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


  • Stay on topic.
  • No foul, vulgar, or inflammatory language.
  • No name calling.
  • No personal attacks or put-downs of other blog users.
  • Be patient. Moderator checks and approves new posts several times a day.

Suggest new topics here


Submit candidates for new topics here only. Stay on topic with National Labs' related issues. All submissions are screened first for ...

Friday, May 30, 2008

George & His Empty Promises

I thought George said the 10+ people - we are still employees - would be allowed to keep their clearances. Guess what, I just got the letter saying my Q is gone. Way to go G. Anybody else out there in the same situation?

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Close look at layoffs

Sent by SPSE:

SPSE-UPTE has compiled a complete list of employees that were involuntarily separated last week, and has circulated it among members to check its accuracy. After preliminary analysis of this data we believe every laid-off employee should file a grievance or pursue a discrimination case against LLNS, LLC for failing to follow Laboratory policy and the law in determining who would be separated. In order to help with this, SPSE-UPTE needs demographic information for all the people who were sent home, along with contact information. This will allow us to communicate our progress in building a case. If you have the means to contact your laid-off friends and colleagues, please do so and ask them to call our office at (925) 449-4846 or e-mail us at

Good Question

LLNS just got a big chunk of money from UC for TCP1. These layoffs eliminate or reduce the amount that the RIFees get. Is there something actionable here in that the remaining TCP1 people just improved their financial position at the expense of those laid off?

Fairly Done, For The General Population

So the list is out- looks like a total of 443 layoffs. As suspected, there were no managers RIF'ed. Of the scientists/technicians, many were EBA's off and on for years. However, some of the layoffs look suspiciously politically motivated. Probably a few good lawsuits in the making for those who were not EBA's much or at all. Especially where the "business unit" elimination story doesn't work and people were funded. It is actually good to see that they did lay off some "former manager" types who have lazed around for years pretending to do technical work- but only a few. If they would have been smart enough to use this opportunity to rid themselves of more of the real parasitic "nonesense title" people it might have been acceptable to lose a few good scientists in the mix. Instead, we still have every one of the ridiculous "directors at large", "external relations", "deputy xx", "program manager" and "special assistant" types.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Protest at the west gate?

Anonymously contributed:

When I left work today, there were a bunch of people with signs at the West Gate. They looked like UPTE. Does anyone know what was going on? Was there any impact?

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

How many Flex Terms are left at LLNL?

I've heard ~500 remain, is this number close?

And did all the remaining Flex Terms get their latest WARN notification in the mail yet? As expected, mine was waiting for me in my mailbox when I got home from work today.

Believe It, or Not

I guess the question is, did you believe George Millers talk today and if not what specifically did he say that made you feel this way?

An Entirely New Twist On Our Future

When asked what his or her thoughts were about the rising fuel cost here was their input.

May 26, 1:50 - challenge accepted.

* Speculation on oil futures continues unchecked, pushing the price past $200/barrel.

* World markets switch to pricing oil in Euros, further destabilising the dollar.

* Despite increased control of both houses of Congress, lawmakers are unable to act.

* US economy in depression.

* A cascade of goverment bankruptcies begin as municipal, county and state authorities realise that funding streams have evaporated.

* Troops are pulled out of Iraq and Afghanistan.

* Iraq and Afghanistan goverments fall.

* Lebanon is taken over by Hizballah.

* Israel, now realizing that Washington has abandoned them, strikes Iran.

* Syria and Iran both respond with counter-strikes using WMD.

* Russia and China align with Syria/Iraq threatening the US if it intervenes on behalf of Israel.

* Defcon 1.


I don't see any alternative energy solutions for 3 reasons.

1. Some alternative "sources", like hydrogen or electrical, are not true new sources of energy, just just convenient modes of energy transport.

2. All new sources of energy that are capable of significant impact on the US economy have been taken off the table by politics.

3. The timeline I described is less than a decade at best and months at worst. Nothing can be done to repair the system in time.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Do you have a job lined up??

If you were layed off last week, do you have a game plan? I survived, but actually had a interview scheduled as a back up plan. I backed out, but did provide the head hunter with a couple of replacements who were not so fortunate.

If you know of a job that may not be right for you, please post the information here so that it may help someone else.

What to expect next week

Well, if you are one of the survivors of the RIF, you're likely to be effected anyway. 440 of our friends are gone - someone will have to pick up the slack. I'm still trying to figure out who got canned in my own department. It seems like everyone who was on the "list" Thursday was preloaded into ph - for at least a short time. I know of at least two people who noticed they were missing from ph prior to their being notified by management.

When you drive by the sunshine building, keep in mind that those entering and leaving will have their minds on things other than driving. You'll walk by the empty office of a friend or coworker and wonder what they are doing. Will they lose everything? There were a few married or otherwise couples who were both RIF'ed. They lost the entire family income with one swoop of a pen.

So will come the ripple effect.

Impact of layoffs on Livermore businesses

Topic anonymously suggested:

I frequent may local Livermore restaurants and may of the owners are telling me that business is "heading south". Most have seen a sharp drop off in business since the layoffs have started. Let's hear from local Livermore businesses. How has the layoff of ~2,000 people, half of which (demographically) live in Livermore, impacted your business.

Are you writing your congressional representatives and telling them how the great "experiment" to privatize the UC labs has impacted your business.

Does this smell like wrong-doing?

Anonymously contrinuted:

I was RIFed 5/22/08. 28 years with LLNL. I have been EBA within computations for a long time. I found out they put the EBA's in a special OPS layoff unit so our seniority didn't mean a thing (only a few people in each classification). Needless to say we only found that out the day we left. That's OK, at least I made it off the sinking ship. Good luck to all my friends and watch your backs.

