Jul 11, 2009

Health Benefits

The UC, LLNS, LANS Mashup

Consider the current political situation. NNSA is in the fourth year of its plan to reconfigure the nuclear weapons complex. The plan is oriented toward retrenching and down sizing probably requiring closing one weapons lab. Since some of the weapons work is being consolidated at LANL but none at LLNL, it is clear which lab they will chose to close. The move of Anastasio to LANL and putting Miller in charge at LLNL was another indicator. Miller was the also ran in every selection of a new director during my time at LLNL. He is a prime choice to preside over the dismemberment of LLNL.

The NNSA reconfiguration plan was predicated on Congress approving the Reliable Replacement Warhead and scheduling 5-year upgrade cycles. Not only is that not going to happen, Obama has promised to quit paying for the unused weapons of the Cold War. Guess what weapons are on the top of the list. That leaves NNSA with no weapons programs to fund the weapons labs. The way the government works, it takes time to wind down large unneeded organizations. The NNSA reconfiguration plan is a good start at it. Without viable nuclear weapons programs, is not a question of if but when LANL will follow LLNL into oblivion.

We at LLNL are fighting to have responsibility for our retiree medical benefits moved back to the University of California. LLNS and NNSA never intended to assume responsibility for our medical benefits. Last August, I complained to UC’s top lawyer, Jeffery Blair, that UC was in breach of my employment contract. Soon thereafter, NNSA modified the LLNS contract to allow retroactive modification of the TCP1 medical insurance requirements. Then I got an email from an LLNS lawyer saying that she was replying for Jeffery Blair and that LLNS was doing a great job providing our medical benefits. That made me mad enough to do something about the situation.

I formed the University of California Livermore Retirees Group to put public, political and legal pressure on UC to resume their obligation for our benefits. Neither UC nor we are parties to the NNSA-LLNS contract so it doesn’t change our legal relationship. We are at the point of soliciting funds and hiring legal council to initiate a suit against UC.

Earlier this year I tried to contract LANL employees and convince them to join us. At that time nobody showed any interest. I believe it is time to ask LANL retirees again if they are interested in joining their LLNL counterparts. If so, now is the time to act. We have collected enough funds to get our legal situation analyzed. We are negotiating with a top national law firm, having the expertise and resources to handle UC. LANL retirees are in nearly the same position as we. They haven’t been severely impacted yet, but it looks like it will not be for long. Remember that LLNS and LANS are LLCs so when they disappear, so do all their liabilities, including retiree medical benefits.

It would be a shame if we have the facts to prevail but lack the funds to pursue our case. We need more recruits to help us. If you would like to find out more about us, type llnlretiree.com into the navigation bar of your web browser or email llnlretiree@comcast.net.

- Joe Requa

105 comments:

Anonymous said...

So, LLNL likes Miller as much as we like Mikey!

Anonymous said...

Actually most employees at LLNL like George, its the Bechtel managers who have taken over the operations side of the lab that are not trusted or liked. LLNL is fragmented into NIF land with King Ed calling the shots and the rest of LLNL under a pissed off Bechtel dictatorship that excels at kissing NNSA's rear.

The only saving grace is the fact that UC seems to be drawing the line at Bechtel not touching the science/research side of LLNL. The lab is in the process of restructuring the ranking/classification/pay system for all Scientist and Engineering employees at LLNL, and UC Sr VP Bruce Darling is heading the effort, not a Bechtel loanee.

Anonymous said...

From LANL-Land, listen closely and you'll hear both retirees and the current employees softly bleating... baaa, baaaa, baaaaaaa. They know not that Farmer Mikey and all the Bechtel field hands are coming soon to harvest the sheep.

Anonymous said...

You and I signed a contract when we took a job at LLNL that very clearly stated that medical insurance plans could be changed, even canceled, at any time. I don't think you have any wiggle room on this. That is the harsh reality. Move on and save your money for your medical care needs.

Anonymous said...

They will split the weapons piece our of LANL and leave the useless things to form remain as the Los Alamos National Laboratory. Does anybody really think that what is left after the split, PADSTE, will be able to fund the unimaginative and unimportant work that it taxes the weapons programs in order to do?

Anonymous said...

7/12/09 11:35 AM - the last time I looked, according to the DOE budget, the weapons work seems to be the unimaginative and unimportant work.

Anonymous said...

hey 12:52,

You are most correct in using the sheep analogy. However, a harvest is not necessarily what the future holds. It will be a act upon sheep, that shall we say, is more in alignment with depraved, perverted, debauchery.

I miss the old lab, if I can only hang on for a few more years,I can leave this madness behind.

Frank Young said...

If any of you got dumped into Kaiser Permanente I really feel for you.

Anonymous said...

I will only say this once. The boys from Rechtel and hewitt & associates plan to dump all retires from the medical plan as soon as you hit the gate: phase two will be dumping current employees into Kaiser.

UPTE LLNL SKILL CRAFTS

Anonymous said...

sorry to disappoint the doomsayers. LANS is not currently anticipating any significant changes in retiree (or active employee) benefit levels at this time, although we are looking at streamlining some plan offerings. LANS continues to try to offer a highly competitive benefits package for both TCP1 and TCP2 participants and to keep employee costs as low as possible at the same time. Guess you will just have to live with it.

Anonymous said...

I miss the old lab, if I can only hang on for a few more years,I can leave this madness behind.

7/12/09 8:45 PM

Hang on? Maybe, but don't count on it. Mikey needs to keep NNSA happy by achieving their goal of a 5% headcount reduction by the end of next year. His bonus and those of all the top LANS executives depends on making NNSA happy. They'll make this quota one way or another. PBIs, baby!

Greg Close said...

As an earlier poster mentioned, whether it's UC, LLNS or LANS, your retiree medical benefits are now and always have been an "unvested" benefit. That is, they are benefits provided at the leisure and discretion of the employer, and not at all part of your pension contract with any of the entities. I have seen NO move toward cancellation of these benefits at LANL, but retiree medical is not a legal obligation - so please be aware of that before spending too much money on the matter.

It's not my wish to discourage; only to inform.

Also, @7/12/09 10:34 PM... Hewitt has nothing do do with decision making on these matters. They process eligibility files and handle billing, and that's it. As evil as you think Bechtel (or whoever)might be, LLNL and LANL retirees STILL have much better retirement medical options than most of the Fortune 50. What do they have for retiree medical (by and large): you guessed it - 18 months of COBRA and then nada.

That doesn't mean you shouldn't ask for more, but please know where you really stand in relation to most of America before shedding too many tears of self pity.

Anonymous said...

But, but, buaaabaaabaaabaaaa. We're the beeeest and briiightest baaaa...

Anonymous said...

