BLOG purpose

This BLOG is for LLNL present and past employees, friends of LLNL and anyone impacted by the privatization of the Lab to express their opinions and expose the waste, wrongdoing and any kind of injustice against employees and taxpayers by LLNS/DOE/NNSA. The opinions stated are personal opinions. Therefore, The BLOG author may or may not agree with them before making the decision to post them. Comments not conforming to BLOG rules are deleted. Blog author serves as a moderator. For new topics or suggestions, email jlscoob5@gmail.com

Monday, December 31, 2007

LLNS HR shows concern for its employees

Anonymous said...

I joined UC (LLNL) 28 years ago believing that medical benefits for my family would be provided. With my three children, two recently turning 23, and all still in college (one working on a Ph.D.), and with the less than inflation raises I have gotten the past few years, I was lucky to be able to pay their COBRA continuation coverage. On December 26, I received a letter from Kaiser letting me know that "your COBRA group coverage for you and your covered dependents is scheduled to end at 12:01 a.m. on 01/01/2008 (unless you become ineligible sooner)".

LLNS management knows we are under a great deal of stress right now. Good management would have at least given a warning before letting my wife receive such a timely and alarming letter. Who is in charge of the benefits office these days (and how much do they make)?

Of course there are phone numbers in the letters, and no one in the office to answer them. There is a web site, where you can enter your children's personal info: SSN and DOB. And all the usual scary disclaimers about how coverage can be canceled "retroactive"! But with the deadline approaching we decided to do it, to sign up, getting a $40/mo increase for each participant. Merry Christmas!

What a lousy decision I made 28 years ago. What a lousy recruiter I would make for LLNL today.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

The pitfalls of privatization

It is not just at the federal level anymore...

Read more

Unemployment timing bad for LLNS Employees

Now's not the time for LLNS to be putting people in the street. However, ask them if they care.

Here's todays news. How many people at LLNL after Jan 31st, 2007 and until April 2008 will be in a situation where they'll have to sell a home that's worth less than they paid for it. That alone is not good, but not it gets worse.

If you borrowed $600K to buy your home and then had to sell it for $400K for what ever reason you still have to pay the taxes on the $200K difference. What a deal for the banks and the federal government.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Many Thanks to All

In the face of all that's happening to many of us I want to take the time to wish each and everyone of you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

What POGO ought to know

This was sent anonymously to POGO:

POGO ought to investigate the following:

1)DOE/NNSA offered 2 plans to LLNL employees in the privatization of LLNL on October 1st 2007: TCP1 and TCP2.
Under TCP1, employees are separated from UCRP and their retirement is transferred to LLNS pension plan.
Under TCP2, they freeze their retirement with UC.49% of them chose TCP1.

Then, DOE activated the 3161 workforce restructuring plan, an open ended plan, designed to trim LLNL workforce in the years to come, starting in 2008.

If the DOE disclosed their plan to activate such a plan, no one in their right mind would have chosen TCP1. LLNL employees feel cheated because any one of them can be laid off before they retire.


2)DOE/NNSA overlooked huge increases in costs, all known in advance:
a.The new company’s management fee
b.LLNL going from non-profit to private (taxes)
c.Inflation
d.Separation of LLNL from UC, lead to a smaller pool of people which lead to higher benefits costs
e. More people than anticipated chose TCP2 (higher up front cost to LLNS)
e.Increase in upper level management

To address this mistake, DOE/NNSA is looking to cut hundreds of working people and is exempting management. This is a waste of taxpayer dollars!

Site 300 unemployment list to grow

LAYOFFS AT LIVERMORE LAB?

More than "900" nuclear weapons program workers at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory could lose their jobs if the federal government goes ahead with a proposal to stop testing at a site in the Altamont Hills.

The Site 300 test range near Tracy is slated to stop testing under the U.S. National Nuclear Security Agency's proposal to consolidate the nation's nuclear weapons infrastructure.

Lab spokesman David Schwoegler says nuclear weapons launching systems tests could stop by 2010, and high explosives tests could stop by 2015. Federal officials say that plan would lower security risks and storage costs by moving some of the work performed locally to a New Mexico lab and a Nevada test site.

Schwoegler says the lab is exploring other uses for the facility before the agency makes a final decision next year.

Thinking About Retirement with Social Security

Q. I stopped work at the end of last year at age 52. I don't expect to work again before I start my Social Security benefits when I turn 62. Will I still get the same benefit amount you showed for age 62 on the Social Security Statement that you recently sent me?

A. Probably not. When we averaged out your 35 highest years of earnings to estimate your benefits on your Statement, we assumed you would continue to work up to age 62, making the same earnings you made last year. If, instead, you have $0 earnings each year over the next 10 years, your average earnings will probably be less and so will your benefit. You can use our Benefit Calculators to see how this will affect your monthly benefit amount.

Q. Will my retirement pension from my job reduce the amount of my Social Security benefit?

A. If your pension is from work where you also paid Social Security taxes, it will not affect your Social Security benefit. However, pensions based on work that is not covered by Social Security (for example, the federal civil service and some state, local, or foreign government systems) probably will reduce the amount of your Social Security benefit. For more information, see the following fact sheets which you may review and download by clicking on the title: "Windfall Elimination Provision" and "Government Pension Offset."

