Dec 5, 2007

Comment of the Week, Wednesday Edition: The RIF Raffle

From the Anastasio Speaks post:

-Gus

__________________________________________

I heard it is now 375.

57 comments:

Anonymous said...

We are half-way to 750.

Actually I guess that I am a bit surprised that there are not more takers. Of course, if you take SSP or get RIFFed and hope to work, you will have to leave the state to get a decent job.

Los Alamos should be advertised as a retirement community. For people who like to hike and ski it is a decent place. And, there is little crime since it's against the law.

Anonymous said...

The "Day Before LANS Announces the RIF Lottery Winners" would be Dec. 19.

Anonymous said...

Would another name be the Rif Raffle?

Anonymous said...

So I guess after they get the 760 VSEP's they need INVSEP will be next. How many are slated to go in that department. We keep hearing that LANL and LLNL need to dump 2200 people a piece. That should cover the $300M at LLNL and the $450M at LANL, until next year.

Anonymous said...

FYI...Please read at http://www.tomdispatch.com the article "Jonathan Schell, The Bomb in the Mind"

If you think that LANL and LLNL are going to stay in the Bomb business as usual, you might want to revist the issue and consider getting out NOW..

Gussie Fink-Nottle said...

Thanks, 7:40. As you can see, I renamed the post per your suggestion.

-Gus

Anonymous said...

You've got one more day to put in the SSP paper work. The window slams shut at 5pm on Thursday. It can all be done easily online. You even get a one week "just kidding" period to change your mind about the decision.

You've got 5 years of LANL history to go on and they are not pretty. Sad to say, things are probably not going to get any better in the future. It is what it is.

I know a lot of staff that have left LANL in the last few years and they seem to look back on the experience with a great deal of relief that they have "escaped" from the place, both physically and, even more important, mentally.

Anonymous said...

According to my LLNL source, LLNL has sent word out to 400 people (contract) and another 300 staff will be let go in the next few months. They have already started to notify rif "targets".

Anonymous said...

But will the RIF Raffle get rid of enough of the riffraff?

Anonymous said...

Before you can submit an online SSP application, you have to watch a short presentation. During this presentation, one of the slides shows that even Bush's optimistic budget for LANL will create an $80 million shortfall. The House budget is much worse, of course.

Based on that $80 million figure, shouldn't we expect an additional RIF of at least 500 staff sometime after Phase II has been completed? And might the situation be even worse given the fact that LANL has to pay out severance, plus LANL is currently spending at the higher FY07 levels well into the FY08 fiscal year?

Anonymous said...

www.lamonitor.com

Anastasio: Volunteers will get unemployment - LA Monitor, Wed, Dec 5

By KIRSTEN LASKEY Monitor Community Editor

Even with uncertainty, less flexibility and job cuts underway, Los Alamos National Laboratory director Michael Anastasio predicts a bright future for the laboratory.

He shared his optimism with the community during a LANL Workforce Restructuring Community Meeting Tuesday night at Duane Smith Auditorium. About 50 people attended the meeting.

----
One man asked Anastasio if the lab would be able to restructure to be more competitive in the marketplace.

"Absolutely," Anastasio said. The goal, he said, is to invest in programs that will bring in more dollars. The problem is that the lab is heavy on workforce, which needs to be reduced to create more flexibility.

----
Another participant asked about the timeline for the restructuring phases. She wondered if the timeline was tied to Congress approving a budget for LANL.

Not necessarily, Anastasio said. If the budget that has been discussed gets passed, then there will be challenges, he said.

Anastasio said if phase one, which is voluntary separation from the laboratory, needs to progress to phase two, involuntary separation, the hope is to do that as quickly as possible.

Phase three would be conducting still more reductions in the workforce, he added, if Congress passes worst-case scenario budget.

The woman commented that multiple phases in close succession might be even more painful to the community.

-----
"'I'm really am excited about the lab and its future," he said.

Anonymous said...

"The problem is that the lab is heavy on workforce, which needs to be reduced to create more flexibility."

Say WHAT?

Anonymous said...

Gussy, for sure the spelling of "coment" was intentional, just to get our attention, wasn't it?

Anonymous said...

I retired in July 06, after 25 years, and I will personally tell all of you....just the stress relief I have felt is priceless. After reading some of the postings and talking to former co-workers, the former Lab has gone downhill much faster than we expected. The stess level must be extreme, I just want to wish everyone good luck with what-ever you choose to do, I worked with some very good and very bad people: just remember that "their really is life after the Lab"

Anonymous said...