Greg Close certainly said it best- we are in so much better shape than the rest of the country. I like every other LANL employee was or should have been aware that our medical benefits once retired are not a given but a gift that could be taken away at any time. Does this mean I don't worry about my health benefits in the future- no it does not. It just means that I knew that my retiree heath coverage could be cancelled at anytime and accepted that at the time I retired. I am sure any GM retiree would love to have our coverage, etc. For that matter any current LANS employee would love to have our current health coverage when they finally retire because they know that there will be no health coverage for them except what they will pay for out of their own pockets. Maybe instead of seeing the glass as half empty we should see it as half full and just be thankful for what we as retirees have at the present time.

Anonymous said...

"But, but, buaaabaaabaaabaaaa. We're the beeeest and briiightest baaaa...

7/13/09 11:04 AM"

But, but buaaabaaaa, you are an idiot, baaaa.

Anonymous said...

Another thought--employees who never worked for UC (or didn't work long enough to be vested) will not have a pension nor will they have subsidized medical coverage. They'll have Access Only; where they pay the entire premium with LANS contributing zero.

Anonymous said...

The last guy left at Los Alamos will be John Pedicini, with his Robo-Bomb strapped to his chest, standing in the middle of the Los Alamos Canyon bridge, to finish off what's left on the Jemez plateau. Ten generations later, Indians will once again plant corn on the finger mesas and smoke peyote in their kivas, like it should be.

Frank Young said...

Has anyone told John yet?

Anonymous said...

Speaking of health, has LANS made any moves at all to put in hand sanitizers next to all the hand geometry security units (aka "Viral Spreading Machines")?

Nah, I didn't think so. Safety issue like that aren't in the PBI metrics, are they, Mikey? Besides, just as with the decision to dis-allow purified water, NNSA would never allow the expense of hand sanitizers to help stop viral spread between employees.

And, to think, the latest LANS motto being pasted up all of the lab is: "LOOK after each other". From what I've witnessed, LANS upper level management seems to only be interested in looking after their own fat wallets.

Anonymous said...

I miss the old lab, if I can only hang on for a few more years,I can leave this madness behind.

7/12/09 8:45 PM

We said the same in the 70's, and the 80's, and the 90's. We hung on, looking at that UC retirement distribution site weekly. Can I live with 72%? A week later, the numbers haven't improved a f'ing bit!

Then, indifference sets in. All of a sudden you're no longer a good employee. The Group Leader puts you off in some corner, doing nothing. Everything the MAN does is stupid to you. You get those evaluations that cause you to go home and drink 6 margaritas and kick the dog across the garage.

I survived until age 60, but was a miserable bastard the last 8 or so. Only satisfaction I got was, occasionally, the GL would drop by and stammer a few how'dos before asking some dumb question about nuclear weapons. Something we did EOS experiments on 30 yrs before. This ass didn't know the primary from the secondary on a device and he's the GL? Sometimes, I'd help him out. Sometimes, I'd say, "Man, that's a tough one. I need to think about that."

The worst is the new guys who've learned a few buzz words and now they're in charge. God, I'm glad to be retired already. Hang in there, you poor bastards!

Greg Close said...

@7/14/09 11:04 AM...

LMAO. Not to be snide, but...

Have you done a cost analysis per-unit to see how that would impact the budget? Each dispensing unit runs easily $10 - $50, from my personal experience. That can vary based on the size and dispensing method of the unit(manual or auto). The refills are about $35/4 gallons. How much would we use across the Lab in one day, week, year? How much labor to monitor and refill? With the size of this campus, we'd need a couple of people. Are we going to create a position that's responsible for maintaining the dispensers? Perhaps we will need a Hand Sanitizer Manager III with appropriate staff. Or hey, maybe we could outsource it!

In an economy where people are struggling just to stay employed, you have a job, decent-to-amazing salary, benefits, and soap in the bathroom to wash your hands. Just imagine the national sympathy factor for us out here having to buy our OWN hand sanitizer... seriously, you'll have to imagine it, because I don't think there will be much outrage.

C'mon.

Anonymous said...

Oh, c'mon yourself, Greg.

Don't you remember what huge deprivations were recently visited on the poor, downtrodden LANL staff when LANS decided to no longer supply them with bottled water?

You can't seriously be suggesting that LANL employees now must go to Smith's and purchase their own $2 bottles of Purell, can you? Not on top of their newly acquired hydration expenditures.

Are they all as heartless as you over in HR?

And let's net even bring up the subject of day care...

Anonymous said...

"Speaking of health, has LANS made any moves at all to put in hand sanitizers next to all the hand geometry security units (aka "Viral Spreading Machines")? "

ewww...thanks a lot, now i have something new to think about.

Anonymous said...

"I miss the old lab, if I can only hang on for a few more years, I can leave this madness behind."

a few more years?!? i don't know if i can handle a month longer in this "prison". i have to admit, i've turned into 12:45 PM in my responses to superiors. it's just easier to say "i don't know" and let them figure it out.

Anonymous said...

The best and brightest are now pretending to be dumb. How much worse can it get? I'm almost afraid to ask.

Anonymous said...

"The best and brightest are now pretending to be dumb."

it's just easier, otherwise they become dependent on you. which would you rather have?

Anonymous said...

Greg, with all due fairness, we were told that our benefits were to be "substantially equivalent" to UC. It didn't take long for LLNS to renege on that promise. I hope LLNS gets sued and loses. Just because the current trend in private industry is to screw over their employees/ retirees should not be justification for DOE/LANS/LLNS to follow suit.

Anonymous said...

Clearly, being a moron is a prerequisite for the LANS top management spots. Can you name anyone GL or above who has any idea what they are doing or what they are managing?

Anonymous said...

Greg, your "can-do" attitude is inspiring. It must come from wearing those shoes that GRIP!

After reading your many reasons for not putting in hand sanitizers to help stop the spread of a deadly virus, I suggest we apply the same logic to LANL's restrooms. Toilet maintenance, toilet paper, hand soap, paper towels and kleenex can all go away. Why stop with just the cost savings that can be achieved by not installing hand sanitizer units? We can do better than that.

Think of all the money LANS will save by these restroom cutbacks. These savings can then be funneled back into LANS upper management salaries. The really great thing about this idea is that from the looks of LANL's filthy restrooms we're already half way there.

Frank Young said...

All those dosimeters, CAMs, fixed air samplers, bioassays, whole body counters, ect. must be expensive. Somebody on this blog keeps claiming that inhaling plutonium produces miraculous health benefits. So why not do away with all that expensive stuff and save on medical costs too?

Greg Close said...

@7/14/09 7:21 PM - bear in mind I'm not arguing that I think LLNL retirees should or should not sue, or should or should not win. My post was intended only to point out the legal complication/obstacle to a win. I do understand and empathize with your position.

