Jan 8, 2008

All-employee meeting at 10:30 this morning

January 8, 2008

Laboratory Director Michael Anastasio is holding an all-employe meeting at 10:30 this morning. The meeting originally was scheduled for Monday but was postponed because of inclement weather.

Anastasio plans to update employees about several matters, including workforce restructuring and the fiscal year 2008 budget.

55 comments:

Anonymous said...

10:43AM Anastasio just announced there will be no involuntary RIF.

Anonymous said...

11AM, Just announced: 10% Reduction, i.e. about 50 FTEs, of "flexible workforce" and "limited term" employment, yielding about $5M savings.

With
430 SSP and
140 Attrition this FY

then since 570 employees are leaving, so will not move forward to Phase II, involuntary RIF, "at this time."

Anonymous said...

From the front page of today's LANL web page...

"The Laboratory is on a delayed opening and will open at 10 this morning. The Director will give his All-Employee address, rescheduled from yesterday, at 10.30 this morning."

WTF??? The lab opens late and Mike then suddenly pushes this important All-Hands for 10:30 AM?

Anonymous said...

Well, 570 + 50 = 620, which is in the same ballpark as the original 700-ish numbers. That sounds like good news to me.

On the other hand, what about the NNSA plan to downsize the lab and complex over the next few years. Does this mean this process will happen yearly until the NNSA target is met?

Anonymous said...

Clicking on the Media Stream link on the LANL Newsbulletin announcement page to watch this presentation tells the user:

"Error - Missing Page" !

Way to go, LANL. Some real excellence being shown with that one. This rates right up there with the broken Concur travel system. This lab is beginning to really fall apart.

Anonymous said...

140 from attrition? Seems unlikely. The contract change and the SSP have borrowed ahead on our attrition. I predict low attrition numbers for a few years. Let's face it, if you wanted to leave, you would have already done so.

Anonymous said...

Not so sure about that, 12:01. I know lots of people who are looking for a new place to work.

Anonymous said...

Some preliminary notes...

The meeting seemed poorly attended. Lots of empty seats are seen in the auditorium. Perhaps that's how Mike wanted it?

Also, Mike seemed really nervous during this presentation. He did mention that LANS wants to grow programs, but only in those areas that LANL has specialized expertise (which I assume to mean plutonium science). I get the feeling we are being told not to expect to see us branch out in any way like SNL.

He also stated "The lab will evolve in those areas that we can make a difference." Again, I take this to mean specialized pit work, etc.

He said the LANS profit fee for last year was $66 M ("LANS met 71% of the NNSA objectives"), but that none of this money would be coming back to the lab. His words, "By doing things, we (LANS) have made the lab a better place. That's the benefit (to the lab and the work force)." During this point in the talk about incentives he also said, "I'm here for the country. I don't need a lot of incentives to do this work."

Reclassification of jobs was put on hold for the RIF, but that will now restart. Jobs will be reclassified and our methods for measuring performance will change.

A cyber-security corrective plan is being done to satisfy NNSA and this plan will "make us more capable, not less".

No RIFs for this year sounds good, but it makes me wonder if we are simply delaying the inevitable for next year.

That all for now. I'm sure others will have additional observations to make.

Anonymous said...

Don't worry about the poor attendance at Mike's talk, 12:09 PM. Many of us were too busy to watch it because we are working on our resumes. When a ship begins to sink, you don't stand there watching the water rush in through the hole. Instead, you start looking for a lifeboat.

Anonymous said...

Well, now.

How many of you are disappointed that you won't be laid off now and given the nice severance package? You should've volunteered when you had the chance! Now you're stuck here until you've got enough service credit (and age) to retire on the LANS substantially equivalent retirement plan.

Anonymous said...

1/8/08 12:09 PM

Mikey was nervous? Guilty conscience?

Maybe he know how disrespected and hated he is....and how he dug himself into that position

Anonymous said...