Saturday, December 22, 2007

NNSA makes POGO happy!


NNSA makes the Project On Government Oversight happy!
Perhaps, they should take a closer look at how NNSA does it.

details here

Cut backs (anonymous source)

The Custodians had a meeting Thursday 12/20 where they were told that the 87 custodian head count will be reduced to 20! They were told restrooms will be cleaned only 2-3 times a week, and not much else. The contract janitors will start receiving their notices Monday, January 7. Happy holidays indeed.

We’ve all read how LANL personnel have to empty their own trash. Now we get to learn how to do that!

Friday, December 21, 2007

$100 million less than FY07

The House and Senate passed the Omnibus bill on Wednesday.

It now has one more stop: the president for his review and signature.

Based on these projected numbers, the overall funding for the Laboratory appears to be approximately $100 million less than FY07.

“This is the range we were expecting,” Director George Miller said.

“While there are differences based on congressional priorities, this provides the clarity for us to move forward to meet our major program commitments and continue our workforce restructuring as planned.”

The one area with a major change in direction is that all funding for RRW was eliminated. Congress did add a new activity, an Advanced Certification Campaign, to address some of the issues raised by the JASONs in their review of RRW.

Miller also noted that Congress increased the funding for nuclear non-proliferation activities, which could provide an opportunity for growth.

“Once the funding bill is signed into law and NNSA provides specific site allocation, I will make a determination regarding a voluntary separation pack-age for our career workforce and FY08 raises,” Miller said.

“I expect to be able to do this after the first of the year. I want to thank all Lab employees for their patience during this lengthy continuing resolution and budget approval process.”

Sounds like civil service WG / GS System

Energy Dept. agency reform pay system

By STEPHEN LOSEY, FederalTimes.com

The Energy Department’s National Nuclear Security Administration will move more than 1,900 non-bargaining unit employees to a new performance pay system in March.

The five-year pilot program also will replace the current system of regular General Schedule step and grade increases with a series of three or four pay bands, depending on an employee’s occupation.

Each pay band will encompass several GS grades and is intended to let managers set higher starting salaries and promote employees more rapidly based on their skills and performance.

The pilot will cover engineers and scientists, nuclear materials couriers, young employees enrolled in NNSA’s future leader program, and technical and administrative employees.

The program, outlined Dec. 21 by the Office of Personnel Management, could eventually be rolled out to all NNSA employees if successful. It is based on similar programs already in place for about 500 NNSA technical experts and nuclear facility safety representatives and about 150,000 Defense Department civilian employees.

Employees will be evaluated annually by their supervisors and assigned one of four performance ratings: does not meet expectations, needs improvement, fully meets expectations, and significantly exceeds expectations.

All employees rated at or above “fully meets expectations” will receive the full annual pay increase all GS employees receive.

But those who are judged to have significantly exceeded expectations in at least one category will receive an additional performance raise from a second pay pool. NNSA will hand out performance raises based on a four-share system.

Those who are not meeting expectations or need improvement will not receive any pay raise.

However, they will have a chance to improve their performance and earn their raise.

Most employees will receive a small pay raise when they are transferred to the new system.

NNSA will pay them a prorated salary increase based on how close they were to receiving another within-grade step increase.

Employees already at the step 10 level will not get a pay raise in March.NNSA said it will train employees, supervisors and managers on the new system before it begins March 16.

The agency hopes the new plan will help it recruit younger workers to take over for large numbers of existing employees who are nearing retirement age.

NNSA wants to offer higher starting salaries and faster career progression to help staff its technical and scientific jobs, for which workers are in high demand and limited supply.

Your TCP-1 Money

Lawrence Livermore National Securitys Benefits and Investment Committee (BIC) has selected a trustee and investment manager to help administer the LLNS Defined Benefit Pension Plan.

Since it was formed this summer, the Bank of New York Mellon (BNY Mellon) has established operating and investment policies for the plan and selected BNY Mellon as the trustee and Watson Wyatt as the investment adviser.

The BIC is made up of various members of the Laboratory and LLNS partner companies. The BNY Mellon is a leading asset management and securities services company that has more than $20 trillion in assets under custody or admin-istration and more than $1 trillion under management.

Watson Wyatt is a global consulting firm focused on human capital and financial management and serves the worlds largest pension plans.The BIC has been developing the plan document and performing actuarial analysis in coordination with the University of California and NNSA/DOE to determine the amount of assets and liabilities to be transferred from UC to the LLNS plan (more than $1.7 billion).

The plan document will be completed by the end of the year; the transfer from UCRP is scheduled for April 1, 2008.During January, the BIC will select investment managers so they will be in place when UC transfers assets to the LLNS plan for TCP1 participants. The transferred assets will be invested in diversified asset classes to reduce volatility of total investment results.

The BIC will select 8-10 investment managers with expertise managing each asset class (e.g. fixed income, domestic large cap growth equities, international value equities, etc.).

The BIC will report the funded status of the LLNS plan periodically.

The Time Machine

Plans have been made, the dates are set. So what's the RIFing Policy LLNS?








Good or Bad news for TCP-2 Employees ?

