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

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

MMED, First To Get Working Hours Changed

MMED, First To Get Working Hours Changed

Post anon,

Rumor: The Lab is going to do away with adjusted alternate work schedules.

Fact: This is incorrect. While the Laboratory has been reworking the policies and procedures on adjusted alternate work schedules, necessitated by the transition from a public to private contract manager, there is no plan to do away with the adjusted alternate schedules.

Fact # 2 : The shops, meaning 321 manufacturing are now on fixed hours working hours starting June 1st

5 / 8's from 7:00 AM to 3:30 PM
9 / 80's from 7:00 AM to 4:30 PM
4-10 done away with entirely.

Standby for standardization across the lab. I wonder why they didn't make it effective across the entire lab come June 1st for "ALL" employees. Could it be that ULM couldn't get their butts out of bed at 6:00 AM and if they standardized it across the board they'd have to abide by the same rules. We couldn't have that could we?

Count down to May 23rd

Please report anything out of the ordinary:

- Reshuffling of people between units/departments
- Clues that you are being targeted
- Changes in you supervisor behavior

etc..

The wheels are in motion. Someone said RIF training for supervisors starts May 6th.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Let'R Rip -- By The Rules

Requested new topic:

What do people hate about LLNS and ULM?

Now this should get everyone involved. Lets hope ULM comes to the blog to reads. Maybe they'll actaually learn something. Be as nice as you can, think it out offline and then post in bullet form if possible. Bombs away !!

Changes, Changes, Changes

Please post anon:

A bit of information of concern. Some good, some bad.

1.) Besides 535 FTE's by Sept 29th going out the door there's going to be 180-200 flex and contracts from (FR PAD) only and then up to 100 more from other PADS. So the total people out the door this time should be about 835 if we look at a combination of FTE's, contracs and flex. Notices for contracts and flex are being typed up now. Surprise.

2.) TCP-2 Benval will not be altered -- Gee they did something good for a change if that means it will stay as it is now and not revert back to what they wanted to give us before the TCP-2'er raised hell.

3.) AWS hours may be standardized across the lab. We can't get this clarified as to what it means. Does it mean you'll have no choice if you want to work 9-80's or 4-10's, or does it mean they're going to define what hours you'll work when you're on a 9-8 or 4-10 schedule? Hopefully there's someone out in cyber space that'll come forward with more information. I was hoping they did away with AWS all together and had everyone on 5-8's. 7:00-3:30 including ULM.

Now that would really break my heart.

Can LLNL still attract the best and the brightest?

Why or why not?

Sunday, April 27, 2008

What five changes would you make....

What five changes would you make to improve/save LLNL if you suddenly became Director and LLNS President?

What All New-Hires Should Ask For

What benefits and wages should all new hires at LLNL / LLNS ask for.

My #1 request would be a LLNS gas card whereby the company would have to pay for my fuel cost of coming to and from work. A log book may be required but who cares. In my case just having a gas card would equate to about a $1000 a month pay raise before taxes. It's time to make LLNS start paying for the best and brightest. See side bar for what fuel cost today then sit down and figure out what it's costing you per month to come to work at LLNL. Was that maybe 2% pay raise the breaking even mark for you when it came to the cost of getting to work? Maybe if the pay raise would've been 20% we'd have broke even, but as it stands now everyone one of us except for ULM going backwards at warp speed.

Gas Cards For All Employees

No it's not just good enough to have a "JOB". LLNL is now a "for profit" organization and it's time for them to start acting like one, just as all of their competitor's do for their employees.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

60 Minutes, Tick, Tick, Tick Tick

My 60 Minutes request, tick, tick, tick....

At the end of the day I doubt that it'll make a difference, however, if we all felt that way, no one would ever make a difference....
" Greetings,

Since in the past you've given coverage to government contracts that suggested less-than-responsible management to outright abuse of the taxpayers money, you might want to consider a story about the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA). Specifically, the contracts they've awarded for the management of the Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) in New Mexico and the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) in Livermore Ca.