@7/14/09 10:23 PM Actually, I am currently wearing Skechers. Do they GRIP? As for your bathroom argument, I don't think that's a logical extension of my comment at all. Washing your hands regularly and investing in a personal supply of Purel hardly seems daunting to me if you're concerned that H1N1 is zeroing in on you. It's your health, take some responsibility for it. The last thing this places needs is more overhead, anyway.

Anonymous said...

Greg, please, now you are really getting out there. Up until now, your comments have been at least marginally useful. Now you seem to have taken a position of assuming that LANL programmatice personnel should be expected to, or would even consider being responsible for, their own health and/or financial well being. How can you not realize that they are so important to the country that they have every right to expect someone else to take responsibility for all of the basic personal hygiene and personal financial welfare needs for them so that they will be totally free to spend all of their time saving us from ourselves.

Anonymous said...

"In an economy where people are struggling just to stay employed, you have a job,"

Greg, this kind of argument is very weak. No matter what condition any place is in you can always say that it is better than some other place. Thinking this way leads to mediocracy.

Greg Close said...

@7/15/09 8:09 AM - I agree with you, and if you'll look at my earlier post (the substantive one actually about benefits and not about hand sanitizer) you'll see I specifically stated "That doesn't mean you shouldn't ask for more, but please know where you really stand..."

In any fight, your footing is of paramount importance.

Anonymous said...

The janitorial service seems to handle filling up the hand soap containers in the restrooms with few problems. Would it really be that much harder to have them also refill some hand sanitizers placed out by the security entry gates?

It's not rocket science, Greg. The cost would be minimal and the health benefits would be substantial.

Also, when staff move around the complex to go to meetings they are pressed for time and don't always have a Purell bottle with them or have the time to make a run to a nearby restroom to wash their hands before the meetings start.

Sometime by next winter, LANL will likely experience some deaths due to the H1N1 virus. It is morphing into more virulent forms as we speak and seems to be particularly hard on younger people. Let's see how your opinions against common sense methods for hindering viral transmissions holds up by early next year.

Greg Close said...

@ 7/15/09 11:08 AM I guess we disagree on what constitutes "common sense" methods. You argue that H1N1 is becoming more virulent, morphing into more deadly forms, etc. and yet people don't have time to wash/sanitize or carry Purell because they are "rushing to meetings?" People are in too much of a hurry to protect themselves from a deadly virus? That doesn't make sense to me, personally.

Also, you seem to presuppose in your argument that the primary vector for transmitting H1N1 is hand geometry units. Fine - we place gel at the units. How does that mitigate spread of the virus through other contact - airborne, shaking hands, sharing papers with infected personnel? The CDC states that the primary means of transmission is mainly from person to person through coughing or sneezing, and "sometimes" through indirect contact with an object that contains the virus. Gel at the units would help protect one only one single transmission point, and its not even the primary method of transmission. Even carrying your own gel leaves you very exposed to airborne transmission, but at least it's there when you need it (i.e. after your buddy sneezes on you).

I would argue that taking responsibility for your own personal hygiene would be far more effective in treating the spread of the virus, because it's not so dependent on if you've recently passed through a secure area and "gelled up." You can't know whether your co-workers has used the sanitizer - but you can always guarantee what you do with your own sanitizer.

Would it it be "nice to have?" Sure it would, and I'm sure there would be some health benefit, but I think it's hardly the comprehensive or common sense solution that you do. And I didn't even touch on the liability issue (gel is empty, ee uses hand unit, catches H1N1, dies - who is liable? Lab, Custodial Services, ee? This is crap you have to consider for even these "easy common sense" type solutions).

Anonymous said...

7/15/09 11:08 AM

Concerned about the H1N1 virus spreading by hand. A method that is simple, very inexpensive, less time consuming than washing you hands, is to keep your DAMN hands out of your mouth.

Doug Roberts said...

And away from your eyes, and out of your nose, and away from any other body cavities you frequent.

Greg Close said...

Here is a novelty. Some facts from CDC specifically re: H1N1. I'm going to shut up now on the topic, there are enough facts for everyone to draw his/her own conclusion:

What can I do to protect myself from getting sick?
There is no vaccine available right now to protect against novel H1N1 virus. There are everyday actions that can help prevent the spread of germs that cause respiratory illnesses like influenza.

Take these everyday steps to protect your health:

* Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
* Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. Alcohol-based hand cleaners are also effective.
* Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs spread this way.
* Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
* Stay home if you are sick for 7 days after your symptoms begin or until you have been symptom-free for 24 hours, whichever is longer. This is to keep from infecting others and spreading the virus further.

Anonymous said...

OK, it's understood that retiree medical benefits are not vested or guaranteed. But nobody has answered these questions:

Why, having retired under UCRP as a UC employee who worked at the Lab for 30 years, are my retiree medical benefits substantially different (worse) than those being provided to UC retirees from other campuses? They are paying less, and getting more services (and choices), than we are. Why must we be subjected to the whims of LANS and LLNS, companies we never worked for, companies that didn't even exist when we were employed by UC? We were sold on the concept that we were UC employees, that the Labs were basically like UC research "campuses". Heck, we were all UC, all the way, all the time. That is, until it came time to deliver our retiree medical benefits. Then the rules changed, and we became "second-class" UC retirees. Again, it's understood that retiree medical benefits could be reduced or even eliminated (and they probably will), BUT HOW CAN THEY LEGALLY TREAT US DIFFERENTLY THAN RETIREES IN UCRP FROM OTHER CAMPUSES?" It's discrimination, I tell you. If retirees from Berkeley, Davis, UCLA, Irvine, Riverside, Santa Cruz, Merced, UCSF, and Santa Barbara were in the same boat as us and were getting the same reduction in benefits at increased cost, I'd still complain, but at least I'd understand. But as it is, with the UC retirees from the Labs being singled out and screwed over by DOE/NNSA through LANS/LLNS with apparent UC concurrence, it seems unfair and the obvious ripe fruit for a class action lawsuit. Sign me up.

Anonymous said...

i have to agree with greg on this one. while it would be nice to install hand sanitizers all over the lab, ultimately an employer isn't responsible for an employee's personal hygiene habits. hell, i think repaving the damn parking lots would be more cost effective.

btw, i'm not worried about contracting the swine flu, i'm worried about you nasty tsms who don't wash their hands after going to the bathroom. you know who you are...

John said...

I just want to say that I think that it's very cool that Greg posts on here as himself and provides some HR facts. Thanks Greg.

Greg Close said...

@ 7/15/09 12:40 PM (not a H1N1 post, I promise to shut up on that)

I'll try to answer...