They Need To Cut Managers

The person who contributed this post and those who commented on it are great
candidates for an interview with Betsy Mason. I encourage them to contact her.

George Miller said "We're so expensive, we wouldn't hire ourselves..." I had naive hopes this meant the ISP would mean getting rid of swaths of management lard that suck up enormous taxes.

Right now, a typical FTE costs $500K, fully loaded. Instead, the management has grown with the LLNS transferees, and as far as I know ZERO managers are being RIF'd. Instead, scientists and technicians with specialized, unique skills have been banished. Let's also note that many of the technical staff RIF'd were fully supported and critical team members of well-funded projects (of course not NIF, though).

Consider that one manager making a gross $24K salary per month makes the equivalent of 3 technicians, and you can see that if we could have lost even just 40 useless managers, we could have saved 120 valuable, irreplaceable scientific and technical specialists. Tell me how many of our managers have any real scientific leadership? It is a VERY small fraction.

Let's face it, the ideas come from the staff scientists, the work is done by them and the technical support. With this ISP LLNL has cut off its legs, its enormous belly is dragging on the ground and looks like we'll be WAY more expensive than before! Nice work LLNS, wow, I thought "rocket scientists" and "weapons designers" (like George M) were the fabled math whizzes- well, taxpayers, it looks like the ones at LLNL can't be trusted to design effective warheads if they can't even run a LabPricer spreadsheet and realize that to balance their budget for now and for the future, THEY NEED TO CUT MANAGERS!

Saturday, May 24, 2008

An Inside Look Made Known

I have talked to many of those laid off and all have touching stories to tell.

Their committment to LLNL is evidenced by the shock of just beginning to realize that the LLNL community will no longer be part of their daily lives.

Here are some highlights that may encourage others to share. These stories provided needed context for the LLNS press releases that have so far shaped media coverage.

Some of those laid off may personally benefit from sharing stories. The more complete the picture of the layoffs, the better positioned everyone will be to correct any errors LLNS may have made in applying their own layoff policies, or in protecting certain classes of employees.

The language below does not even attempt to portray the depth of feeling behind the stories I was told. Instead, it is a dry factual account. Perhaps the dry language does convey the numbness so evident in many of those I spoke with. The emotions will come later.

1) At least one Directorate played by the seniority rules, but many, flaunted the rules. One man with 27 years at LLNL was let go, while others with less than ten years were retained - and all 21 at LLNL with the same 4 digit job class were in one Directorate. He was only 48, 18 months shy of qualifying to draw medical benefits during retirement. He, and several others in his situation, are looking for ways to get rehired or to challenge their layoffs.

2) Everyone I spoke with was over 45, most over 50. Several eye witnesses report that older employees appeared to have been disproportionately represented among the employees laid off in their areas - and at the exit center.

3) A couple of eyewitnesses suggested that African-American employees appeared to be disproportionately represented in those laid off from their areas.

4) Several reported late April and May transfers of employees with less seniority to other "business units" that were protected from the involuntary layoffs and selective reclassifications of employees early this year to new classes which were subsequently made ineligible for the voluntary separation package and protected from the involuntary package.

5) Reports are coming in from many job classes and Directorates the middle .2 job codes were decimated, while the more senior and more junior codes, the .1 and .3, were relatively protected. One woman with 38 years experience, was laid off and their were ten with her code!

6) Some managers, but only when asked, informed people of the business unit they were in, but none provided details on how many were in the unit and where the cut line was drawn.

Whether you were laid off or not, if you have a story to tell, please share it either publicly with the reporters below or privately by contacting the SPSE/UPTE office.

Betsy Mason, Tri-Valley Herald – (925) 652-2797
Jim Dolan, SF Chronicle -

SPSE/UPTE 925/449-4846

George Says -- It Will Soon Be Over

A message to Lab employees from Director George Miller

On Thursday and Friday, we will say goodbye to approximately 440 of our career indefinite colleagues as part of Phase 3 of our Workforce Restructuring Plan. It will be a difficult two days and I encourage everyone to provide support to fellow employees. Dedicated employees will be leaving the Laboratory and I want to extend my thanks to them for their contributions.

If you recall, we originally estimated that up to 535 career indefinite separations (combined with 215 VSSOP departures) would be necessary in order to reach our workforce restructuring goal of 750 separations and to position our Laboratory effectively for the future. After a thorough evaluation of our workforce, attrition and scheduled end of assignments in our flexible workforce, we've decided that we can achieve our workforce restructuring goals by releasing approximately 440 career indefinite employees and up to 100 additional employees from our flexible workforce.

To prepare for this, Strategic Human Capital Management will be re-issuing a WARN Act letter to approximately 500 flex-term employees in affected work groups. It will be mailed out from the Laboratory later today and it will provide 60 days of "notice" to potentially affected employees, with departures of these flex-term employees slated to begin June 26, 2008.

It is my intent that with these final workforce actions, the ISP release this week, along with as many as 100 flex-term reductions in late June, we will be in a position to manage our Laboratory in the stable fashion that has occurred in the past. These actions will conclude the involuntary phase of our 3161 Workforce Restructuring Plan and I do not believe, given the information I have now on our budget situation for FY08 and what we might expect for FY09, that future involuntary separations will be necessary.

I know this is a difficult time. We have tried to provide as much support as possible to our employees who will be leaving the Laboratory. The HR Resource Center (Bldg. 41) will open Tuesday, May 27, to provide services and support to employees who have been given a layoff notice. One-on-one counseling appointments to discuss benefits, retirement and payroll considerations will be available as well as outplacement support and training. A job fair has been planned for June 19 for ISP-selected employees and flex-term employees who will receive the WARN Act notice. The Resource Center also has more than 1,100 job postings, including opportunities with our parent companies, in an updated job bank.