Benefits-value comparator assessment list approved by NNSA Lawrence Livermore National Security, LLC (LLNS) received approval from the National Nuclear Security Administration Wednesday on a list of benefits-value comparator companies, to fulfill one of its requirements in maintaining its current Total Compensation Package (TCP-2).

NNSA accepted LLNS’ request for an equivalent TCP-2 to Los Alamos National Laboratory back in July. That acceptance was conditional for one year, and required re-evaluation of comparator companies and analysis of the LLNS TCP-2 benefits compared to this list, as well as an analysis of benefits costs.

The first deliverable for this reevaluation was a new list of comparator companies, to be approved by NNSA by the end of 2007. The current list of comparator companies includes companies comparable to the Laboratory.

Eight of the companies are located or headquartered in California; four are located or headquartered in the greater Bay Area.“I am pleased with getting over this first hurdle,” said Tammy Jernigan, associate director for Strategic Human Capital Management.

“We plan to work closely with Los Alamos as well as LSO on completing this assessment.”

Congressional Budget Report 2008

This is a large document but if you do a search using the words _Lawrence Livermore National Lab_ it will take you to every page that pertains to us. I suggest you look at pages 569 - 581 and note what projects are getting what level of funding. Of course this can all be altered at the directors level, but it's what you were slated to get.

Congressional Budget Report 2008

Thursday, December 20, 2007

What's LLNL Real Future

Nuclear labs face weapon reductions, layoffs
Plans reveal sites such may see 20 to 30 percent reduction in workforceBy Betsy Mason, STAFF WRITER

Article Last Updated: 12/20/2007 06:29:21 AM PST LIVERMORE

The Department of Energy revealed draft plans Tuesday to consolidate nuclear weapons work at eight sites, including Lawrence Livermore and Sandia national laboratories, a move that could result in a 20 to 30 percent reduction in workforce and the closing of 600 buildings.

At the same time, President Bush announced a 15 percent reduction in nuclear weapons, which along with a previous 50 percent cut that will be complete by the end of the year, would bring the stockpile down to 25 percent of the peak Cold War size.

The smaller stockpile could be maintained by a smaller weapons complex, Thomas D'Agostino, head of the DOE's National Nuclear Security Administration, said in a news conference Tuesday.

"We must act now to adapt to the future and stop pouring money into an old Cold War nuclear weapons complex," he said.

The proposal includes four possible plans, including the DOE's preferred strategy which would consolidate missions and facilities to create a smaller, safer and more secure complex that would be less expensive to run, D'Agostino said.

"Things will be done differently, and they will be done better," he said. Ideas for reducing the weapons stockpile and shrinking the complex have been much discussed for more than a year.

The full draft of the plans will be made public in mid-January, followed by a 90-day public comment period.

Eighteen public hearings will be held during that period, including one in Livermore on March 19.

None of the eight major weapons facilities would be closed, but redundancies would be eliminated. In September the DOE had announced plans to move the plutonium out of Livermore by 2014.

The new consolidation proposal would move the timetable up to 2012 and would include moving plutonium and weapons-grade uranium to just five sites by 2012, in order to reduce the costs of securing the special nuclear materials.

The total square footage dedicated to weapons work would be reduced by a third to 26 million square feet.

Explosives testing would be stopped at two facilities including Livermore's Site 300 near Tracy.

Bruce Goodwin, head of Weapons and Complex Integration at the lab, said that other work would continue at Site 300, including work for agencies other than the DOE such as the Departments of Defense and Homeland Security.

"The development of that site is a work in progress," he said. Livermore Lab would close two other testing facilities, at Site 300 and at the Plutonium Facility, that simulate the environmental conditions the stockpile is likely to experience to ensure the weapons will last.

That work will move to the Pantex Plant in Texas.

Livermore would continue to be a center for supercomputing, for high-energy and density physics at the National Ignition Facility and for high explosives research and development. "We're going to be one of the two weapons and design centers of excellence," Goodwin said.

Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico is the other. D'Agostino said he expected the planned workforce reduction to be largely taken care of through attrition.

Last month, Livermore Lab announced it would lay off 500 temporary and supplemental workers, and that as many as 300 more layoffs could be needed early next year due to potential federal budget cuts.

Livermore Lab had beaten out Los Alamos Lab for work on developing a new, more reliable and robust warhead that the administration hoped would eventually replace the existing, aging warheads.

But the broad omnibus spending bill expected to be approved by Congress eliminated money for the Reliable Replacement Warhead for the current fiscal year.

The administration had asked for $88 million for design and preliminary work on the proposed warhead.

"This (warhead) would have sent the wrong signal around the world encouraging the very proliferation we are trying to prevent," Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., a critic of the new warhead program said.

The Energy Department had argued the new warhead would be easier to maintain than the current aging warheads without the need for actual nuclear testing.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

Reach Betsy Mason at bmason@bayareanewsgroup.com or 925-952-5026.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Letter from a congressman

An anonymous contributor received this letter from his/her congressman

Dear xxxxxxxxx,

Thank you for sharing your concerns about issues affecting Lawrence
Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) employees. I appreciate learning
your views, and I would like to update you on my work related to the
lab.

As you know, LLNL recently completed a transition to new management.
As part of this transition, federal officials mandated a new set of
benefits packages for lab employees. Following this announcement, I
received hundreds of letters, emails, and phone calls from lab
employees raising important concerns about the proposal. Many
employees expressed frustration that the benefits were less than those
offered at other laboratories and also worried that these decreased
benefits might hurt retention, recruitment, and morale at the lab.