Essentially, the Transition of Labs from UC to LLCs equates to an "acquisition" of the Labs by the new entity. Legally, in any acquisition, the parties agree on terms - who will be responsible for what, to include retiree medical obligations. Per that contract, with NNSA approval, the UC retirees who had been government contractors at one of the Labs, were passed to those Labs to manage their group health care options in perpetuity. UC canceled you, and the new company picked you up, all as part of the agreement.

Once under this new employer, even with the promise of substantial equivalence, the new company is within it's rights to modify the plans to fit it's needs (both service and financial). For example, the new employer can change carriers, adjust premiums, copays, etc. based on the "new" population's needs. This means it's possible for some old plans to go away (Kaiser) to be replaced by new providers (Extend). Those are just examples.

Legally, you are different from UC Retirees on all those other campuses, when it comes to your health benefits, because UC's legal responsibility for your group health plans was signed over to the new entity.

Take what's happening in the automotive world as an easy example - since Saturn was spun off (or spun out) by GM and purchased by Penske; if they so agreed to transfer all those persons with GM retiree medical benefits into a Penske retiree medical benefit plan, Penske would not be obligated to keep the same plans, rules, costs etc as GM. Even with a "substantial equivalence" provision - at some point, the companies would have to diverge - in carrier selection, rules, costs, etc. to support their different populations.

That is my explanation, from my experience in Benefits and acquisitions and Transition etc. It doesn't mean I particularly like the concepts or not, and its not an "official" LANL explanation or anything of that nature.

And, by the way, just to toot our horn a little here... we have not made any major changes to plan design or substantially increased costs here at LANL for our retirees. I know we're not perfect, but we really have tried to do the right thing for our retirees.

Anonymous said...

UC agreed to provide retiree insurance to LANL/LLNL retirees as required by their contract with DOE/NNSA. It clearly made sense at the time from an administrative point of view to include Lab retirees in the existing UC medical plans. However, once UC no longer had a contract with DOE/NNSA, their obligation to provide retiree insurance to LAB retirees disappeared.It should not be that hard to understand that, because the nexus between UC an the Labs disappeared when the contracts ended, DOE/NNSA transferred the responsibility for Lab retiree benefits to the successor contractor(s). This will happen again in the future if the contractor should change again. It is DOE/NNSA that determines the benefits provided to retirees by their M&O contractors, just as it is DOE/NNSA that determine the work done by the LABS. Again, quit blaming the current, or ex, contractors for things over which they have no control.

Anonymous said...

2:17 Again. Just want to clarify that my comment above, specifically the last sentence is not meant to be cynical, derisive or mean spirited. I, like Greg, only write to try and provide a factual, common sense alternative to the constant false hyperbole and whining that is so common on this blog. So I don't choose to post under my name...doesn't mean that I don't speak the truth from a position of knowledge.

Anonymous said...

12:59pm - my momma taught me not to piss on my fingers. Plus I know where my dick has been (or not been)

Plus I think he's a lot cleaner than anyone's hands.....

Anonymous said...

7/15/09 12:40 PM

LANL and LLNL were never "campuses" regardless of how UC operated them. UC operated them under contract to the government, the same as they are operated today. There were many budget and mangement ups and downs over the years that we and the laboratories weathered. Wishing it were otherwise doesn't make it a class action opportunity.

Anonymous said...

LANL, a national lab that spends millions of dollars each year studying advanced simulations of pandemic flu spread within a given population...

...and, yet, has management that is so cheap that it's unwilling to spend even 2 cents to hinder the spread of those very same viral infections among its own lab employees!

The perfect definition of S-T-U-P-I-D.

Anonymous said...

"We hung on, looking at that UC retirement distribution site weekly. Can I live with 72%? A week later, the numbers haven't improved a f'ing bit!" - 12:45 PM

It's become a lot simpler under our improved LANS management. We just fire all the old geezers like you once they have hit the 50% mark. We not only save on high salary costs, but it also cuts down on the growing LANS pension liabilities, too!

- MIKEY

Anonymous said...

7/15/09 8:42 PM:

I never signed any contract to work for DOE or the Federal government. I signed up as a UC employee. No different than if I worked as a researcher at UC working on a CONTRACT for NASA, NIH, etc. I was a UC employee. Payed into and was promised the UC retirement system. Retired under UC BEFORE LANS was even a thought in someone's mind. Remain retired under UCRP. But now my medical benefits are provided by some company I never worked for, while other UC retirees from other institutions are treated differently and better. How can DOE allow one entity (UC) to get off the hook and assign their obligations to their retirees to a new company that can downgrade and eliminate those obligations at will? Crap, it's one think to be traded when you are still playing....it's quite another to be promised one thing, devote your entire working career to it, and then have it yanked out from under you. Legal or not, it's not fair. Mark my words, this will end up in court and DOE, UC, and LANS will be held accountable.

Anonymous said...

The "old geezers" took TCP2 and retired inder UC, if they were smart. Many still work at LANL/LANS. At least LANS has no control over my UC pension. The retiree health care issue will be resolved. one way or another, by the health care "reform" being enacted as we speak. Get ready for long lines, long waits for essential care, and denial of service by those who "know better" about your health. UC retiree health care under UHC will be ending, and what will replace it is unknown, but expect the federal government to decide what you need to stay alive, no matter how much money you are wiolling to poney up from your own pocket. Good luck!

Anonymous said...

Greg's earlier analogy is flawed. It is as if employees who worked at a Chevy plant, under GM, for all their lives and retired from that plant under GM, had their retiree health care taken over by the buyer of Saturn because Saturn took over that GM/Chevy plant long after the person retired. Is not that person still a GM retiree? Ask the union! Are not LANL employees who retired from UC before LANS existed still UC retirees? What if a UC campus were transferred to USC by the CA legislature (if that were possible)? Would all the UC retirees from that campus become subject to USC retiremwnt rules? The fact that the transfer of UC retiree health benefits was done "legally" does NOT make it legal! A court needs to weigh in on this ASAP. Greg, your candor is appreciated, but your loyalty and commitment to LANS is undeniable.

Anonymous said...

9:14,

You're a bit behind the times. All of the flu modelers who used to do that kind of work at LANL have either left, or have had their funding cut off.

Given what LANL has become, the decision process in each case quite was well informed, in retrospect.

If those 50-Watt bulbs who still remain at LANL don't have enough sense to pack a tube of Purell with them during a full H1N1 pandemic, then all the better for Darwin.

Greg Close said...

@ 7/15/09 10:13 PM
Ummmm... loyalty and commitment to LANS? Nope. Big misunderstanding there. I think privatization of the Labs was a poor decision with unrealistic expectations of the new LLC contractors. While I think LANS is taken to task a lot unfairly, please don't mistake that for blind loyalty to a nebulous corporate entity. I've been in the workplace too long to be that naive.