Those of you who still work there got a reprieve this morning. What you do with it is your own business. Most of the remaining talent that I personally know at LANL are seriously looking for employment elsewhere.

Those of you who are still here when the next wave of RIFs hit will richly deserve to be let go. If you haven't seen the trend yet, you never will.

Anonymous said...

We are good for another 8 months....then we do this all over again, he,he, what fun eh?

Anonymous said...

Did someone hear the question and response to the question - "Are regular employees going to share in the fee?" and his response was (paraphrased) "NO, just be glad that you have a job, you are serving the country, etc." Hmmm, I guess that same serving the country and job gratitude doesn't apply to him (salary, car, bonus and other allowances) or to the Bechtel employees and partners. Anyone else hear the same message?

Anonymous said...

I would like to add on to what 5:57 said. My recommendation to the less-educated, lower-performing staff is that you hang on through the RIFs. You are the kind of employee LANS wants to do pit production work.

Anonymous said...

Mikey's a liar and thinks we are stupid - proved it again today. Telling us that things are better because of all the "changes" LANS has put in place. Bullshit! WHy didn't anyone ask his about Concur, procurement, or firing limited termers who are being protected by managers and cronyism? One thing is for sure - Mikey made it clear that he does not give a shit about the morale of the workforce and he got his bonuses thanks to the LANL peons and basically said FU!

Anonymous said...

"Those of you who are still here when the next wave of RIFs hit will richly deserve to be let go. If you haven't seen the trend yet, you never will."

Wow. That is painting with a broad brush! I don't think that I 'richly deserve to be let go' for continuing to grow a WFO portfolio. I don't think that I 'richly deserve to be let go' for doing my job well.

Hey, I know that things are pretty strange right now. It is not all sunshine and kittens. But I have sponsors and deliverables that I care about. I can be replaced. But why would I give up before I have played all my cards? Yes, I have an exit strategy but I don't have to go now. So I am not.

Maybe some of us can still make a positive impact long enough to get our kids through high school. Maybe some of us have strong and viable work-for-others contracts (for the past ten years and counting)and can make our own futures right here. There are folks who can make WFO pay their bills.

Did any of you notice the mention of the three parts of LANS fee structure in the Q&A today? One part is fixed, one part is in response to performance (71% for FY07) and one part is based on the amount of WFO that comes in. THat sounds like an incentive. I understand that this is a new feature of the contract after LLNS had a similar clause in their contract.

Maybe, just maybe, there is a bit of wiggle room if you are doing work that somebody else in the government is willing to pay for. I am more than willing to try to continue doing this while I get my last two kids graduated over the next few years.

I really don't care if you don't think it can be done. There are a few of us still here at LANL that are willing to give it a try until they throw us out.

Anonymous said...

MA stated:
A) We have no need for "immediate" phase-2.
B) Phase-2 not needed assuming:
1) FY09 budget is "reasonable".
2) We have "program growth".
3) Attrition increases to "normal" levels.
4) Hiring is restricted.

Does anybody believe achieving criteria 1-4 are possible?

Anonymous said...

Let's add it all up, 6:33:

1) NNSA doesn't want any WFO to be carried out at their labs except for whatever they approve which relates directly to pit production.

2) NNSA wants their labs to have a smaller footprint.

3) NNSA doesn't want LANL to diversify.

4) LANS is in total agreement with this.

Yep, you're going to fail. But hey! Knock yourself out in the meantime!

Anonymous said...

"WHy didn't anyone ask his about Concur, procurement, or firing limited termers who are being protected by managers and cronyism?"

Why didn't you ask him?

Anonymous said...

"WHy didn't anyone ask his about Concur, procurement, or firing limited termers who are being protected by managers and cronyism?"

It would have been Baaaaaa d timing.

Anonymous said...

To answer 7:17 PM's question:

Oh, I would have loved to but I was stuck in over 45 minutes of traffic trying to get in this morning from SF and could not make it to the presentation, which was announced this morning and which I had no idea was starting at 10:30 am until it was too late.

Anonymous said...