In response to the outpouring of concern I heard, I hosted a town hall
meeting on July 2 to discuss the benefits package with lab employees
and their families, and nearly 300 people attended. I also helped lead
an effort by several of my Congressional colleagues from Northern
California to deliver a message to Secretary of Energy Samuel Bodman
expressing our concerns about the proposal, and included comments from
lab employees.

While I have serious concerns about the privatization of the lab, this
change was mandated by a law that passed before I entered Congress.
However, I remain committed to using my position to assist lab
employees during the adjustment phase. I spent much of my career as an
engineer, including time working as a contractor at Sandia National
Laboratory. From personal experience, I know how important national
laboratories are to our country's security and scientific advancement,
and I am dedicated to ensuring that our laboratories are able to
recruit and retain a talented workforce.

While I believe that we have made significant progress for LLNL
employees, I remain in close contact with federal officials, lab
administrators, and employees to make sure that Livermore remains an
important part of the community. I strongly urge you to stay in touch
with me if you have concerns about your benefits or other issues at
LLNL.

Thank you again for sharing your views. Please do not hesitate to
contact me if I can be of additional assistance. To learn about other
issues that I am working on in Congress, I encourage you to visit my
website at www.mcnerney.house.gov.

Sincerely,

Jerry McNerney
Member of Congress

Please do not reply to this message as the mailbox is unattended.
If you wish to contact me again, please visit my website at
http://mcnerney.house.gov

Poll results

Out of 52 voters,

- 28 have never contacted their congress person in 2007
- 20 did it fewer than 5 times
- 2 did it 5 to 10 times
- 2 were a pest!

The sad truth is
- There were only 52 voters? When the blog was started, I expected a traffic jam!
- 20 people would not even care if they were run over by a bulldozer.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Remember her statement?

We did it. Today is the first day of our new contract under the management of Lawrence Livermore National Security, LLC.

When we stood up the transition team in May 2006, my team agreed on three important measures of success:

We would transition people, programs and processes without adverse effect on safety, security or programmatic deliverables.

We would lead our colleagues through the transition and engage the workforce in embracing our collective future.

We would establish disciplined and responsive communications with the workforce, the Laboratory Site Office. and the incoming M&Ocontractor. I am very proud to say that we measured up.

There are so many people who ensured the transition went as smoothly as possible in a period of unprecedented change for our Laboratory. Thanks go not only to my team and the many employees who supported them, but also to the team at the University of California Office of the President who worked closely with us throughout the transition to sort through benefits, contracts, communications and legal issues and to the Laboratory Site Office who helped identify and resolve issues dealing with changing from a public to a private entity. And of course I am forever grateful to have had the pleasure of working with Tom Gioconda and his LLNS transition team, which led us to the finish line.

Transitioning a contract that has been in place for 55 years is a very challenging task at best and I can't imagine what it would have been like without Tom at the helm.My deepest appreciation goes to my team, which worked many, many long, hard hours for 18 months identifying, debating and resolving every detail needed to ensure a smooth transition. I'm proud to have worked with the Laboratory's communication team who created multiple communication venues and documented, recorded and shared our progress with the workforce, providing factual information as quickly as it became available.

And on a very personal note, I want to give a very special thank you to Kathy Cruz-Glasgow, my deputy, and Sharon Bertram, myadministrator, who stood by me through it all, keeping me sane and on track, allowing me the space to express my own issues and concerns and encouraging me forward. They also took on an enormous workload working the logistics for the LLNS team, supporting the frequently asked questions efforts, and maintaining transition records.

It's with an odd sadness I say goodbye to you as transition manager. This assignment has been challenging, frustrating and stressful, butmost importantly rewarding. I'm honored that Director George Miller asked me to take on this task, and I take personal pride in knowing I contributed to helping us all through this part of the formal transition. And now the real transition begins.

I ask you to join me in moving forward as we adjust to the change together and prepare for the opportunities and challenges that lie ahead. I do believe asGeorge so often tells us, we have a bright future our outstanding workforce ensures us of that.

For the curious, courtesy: Eric: * * * Updated 12/18


http://workingatlanl.blogspot.com

Budgets flat for decades to come

The Cost of Iraq, Afghanistan, and Other Global War on Terror Operations Since 9/11 June 28, 2007

Please note how many years they project the war in the middle east may go one. This being the case I'll bet that budgets at LLNL and LANL will be reduced every year for the next ten years. If the budgets stay flat I'd be amazed having seen this information.

The Congressional Budget Office estimates that additional war costs for the next 10 years could total about $472 billion if troop levels fall to 30,000 by 2010, or $919 billion if troop levels fall to 70,000 by about 2013. If these estimates are added to already appropriated amounts, total funding for Iraq and the GWOT could reach from about $980 billion to $1.4 trillion by 2017. This report will be updated as warranted

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Not a good record!


The story

Misappropriation of funds!

How 2 Months Spending in Iraq Could Be Put to Better Use

"The President is trying to masquerade as fiscally responsible by
manufacturing a fight over $22 billion (roughly 2 months in Iraq) in
investments that will make this a stronger and better country."