As for my analogy, we might disagree on it's accuracy, but I stand behind it. There are plenty of real life examples, many from my own experience. In my time administering benefits, many folk just like the UC retirees who never worked a day for the successor contractor were then transferred over to that new entity. In fact, the example you relate about Chevy/GM is pretty darn accurate (excepting the Union bit, 'cuz that does change things - but we aren't unionized). That crap really does happen to people.

Remember, I never stated what happened to long time UC retirees was fair. Just that it is legal, and not abnormal with transitions or corporate acquisitions. If anything, surprisingly, it's a better deal than a lot of acquired personnel get. Personally, I think it sucks. I would hate to have committed decades to one employer only to have some unknown quantity come in and take over administration of my health benefits. I won't argue that point. I'd be suspicious and ticked off too. BUT - I think at LANL we've done a decent job of not screwing the retirees out of benefits. This I believe not out of loyalty to LANS, but because I've been a part of some of that decision making process NOT to make wholesale changes or jump to the newest hippest idea in cutting edge retiree health care, just to cut costs. Think about it... no major plan design changes since LANS took over and NO increase to premiums last year? I can be proud of being a part of that, even in small part.

As unlucky as you might feel for being subjected to this switcheroo long after retirement, you are a subset of lucky within your greater unluckiness.

Why am I still typing? G'night.

Anonymous said...

" sorry to disappoint the doomsayers. LANS is not currently anticipating any significant changes in retiree (or active employee) benefit levels at this time, although we are looking at streamlining some plan offerings. LANS continues to try to offer a highly competitive benefits package for both TCP1 and TCP2 participants and to keep employee costs as low as possible at the same time. Guess you will just have to live with it."

Read it carefully... "at this time", "competitive" This is well crafted deception. Like when Miller promised "no layoffs" and Tyler the Liar promised "substantially equivalent in the aggregate".

They will reduce costs by reducing your compensation. What are you going to do about it?

Me? I'm leaving 'cause they disjointed me once too often.

Anonymous said...

UC makes the claim that they no longer have an obligation for retiree medical benefits. I understand their reasoning. But I don't understand the following linkage:

I chose to go TCP2, froze my UC retirement. The layoffs start to heat up at LLNL and I asked if one were to be laid off, could you retire from LLNS but delay retirement from UC (in order to increase the age factor). I was told that if I chose to retire from LLNS I had 120 days to retire from UC or give up retirement medical. Why the linkage between the two? UC is claiming they have nothing to do with my medical, so why do they link the two for this purpose?

Anonymous said...

10:18, you are a lying sack of shit, just ask Bette Korber or Ruy Ribeiro about their flush funding. Doing quite well and are nice people. Theory is where the funding is at LANL these days. A theoretician can take his/her part of a failed DR and turn it into a successful effort simply based upon the risk-averse culture spewed by Wallace and Co. You don't have to worry about anything but paper cuts and carpel-tunnel syndrome. Data point: this is the best year that theory has ever done in the LDRD-DR process.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous at 7/15/09 9:43 PM said...

"I never signed any contract to work for DOE or the Federal government. I signed up as a UC employee."

Also note that, as a condition of employment, we had to sign an "oath of allegiance" to the state of California!

Frank Young said...

"Also note that, as a condition of employment, we had to sign an "oath of allegiance" to the state of California!"

If anyone has a copy of that of I'm interested in seeing it. I'm wondering if I would have been able to sign it.

Anonymous said...

A simple thought experiment would be: what would U.C. do to retirees if it closed a campus? Say you retired out of U.C. Riverside and U.C. ultimately closed it. Does anyone believe those retirees would not received U.C. health care benefits?

Anonymous said...

I don't understand the "standing" for this proposed lawsuit. Sure, administration of your retirement medical was moved the LANS. But where's the impact?

And what makes you so sure that your medical benefits would be / will be cast in stone if managed by UC? Have you not been paying attention to the dire economic straits that California is in?

Anonymous said...

7/16/09 6:11 AM

At LLNL it was handled by HR as one of the many items new employees signed during their first days at the lab. It was part of the Patent agreement. Under California State law all UC employee (campus and labs) regardless of their employment location (in state or outside the state) were required to sign these.

The old form is at:
www.ucop.edu/ucophome/policies/bfb/upay585.pdf

---

STATE OATH OF ALLEGIANCE I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the State of California against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the State of California; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties upon which I am about to enter.

Frank Young said...

I wonder if someone in the national guard of another state could sign that.

Greg Close said...

@ 7/16/09 12:41 AM
That is a really good question, and it's perhaps the wackiest thing about the way the health benefits were set up after Transition.

The rationale behind the connection is that, despite UC no longer owning the health benefits, the benefits are still tied to your retirement from a DOE Lab. Therefore, the reasoning goes, one must be receiving the annuity from the current or prior DOE Lab contracting entity to be eligible for the retiree medical, even if that piece of benefits is provided/administered by a completely different entity.

The whole TCP1/TCP2 annuity/health benefit arrangment is probably the single most complicated arrangment I've ever been a part of, and I've seen quite a bit of weird stuff in my day.

If anyone has questions like this they actually want/trust me to answer privately, rather than on the blog, my email is gsclose@lanl.gov and I'm happy to help explain.

Anonymous said...

2:35 am,

Betty Korber researches HIV drug treatments, she is not a flu modeler.

Perhaps you should try sleeping instead of reading the blog at 2:30 in the morning.

Anonymous said...

Another more basic question I have always had is, do the medical premiums for UC retirees working at campuses (not DOE labs) come out of UCRP? Or, are they paid for from the operating budget? If they come from UCRP then why are we (UCRP retirees DOE labs) treated differently?

Anonymous said...

Sure, California is in dire financial straits. Sure, UC is probably going to furlough staff to meet its financial obligations. But I haven't heard that UC retirees (from other than LANL and LLNL) are getting reduced benefits at all. All we are asking is that we LANL/LLNL UC Retirees be treated like all the other UC retirees from the other campuses. We worked for UC our entire careers and retired under its plan, after paying into it for years (either directly or indirectly as part of our compensation). We still get retirement checks from them. It's clear that they know they "own" us, but they skipped out on the medical benefits for us. Maybe legal, but certainly not ethical or moral. We devoted much of our lives to these institutions (and their UC management), and the first chance they get, they jettison us, basically to save money.

Of course, being at the whim of LANS/LLNS, we are small in number and have less bargaining power with insurers than the large UC system. Plus, we are strictly a burden to the new masters of LANS/LLNS. They had to accept our retiree medical as a condition of the contract, but you can certainly bet they didn't want to do that. We don't make them any money, and you can be sure that they spend long hours figuring out how best to keep the "financial burden" we brought to them to a minimum. Hence, our premiums go up, our co-pays go up, our choices are reduced, and our care is diminished, and will undoubtedly disappear completely just as soon as LANS/LLNS can figure out a "legal" way to do it (certainly before UC does the same to the rest of its retirees). The answer from UC that "we passed those benefits off to the new contractor because we could, and it saves us money" is weak.