I'm 12:01, who questioned the "140 attrition" number. Turns out that the 140 is the number that have already left this FY (according to Anastasio's afternoon letter). I heard that we were trying to get rid of people by drug testing, and an earlier number I heard for the "already gone" was 90, so 140 doesn't sound unreasonable.

Anonymous said...

Mike has made it clear to his management team that Concur is here to stay. Put up and shut up!

Anonymous said...

1/8/08 7:46 PM "Mike has made it clear to his management team that Concur is here to stay. Put up and shut up!"

Must be because the prick got a huge bonus for it and as we know - by his own admission - the prick gets his reimbursement checks within a week...

Anonymous said...

I believe the folks that have responded here would complain if they were hung with a new rope. Keep up the excellent job of whinning, you all represent the best of LANL. That would be "world class whinning."

Cheers!

Anonymous said...

Actually 7:46 PM, Mike has just indicated that he does not want to hear about or deal with any problems. I guess he is not getting paid enough to truly act like a Director.

In the real corporate world, this type of attitude ends up getting CEOs fired.

Anonymous said...

7:20
The support organizations (I know, despised by many) are severely understaffed and it will continue to get worse. I understand that procurement is currently at about 25% of staffing (from before LANS took over) - they were excluded from the SSP. At the SSP departure meeting, one HR organization stated it was made up of 3 employees. Other support organizations like payroll, travel and benefits are limping - try getting someone to answer a question. Attrition in these organizations will continue as the current staff find other jobs outside the lab. It's okay to despise the organizations and the processes but don't take it out on us support folks. We are required to comply with Concur, Oracle, and other Bechtel processes have been implemented and now we can't do our jobs. It would be interesting to find out how many employees left from the support side versus the TSM/Tech side. Signed: Support employee

Anonymous said...

Hey, 7:16. I will concede point # 2. That is clearly stated by NNSA.

Can you provide any credible supporting statements on points 1 and 3? David Crandall predicts that the complex will 'have more nonweapons research partners and a more diversified research portfolio'. That is a quote from the NNSA assistant deputy administrator for research, development and simulation. What cards are you holding? Besides a grudge?

Simply repeating the same supposition, day in and day out, does not make it a fact. There are many things that can be done as WFO that are not pit production. These things use current LANL strengths that need to be exercised to keep them in shape for when the 'core' mission needs them, infrequent as that may be.

Anonymous said...

7:55 pm: "Keep up the excellent job of whinning, you all represent the best of LANL. That would be "world class whinning."

I guess that would be a combination of "winning" and "whining"?? Although not, obviously, world-class.

Anonymous said...

6:33, I think the fixed portion of the fee based on WFO was around before LLNS. I remember seeing a copy of a presentation about it over a year ago. Straight percentage as I recall.

Anonymous said...

Here's what Crandall actually said, 8:09:

"We fundamentally do not see the weapons budget account growing over time," Crandall said. "We do see, however, the importance of the labs and their science base as essential to the nation, but we are going to have to look at our role in a different way. I don't think the status quo of what we have done in the past is sustainable in the future.

"We are moving from a mode where we would tolerate research that doesn't interfere with our nuclear weapons mission to one in which we are encouraging new research that is synergistic to our mission," Crandall continued, adding that researchers outside NNSA will have to pay the full price of using lab staff and facilities."

Anonymous said...

I hear you 8pm. After seeing the VG that showed there were ~1200 managers out of ~8000 regular employees, I pretty much checked out.

Anonymous said...

8:00 pm, the Director showed a slide where he indicated the SSP was taken by people pretty much in the same proportion as they exist in current job classifications: AS/GS/OS, SSM, TEC, TSM.

I have to admit, I'm a little hazy on what LANL cost metrics the Director was stating would be improved.