Why is it that when we need funds to do something for the United
States of America and its people we can never find it but we're able
to spend $11B a month on a sand pit and its people that virtually will
never do us any good. If we got just one months of this budget LLNL
would be rolling in $ doe $, we'd still have our UCRP pension plan,
probably still be under UC and have more work to do then we had
people. What a total waste of my tax dollars. Now there's something
for the general public to bitch about. This is truly a case of
misappropriation of funds.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

LANL headlines...

budget in limbo! how competent is our congress?


LANL HEADLINES

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Creative bookkeeping and balancing of the budget

I will be totally amazed if 900 people is all that LLNL has to cut
between now and Oct 1st, 2008. If getting rid of 900 people can
account for $300M dollars then each person much cost an awful lot to
the programs. I'd sure like to see the expense breakdown on how they
justify this cost and who they are since each of us cost a different
amount. Would you like to bet ULM sucks up most of LLNL budget and yet
they are untouchable.. Not logical in my books.


Washington Post article


House Democrats Pull Budget Offer

The GOP Is Negotiating In Bad Faith, Obey Says

Monday, December 10, 2007

A message to B. Mason

It looks like llnlthetruestory is coming alive. The article worked wonders. Now you may even get some good input. I wish you the best. Stay tuned to http://llnlthetruestory.blogspot.com/ Maybe making contact with jlscoob5@aol.com will help. He or she is the owner and it's my hopes they are more successful than the others. In the meantime please look into this:

It looks like management will do anything to stop the truth from getting out. Check out who snooping for answers http://lanl-the-rest-of-the-story.blogspot.com/2007/12/vultures-are-circling.html

Outsourcing America

So ULM still denies that anything at LLNL is going to be outsourced. Do the people of LLNL understand what Russo's job is and has been for years. Just watch everything under his command get axed. Do you think we can catch ULM in another lie same as we did with the information given to use during the transitions that made people think everything was going to be the same. NOT !

Link here

Contra Costa Times article raises questions!

Contributed anonymously:

After reading the Contra Costa Times article, I still have questions.

Lab directorGeorge Miller's salary was bumped $19,600 to $410,000, director of science and technology Cherry Murray's salary stayed at $337,000 and National Ignition Facility head Ed Moses' pay rose $18,000 to $330,000. And just like the rest of the employees, those raises have not yet gone into effect.

And as for the managers who came in from Bechtel and the other managing companies, Miller said, "They are in the same salary structure as the rest of the laboratory."

Does this mean $410,000, $337,000 or $330,000, who knows. You did notice they didn't give that information and having seen the attached official document of what the fanatsy four of LANL got I find it hard to believe that this ULM didn't get the same. I think it took almost a years to find out the FF's salary.

We are getting exposure!


Article here

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Hackers break in...

at LANL and Oakridge!
It does NOT make a difference who manages the Labs!


Check it out!

Friday, December 7, 2007

On another subject

Please post anonymously. I didn't find any recent post regarding this topic - everything seems to be focusing on the pending workforce restructuring actions at LLNL and LANL.

This article offers a good perspective on how the LLNS (and LANS) TCP-2 401(k) match really stands up (or doesn't stand up) to what some private sector employers are starting to implement. Maybe we should push LLNS and LANS to add Devon Energy to the list of BenVal comparator companies?


Check article here

Top this one!



Anonymous contributor:

Of all the post I have read on both the LLNL and LANL blogs this one sums up the issues at hand quit well. I'll bet you never saw this "outstanding article" in the LLNL Newsline during the transition. I'll also bet that DOE / NNSA will censored this from the 3161 comments period, or it will never be seen by the public eye for review or consideration.

Anonymous said...
As Pink Floyd would say:

Hello, is there anybody in there. We are desperately numb. Sounds like the NNSA anthem.

NNSA must have seen the LLNL work force as a bunch of brain dead kowtowing cowards who they thought they could trample on with impunity as they employed their goose step tactics expecting everyone at LLNL to be too frightened to speak up and question their motives. What they found and awakened however was a sleeping giant who possesses the brains, intestinal fortitude and DC connections (skills attained while achieving tremendous technical and theoretical strides as they faithfully supported the needs of this great nation - in spite of years of DOE/NNSA meddling, misdirection and ineptitude) necessary to intelligently question this new corporate direction. The voices that you have begun to hear will only get louder and more persistent until you allow reason and employee concerns to enter (and make a difference) in your decision making process. All we ever hear from NNSA is that without LLNL's magnificent human resource this great institution would not exist.

You have very effectively reduced our efforts to cocktail chatter and pandering praise - please keep those to yourself and give us back a just and well deserved benefits package coupled with the freedom to continue to make significant scientific discoveries.

Our NNSA leaders have provided LLNS senior management with huge salaries, benefits and perks as long as they support and promote this massive reduction of our health care benefits and pension checks (makes me wonder if senior LLNS management should also have polygraphs and be allowed to pee in a bottle - now that could be called sloppin' with the pigs - 'er I mean cohabitating with the working class - I, however, seriously doubt if that will happen).