LLNL here...
We face will face the same questions in a few weeks here so I have been watching LANL closely for some insights.

As I see it, only two groups benefit from this offer. Those close to retirement and those who were either already leaving or were on the fence.

First, near retirees like myself. Nine months severence may be worth going out early people who were going to retire in the next 18 months. In my opinion if you are more than three years from retirement the numbers don't work. TCP-1 members lose about 30%in retiring at 57 rather than 60.
The Present value calculations in my case leave 20% on the table.

Second, those who would leave anyway get a nice gift and those who were on the fence get an incentive.

As for others, more so in Northern New Mexico than in the Tri-Valley area, getting 6-9 months paid leave to find a new job is a risky adventure at best, not something I'd volunteer for unless I had a strong offer in hand.

So I think 375 is the high side of what I'd guess. Perhaps 20% of all people over 58 and another 150-200 who are the normal turnover facing an impending recession.

Other ideas?

Anonymous said...

So, if 300-400 go voluntarily and 700 is the objective, the question is what will DOE force the lab to do next?

I'd like to say employee morale, scientific continuity, and the long-term reputation for weapons workforce stability are important enough that DOE will sweeten the pot and to reconsider the plan. But too many unwise public preemptive end-game assertions have been already made about what will happen next, so that brain-dead inertia will prevail.

As much as I think a "3+3" VRIP is the next logical step in this public negotiation with the workforce, layoffs have been declared and therefore must happen, at least for this year.

Looking ahead, what happens next year will depend on whether this year's RIF is judged successful. Let us hope that the unwilling dislocation of hundreds of families by the US government is held in the public's eye to be a leadership failure, given that better options exist.

The bad press that Nanos recieved doomed his legacy to being the worst director ever, in spite of happy talk to the contrary. If Dingell, Stupak, Bodman, D'Ag, Udall and Richardson feel the sting of the backlash to their cruelty, they may push for a less painful solution to the budget shortfall next year.

Feliz Navidad

Gussie Fink-Nottle said...

6:58,

Yes, and now that I have your attention, please go back to whatever you were doing.

Thank you very much,

-Gus

Anonymous said...

A longer term perspective is that this will be a relatively minor blip in the lab's overall decline.
RIFS in (approximately) '58, '74, '85, '88, '92, '96 are not remembered as "watershed" at LLNL except by those who took the incentives or were ousted.

But since the early '80s the variety and quantity of interesting work has declined steadily.

Anonymous said...

Dear 9:55, great spin...where would all of this $$$ come from for a 3+3? The whole point of all of these exersises is to reduce funding and LANL. As far as the bad press for LANL workers.ha you make us laugh...they will kick our ass out in the street and laugh if they can save money. You want compassion because you work at LANL...HAHAHA (go back to sleep)

Anonymous said...

The sunny senerio is that the funding for 08 (Bush Administration request) will only require 800-1000 jobs. Next year is the real test a funding cycle with-out Sen. Domenici to hold off the wild dogs..arf, arf. (Something that Mikey has been thinking about at night, think he will stay for another round?

Anonymous said...

The Real Estate women at the last meeting is truly worried about the market in Los Alamos, got a kick out Mikey, he summed up her comments by stating that LANL has a bright future....and he's excited. (Now that should put her greedy little mind at ease.)

Anonymous said...

Hot off the Press: Mikey has been informed that HR hopes to hit 400 by COB today.......

Anonymous said...

OK guy's hang on to you butt's, Mikey needs 350 warm bodies, to feed the corporate trough. It's got to hurt knowing you are losing your high paying job to feed the likes of Scott (slick) Wille Gibbs and the rest.....seen the car this guy drives?

Anonymous said...

Mikey's (Scrooge)wants YOU! I need 350 employees to pay for my staff, and soon, say by Christmas, heheheheh! Merry Christmas, (hey want a lump of coal?)

Anonymous said...

Mikey needs 350 for the Christmas Raffle, lets see we have almost 9000 FTE's and he needs 350 hmmm divide the 9000 by 350, hey I might have a chance to win this one! (Buy a ticket, maybe one for the wife) after all it's for a good cause...right!

Anonymous said...

I know of no RIFs in '88 or '92. There were hiring freezes and there was an incentive back in the early 90's ('94?) for people to leave LANL (the famous "3+3" VSIP).

Certainly, there was fear of layoffs back in '92 as the defense industry built down, but no RIFs occurred at LANL in that year. The last RIF was during the '94/'95 time period and not your listed date of '96.