Currently, I'm an employee at LLNL and have been employed there for over twenty years. Prior to Oct of last year, both laboratories were managed by the University of California. Since then, dramatic changes have occurred at both labs to include massive lay-offs, increased management, greatly increased management costs ( from 8 million to 40 million at LLNL) a complete change of culture from that which was geared towards "mission first" to "what makes money first", the deceptive handling of thousands of employees pensions, and more.

The irony of course is the release for bid of management of the labs and the "privatization" of them by awarding contracts to Limited Liability Corporations was supposed to be more cost effective and better allow the missions of DOE to be accomplished. It has done neither. The "crown jewels" of the nation, as our labs have been called, are quickly becoming tarnished with the complete focus of "profits only" by companies like Bechtel and will, in short order, have the allure of junk jewelery for the nations brightest scientist and technicians.

The whole concept of privatization is mired in delusion to begin with. Private companies "can" be effective and produce better products at a better price level when exposed to competition via the free-market system. The labs are not involved in a free-market system and therefor management by private companies only guarantees exclusive funding to the management team for the duration of the contract.
Rebidding for the contract every seven years, hardly defines the free market system.

Over 500 employees are scheduled to be layed-off by the end of May, bringing the total of separated employees to nearly 1000 since Oct of last year. Based on a NNSA program entitled "Complex Transformation", it's likely another 2000 or so employees will be released in the next few years. All these lay-offs are being stated as needed to reduce costs so that the Laboratory can be more "cost attractive" to outside customers. George Miller, the director of LLNL, just recently admitted before a NNSA funding request committee before congress that laying off employees does NOT reduce their per-capita overhead costs. The layoffs won't make LLNL more competitive but they will reduce to bottom-line, increase profits for the parent LLC partners, instill a work-force with fear, spawn an ever increasing exodus of top talent, and ulitmately destroy this nations scientific and research foundry.

I ask that you look into this situation and come to your own conclusions. I think you will uncover some interesting facts that should be revealed about our government and that the citizens/taxpayers of this country ought to know about.

These two links, while not objective sources, will provide plenty of subjective insight as to what the employees at both labs are feeling and going through;

http://llnlthetruestory.blogspot.com/

and

http://lanl-the-rest-of-the-story.blogspot.com/

While I prefer anonymity at this point, should you feel this subject matter worthy of follow-up, I would be willing to talk about my identity."

And yes I actually submitted this. Funny thing is, it's now compelled me to write a few senators and congress-persons. Sitting on the side-lines and doing nothing only makes you realize that you've done nothing.....

Living In A Fantasy World

George H. Miller: Positioning Livermore Laboratory for the future
By: George H. Miller
Article Launched: 04/25/2008 11:01:50 PM PDT

THE LAWRENCE LIVERMORE National Laboratory (LLNL) has gone through many changes throughout its 56-year history — and a constant always has been our exceptional science and technology. From providing solutions to our nation's defense, energy, environment and economic security issues, our Laboratory — along with other Department of Energy (DOE) facilities — is truly a center of excellence with unequaled scientific, technical and engineering capabilities. The laboratory owns a history I have been proud to be associated with — and a future that I am convinced will continue to be bright.

The last year has been a challenge for the laboratory because of the overall budget situation in the country and the recent contract/management change. I'd like to share with you my perspectives on the future and on what's happening and why.

Because of the wise investments by Congress, DOE and its predecessor agencies over the years, LLNL and the other DOE national security laboratories have been incredibly successful in the service of our country.

Our laboratories helped toward winning the Cold War, and, for the last 15 years, we've been able to maintain an ever smaller nuclear stockpile without nuclear testing. It is noteworthy that the stockpile will soon be the smallest since Dwight Eisenhower was president of our nation. Our laboratory, along with others, has led successive revolutions in supercomputing and laser technology and in the development of capabilities that led to the sequencing of the human genome.