I'm curious, have any DC NNSA types ever attempted to purchase real estate or buy gas for the long commutes that we take to get to LLNL? Please do a study on what it costs to live a lower to middle class existence in Northern California. Perhaps you haven't considered, or, don't care that increases in our health care costs and contributions to the TCP1 pension plan may cause many employees to lose their homes. Are NNSA/LLNS managers certain that your much "ballyhooed" benefits plan will retain quality scientific and engineering staff; while providing sufficient incentives to attract world class scientific talent (at this point delusional comes to mind). NNSA believes that they've won the battle but I wager that they have just won the first round of this poker match and that their first shot over the bow will not soon be forgotten by world class LLNL "UC" employees! Their actions remind me of those many corporate leaders and CEOs who reduced, stole or under funded their employees retirement funds while making tremendous salaries because their cost-cutting ways provided stockholders with increased dividends; only to find out that they are now serving long and justified prison terms for their abuses. Do you really think that we are so easily swayed by your "folksy" town hall meetings and that we trust you?

Respect and trust need to be earned and are not commodities that are given away freely. Why is it necessary for LLNS LLC ( LLC, translated from corporate speak, equates to a Limited Liability Corporation). What "exactly" are you limiting your liability from?! You have mentioned that you (LLNS) are working for (with?) us by suggesting that we send our comments to NNSA in an attempt to make this process an employee friendly implementation! This appears to be a thinly veiled and feeble attempt to take some of the heat off of LLNS and redirect this impending storm toward NNSA. It seems to me that you are both playing in the same sandbox together. How many of you have, with NNSA's Blessing, obtained a "golden parachute" as a payoff for feeding us a "filtered and slanted" version of the benefits plan.

What you gained by committing this tragic act is to ensure that the country will now get employees who work from 8 to 4:30. You will be able to hire those who lack scientific and research experience; also those who are willing to appease the boss by hurrying the job, those who are willing to cut comers on projects and materials and a staff that will is incapable of providing the quality craftsmanship that LLNL scientists, engineers and project managers have come to expect. I predict that LLNL will soon become a mediocre laboratory and one that has been severely diminished due to our legacy workers departing for greener pastures.

Additionally, I believe that those who stay will no longer perform their assignments and tasks with the same dedication because they are (rightfully so) feeling disenfranchised by DOE, NNSA and LLNS and their grandiose, less than humanistic, plans for the future. Reminds me of a song that my Mother snag to me when I was young and concerned for my well-being, -"Just a spoonful of sugar and the medicine goes down in a most delightful way!" Sing along

With that said, I have just a few questions/comments to make before I wrap this up . . . Have you considered that you (NNSA/LLNS) are being viewed in a less than favorable light by LLNL workers, Congress and the People of the United States because of your amateurish Management/Corporate 101 antics, skills and tactics?

Does the LLNS/NNSA management team realize that privatizing this esteemed Laboratory (known for fostering greatness, ingenuity and scientific discovery - a commodity sorely needed during this dangerous time in our Nation's history) will most likely dramatically reduce LLNL effectiveness and productivity; along with adversely impacting the earning potential of the laboratory's employees? Is anyone really going to want to go to work for NNSA/LLNS (knowing how they treated their long-term employees by introducing a plan that destroyed a pension plan that was, for the most part, self-supporting)? Is this being done to save money, counter jealousy and/or to implement a policy of equalization among DOE Labs?

If you think this endeavor has won you respect, think again. All you have accomplished is to show your true colors. Over the last 50 years LLNL has been managed by UC and attained a level of performance and success that others in this world can only hope to emulate.

So again I will ask you, "Is there anyone in there?" I guess not, all I'm hearing is an echo and all I'm seeing is the picked over and burned out carcass of the once famous Lawrence Livermore National
Laboratory ..

Thursday, December 6, 2007

A bit from COMP's Bits & Bytes

Each month, the Comp Directorate puts out a newsletter called Bits and Bytes, and AD Dona Crawford usually has a column in it.

In the latest issue, she passed along the following info:

"One of the updates I would like to pass along is that the anticipated workforce restructuring timeline George Miller presented at his Nov. 12 all-hands meeting was too aggressive. The Lab did not submit a Section 3161 specific plan during the week of Nov. 19, nor will we announce a voluntary/self-select termination option during the week of Dec. 3. These will be announced at a future date, and I will share the information as soon as I receive it."

LLNS lay off policy, who, why and when

This post is for comments strictly related to RIF news. What you know or have heard about who is getting laid off and why. Mention:

- numbers
- job categories
- time frames
- age groups

Just the facts please; no speculation. Comments that do not comply will be rejected.

Thank you for your cooperation.

Employees send in suggestions to cut costs

Set copiers to make double-sided prints. Reduce or eliminate binder copies of
reports. Reduce the number of color printers. Use alternative fuel vehicles within
the Lab fleet. These are a few of the more than 100 suggestions that come in to the
save-dollars e-mail at the Lab.

The Directors Office set up the e-mail to solicit employees suggestions, following
an announcement earlier this month that the Lab would go through significant
restructuring in the wake of budget shortfalls.
All suggestions go to a special kitchen cabinet led by Deputy Director Steve
Liedle, to look for ways to reduce Lab operating costs. The committee will consider
the various suggestions and communicate any actions via Newsline and News-
OnLine.

We are getting a number of worthwhile suggestions from our employees,
Liedle said. I encourage employees to continue providing their input to help our
Laboratory reduce its costs and become more efficient.