What would happen if just SOME of the teachers or firefighters in Cal-PERS were told that SOME of their retirement benefits would now be handled by a "private new contractor"? Let's say a city contracts with Halliburton to provide "administration" of their teachers and firefighters retiree medical plans and the new contractor reduces the benefits in comparison with the other PERS members from other cities. I'll tell you what would happen: there would be such well-publicized outrage and demonstrations (publicly and politically) it would make your head spin. What would happen if all of a sudden, some veterans (let's say all those from the Army) were told that their medical benefits would be handled privately (and in a reduced manner) instead of through the VA like all the other uniformed services? There would be riots and Congress would certainly step in. After all, "they are are veterans, who sacrificed so much for the protection of the country!" (True for many, but sometimes just a two-year stint without any foreign deployment or action).

On the other hand, we Lab UC-retirees, many of whom, like me, devoted more than 30 years to "the protection of the country", took less money than we could have made elsewhere, worked long, hard hours in support of the Lab, its mission, and the country, and were sometimes subjected to dangerous materials, conditions,and environments. And, oh by the way, we were instrumental in winning the Cold War and turning back one of the greatest threats to peace and the very existence of the country and the world at large. Unlike teachers, firefighters, and veterans, we have no voice for us, and we are asked to swallow the "it's legal, so we did it" excuse from the spineless UC management, the unconscionable DOE/NNSA, and their LANS/LLNS lackeys (who by the way are laughing all the way to the bank.)

Is that so hard to understand? I only hope that someday, somehow, all the cowards are made accountable, and that the government, which accepted our help when they pleaded for it and made promises to take care of us in return, will own up to their obligations, just like they do for veterans.

Anonymous said...

DOE/NNSA doesn't want to be stuck with paying retiree benefits of their contractor workforce. The sweet promise of "substantially equivalent" made during the RFP process was an NNSA lie to lull the lab employees and retirees into complacency.

Expect retiree medical benefits to be removed shortly after the new National Health Care Plan is rolled out.

Expect the LANS and LLNS pensions to be frozen into a hybrid plan sometime during the next three or four years.

Expect salaries at the NNSA labs to be constrained and slowly move downward.

Expect LANL, which has already been downsized by about 30%, to be downsized even further.

Expect LANS and LLNS executive salaries to become even richer with time in payment for their loyal service to the NNSA.

Expect the Bechtel-ization process at LANL and LLNL to strengthen over time.

Expect Dr. Chu to change nothing in terms of the current downward trends of the NNSA labs.

Expect the NM Congressional delegation to do nothing to stop these downward trends.

Be glad that you still have a job and try to hold on as best as you can during this perfect storm. Don't believe everything what LANS or NNSA are telling you. Apply a strict "trust, but verify" policy to all that you are told and be very wary. Trust your instincts, and not their empty promises.

Anonymous said...

You left out one very important "expect", 11:47 AM.

Expect the retirees and employees of LANL to do absolutely *nothing* to stop any of this activity from happening except to whine.

That's how all the other "expects" will be allowed to happen in the first place! A unionized work force might have helped hold back some of these things, but it's probably too late now.

Anonymous said...

It will be interesting to see if all the BIG DOGS that retired from LANL and LLNL that so vehemently resisted unionization will now participate in this and eventually unionize. It's funny to witness the shoe on the other foot. It doesn't feel so good does it. I remember Laboratory Management warning us that UPTE "those bad guys" were outside the gates handing out literature and to "be careful". I expect those same retired Management outside the gates trying to get us to join. Hah!

Anonymous said...

9:22,

Who do you think you're kidding? A union isn't going to help a bunch of pussy scientists who are to afraid to stand up against incompetent, corrupt management.

Does the word "sheeple" mean anything to you?

Anonymous said...

The union promoters have got to be kidding. All we need is another self interested party to get involved and belly up to the trough. UPTE would not have your best interests at heart, only your money, and the local reps don't have enough sense to come in out of the rain. UPTE is strong in California only because California law requires UC and the other public employers to let them in, even if they claim to represent only one employee. Get a grip!!

Anonymous said...

UPTE is strong in California only because California law requires UC and the other public employers to let them in, even if they claim to represent only one employee. Get a grip!!

7/17/09 11:05 AM

Get a grip? You must be wearing those "grippy" shoes that LANS management wants everyone to wear. Must feel nice and comfy working at the top of the salary food chain as a union busting LANS fat cat.

Anonymous said...

11:05

Not a fat cat top manager nor a union buster am I. Only a person who has been a union member in the past and received not one benefit from being one. (Unless you count the free barbeque sandwich on Labor Day).

If unions are so helpful, why do you suppose they represent only a small percent of eligible workers, most of whom are some type of government employees? Remember, the experts on this blog have already educated us about the quality of the C and D students who hold those jobs...

Anonymous said...

I learned a valuable lesson taking the newly required online sexual harassment course. Find some way to make a claim of harassment at LANL based on sex, race, age, religion, etc. Then, if LANL ever tries to fire you for any reason, you'll have a strong case that it's retaliation for making your previous harassment charge. Presto, instant job protection for the rest of your life!

Anonymous said...

"Once under this new employer, even with the promise of substantial equivalence, the new company is within it's rights to modify the plans to fit it's needs (both service and financial)..."

Fine Greg. It's legal. you say. The federal court will decide if a government promise is a promise or a tactic. I made my donation. I want LLNS to get a very bloody nose (decision plus punishment).

My issue is more fundamental. Sadly, the facts show that LLNS and LANS are run by liars.

Tyler Psybullshit lied. "We will keep benefits tied to UC". "They will be substantially equivalent", "ah, in the aggregate", " We will not have layoffs." They, Bodman, DAgostino, Anastasio and Miller, Russo and Soderstrom lie to the employees. Knowingly, regularly and intentionally.

Quite a change from a Univerity setting of collegiality, openness and honesty.

Why? To keep restive employees docile during the transition. To keep an employees revolt from happening to upset the transition. To keep employees from organizing, they lied. Plain and simple.

So Greg the more fundamental issue is that LLNL and LANL have a lot of pissed off employees who are constantly being lied to while their compensation is reduced.

Not such a good place for good science.

Anonymous said...

7/17/09 1:30 PM
I learned a valuable lesson taking the newly required online sexual harassment course. Find some way to make a claim of harassment at LANL based on sex, race, age, religion, etc. Then, if LANL ever tries to fire you for any reason, you'll have a strong case that it's retaliation for making your previous harassment charge. Presto, instant job protection for the rest of your life!