We are confronting the problems of nuclear proliferation and terrorism, as well as helping to understand and mitigate the effects of human activity on the environment. And now our laboratory is on the verge of accomplishing something that has eluded the scientific community for 60 years — fusion in the laboratory. This technology may be developed into a source of limitless clean energy for humankind in the future.

While I believe we are on the right path to achieve even more accomplishments, I am also concerned that the nation's financial investments in science may not be able to keep pace.

We all are aware of the economic stress on the country. We've seen the effect on many key industries — industries once thought to be immune to normal economic indicators. The reality is that our laboratory is no different. A constrained federal budget environment does affect our laboratory.

Let me explain how:

The lab's current fiscal year began on Oct. 1, 2007 — the same day our contract changed from public to private management. From a budget perspective, several things converged to create a very difficult situation.

The federal government reduced the 2008 fiscal-year funding for the laboratory by $100 million, and we had to absorb the substantial effects of inflation — $50 million this year alone.

The conversion in the management contract from a large public sector employer (University of California) to a small private sector company (Lawrence Livermore National Security, LLC, also known as LLNS ) brought an additional $85 million in annual costs (taxes and benefit expenses).

In addition, approximately $45 million in increased management fees and expenses is being paid to the new company. Altogether, the laboratory is now dealing with a very real $280 million deficiency.

Throughout our history, the laboratory has had the flexibility, agility and skills to serve the needs of the country and to also deal with some previous financial challenges — but none has been this large.

The reality of all costs converging at one time required aggressive actions. In October 2006, the laboratory's total career and flex-term employee population was 8,880. Since then, we have been reducing the workforce through a combination of normal attrition, voluntary and involuntary separations. Approximately 1,500 people have left the laboratory over the past two years and we have just announced a reduction of up to 535 members of our career workforce.

The decision to move forward with the involuntary reductions was a difficult one that weighed heavily on my mind because of the valuable contributions these employees make and the significant consequences to the individuals and the laboratory.

In the end, we all have to balance our budgets and I decided to move forward to prepare the laboratory for the future in a manner that I believe is both prudent and strategic.

Simultaneously, we are taking other budget-related actions. Drawing on the expertise of the LLNS corporate partners (Bechtel, UC, Babcock & Wilcox and the Washington Division of URS), the management team has initiated a complete organizational review and has begun implementation of a more effective service delivery model.

This approach already has saved nearly $10 million in non-labor expenses. Completion of this process over 12 to 18 months will result in a laboratory that can more cost effectively and efficiently fulfill its mission: to provide exceptional science and technology to help solve the nation's most important challenges in global security, energy and environment and economic competitiveness.

For the past 56 years, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory has applied multidisciplinary science, engineering and technology to meet urgent challenges in national and global security. I believe the opportunities ahead — both scientifically and operationally — are even brighter.


But it will require hard decisions, perseverance and patience by all of us, along with the implementation of necessary operational efficiencies. I believe that the end result — world-class employees working at a center of excellence — for the San Francisco Bay Area, the nation and the world — is well worth it.

Miller is director Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.

UI Benefits Related to this ISP

For instance 4,5,and 6 might be of interest: See EDD on the sidebar

Maybe you can use this to get you by or at least put gas in your gas tank as many of us will do. Funny how the government gives you a rebate to spend, but somehow the money ends right back in the hands of the rich who are in tight with the cronies who cater to them. I wonder how long it will be before people figure this ploy out.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Free and confidential medical screening

Boston University School of Public Health offers free and confidential medical screening to former workers who worked at least a year of cumulative time at Sandia, CA or LLNL. They are hoping to add screening for former LBNL folks this summer. They offer beryllium tests, along with other things. them. They don’t work for DOE, DOL, or the Lab. They will not know who the folks are who come through BU’s program.