It is a time of change and challenge. It is crucial that we pay attention to the Laboratory's day-to-day operations and to ensuring that all work is done safely and securely. Thank you for your patience during this time and for all you do for our Laboratory and the nation.

George H. Miller

Friday, May 23, 2008

Who are you??

Since you've already been laid off -- we'd like to know who you are .. what classification and directorate .. not necessarily personal names.

Just A Thought

I'm convinced that none of us no matter how good we are, are safe.

LLNS is going to crap-on whomever they want, when they want and for what ever reason.

The only ones that can protect your job are the people you work for, and even they may not have enough Horse Power.

I've also come to the conclusion that each and everyone of us need to get into a mine set that says," I'm going to work today to do the best job I can, not for LLNS, but for myself" and with that we must understand that we may or may no survive the day. If for some reason we get tapped on the shoulder and your job comes to an abrupt end, you simply know, it wasn't your performance that got you axed, it was their stupidity; and for that reason it's their loss, not yours.

If LLNS accomplished nothing else while at the helm, they will have instilled self confidence in the few that understand the game, however that self confident can only come by your constant strive for perfection.

Never lose faith in yourself.

Livermore Lab Laying Off 440 FTE+100 Term

Livermore Lab laying off 440
By Betsy MasonContra Costa Times
Article Launched: 05/21/2008 11:03:03 PM PDT

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory is laying off 440 employees today and Friday, including 110 scientists and engineers with more than a decade of experience.

The lab had received approval from the National Nuclear Security Administration to release up to 535 employees from the permanent work force, but instead will cut about 100 more temporary "flex-term" workers in the coming months to make up the difference.
"It was never just about getting that number at all costs," lab spokeswoman Susan Houghton said. "It was about doing it right."

Lab management determined that the permanent work force couldn't be slimmed any further and the rest of the cuts could be more easily absorbed elsewhere.
Notices are being sent out today to 500 temporary employees, informing them that about 100 of them will lose their jobs as early as the end of June, bringing the total work force down to about 6,600.

"We do not believe after this it will be necessary to have another involuntary separation at the lab," Houghton said. The layoffs should bring the lab in line with its budget for fiscal 2009, she said. The budget shortfall is due to increased costs associated with switching management from the University of California to a private management company in October, along with federal budget cuts.

Today, three-fourths of the permanent employees being laid off will be notified and brought to a centralized "exit center" to receive their benefits packages, return lab property and leave. They will be paid for 30 days before their severance pay of one week per year of service at the lab kicks in.

An additional 54 scientists and engineers with less than 10 years at the lab are among those being notified today.

The 110 experienced scientists and engineers, such as biologists and chemists, will be released Friday. Before their severance begins, they will have the option of staying on the payroll for three months and doing unclassified work in an office outside the lab's perimeter fence, or telecommuting.

The other 276 employees being released include financial analysts, facilities technicians and administrative assistants. This is the first time in 35 years that permanent lab employees are being laid off.

Houghton said the lab is doing a number of things to help employees find new jobs, including organizing a career fair on June 19 with 35 employers who are interested in hiring lab workers and opening a new resource center on Tuesday to help laid-off employees with resume building, benefits counseling and training opportunities.

"Our goal is to separate these employees in the most empathetic and dignified way as possible," Houghton said. "We realize it's difficult, but we want to better position our lab for the future."

Reach Betsy Mason at 925-952-5026 or

Evaluating The RIF Poll

Post anon,

I was with the understanding that a TCP'er< 50 and who will not turn 50 within 120 days and therefore can not retire under UCRP rules is also not entitled to any medical coverage for life. TCP-1'er also can not draw unemployment.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Typical ULM Sleight-of-Hand

Typical ULM sleight-of-hand, divide and conquer strategy. "Aren't we great guys, we're laying off less FTEs than everyone thought!" I guess they hope the FTEs will get some sort of relief now that their chances of not being laid off have improved (and hopefully, they won't care about the Flex Terms, who they've now pitted them against. " Hey, it's a dog eat dog world"). As for the Flex Terms, I reckon ULM justifies it with "too bad for them, they knew what they were getting into when they accepted that status, and we need a body count." As for the statements about future ISPs not being necessary? Complete BS in my opinion. I think that they hide behind weasel words like "given the information I have now" and "what we might expect." If reduced budget comes in later, or even if they just feel like canning a few more people, I predict that they will cop out with "budget picture changed" or "work needs have changed,", or better yet with "management and transition costs were higher than expected," or "it's not our fault." All those excuses worked before and they weren't held accountable for being either dishonest or incompetent. Why not use them again? I can just hear SH, LLNS minister of propaganda, explaining it to the media with a completely straight and innocent face. All the while, ULM (and SH) will be collecting their large checks and fat bonuses. Welcome to corporate America.

A word from Scooby!

Today was a very sad for everyone!

In public and in BLOGs, there has been plenty of lip service in support of those being RIFed. I read calls for solidarity, calls for a gathering outside the west gate today at noon, calls for wearing mourning colors.

Do we really mean what we say and write?

Proof once again that LLNL employees are too paralyzed by fear to do anything.

Today was business as usual. I was wearing all black. I went to the outside of the gate. Where is that massive gathering? The people entering and exiting would not even make eye contact.

As I was walking away from the gate, I realized how incredibly mentally subdued people at LLNL are. Sad! Sad! Sad!

On the bright side, the rest of America is not like that! I am so glad the LLNL population is not a statistically representative sample of the population at large or else we will be a country of sheep!

The Fox Watching The Hen House

I couldn't think of a better analogy to describe how LLNS is managing LLNL.

Anyone have a better comparison ?