While many of the suggestions will take some study by the committee, Liedle
said there are a number of things employees can do individually to help the Lab.
The Laboratory is launching an effort to reduce energy consumption by 9 percent
below the 2003 level. Employees are encouraged to do their part by shutting down
computers at night, turning off printers and copiers, reducing the use of space heaters,and lowering office thermostats by a degree.

In the meantime, employees are encouraged to continue sending their suggestions
to reduce costs and energy to save-dollars@llnl.gov .

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

He told us back In September!

The president of SPSE told us and we did not listen; excerpt for the last Newsletter:

Message from the President—What We Know

We are mere days away from a revolutionary change, both as a Laboratory and as a Union. The private-sector transition will give the Lab new management and SPSE a new relationship to the Lab and its employees. This time recalls moments in history when people have been challenged to redefine themselves, and even the most influential suffer from troubled sleep. Here‟s what we know: as of October 1st we as private-sector employees will be governed by a different set of laws than before. The National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) will replace the Higher Education Employer-Employee Relations Act (HEERA) as the basis of our relationship to Lab management. Will we notice? For many of us—those who have never needed to press a grievance or protest the content of a performance appraisal, who have never sought and will never seek to publish a scientific paper that challenges the basis of a well funded Lab research program, who have never faced the prospect of discipline or layoff, and never will—the answer is no. When budgets are flush and managers act with maturity and integrity, rarely do employees need a safety net. That is the difference; HEERA provides a safety net of rights, but NLRA does not, in and of itself. For example, HEERA gives you the right to be represented by SPSE-UPTE (or anyone) in disputes with management, but NLRA does not, that is unless you‟re part of a collective bargaining unit. So consider the coming perfect storm. This year‟s budget is so uncertain that NNSA has requested a restructuring plan from all of its sites. George Miller (to his credit) leveled with us before the Deadline to Decide that the budget shortfall might exceed the Lab‟s ability to withstand without restructuring. Now consider that Lawrence Livermore National Security (LLNS) will be a start-up company, struggling from the very start to succeed with diminished resources. Consider that new business practices needed to make the fledgling company viable will take time to emerge and catch on. In the meantime, the managers and management structure of today will persist for some time to come, though today‟s public sector legal checks on bad behavior will not be there. So what has SPSE-UPTE been doing about this? Our focus as a union for the past year has been to organize as many UC employees into collective bargaining status as possible. We‟ve been in a race against time to 10/1/2007 when the rules for qualifying switch to private sector (and become much stiffer). What was the outcome of the campaign? Here‟s what we know: the 200 and 300 series employees that make up our historical membership base have not petitioned in sufficient numbers to gain collective bargaining for the Scientist and Engineer unit. The 500 and 900 series have signed up in large numbers, but will not likely reach majority by October 1st for the Technical Unit. The only group of employees to reach majority sign-up has been the subset of 800-series employees that make up the Skilled Trades unit. Who are they? They are the caretakers of the Lab‟s infrastructure. They are the ones who keep the lights shining and the water flowing. They keep the temperature tolerable and generally the whole damn ship of the Lab afloat. If you never have to think about your surroundings at work, they are a big reason why. I see it as no coincidence that as a group they have the most extensive experience with unions—both good and bad—and were the first to surpass the 50% mark. They filed for recognition back in June, but UC and LLNL management is refusing to recognize their petition, raising specious legal challenges to run out the clock. We‟re fighting back as I write this, through both legal and legislative channels. Rep. Ellen Tauscher herself wrote to George Miller twice, urging him to recognize the bargaining unit, or at least resolve differences with SPSE-UPTE by October 1 (see page 3). LLNL is doing neither, and on the legal front, quite literally, the jury is still out. More than once, when I‟ve asked them to sign a petition card, employees have demurred, saying “the Lab has been the best employer I‟ve ever had”. I heartily agree. I have had seven other employers in my lifetime, and LLNL tops the list. This has never been about showing or failing to show gratitude. Rather our campaign has been about holding on to what is good, and giving it permanence under the law. If this campaign fails, will we give up? No. It may take years to regain momentum under private sector rules, but we will persevere. For now, there is still a chance, and I‟m an existential optimist. I believe that we can wake up tomorrow morning and decide to go in a different direction. There‟s a petition card at the back of this Sentinel. If you haven‟t signed yet, consider that this is your best shot at stable terms and conditions of employment in the private sector. As a UC employee, this is truly your last chance.

Fire some, hire some


Contributed by anonymous:
The Laboratory is making some changes to its posting and hiring practices in the wake of workforce restructuring.

Tammy Jernigan, associate director of Strategic Human Capital Management, announced the changes in an interdepartmental memo.

All principal associate directors (PADS) will submit staffing/hiring plans to the Director’s Office to ensure the Lab proceeds cautiously with hiring activities. Jernigan said hiring will continue at a “very conservative" level and be monitored against hiring plans.

The Director’s Office will review and approve external hiring requests, including supplemental labor personnel. A lateral or promotional hire of an internal employee on a posted position, which does not effect a change in the employee’s appointment status, requires approval at the PAD and Strategic Human Capital level.

PADs have been given discretion to laterally reassign employees within the PAD in the same job family and pay grade, when it is necessary to facilitate workforce management.