H. T. Gauss said...

Here's what happened over the last few days:

Friday, 2:45 (A-Friday, half gone) - email announcement of all hands meeting on Monday at 1:15

Monday, 11:00 - snow has been falling all morning, 5-7 inches down, LA school system announces closure at noon

Monday, 11:50 - LANS announces closure at 2:00

Tuesday, early - both LANS and LA schools announce 2-hour delay

Tuesday, 9:07 - LANS announces re-scheduled all hands at 10:30

Then, this announcement

Monday, 1/7/08
Employees who left the laboratory before 2:00 pm will need to report vacation or leave without pay for the entire afternoon.

Tuesday, 1/8/08
Employees who arrived at the laboratory after 10:00 am will need to report vacation or leave without pay.


It would be easy to call this management behavior poor. But perhaps all that is needed is some guidance. Our workforce is (or at least, was) composed of intelligent, eager-to-work people, who often put in extra hours. Many of them have children in school, or live off the hill and require extra time for safe commuting. If we as managers treat them like trusted professional adults, instead of mischievous children to be watched, they will surely behave accordingly.

Here's how the situation could have been better managed:

Thursday, 10:00 - email announcement of all hands meeting on Monday at 1:15 pm

Monday, 11:00 - snow has been falling all morning, 5-7 inches down, LA school system announces closure at noon

Monday, 11:00 - LANS announces closure at noon, but instructs employees to leave as needed according to their personal situations and deadlines, and suggests that staggering exit times may help to alleviate traffic

Monday, 2:00 - LANS announces re-scheduled all hands on Tuesday at 1:15

Tuesday, early - both LANS and LA schools announce 2-hour delay

Then, send out this announcement

Employees may claim report pay up to 4.5 hours on Monday and 2 hours on Tuesday, in accordance with the hours that they were unable to work.


This type of management has reasonable timing and treats the employees as professionals. It will ultimately lead to better morale, better safety and increased security.

Anonymous said...

they don't want to treat us as professionals, they want to treat us as plutonium workers

Anonymous said...

7:11 PM,

You picked up on the fine print! The escape clauses. We won't meet these assumptions and that'll be the reason we'll have to have furloughs.

1) We have no control over FY '09 budget, and like years past, the FY '09 budget won't be set until December 08 at the earliest.

2) No, we can't significantly grow our programs in FY '08, the majority of our sponsor's funding has already been committed. It's out of the normal budget cycle to secure new large programs at this time.

3) Attrition increasing to normal levels in FY '08? Right after a retirement incentive? Get real. Only a complete idiot would make this assumption. Totally stupid.

4) Hiring is restricted. Yes, we can do that, but did you pick up on Anastasshole's statement that our skill set isn't aligned for the future and we need to attract the best and brightest? Best and brightest what? Pit polishers?

Pinky and The Brain said...

"our skill set isn't aligned for the future"

Perhaps he meant he wants a workforce with a skill set that does not include blogging.

Anonymous said...

1/8/08 8:14 PM

Thanks for posting the two paragraphs from Jeff Johnson's interview with Mr. Crandall. The important point is that there seems to be two diverging views of what these words mean. I understood the paragraphs to mean that NNSA was moving from merely tolerating WFO that didn't interfere with mission towards actually encouraging more WFO that is synergistic with the mission. Others here read the same words to mean that NNSA is moving from tolerating some WFO towards tolerating only pit production-related work. That might be a bit of an oversimplification but you get the idea.

Not having enough data to tell for sure which interpretation was closer to reality, I e-mailed Jeff Johnson at Chemical & Engineering News and asked him what he thought Mr. Crandall meant. I then talked with a Program Office guy that I know at LANL that has some responsibility for the WFO portfolio at LANL and got his input as well. Both of their responses lead me to believe that NNSA is, at least momentarily, interested in me bringing in WFO dollars.

I don't have permission from Mr. Johnson to disseminate his e-mail response and I won't shop around the opinion of other staff and management so don't ask me to post names. But th elittle bit of homework that I have done makes me feel that I have a chance to not only keep my job but to actually grow my programs a bit if I am careful.