How was your day?

Well, I survived today - I kept my job, but is was rough anyway. I watched several friends being marched out the door. One had been there for over 25 years - they had no idea the train was even coming, much less it was stopping for them. They were given about an hour to pack their stuff (not nearly enough time), then off to the exit center. Their management will sort through what was left and send what they think belongs to the employee and ship it to them.

One of the people not only saw the train, but knew the schedule. Everything left in their office fit into a paper grocery bag. They were allowed to say a few goodbye's since their escort had allowed time for packing that was not needed.

I wonder how the person who had a tree fall on their White BMW parked on Avenue B feels?

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

What to expect Thursday and Friday

It's going to get pretty nasty tomorrow. Employees will have one hour to pack their office. The escort is only to allow items like pictures and awards to be packed. EVERYTHING else will be reviewed by management and if it it determined to be yours, they will pack it and ship it to you.

As for your computer, you will be allowed to create a folder and copy your files to it. Management will review that file when they get around to it and make a CD and send it to you. You will not be allowed to say goodbuy to friends and coworkers - it's off to the exit center.

The lab will create an email bounce that will basically say the employee you contacted no longer works here. If this is lab business contact someone else. You may contact this employee at The 200 series with more than 10 years aren't much different.

I told you to pack early!

SPSE-UPTE Black Thursday

I can provide a partial report on what SPSE-UPTE is planning to do for those members laid off. Look for more later in official press releases.

First, SPSE-UPTE is joining those who suggested that everyone wear black on Thursday. Black shirts, even black pants, are all too appropriate. Second, SPSE-UPTE members have informally agreed to join the impromptu show of support, first suggested on this blog, for those laid off on Vasco Road near the West Gate between 12 and 12:30 on BLACK Thursday, May 22nd. This will demonstrate support for those paying the price of privatization and management miscues to the community - and the press. Third, look for press announcements from SPSE-UPTE about more substantial actions to be taken, which could eventually (NOT SOON, unfortunately) have substantial benefits for unit members laid off without LLNS first bargaining the conditions of their layoff with SPSE-UPTE.

I hope to see anyone and everyone at 12:00 on Black Thursday on Vasco in front of the West Gate. At least if you are there on your lunch hour, you won't be in your office to receive the boot! Rumor has it that at least one Directorates are requiring 200s, and maybe 300s, to be in their offices Thursday between 10 and 2 -through the lunch hour! The term barbaric does come to mind.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

How do you feel?

Anonymously contributed:

Today, I started packing up my personal items in my office. Nearly 20 years of pictures, awards, and other keepsakes stuffed into a few boxes just waiting for this week to see if I am selected for the ISP. Although I have had a wonderful career at LLNL, and hope to have a job after this week, I really felt sadness packing up all my stuff, knowing that I may not be an employee soon. It is the "not knowing if they are going to be knocking on my office door" that I feel is cruel in this whole process. I wanted to hear other people's feelings on this, and hoping that the powers to be will get an idea that they are taking away so much talent, so much dedication to the Lab. Although I am hoping for an eleventh hour reprieve for all of us, I feel that many of our friends and colleagues will be leaving over the next few days, and I am really starting to feel a great sense of loss.

Fund Useful Projects Only

Brought to the top.

There is no excuse. For over a decade, MODERN MARVELS has brought grand stories to life.

Meet the engineers, scientists and politicians helping to create a new energy future.
The ultimate celebration and investigation of engineering excellence. Celebrating ingenuity, invention and imagination brought to life on a grand scale, MODERN MARVELS® tells the fascinating stories of the doers, dreamers and sometime-schemers who created everyday items, technological breakthroughs and man-made wonders.

Early in the 21st century, two facts are becoming impossible to ignore: oil is only going to get more expensive, and global warming traceable to our use of fossil fuels will impact civilization in ways that we're only beginning to grasp. Stepping in to fight these massive problems are the rapidly evolving technologies that harness renewable energy. MODERN MARVELS® shows how air, water, earth, and fire are transformed into clean, reliable sources of energy. This incisive hour takes an in-depth look at the most proven and reliable sources: solar, wind, geothermal, biofuels, and tidal power. From the experimental to the tried-and-true, renewable energy sources are overflowing with potential... just waiting to be exploited on a massive scale. And unlike fossil fuels, they'll always be there.

There's no excuse for not making use of Renewable Energies except for our stupidity and other unmentionable human flaws.

George, can you hear me?

Contributed anonymously:

I was one of those who were laid off "unofficially" on monday. I guess I could say the best thing about it is I don't have to worry anymore, its over and done. What really got to me was the fact that I was told not to come in and get my personal belongings, Pictures etc. as someone would gather them for me. That was just wrong, but I can see their side of it. But I would have happily come in under escort and said goodbye to my friends and gather my things if the option would have been presented to me. I put alot of effort into this job, trying to get things done more effectively and efficiently which has always paid off for me when I worked on the outside, hence the fact that on the outside I have never been laid off in 20 years of working. But let me tell you, here it doesn't matter what you know, what other training you have, as long as you have seniority in skilled crafts you will stay no matter how ineffective or narrow your training is. Lab management is totally blind to what the real need is here and the value of these younger employees that were let go. Oh well the best and the brightest? what a joke. Oh yes one last thing, thanks UPTE for nothing.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Saturday, May 17, 2008

A Must Hear Testimony

Excerpted from the conclusion of Hecker's testimony before the 30 April 2008 Senate Committee on Appropriations, Energy and Water Subcommittee hearing.

The video quality is poor, but it appears that Senator Domenici was shocked to hear Hecker say this.

"When we went the direction of contractorization we made a grievous error pushing the laboratories in a direction that simply isn't right for this country and we've suffered from that. The whole environment at these laboratories has changed.