Not likely. Been there, done that. As a manager who reported a problem in my group about a female (in my group) being harassed by a male colleague (not in my group), I was disgusted at the willingness to cover it up and force the female TSM to take it all back or life would get difficult. THis has been seen by other women TSMs at LANL who have fallen out of favor, are considered trouble makers, etc. This new training is just covering someone's PBIs and will NEVER have any teeth.

Anonymous said...

6:48 PM, you must be in C-division. So sorry, girl. It is a culture that stems from our days at TA-21 and when Sattelberger took the reins. With Neu/Peterson in charge nothing will ever change. I suggest if you are Chemistry, that you change directorates promptly. (oh, but don't pick ADEPS as I hear Seestrum attacks any female who makes her do her job).

Anonymous said...

9:30 am: "Does the word "sheeple" mean anything to you?"

No, because it is not a word, just a made-up construct that you have become way too enamored of (as you are of yourself). It was cheesy and obvious to start with, but now has become just a stupid, boring, juvenile contrivance that fills in for lack of actual thought. So drop it already. Just what "non-sheep" things are YOU doing to change the situation??

Anonymous said...

Frank, is there any way to implement a "most recent comment (date and time)" line at each top post? This would be very convenient.

Anonymous said...

"Just what "non-sheep" things are YOU doing to change the situation??"

Me? I left the LANL in 2004, you fool. The place isn't going to change for the better, any idiot can see that.

Anonymous said...

Tyler Psybullshit lied. "We will keep benefits tied to UC". - 4:14 PM

Tyler doesn't work at NNSA anymore so any of his sweet verbal promises are null and void. Always remember to get your promises in writing and make it legal. I was shocked at how willing employees at LANL were to believe whatever NNSA and LANS told them during the transition period.

BTW, after retiring from NNSA, Tyler found a nice, lucrative job with one of the NNSA's for-profit contractors. Imagine that?

Anonymous said...

Mikey's sports car is "substantially equivalent" to what he was driving before he became LANL's for-profit Director. The only difference is, now it's fully paid for by LANS.

And as far as upper level management salaries under LANS... they are all well above the old "substantially equivalent" level that existed before June 1st, 2006.

Greg Close said...

I am going for a personal best record for longest, most rambling post, ever. Be warned, and start wading through it if you so dare...

@ 7/17/09 4:14 PM
As I think I've made clear - run with the facts and do the best you can with them, I am not trying to discourage anyone from participating in the legal process to get what they feel is due or promised. I'm not trying to post with a "we're doing what's legal, so shut up" mentality; I thought I made that clear. If that hasn't been clear, I apologize for my poor communication. I'm not crowing, I'm not pleased, I'm not anything but objectively observing and providing some facts based on my experience that will inform you so that you can proceed with eyes wide open. Whatever screw ups I have made, whatever or however we may disagree, I have always tried to provide objective and helpful advice to LANL employees - under UC and under LANS, through the Transition and after.

Also, please be sure to recognize that not all strategies of LLNS and LANS are identical. LLNS has a different set of challenges to deal with, so I'll let them speak to that in whatever fashion they want. But LANS provides substantially equivalent retiree medical benefits, to this day. That won't change Jan 1, 2010, either. There are a lot of things we could do, but don't - because we give a crap about the product we deliver, and the people we deliver it to, not just about the infamous "bottom line."

About the substantially equivalent thing... "even with the promise of substantial equivalence, the new company is within it's rights to modify the plans to fit it's needs (both service and financial)" That's a marathon post in itself. I am NOT saying - we're gonna do whatever we want and it's legal, so shut up." Simply put - all I mean is that once we split from UC we became a fairly small, maybe moderate size employer, up in the mountains of New Mexico with a whole slew of different challenges than the majority of UC campuses, and with a much smaller overall employee base (i.e. claim pool) than UC. It is once again, not necessarily fair, but realistically - can LANS compete on even footing with UC year after year with renegotiations, plan design changes, premiums - not to mention the difference between applicability/conflict of State Laws vs. each other (CA vs. NM) or State Law vs. Federal, since we're now an ERISA plan? What if UC switched to all CA HMOs as a cost savings? We obviously can't enroll our people in CA HMOs, and take a look around 87544 and tell me the number of HMO networks we could bid against each other like UC can in HMO-Land? I was referring to real world problems, not conspiracy theories. I didn't mean anything sinister by it, and I'm not trying to defend any particular action taken by LLNS or LANS, just pointing out reality. It might suck. I might not like it. You might not like it. It's still a reality we have to deal with.

And one last time, if you want to deal with it by litigating with NNSA, DOE or the LLCs I am not trying to talk you out of it! Please aim out and away from messenger. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

""Just what "non-sheep" things are YOU doing to change the situation??"

Me? I left the LANL in 2004, you fool. The place isn't going to change for the better, any idiot can see that.

7/17/09 10:07 PM"

So in other words you are doing nothing. In any case I doubt you left in 2004 as you say. If you did you would not be posting on the blog over and over again. Besides who would hire someone like you? When you say sheeple you really mean yourself. Loser.

Anonymous said...

7:57,

I'm guessing you are wrong more often than you are right.

I left in 2004 to work for a company that is not as hopelessly mired in incompetence as LANL is.

BTW, you do realize that you sound like a crybaby, don't you?

Anonymous said...

"7:57,

I'm guessing you are wrong more often than you are right.

I left in 2004 to work for a company that is not as hopelessly mired in incompetence as LANL is.

BTW, you do realize that you sound like a crybaby, don't you?

7/18/09 8:19 AM"

My that was fast. I am calling bullshit on you. There is no way in hell you have job. You sound like one of thse sad people that live in your mom's basement and spend all day on a computer.

You do realize that you sound like a pathetic loser, don't you.

Anonymous said...

You win the name calling contest, 9:21.

Enjoy.

Anonymous said...

I'm here to say that I've dealt with Greg Close in person on a personal benefits problem and I think he's the real deal when it comes to helping out individual LANL employees. If he was just a tool of LANS management, he had a great opportunity to screw my family over. He helped us out and I am grateful.

One small benefits note, however. I've finally signed up for the Fidelity BrokerageLink investment window. It's really kind of a pain, dude. It seems pretty clear that I can't autopilot my 401k contributions into the right investment mix. Best I can figure, my money goes into a weird BrokerageLink purgatory that I'll have to rejigger into the right funds on a biweekly basis. I just wish there was a decent middle ground between the pathetic selection of funds available in our 401k proper, and the clunkiness of the BrokerageLink option.

Anonymous said...

Hey, why don't you losers who think that their job sucks because the director isn't crapping Purell for you ought to take a drive through parts of the country where unemployment is hitting 20% and higher. But no, you'd rather bitch and moan about how special you are and are above dealing with personal hygiene on your own. The folks that started this place up must be rolling in their graves.