The main reason that I respond to some of the postings here is that some of what is posted here is not representative of my experience at the lab. There are enough other blogs, like John Fleck's, that have links to this site that I am concerned that the continual doom and gloom that is posted here may actually be perceived by the outside world as the only reality at LANL. We do have more than our fair share of serious trouble right now. But there are some good things going on, as well.

Anonymous said...

1/8/08 8:55 PM

You mentioned management and logical thinking in reference to LANS. Ha ha ha ha - This is just another example of the competence to come

Anonymous said...

no involuntary RIF??? better read NNSA complex plan, you only 5000 employees for pit production!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Mike said there will be no RIFs "at this time."

That phrase "at this time" should be echoing around in everyone's head.

LANS intends to financially squeak through this year. This will leave LANL with no budgetary slack in the outlying years. Therefore, the odds for layoffs will increase in FY09 and again in FY10 when the next Administration's budget comes out.

St. Pete did his best this year to see us through but it was his last hurrah. The political playing field is now heavily stacked against the NNSA's nuclear weapons complex. As many others have stated, at best LANL staff have gained a few months of job protection and peace of mind. If you have a home in Los Alamos and want to sell it, be forewarned that this coming Spring might well be your best and final shot at having a chance to unload it.

Good luck in trying to finish out a long term career at LANL. Perhaps it may be attainable for some, but "at this time" the odds are stacked against you.

Anonymous said...

1/8/08 8:55 PM wrote:

"Then, [if management were enlightened, they could] send out this announcement

Employees may claim report pay up to 4.5 hours on Monday and 2 hours on Tuesday, in accordance with the hours that they were unable to work.

This type of management has reasonable timing and treats the employees as professionals. It will ultimately lead to better morale, better safety and increased security."

---------

Excellent analysis, 8:55 PM.

I'd like to add that the current unenlightened policy encourages employees to put themselves at greater risk in order to claim the "benefit" of report pay. At the same time, management is issuing memos about exercising care in winter diving. Isn't this a little hypocritical?

If an employee wants to take a few extra hours of vacation on a snow day to reduce his risk of accident or injury, or to reduce his commute time, why shouldn't he be able to to that without losing the report pay? Apparently, if you are not chained to your desk, you are not worthy.

Anonymous said...

Here's what is really happening at LANL with today's announcement...

LANS can only handle the payout of severance for a limited number of people each year. They reached that payout limit with the 430 SSP'ers.

Next year will give LANS a chance to start fresh. I expect they'll be able to handle layoffs (and the associated severance) for at least another 500 or so workers sometime after Oct 1st. Same thing for the subsequent years.

We're looking at a system of 'rolling RIFs' due to the high severance costs. If LANS could do it all in one year they might, but the operating budget can't handle it so layoffs will be parceled out slooooowly.

Of course, continuous RIFs take a big toll in terms of worker stress and morale, but who thinks LANS really gives a damn about that? According to Mike, morale at LANL is just fine.

Anonymous said...

The real numbers:

1. 430 volunteered for and were accepted for the voluntary separation.

2. 140 have left LANL since mid Sep 2007.

3. Needed 750 to leave.

4. The 180 will be made up by getting rid of "staff augmentation" contractors and limited term employees. Who are the limited term employees? Easy - it's all the former contract employees hired via the contingent worker program from a few years ago. Who are these folks? Mostly Hispanic women. I smell lawsuits!

Anonymous said...

And with the new RIF policy you don't need DOE approval if the RIFs are done in increments of 50 or less. So- once per month, let 50 people go.

Anonymous said...

Anyone else hear the same message?
1/8/08 6:22 PM

Actually what I heard was the Mikey claims *he's* happy just knowing he's serving his country. So he must really get a stiffie when he thinks about his bonus Beamer.

Anonymous said...

"Other support organizations like payroll, travel and benefits are limping - try getting someone to answer a question."

I can't remember which support office I called last week, but it was interesting that I was NOT put on hold, just told to leave a message and they'd call back when they were able to help me.

p.s. They did call back.