I believe your RIF figures are very flaky, 10:03 AM.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous at 12/6/07 9:55 AM writes:

"The bad press that Nanos recieved doomed his legacy to being the worst director ever...."

I think that honor now goes to Mikey. Nanos may have been wrong-headed and abusive, but I do not recall that he ever lied to us as in "we have no plans for a RIF!"

Anonymous said...

So how about folks showing what they think of LANS? If everybody applied for the SSP then pulled it on the 13th we could show LANS that we have as much regard for it as it has for us.

Anonymous said...

9:33

"First, near retirees like myself. Nine months severence may be worth going out early people who were going to retire in the next 18 months."

Only six months at LLNL. Welcome to yet another difference between the two labs.

Anonymous said...

Okay...it's about the end of the last day....anyone got a near final count?

Anonymous said...

I heard that it's 772 now.

Anonymous said...

Uh-oh, how is Mikey going to explain the forthcoming involuntary RIF now that he got the 750? Oh, yeah... the budget.

Anonymous said...

With the directorship follows a quantum leap of responsibility, and you can´t say: "We don´t set policy," and "No more rifs, and no more plans for a rif" like Michael R. Anastasio, then you loose credibility, and lower the workforce´s morale.

And to see Michael R. Anastasio, and LANS, LLC "prevail" over the successful director at Sandia (1995-2005), previously 18 years at LANL (1967-1985), C. Paul Robinson and Lockheed Martin and UT, that was the Colonel´s (Anastasio) "victory" over the 4-star General (Robinson), and the misscarriage of LANL into Los Alamos Pit Production Plant, e.g. LAPPP.

(National Academy of Engineering, Member Directories, wrote about Dr. C. Paul Robinson:

"Dr. C. Paul Robinson: President Emeritus.

Primary Work Institution: Sandia National Laboratories.
Work Status at Primmary Work Institution: Emeritus.

Election Year: 1998.
Primary Membership Section: 12. Special Fields & Interdisciplinary Engineering.

Country: United States.
State: CO.

Member Type: Member.
Election Citation: For pre-and post-Cold War leadership in the nation´s nuclear weapons program through technical and managerial excellence.")

Anonymous said...

"Uh-oh, how is Mikey going to explain the forthcoming involuntary RIF now that he got the 750? Oh, yeah... the budget."

I believe this like a hole in the head. Can we get that number to 2400. Please point to the URL where this count of 750 is in concrete. We'd all like to see that.

Anonymous said...

"I heard that it's 772 now.

12/6/07 4:20 PM"

No way. 400 at best! It looks likes 50 a day.

Anonymous said...

"Los Alamos should be advertised as a retirement community. For people who like to hike and ski it is a decent place. And, there is little crime since it's against the law."-12/5/07 5:51 PM

White collar crime?...plenty of that. LANS is run like a mob enterprise and UC has always behaved like a west coast Don. We just like to pretend things are all peachy keen.

Anonymous said...

"Gussy, for sure the spelling of "coment" was intentional, just to get our attention, wasn't it?" --12/6/07 6:58 AM

God let us hope so. Heaven forbid that we have anymore instances of misspelled words or poor grammar appearing on this blog, other than the intentional ones of course.

Anonymous said...

12/6/07 9:55 AM: "If Dingell, Stupak, Bodman, D'Ag, Udall and Richardson feel the sting of the backlash to their cruelty, they may push for a less painful solution to the budget shortfall next year."

When pigs fly, maybe.

Anonymous said...

Of course it's not 772. That's just a number pulled out of someone's ass, just like most of all the other numbers that get put on here.

Anonymous said...

I would have volunteered except that someone had to stay behind to keep fighting the commie threat.

Anonymous said...

So, what about the GOD politicians? I thought there was separation of church and state.

(No worries, the god politicians are just bigger criminals and hypocrits than the others)

Anonymous said...

Dingell, Stupak, Bodman, D'Ag, Udall and Richardson won't be truly happy until they see actually layoffs take place. LANL staff must be seen to suffer, or so they believe.

The SSP was only an appetizer before the main course. Phase II and Phase III will be the big feast.

Anonymous said...

"Los Alamos should be advertised as a retirement community. For people who like to hike and ski it is a decent place. And, there is little crime since it's against the law."-12/5/07 5:51 PM

So crime isn't committed since it's against the law??? What a joke. Sure there is little to no street crime, because the sidewalks are rolled up at 6 pm, with the cops watching everybody, but drug use and a rising instance of drug crime is rampant, just as it is everywhere else in the Land of Enchantment (i.e, the Land of Drug-Induced Euphoria). DWI is also at an all-time high. Family violence is above last year, and will rise as jobs are lost. I heard a very young male say to a friend recently "I hate my family - they are such angry people." Wake up, Los Alamos.