Secondly, over the last... I would say now sixteen years, the regulatory environment at these laboratories ha become so risk averse that we essentially can't get work done anymore. In 1965 I came to Los Alamos as a young student because it was the best place to go work.

Unfortunately, these laboratories today are not the best places to go work anymore. And we need to make them such. And just more money doesn't do the trick. We have to change the working environment to allow people to get their work done. These places nowadays look more like prisons than they do like university campuses or something in between, which is what we tried to make them. Attract the best, protect the most important. We've lost a sense of all that.

That's one of the reasons why these laboratories are suffering today.

Mr. Chairman, when you say the system is broken, it's broken in many different ways and we should fix it, I agree.

If you want to listen to the entire talk go ahead but the meat is at 2:00 into the presentation. I would advise everyone to listen how broken we at the national labs are.

Now that they've screwed us all out of our pension they'll probably give it back to UC. Talk about a ploy with motive. I wonder if that can be taken to court and all of us get out FULL UC Pension back / retroactive as if we were never removed from the system.

Where was LLNL?

Post anon, please

You too can have a car that goes 200 miles on one charge for $109,000 with $60,000 down before production and a four month lead time. As far as I'm concerned LLNL's been working on the wrong answers to everything forever it seem like. Maybe if the directors of the past would have had a little foresight these cars would only cost about $20,000 fully loaded and everyone could own one. Maybe we wouldn't be dependent on oil every again and the middle east would still be a worthless desert of rolling dunes for the q-tip and camels to play in.
But here is what we have instead:

The world’s demand for oil has increased sharply in recent years, rising from 77 million barrels per day in 2001 to 85 million barrels per day in 2007. The U.S. Energy Information Administration expects world oil consumption to grow by 1.2 million barrels a day in 2008 and by 1.3 million barrels a day in 2009. Non-OECD countries are projected to account for 1.1 million barrels per day of world consumption growth in 2008, with gains concentrated in China, the Middle East oil-producing countries, India, and other Asian countries. What we have now are punks as those seen in the picture ruling your lives. Click on the picture if you want to know "The Truth About Oil and Gasoline: An API Primer"

200 Miles On A Single Charge

Friday, May 16, 2008

Could This Be Our Situation

I think the current environment is not unlike that written by Ayn Rand in "Atlas Shrugged." Those that want to get something accomplished are being overwhelmed by those incapable of doing anything.

In the sea of Brownian motion that developed, the torpor was framed by the question: "Who is John Galt?"

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Easily Forgotten

On the 22nd and 23rd LLNL employees should line the road to the ( west gate ) and applaud those workers who are being "escorted" off the site. This simple gesture will allow your fellow employees a final opportunity to hold their heads high and know that their dedication, hard work and loyalty to the country was appreciated and will not be so EASILY FORGOTTEN!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

How can I gauge my chance of being laid off?

Layoff Targets and Decision Process

One in a Series of SPSE-UPTE Layoff Bulletins

Full article

Tri-Valley Cares Wants Pu Gone By 2009

Livermore lab fails terror test
By Betsy MasonContra Costa Times
Article Created: 05/13/2008 07:14:26 PM PDT

Lawrence Livermore Laboratory's protective force failed to deter a mock terrorist attack during a recent security drill, according to a Time magazine report online Monday.

During the simulated night-time attack several weeks ago, a team posing as terrorists was able to defeat the lab's defenses and get hold of their target of pretend nuclear material, according to unnamed sources.

Bryan Wilkes, a spokesman for the National Nuclear Security Administration, which oversees the lab for the Department of Energy, told the Times that the initial results of the inspection were "disappointing."But he noted that the simulated attacking force was given insider information and other advantages that "would be highly improbable in a real world scenario."While we have security measures in place that are working, in a number of cases they can be improved upon, and the system pointed that out," he said.

Four of the areas of the lab's security that were inspected during a routine, seven-week independent audit conducted by the Department of Energy's Office of Health, Safety and Security during April and March were rated as "effective performance," and four needed improvement.

The lab has taken action to fix problems uncovered by the inspection, said lab spokeswoman Susan Houghton."We've added officers, reassigned personnel, and we have accelerated our training from quarterly to daily," she said.

No nuclear material or sensitive information was ever at risk, Houghton said. A DOE official familiar with the mock attack said that the Time report was exaggerated.

The attacking force did reach their objective, he said, and the defenders did not do as well as they could have in some areas, but the attack was unrealistic.

For one, the simulation started at the fence line of the plutonium facility known as Superblock, already well inside lab property, he said. The attack team was made up of security officers from other DOE sites and was allowed to haul in equipment, including ATVs and mock explosives.

Some members of the attack team were even positioned inside rooms in the Superblock, as if they had already cut fences, blown up walls and avoided guards. The mock attackers were also treated to a walkthrough ahead of the exercise."They knew exactly what was there, how to get to certain places and where the defenders would be," said the official who spoke on condition of anonymity. "It just wouldn't happen in real life."The whole point of the force-on-force test is to really stress the system and hit the pressure points, he said."Things don't run perfectly in a force-on-force," he said. "That's not the point. You want to see where the stress points are. That's why you do it."

Among the problems highlighted by the Time magazine report was the failure of one of the lab's powerful Gatling guns, capable of firing 4,000 rounds per minute, to get into firing position due to problems with a hydraulic system. The guns were added to the lab's arsenal in 2006 to bolster its ability to protect the weapons-grade plutonium and highly-enriched uranium."Failing an exercise like a mock terrorist attack highlights serious and unacceptable security shortcomings," said Rep. Ellen Tauscher, D-Alamo.