Hire requests, and extensions of Lab associates and fixed-term retirees must include justification that directly tie to meeting immediate programmatic and transfer of knowledge needs.

Requests for an early conversion of flex-term to indefinite status should generally be postponed at this time.

An institutional brokering committee, chaired by Jernigan and Engineering Associate Director Steve Patterson, will review all postings to facilitate placement of employees currently in unfunded positions.

After the brokering review process, unfilled positions may continue to be posted internally and/or externally if a suitable candidate is not available. However, “internal only” postings will be limited to career indefinite employees.

For more information, contact Employment Division leader, 3-7904, or designated employee specialists.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

questions that were never answered

Input from a blog contributor.. thank you:

Here is some information for all to review at will. It is a searchable .pdf file of all the Q&A that were on the LLNS website, you know the ones that they will not answer.


Download pdf file here

Monday, December 3, 2007

The list is being compiled!


Expect 600 contract and term gone by Jan 31st and in March 300+ FTE's. The numbers mumbled at the last meeting with SP was expect to see numbers like 2400 at each facility and then there is this. SP said two years ago I want that $2M used for EBA for projects and there will be no EBA lit after LLNS takes over. Well guess what. Now that in Dec we are going to have hundreds of HIS fellow engineers and scientist on the EBA list fully supported by the overhead funds the EBA list is not a "valuable tool". The tune really changes when it close to home doesn't it SP. But here's the kicker. Some FTE non degreed people are going to be booted and these engineers and scientist are going to be put in your place while they retain their ungodly salaries instead of being RIF'd. So there's justice for you.

It even gets better people.

Demographics is playing a part in this RIF. I just wanted you to know there are federal guidelines that must be followed and they are going to go by the rules.

Hanging it out!

Hanging It Out

Request: "I second the motion for a new topic regarding injustices, please Mr. Blog Master hear us out!!" No names please or post will be removed. Keep it simple if you can. This post has been paraphrased.

In reference to a post where someone asked the people of LLNL to take their lickings and keep on ticking I have to say this. Before we being to you ask people to grow up and take responsibility for their own actions and to “go with the flow in the face of every changing times”, we need LLNS to resolve a few issues first.

Lets talk about the injustice NNSA / DOE / LLNS have bestowed upon the people of LLNL throughout the years all of which many of us thought would be resolve within the first week of the take over by LLNS but to our disappointment nothing that LLNS has done has been to the benefit of the employee. It’s been all about “them”, who clearly display’s a “me, me, me” syndrome. I'll try to outline a few facts and keep it as simple if possible.

First of all I’d like to point out that LLNL management does have a choice on how to handle downsizing and cost cutting but as you can see they’ve failed miserably with their poor decision making and clearly practice assured survival of the management tactics. Now is the time for LLNS to make some changes that will impress the congress and senate, but before that can occur LLNS must first clean up the existing dilemma's that lie before us, before anyone will give them a dime for WFO. So the question that remains is, where should LLNS start. Let’s try this.

A large quantity of employees have learned how manipulated the system to acquire big pay raises and advancements and shortly afterwards went into cruise mode for the remainder of their career. I'm talking about those who were technicians at one time and then became supervisors. Once they made the transition they remained in their supervisor’s capacity for approximately five years; where at that time they rose to the top. After a short period of time as a supervisor they reverted back to their technician’s status, yet retained their supervisor’s pay.....

Then we have professional PhD who couldn't make it as experimentalist in the lab, did absolutely nothing for the good of science or the world and yet were consequently advanced to management positions where their salaries quadrupled over their Phd counterparts who by the way consistently could out perform the administrators many times over....

In conclusion my feelings are that LLNS can do better job. However, before this can happen LLNS must be willing to divorce themselves from the good old boy club and start kicking some ass in order to bring LLNL cost down. However I want to make it very clear. The problem is "AT THE TOP", not the "BOTTOM". It’s the worker bees that make things happen at LLNL_NOT_ the administrators. IMHO, people are not expendable commodities, but projects are. This philosophy is a complete contradiction to some, such as ( a manager ) who said “ I want that $2M dollars for projects, not people on the EBA list”, but then again if you examine where he is in the food chain you'd understand why. In managements case, it’s all about “them” and they are convinced that without them the world would cease to function. Bah Humbug Bubba. It’s layers of management that are expendable and should be the first to go.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Keep the LLNL BLOG alive!


http://llnlthefinalstory.blogspot.com/ is gone.
This Blog replaces it. I wish we could have continued it, instead of starting all over.

Someone at http://lanl-the-rest-of-the-story.blogspot.com/ labeled the LLNL blogs as flaky.
The are a lots of inflammatory remarks by LANL people. They refer to us as "Livermites". See:

http://lanl-the-rest-of-the-story.blogspot.com/2007/12/disappearing-llnl-blogs.html
We are not interested in returning the favor. We want this BLOG to be a forum for exchanging opinions, passing on new information and exposing injustices, among many other things.
We know what happens at LANL will likely be duplicated on a different scale at LLNL. So, it pays to follow news on the LANL blog.
Here is an interesting article referred to by the LANL BLOG:

http://blog.wired.com/defense/2007/11/nuke-labs-blast.html

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