months, if initially denied in Phase 1).

We will be working in parallel on the details for Phase 2 as we go through Phase 1. Issues such as criticality of that person’s position, skills, documented employee performance, sustained …… There will be further communications, including all-hands meetings such as today’s meeting. We will hope to have more clarity regarding budget issues which will allow consideration and planning for a Phase 3 which would be a subsequent reduction if that should be necessary.


Anonymous said...

One small addition.

Mike said "all levels of the Lab" but later he specified that "key personnel as defined in the LANS contract" are exempt.

Translation of "key personnel" = AD's and up.

Anonymous said...

What, no questions about free day care?

Anonymous said...

Well of course the "key personnel" are exempt. They decided who is going to be RIFed and who is not. They are needed for more future decisions. And they are completely devoted to the Lab's best interest and not their own ... right? What about nepotism .... gee, I guess this means that Mr. Seastrum and Mr. Neu are on the RIF lists correct?

Anonymous said...

No, 9:13 PM, but I am sure that Mrs. Gibbs and Mrs. Bishop certainly are since they are women.

Anonymous said...

Mike is basically telling the staff "We're going to screw you to the wall this year, and there is more coming after that" and, yet, the staff sits around and meekly ask stupid questions like "Do we get 60 days or 120 days, please explain this to me?". Or my personal favorite at this meeting, "Can I still get the 401k LANS match while I'm taking my severance?" It's frigg'n unbelievable!

The questioners were all much too polite to Mike at this All-Hands meeting. We are all a bunch of cowards, and I include myself in this classification. I guess we deserve what is coming our way.

Anonymous said...

"June ’06 began substantially extra costs to absorb due to structure of the new contract at LANL"

What happened to the promised savings LANS prominsed?

Anonymous said...

"Key personnel" (ADs on up) are on two-year contracts, while the rest of us are "at will". The key personnel could be exempt for the simple reason that they have employment contracts, unlike the rest of us. With an open-ended 3161 now on file, the path is clear to let go as many as are needed at any time, for any convenience.

The layoff has clearly exposed the blatant lie that LANS would absorb the new costs through efficiencies. Instead, 750 employees are now out the door simply to cover the fee alone.

This whole RIF process has also clearly exposed the other blatant lie that LANS would have more autonomy to run the lab like a true business. Clearly, Anastasio cannot make a single, simple decision, nor even speak to us, without thorough review by all levels of LASO/NNSA/DOE.

DOE has finally achieved several levels of control it has never had:

* The top management are highly motivated via bonuses to jump to every command, and they simply will not make a single autonomous decision. Total Management Control.

* Every single employee within the lab can be simply and easily fired due to the "at will" status. Total Employee Control.

* The pension plan is now private with unvested rights to the employees, and therefore its future costs are totally controllable. Total Cost Control.

DOE now has full authority with very little responsibility.

Anonymous said...

Excellent analysis, 8:28 AM! Thanks for that post.

Anonymous said...

Don't lose faith 8;28.

Give em all the rope they need. "Pride goeth.."

DOE is plenty incompetent. From bottom to top. There isn't a single capable person in the entire organization.

Now that they are in charge, they will blow it. Ala, Mao and the cultural revolution.

Enjoy the "How to fuck up science" show along with us old timers at LLNL.

Mike and George, on the other hand are smart guys. They see the handwriting on the wall and are planning their escape. Neither will be here two Thanksgivings from Thursday. Neither will I.

C- in the Berkeley Physics Series


Anonymous said...

8:28 replying to 12:07:

Faith gone, job interviews already in play. LANL is simply a hostile work environment now.

However, interesting assessment on your part. But how long will it take for DOE's incompetence to finally force a change for the better? With the current structure, any screwups can be easily blamed on LANS/UC/Bechtel. DOE has built in a nice layer of Teflon for the near future.