"I have insisted that the plutonium housed at Livermore be consolidated and moved away from Livermore to a safe location away from population centers as soon as possible."

In March, the National Nuclear Security Administration said it was on track to remove the plutonium from the Livermore lab by 2012, in part to reduce security costs by consolidating special nuclear materials at fewer sites.

National Nuclear Security Administration director Thomas D'Agostino told the Times that it makes sense to move Livermore's plutonium to its sister nuclear weapons lab in New Mexico because "you don't have communities growing up around Los Alamos."

The 2012 goal is two years earlier than the previous plan, but critics still think the plutonium can and should be moved sooner."We think this should be the DOE's highest priority," said Marylia Kelley of Livermore-based watchdog group Tri-Valley CAREs.

Kelley believes the plutonium could be safely packaged and removed by 2010, perhaps even by the end of 2009.

The recent security test "shows that the nuclear materials at Livermore lab isn't secure and cannot be made secure," she said.

Betsy Mason at 925-952-5062 or

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Security Flaws Exposed at Nuke Lab

A Time Magazine article,

If you were a terrorist looking for weapons-grade nuclear material in America, the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory might be a good place to start. At the core of the nuclear-weapons research facility about an hour's drive from San Francisco stands the "Superblock," a collection of buildings surrounded by multi-story steel-mesh fencing, a no-man's-land, electronic security gear, armed guards and cables to prevent a helicopter landing on the roof. These defenses are in place largely to protect Building 332, a repository for roughly 2,000 pounds of deadly plutonium and volatile, weapons-grade uranium — enough fissile material to build at least 300 nuclear weapons. But a recent simulated terror attack tested those defenses, and sources tell TIME that the results were not reassuring.

Full Story here

Monday, May 12, 2008

Case of favoritism?

Anonymously contributed:

Before Oct. 1, any hire that LLNS wanted, LLNS got. They had their own abbreviated hire form and they set the salary. Hire packages went directly to LLNS and LLNS made the hire offers. LLNL’s HR department was not in the loop.

In my area, we were “forced” (told) to hire a spouse of a LLNS employee even though we had interviewed better qualified candidates. We suggested a start salary, but LLNS offered more. This was found out after the spouse began. LLNS never mentioned this to us. Also, we were told to pay the spouse for transit time.

Yes, LLNS spouses were excluded from VSSOP, as was everyone who had less than one year of service.

Have you seen cases like these? Speak up!

To unionize or not to unionize?

The BLOG poll "is it time to unionize" shows 128 Yes 75 no
The poll "Are you going to joing SPSE" shows 11 yes 24 no.
I understand that the respondents to the first poll may not necessarily be
the same ones who responded the second one but do you see a paradox?
Forget the polls and tell us what you really want!

Saturday, May 10, 2008

On the Rant!

Say what you want (within the blog rules) and get it off your chest - Let some steam off!

Be kind to your co-workers.

The time is near that we will soon see some of our friends heading out the door. Just remember, it's not their fault -it's ULM that has screwed up and it's hurting many people. So, everyone go get a box of kimwipes (Kdrys), and have a suppy on hand for that day - either for yourself or a co-worker. This will be the seventh lay off I've been through (i did survive the other 6), but there were lots of teary eyes all the othe r 6 and I'm sure this one will not be any different.

My suggestion is if you are too emotional to think straight when it happens to you is simply say that you don't feel good and you are going home sick. Tell them you'll call them next week to do your exit requirements.

How Would $8.00 A Gallon Affect You

How many of you ever thought the statement "you will be assimilated" would ever pertain to anyone other than the borg. Well guess what. You are the borg and you will be assimilated into the new way of the world. It'll be done gradually by breaking your back at the pump.

So lets take a look what you can expect to see in the next year or so. Please pick a curtain and realize equalization by big brother is in your face and it's totally out of your control. All you can do is adjust your lifestyle accordingly, if you have that much lead way and flexibility. So lets take a look at "who's doing who".

Behind Curtain # 1

Behind Curtain # 2

If $8.00 a gallon at the pump comes about how will this affect your life knowing you're not going to get a pay raise to make up the difference for the cost of fuel or any increase high fuel cost has had upon the price of necessities and its transportation fees. Compound this with LLNS desire to adjust the salaries of many by red-lining those who in their opinion are overpaid excluding ULM where some get a car allowance and what do we have.

Please think about this and list just what it will do to you and your family.

Friday, May 9, 2008

America's Future Commute Vehicles

Post anon. Just a thought:

At $200.00 a barrel equal to ~$8.00 a gallon at the pump this will be your grocery getter and commute vehicle of tomorow for two.

Can you just imagine todays BIKER's going on a ride to Sturgis with their momma on the back.

What a site we'll all get to witness very soon

Involuntary separation program made easy

It is as easy as 1-2-3!
Newsline will have series of articles scheduled as follows:

Monday: The notification process
Tuesday: The exit center
Wednesday: The transition center and job search opportunities
Thursday: Specific benefit information
Friday: Dealing with the loss of a job and the loss of colleagues
Monday: Summary story with detailed questions and answers

See how efficient we are?

Thursday, May 8, 2008

The Undisputed Truth

Please post anon:

After years of reading the LLNL and LANL blog, having gone through mood swings that vary from hatred, to depression, onto anxiety, then helplessness and now hopelessness and finally calmness I've come to the conclusion there's nothing any of us can do about the downsizing and eventual closure of LLNL.

Since 1995 the plan to downsize all DOE weapons facilities was concocted and the LLNL directors knew what the outcome was to be. At that time the directors should have started downsize the weapon programs to a skeleton crew and sought a new mission for the lab, such as alternative energy and fuels. I

nstead what they did was believe that downsizing of the weapons complex would never come about and told everyone to "stay the course", sound familiar. LLNL for 12 years after this known fact continued to concentrate on weapons related work and that my friends has gotten us where we are today.