Kudos to Greg on his posts here; takes a lot of guts to do what your doing!

Anonymous said...

"left in 2004 to work for a company that is not as hopelessly mired in incompetence as LANL is."

I take that company would be McDonalds.

Anonymous said...

For the love of God, whatever you do, don't tell LANS about these online safety videos below. Otherwise, they'll end up as LANL online mandatory training:

www.cracked.com/
article_17556_5-most-unintentionally-
hilarious-work-safety-videos.html

============================
The 5 Most Unintentionally Hilarious Work Safety Videos

Long ago, some men in suits decided that rather than have actual people teach workplace safety, it was easier and cheaper to just force employees to watch a video.

And thus an industry was born, driven by countless filmmakers whose visions were too brutal, or brutally stupid, for Hollywood. Their creations are often bloody, horrifying and, for the most part, don't teach a fucking thing about workplace safety.

Let's take a moment to appreciate their baffling brand of genius....

(Videos)

Anonymous said...

"I take that company would be McDonalds."

Hell, it could have been practically any company.

Anonymous said...

Brilliant, 10:06. #1 was a total gore-fest. I'm saving the others for the Safety Moment at my next team meeting.

Anonymous said...

That first safety video should be mandatory viewing for all LANL employees. I can envision the employees quickly running out of their offices to go barf in the restrooms. Lessons learned, indeed!

Anonymous said...

10:06 Cool! I haven't had that much fun since "Dawn of the Dead" or "Nuke 'Em High". Who knew safety videos could be so absurdly fun? It is kinda like watching the guys in red suits on Star Trek.

Anonymous said...

From The Daily Californian

Livermore Lab Retirees Criticize Reductions to Health Benefits
By Javier Panzar
Contributing Writer
Monday, July 20, 2009


Retirees from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory are voicing concerns over their health benefits, which they say have been reduced since new management took over the labs in 2007.

The retirees went before the UC Board of Regents last week, claiming that they retired before the switch in management occurred in 2007 and that their benefits should be consistent with retired employees under UC management.

Joseph Requa retired from the lab in 1999 and is the organizer of UC Livermore Retiree Group.

"What we want is that UC takes back responsibility for determining our health benefits and that the levels are consistent with what other UC retirees receive ," Requa said.

The laboratory was run by the University of California until October 2007 when Lawrence Livermore National Security, LLC took over management.

The corporation is comprised of the Bechtel Corporation, the University of California, and other energy companies.

When the corporation took over management, its contract stated it would provide equivalent health coverage to the UC plan, according to Lynda Seaver, a spokesperson for the corporation.

But in September 2008, as medical costs rose, LLNS changed its health care costs to keep with industry standards, Seaver said.

The retirees claim the new level of benefits is significantly lower than the UC's.

Lt. Gov. John Garamendi wrote a letter to UC President Mark Yudof in support of the 5,500 retirees.

UC spokesperson Peter King said that the Office of the President will be looking at the situation.

"President Yudof and Bruce Darling, (Executive Vice President of lab management,) are going to look for ways of fairness and equity to see what can be done," he said.

Requa's organization has 600 members and is collecting funds in the event that legal action becomes necessary.

"If we need that stick, we have it in our back pocket," Requa said.

Manuel Perry, who retired from the lab in 1993, said that many retirees stayed with the UC system through good times and bad and hope that the issue can be resolved amicably.

"We don't think there is a need for lawsuits when the UC can talk to us," Perry said. "We want to be brought back into the (UC) family as retirees and be treated as the rest of the retirees."

http://www.dailycal.org/article/106107

Anonymous said...

"We don't think there is a need for lawsuits when the UC can talk to us," Perry said. "We want to be brought back into the (UC) family as retirees and be treated as the rest of the retirees."

*

How delusional can you be? UC has wiped its hands of both LLNL and LANL, including the lab retirees. Their offer to talk is a stalling action.

UC is in desperate funding trouble to the point they are cutting staff salaries by 8% this next year. Do you really think they'll dig up more money to help retirees who were only psuedo members of the UC family? No way.

Anonymous said...

7/17/09 4:14 PM said, "Quite a change from a Univerity setting of collegiality, openness and honesty."

Are/were you ever a LANL employee? If so, wishing that statement to be true won't make it so. One just has to read this blog's content for the many painful references to poor management, employee abuse, broken promises, lies, cover-ups, etc., to question the validity of your statement.

Life here may not be great now, but it certainly wasn't perfect before LANS either.

Anonymous said...

Life here may not be great now, but it certainly wasn't perfect before LANS either.

7/20/09 10:27 PM


Some may have a longer memory than you do. Doug started his blog as response to Nanos' shutdown as you easily can find out. And there was a lab with a rather university atmosphere lead by Brown, Hecker et al. prior to Nanos.

Anonymous said...

As a long time employee of LANL, I will vouch for 8:50 am's remarks. It wasn't perfect in the past but it was certainly much better than it is today.

Look around and you'll discover that most of employees who are currently at LANL came in after the year 2000. They have little understanding or knowledge of what it was like working at this lab back in the 80's.

Imposing strict formality of operations and a stern culture of uber-compliance is no way to run a successful science lab. However, it's an excellent way to make an easy corporate profit if you're an NNSA designated "for-profit" LLC.

Anonymous said...

Oh yes, UC. UC wiped it's behind with us and our families, then jumped into bed with Rechtel so it could claim it still played a role in LANL. What a farce!

Anonymous said...

I'm sure that by now all UC retirees have received their copy of the UC Benefits Newsletter "New Dimensions" in which President Yudof bewails the rising costs of post retirement benefits like Health Care. And, announces his appointment of a task force to "consider benefit alternatives." Retiree representation is notably lacking on either the appointed "Steering Committee" or "Work Group," even though they claim otherwise! This appears to be a stacked deck to deny future retiree health benefits. If they can deny these benefits at the Labs (LLNL and LANL), what is to stop them from denying them at selected campuses? What effect do you suppose this will have on the ability to recruit quality faculty? (Nevermind the quality staff needed to steward our aging stockpile in protection of this nation.) This is a watershed!

Anonymous said...

5:40 pm: "This is a watershed!"

I don't know what the hell a "watershed" means in this context, but get used to reality. Companies and institutions all over the country are cutting benefits during the current recession, and being in California, UC will be very hard hit. No worker in the US can be assured of anything, including you. What? You thought you were bullet proof? You work for (or are a retiree of) the GM of California.

Greg Close said...

@7/27/09 5:50 PM

I understand your concern, but please note that LANL has yet to change it's retiree medical offerings in any radical way. Open Enrollment is right around the corner, and you will see what we have to offer in 2010 for LANL retirees. I think you will see for yourself that once again your retiree medical (and dental, and vision) is in very good shape.