Anonymous said...

> "Then, [if management were
> enlightened, they could] send out
> this announcement


> Employees may claim report pay up
> to 4.5 hours on Monday and 2 hours
> on Tuesday, in accordance with the
> hours that they were unable to
> work.

As an exempt, salaried employee, I don't feel too guilty about claiming the report pay, even if I did leave before 2:00 or get here after 10:00.

I get an annual salary, I don't punch a clock for hourly wages.

Anonymous said...

Regarding the current run of posts on report pay for the snow storm....

Someone in our organization asked for clarification on the instructions about RP versus vacation and this is what came back.

"In regards to reporting T&E this week this is the guidance that came out from payroll."
"The following is T&E Guidance to help record T&E for Monday, 1/7/08 and Tuesday, 1/8/08 during the Lab Closure."
"Employees who had not reported to work, had scheduled vacation or were out sick are not eligible for RP. Time will need to be reported as scheduled, vacation, sick or leave without pay."
"Monday, 1/7/08
Employees who left the laboratory before 2:00 pm will need to report vacation or leave without pay for that time up to 2pm.
Report Pay (RP) has been approved from 2pm onward only. (Example if you left at 11:30 you will need to claim vacation or leave without pay from 11:30 - 2:00 and then RP from 2:00 to your regular scheduled time that you normally work til)."
"Tuesday, 1/8/08
For those employees who arrived at the lab at 10 am, use RP for time from your regularly scheduled start time until 10 am."
"Employees who arrived at the laboratory after 10:00 am will need to report vacation or leave without pay. (Example - For those who arrived after 10 am, RP may be used for time until 10am. Time after 10am until arrival will need to be reported as scheduled, vacation, leave without pay, or work with their manager for a personal reschedule (IMP 763.3)."

Sorry about the length of that. The point is that when management was asked what they really meant in the original message about charging for Monday and Tuesday a more realistic set instructions emerged.

It seems we always assume that EVERYTHING is designed to take advantage of us.

Anonymous said...

I get an annual salary, I don't punch a clock for hourly wages.

1/9/08 4:16 PM


No shit, and how much work do you do outside those times, at home, and on weekends?

It is just a testiment to the incompetence of Mikey. What a prick.

Anonymous said...

"The Director showed a slide where he indicated the SSP was taken by people pretty much in the same proportion as they exist in current job classifications: AS/GS/OS, SSM, TEC, TSM."

Not sure that I believe this in particular because of the large number of administrative contractors that were converted to UC/Regular during the time of Nanos.

But, if we assume that this is true, then the overhead rate goes up because of fixed costs such as the obscene management fee, facilities maintenance, utilities, etc. With a higher overhead rate, we have yet another nail in the coffin of WFO.

Anonymous said...

Mike said the break-out between lab make-up and the SPP make-up was "remarkably similar". However, when I looked at the vugraph, I saw that 45% of the lab consists of TSMs, yet 50% of the people who took the SSP were TSMs.

It is TSMs who develop projects and bring in funding. Based on Mike's vugraph, I can surmise that the ratio of TSMs to support will get worse and this should cause FTE rates to go even higher over the next year. This will make Mike's plans for WFO growth even harder to achieve.

The other vugraph Mike showed indicated that about 1 out of every 8 workers at LANL is a manager. If you want to understand the core of the problems at LANL, here is the best place to start. We are bloated with managers! Most of these managers live off of overhead dollars from incoming projects. LANL is living in a managerial Fantasy Land that can't last much longer.

Anonymous said...

Based on that second VG, after subtracting out the numbers for those taking the SSP, it looks like there are 1202 managers out of a total of 7659 regulars. Looks more like 1 out of 6.4 is a manager.

Anonymous said...

You would think the Mike would be embarrassed to even show that vugraph with the outlandish ratio of workers to managers. But, no, LANS is proud of it. And almost every one of those managers are highly paid with most of them living off of overhead. One of the major sources of LANL's high cost structure is all too obvious.