If in 1995 they would have looked beyond the tips of their noses there would be no lay-offs today. LLNL would have been ingrained in projects that were for the benefit of the nation if not the world, and fuel dependency would have been nullified.

In essence the directors of the labs, DOE and NNSA are in fact to blame for this dilemma, and now that gas is $4.00 a gallon at the pumps and well on its way to $8.00a gallon; we still have no direction and claim inadequate funding with no national mission insight.

We as a nation are idiots and now we'll pay for the rest of our lives for this stupidity.

The undisputed truth on the side bar is a simplified version of who gave the orders, who passed the buck, who is tasked with the dirty work and finally the cost and outcome.

The order for destruction came from the top and there's nothing ANYONE at LLNL can do to stop this roller coaster ride. The sooner you accept this fact, the sooner you will become calm and move forward with your life.

Bait and Switch

Bait and Switch
When Seniority Means Management's Choice

Bruce Kelly, SPSE-UPTE President-elect

SPSE-UPTE has been getting comments from employees, and I have seen comments on the blogs, along the lines of “if I had only been told about … I would have made a different decision.” These comments have been centered on making a different choice of retirement options if they knew a big layoff was coming. Those who chose TCP 1 (Total Compensation Package 1), but are not vested, will receive no retirement benefits if they are laid off. Now we expect similar discussions about taking the VSSOP if they had known LLNS was going to change layoff units between the voluntary and involuntary programs.

If you wonder what a layoff unit is, it is mentioned in the Lab’s Personnel Policies and Procedures Manual. Recently, LLNS has been using the euphemism of “business unit”. That change of wording goes a long way in trying to figure out why management has picked certain business units that don’t seem to have anything to do with business. That is because they have everything to do with layoffs.

Lab policy also prominently mentions seniority as a factor in determining order of layoff. If you had a complete perspective on management’s process, you’d see employees grouped first by Directorate, then by layoff unit, then by Skills/Knowledge/Ability (SKA) value, then there will probably only be two people that will have to worry about using seniority as a tie breaker. SKA value is either your four digit job code or a score given by management to 200 series employees. All of these little differences in what LLNS says and what is happening remind us of typical bait and switch advertising techniques.

I have also noticed some comments like “why isn't SPSE-UPTE doing something about this?” Here is my answer to that: what planet have you been vacationing on for the last couple of years? What we have been saying over and over again I will not repeat here, but seriously, getting some control in this situation is what collective bargaining is all about. It is a process whereby management and employees sit down and mutually decide what conditions they will work under. Neither side can wave a magic wand and say it shall be thus. There is nothing illegal about layoffs in and of themselves. The only thing that might be illegal is the effects of a layoff, which can only be mitigated after the fact. Management’s mishandling of the layoffs 35 years ago caused the formation of SPSE. We expect it will be just as bad this time around.

The major difference back then was that we could not get collective bargaining in the public sector and now collective bargaining is legally available to us regardless of being public or private employees. Another segment of the Lab has already taken advantage of this change, has organized and is currently bargaining with LLNS. One of the best ways to show your support for collective bargaining is to join SPSE-UPTE. To do so, go to our website at, click on membership, and download, fill out, and submit a membership application.

Many of you probably think it is May 2008. You are wrong! It is May 1776 and you now have a choice to make. Either stand up for your rights or bow down to the kingdom of LLNS.


Too many chiefs?

Contributed anonymously:

Does anyone know what percentage of managers (group leaders and up) are exempt from the layoffs? Because as things stand, it appears to me that we're cutting all worker bees and retaining exactly the same Super-Sized management. If the goal of these layoffs is to reduce our overhead expenses to become competitive, why aren't we scaling back the number of managers to match the new size of the workforce? And if many of these managers are being retained but will be pushed back down to technical work, yet their salaries do not go down, again I ask how will this lower our overhead expenses?

Are these observations just completely wrong? I confess that it isn't public who is exempt from the layoffs and who isn't, so maybe a lot of managers are at risk and I just don't know it. But if my observations are correct, the lab will still have the same problems with price-to-market as they already do, except they'll be in a worse position because they've lost a lot of less-expensive workers who could build that better future.

Daily Life at LLNL

Posted anonymously:
Post unclassified things that only LLNL employees would see, but would be of interest to ex-employees. Posters are encouraged to consider their surroundings and post observations. Broken water coolers? AC turned off til noon? Post changes to daily life.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Exiting Orders Given To All Managers

Please post anon, just a rumor but pretty sure it took place.

All Supervisors / Management meeting in building 123 today 5/7/2008

So tell us. How happy are all you guys in management and what's the exit plan for the 5/22/08. We know you were there so who has the balls to tell the working class how it's going to go down. It isn't SDI, or, is it? You have your orders and have been instructed on how you're going to carry them our. So tell us the big plan.

A Show Of Unity

How many people showed up at the cafeteria today at 8:30 to plan a non-violent march?

For those who showed up, can you share (with the rest of us cowards/pragmatists) what transpired?

The Sunshine Building?

So, the transition center is also known as the "Sunshine" building.

What do you think the new name should be since it will be anything but sunshine?

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Daily Layoff Tally (THIS POST IS CLOSED) see Daily Layoff tally Part II

Please post comments anytime a layoff happens in your department, whether it is 3161-related or not.

Mention department, number of people laid off by category: SL, FLEX, Career.

Thank you for participating.

Truth Please

Is SP (AD for engineering) being truthful when he says his impending resignation has nothing to do with the current situation at the Lab?

How many jobs have you applied for?