Anonymous said...

I heard the number was 666.

Anonymous said...

"That's just a number pulled out of someone's ass, just like most of all the other numbers that get put on here."

Poor attitude and poor grammar. You have been added to the raffle. Count is now 773. Next?

Anonymous said...

I heard it was 42. But please, don't panic.

Anonymous said...

Pinky, Brain, and Gussie,

You must be able to block future comments from IP addresses that submit total bullshit like 12/6/07 4:20PM. So why don't you?

Allowing these miscreants to continue commenting is ruining the credibility of your blog.

Gussie Fink-Nottle said...

7:35,

Unfortunately no, blogger.com soes not provide us with the ability to block comments from specific ip addresses.

-Gus

Gussie Fink-Nottle said...

BTW, I should note that the "credibility of this blog" has long since been completely destroyed by the quality of the comments posted here.

:-)

-Gus

Rachel said...

What is a 3+3 VRIP? Enquiring minds want to know.

Anonymous said...

12/6/07 11:15 AM

12/6/07 10:03 AM is from LLNL - the history of RIFs mentioned are from LLNL, not LANL.

Anonymous said...

3+3 refers to adding three years to your age and three years to your service to calculate your retirement pay. It ain't gonna happen here.

Anonymous said...

The 3+3 VRIP is a very solid, very creative and painless way to reduce staff and avoid layoffs.

A reasonable number of years are added to service and age to increase the voluntary retirement selection. Previous incentives at LLNL and LANL netted 450-700 volunteers.

The myth is that it is expensive. It isn't.

TCP-1, being a closed pool of employees, unlike UCRP, now has a known liability, and imporantly, one that doesn't increase.

It is nearly fully funded according to ERISA calculations, which seems ominous until one considers that ERISA assumptions are very conservative. They require that the discount rate be 5.5%, which is far below what a well managed pension plan can achieve. This has a 1 in 10 chance of occuring. (You can verify this for yourself using the Fidelity website planning tools).

As an example, a conservatively invested pension fund with 70% invested in broad national and international stock indices (like the UC equity plan) and 30% in longer term bond indices (say TIPS funds with a 8-10 year duration) will with 50% probability return 8% and has a 1/100 chance of returning less than 6% over the long run.)

Since pension payouts are over a 30-50 year period, the long-run is the proper time frame.

What does this mean for LANL? It means that it is unlikely that the cost of a VRIP would been paid with increased yearly contributions.

But suppose it were? The increases for a shortfall are paid over seven years, while the savings from the VRIP are saved yearly over those seven years. (Example if the unlikely shortfall existed, of say $10M, only $1.4M is paid in a given year, while the total salary savings for all takers is saved each year.)

In short, a shortfall is unlikely even if 300-500 takers received 10-20% increased retirement.

So what keeps it from being offered? DOE employee jealosy.

Forrestal employees have envied the Labs their retirement since we were children. Ask any longtime visitor what the lunchtime converstation was during visits to DOE. "Yours is better than ours".

Envy is a terrible thing. It destroys insidiously.

Those who say the 3+3 doesn't work only need run the numbers.

It is a viable alternative that spares hundreds of families that hardship of layoffs, and it is only cold, hardened hearts that keep the prospect from being intelligently considered.

(I almost signed my name)

Anonymous said...

Why offer a 3+3 when you can just Riff em'. We are now for profit and they are looking at the bottom line. They don't care what happens to you if your Riff'd and its the cheapest.

Anonymous said...

Once you realize that DOE enjoys watching the pain and suffering among the workforce at LANL, it really begs the question... why work at such a place? And why work for such people?

I think that 450 people at LANL just came to this same conclusion.

Anonymous said...

Does that 450 include the 90 or so employees who voluntarily left in the weeks prior to the RIF announcement? LANS is apparently going to take credit for them even though this was actually normal attrition.

George said...

I think young people nowdays must work on keeping their own culture by preserving national values.
This could be achieved by keeping these values in a museum.
The Politechnics University Museum site was realized by a few students beeing published temporarily here:
http://muzeuupb.uuuq.com.
It represents a science museum in where we can find varius hystorical technical models.
For improovments of the site wich is just a scale model you can write us a message on the
Contact Form.
Thanks for your support.