If you want any further information, please feel free to contact:

Elisa Rossetti, MPH
Program Manager
Energy Employees Medical Monitoring Program
925-551-7844


website

Friends of the lab! Talk to us!

What's the "ripple effect" of the workforce reductions?

There must be spouses, children, friends, maybe even parents of Labbies who are reading this blog for info (hey, maybe even teachers, neighbors, etc. etc.) .... What's happening in your worlds? How is this affecting you?

And Livermore business owners: Have you and your business been affected by the ongoing upheaval and uncertainty at the Lab?

What's Your Say

Top post recommendation.

Do you think this blog has any value other than a place for malcontents to express their narrow view of the world?

Where's The Savings and Who's Paying For It?

ISP Presentations -

As 20yr+ TCP-2 I don't really have a problem with the benefits side of this action. As a person who would like to contribute to the security and science of the country I am very disappointed that it is happening. I think that you can find many reasonable people who believe the transition to LLNS was one of the top 10 worst ideas ever; and that it did not require a crystal ball to see that the costs would increase dramatically.

As to the plans for the 10+ years 200's, I am not seeing the 'dignity and respect' part.

The 'Resource Center' where 4 months will be spent by the most senior people will not even be on site. No access to LITE or LAPIS and it wasn't made clear what use the new badges would be. Are these people to be denied the access to the site that even the driver of the rental car shuttle has? These presentations are not being broadcast or recorded - I have heard people speculate as to the reason for this - mostly along the 'what are they trying to hide?' line.

Finally, how does keeping these people around (at least in the genral area) cost less than giving the pay in lieu of notice. They will have to provide the facilty, staff the facility, pay all benefits (401K). If someone has an idea of the reason DOE/NNSA/LLNS decided to spend more money to do things this way, I would like to hear it.

Russo Says More Must Go

One thing was FR used "opportunity" when he talked about laying off career employees.

Then he said 180 term and SL will go after that opportunity.

He tried to blame the Government for the career layoff, by saying they approved the plan and so that's what they have to do - he didn't mention who authored the plan, wasn't it Fred?

That would be FR & EM.

The WARN notices are going in the mail now for Terms and SL.

If you ask me it should be 715 of them going out the door as that is why we have them, right?

Now let all the terms that think they have such superior SKAs weigh in on those that built the Lab to a "crown jewel" of the USA.

What Will You Do

Here are some new blog topics to choose from:
  • How's morale where you are?
  • Is your supervisor helpful now or is s/he useless?
  • Does anybody care if the lab is successful any longer or are you just passing time?
  • Are you going to be sick on the 24th and 25th of May?
  • Have you already begun to take home personal items?
  • If you see your supervisor walking toward your office on 24th of May, will you run?
  • Which way?
  • What do you think of being escorted back into the lab to get your stuff?
  • Is your work product ready to be handed off to another in 2 hours?
  • What do you think the 24th and 25th are going to feel like?
  • Should labbies do something like wear black armbands?
  • What are you planning something appropriate if you get fired?
  • Are you staying home on the 24th and 25th 'cause of fear ?
  • Do you believe what management says or are they just trying to say something to keep you pacified?
  • Is there someone besides Russo you'd like to see canned?
  • Are you still loyal to the crown or, like John Adams after Boston was occupied by his so-called friends, are you flirting with the dark side?
  • Can management make the layoff any worse? How?

How is it going in your group?

Topic proposed anonymously:

How's morale where you are?

Is your supervisor supportive or just indifferent?

Does anybody care if the lab is successful any longer or are you just passing time?

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Are you experiencing dirty tricks like these?

Contributed by anonymous:

Here is my experience. Is this a familiar tactic?

I am a 500 series employee with 28 years at the lab. When I first heard 500 series would be let go in inverse seniority, I had a momentary thought I might actually be employed for a few more months. Then I started asking my coworkers and discovered that just about without exception, everyone else doing the same work and in the same classification were already exempt!

