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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Joe Requa