I just got off the phone with a head hunter. He informed me of several jobs (much longer commute) in the area. The problem is he says the lab tends to pay its people very well and it's hard to match the salary, much less get more. So, what kind of luck are you having - or are you just riding out the storm?

Funding in limbo

Long but informative article on Lab funding.

Have you heard from the attorneys?

anonymously suggested topic:

would the person who contacted the law firm report back any news?

What Do You Think About the "Transition Center"?

Being RIF'd is bad enough, but now LLNS wants you to go "hang out" with a bunch of other people who feel like you. I think they think that this is a support group or something. Let me see if I understand this . . . You are still a LLNL employee; you are expected to come to work and do something. Now if your projects are mostly classified, you can't because it needs to be done in an approved area - you don't have access to. Oh wait, you don't even have access to medical, the library or even the cafes. Sounds like discrimination to me.

What are your thoughts on the matter?

Monday, May 5, 2008

Vote For Your Favorite GM Replacement

Who (real and living) would you recommend to the infamous LLNS Board of Governors to replace George as Director?

Btw, has any other LLNL employee noticed that the LLNS Board has changed considerably since Oct and without much fanfare? UC use to have one more member than Bechtel, now its even;

Chair Norman J. Pattiz (UC)
Vice Chair J. Scott Ogilvie (Bechtel)
Bruce Darling (UC)
William Frazer (UC)
Tom Hash (Bechtel)
Preston Rahe (URS-WGI)
Craig Weaver (Bechtel)
Steven Beckwith (UC)
David Walker (Bechtel)
Jeffrey Wadsworth (Battelle)

The Moral Tone

Posted anon:

The situation is beginning to take on a moral tone.

So the question arises for managers.

Do you follow orders or risk personal punishment?

Historically many people failed that test. My Lai, collaboration with Nazi occupation forces, McCarthyism.

I'm betting on most just following orders and loading their coworkers into the ovens.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Summation of the Situation- SOS

"The lambs have spoken".

This has nothing to do with laying down. People should take care of their families, themselves and friends first. Only after they feel they have taken care of those things, then think about what you can do to help illuminate what's happening at LLNL. The pen is probably better than a march on company time.

As for me, I think Its time to move on, after all its really become ONLY a job and I don't see a clear plan for things improving in the near future.

On top of that, most of the leadership at the division levels on up is so far removed from science and ignorant of the programs they manage, they only know how manage people out the gate.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Why You Don't Have A Job

May 2, 9:13 PM EDT
Bush details $70 billion war funding request for 2009

Associated Press WriterWASHINGTON (AP) --

President Bush sent lawmakers a $70 billion request Friday to fund U.S. operations in Iraq and Afghanistan into next spring, which would give the next president breathing room to make his or her own war policy.

Friday's request fills in the details of the $70 billion placeholder that the White House asked for when it sent its budget to Congress in February. The money is for the budget year that begins Oct. 1.

Congressional analysts say Bush's request would bring the total spending since Sept. 11, 2001, to fight terrorism and conduct the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to $875 billion.

The request comes as Democrats on Capitol Hill are struggling to move Bush's pending $108 billion request for the current year. Democratic leaders say they're likely to add the $70 billion for next year to that measure, which would allow them to avoid a politically painful vote on war funding in the heat of campaigning for the November elections.

Anti-war Democrats are frustrated at their inability to force the president to scale back war operations and hate to vote to keep the Iraq war going. At the same time, Bush has promised to veto the war funding bill if Democrats add money for domestic programs and present him with a bill over his request.

The bulk of the new money, $45 billion, would fund U.S. combat operations, but there's also $3 billion to deal with roadside bombs and $2 billion to cope with rising fuel costs.

According to the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service, Congress has provided $526 billion for the Iraq war alone, with the two pending requests coming on top of that. Operations in Afghanistan have cost $140 billion.

Friday's request also contains $770 million in additional food aid and other assistance to try to ease the global food crisis. There's also $2.6 billion to airlift new mine-resistant vehicles into the war zone and maintain them there.

The Afghan military would receive $3.7 billion for counterinsurgency efforts; the Iraqi military would get $2 billion for the same purpose.

Bush also asked for $1.7 billion for infrastructure, social programs and economic development initiatives in Iraq and Afghanistan under a programs designed to win the support of local populations.

Pakistan, a key ally in fighting terrorism, would receive $193 million in aid.

Submission Has Been Achieved

Moved from the wrong area.

I have been noticing people packing their offices already. Why? Are we going to buy into this rumor that we will be asked to leave with only two hours notice. Why would we be so willing to help these insensitive idiots by packing early. Don't do anything until you get officially notified you are being laid off. If you need two days to pack, so be it. They can pay 28 days in lieu of. I doubt if what they are doing is legal! They can have an armed guard watch me but I will leave when I am ready! I'm still employed for gods sake! I'm tired of us acting like a herd of lambs awaiting slaughter. We need to march down Vasco road with signs to protest and get some national exposure. How about it people? Lunch time event next Wednesday..We are running out of time! Only national attention will cause changes. Let me know if we can get this going! Don't go down without a fight!

Friday, May 2, 2008

How Deep Are Your Pockets?

Please post anon,

For some the price of gas doesn't put a dent in their pocket but for others it may lead to unemployment. Several articles are hinting on the price of crude heading towards $200 a barrel. If the price of gas at the pump is proportional to the price of crude how much will gas be at the pumps? How deep are your pockets.. Big Quartely Profits

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Will Work For Food- Your Next Step

Post anon and think.

Ever wonder why the unemployment rate in America is so high and who you're being replaced by. Again, those who play the global economics game are getting rich, while the typical Amercan's life style is going in the toilet, but don't worry, we'll all be equal someday.

Posts you viewed tbe most last 30 days