My management had the foresight to exempt all but about 2 or 3 of us earlier in the year. Doesn't matter we all do the same kind of work. Myself and 2 others I know of (out of about 20) were put into 'special' groups in the department organization chart way back in the fall of 2007.

Now, I understand why. Yes, I have seniority. Yes, I have the skills. But no matter now, I am one of a very small percentage of our group who can be let go and it is too late to argue, I am mad but view this as just one more dirty trick my support organization has perpetrated. Is this familiar? Did you find out too late just about everyone you work with was 'saved' but you?

Duped into TCP1!

Contributed anonymously:

I went to EDD (employement developement department) to find out about unemployement should I get the axe. Well I am over 50 & choose TCP1 based in part on age factors @60 and the Q&A and being told over and over that there were no plans for layoff. Bad decision, if you get laid off from LLNS and then decide to take your retirement with LLNS you become inelegable for unemployement benefit or greatly reduced benefit. Had I taken TCP 2 and been laid off by LLNS and decided to retire under U.C. guess what, you are eligable for unemployment benefit. Hows that for the shaft!! I can tell you my measly pension is not enough to live on, but I want to preserve my medical benefit and do not wish to throw away 900+ hours of sick leave.

A Real Leader of People

Post anon;

Some of you might care about what a real leader of people has to say about your politically correct puppeteer society . Read and Learn

Don't be like the picture which seems to have a close resemblance of the one in charge of the business end of LLNL.

Please post picture too since this is what I saw standing on the stage a few days ago while he explained to the audience how he would not allow anyone to stay and look for a job if the government wouldn't have stopped him, and how he intends to take more affirmative action to assure we meet NNSA orders. Even with that he still can't understand why he has the nickname, The Hatch Man, dahh !

I guess that's why people in his positon get paid the big bucks. I wonder if he'll live long enough to spend it without suffering from heart failure?

A Request to LLNS

Please post anon;

This is more of a request than a question directed to ULM and company.

When will the employees of LLNL be able to see their ranking order for the RIF, assuming a UNIT is a four digit classification in any one organization such as NIF, NAI, Weapons, CMS, etc.

Each employee should by now been ranked from ( most senior to least senior ) in their four digit classification in each directorate. Any employee should be able to pull up an excel spreadsheet in LAPIS that reveals this information. The spreadsheet should show (all ) classifications at LLNL and how each person ranks in that classifiaction so each employee can see their peeking order. By allowing employees to view this spreadsheet each employee could get a feel for how long they have left at LLNL before they’re axed and prepare their future accordingly; instead of it being a surprise at the last minute.

The spreadsheet should be on a secure server where only LLNL employees with an employee number and password can check in. This vital information needs to be readily available at any time and updated on the fly, so as lesser senior people exit LLNL the spreadsheet reflects those changes immediately showing those who remain, just how much closer they are in the pecking order. This could easily be done by tying the requested LAPIS spreadsheet into the badge office and PAF database so even as individuals are transferred between directorates, it would result in their immediate re-ranking within that directorate. Since RIF's are done by seniority the employees start date is all that's needed to be rerank them no matter where they are assigned.

Wouldn't you, ULM, if you were in our boat want the same information available to you so you could have a chance to prepare for the inevitable? There should be no secrets from the employees if the goal of LLNS is to have an open society of employees who don't fear or distrust management.

Since lay-offs are going to be a continual event for years to come especially as the budgets decline , could you please consider my request?

Known Facts

It also appears that the NIF (National Ignition Facility) directorate has placed about 100 of its matrixed people on EBA (Employee Between Assignments) status and sent them back to their home directorates. The problem is that some fraction of them were also placed on NIF's list of people with essential SKAs (skills, knowledge and abilities) and were thus made ineligible to take the VSSOP (Voluntary Self-Select Separation Plan), which now makes them ineligible for the ISP (Involuntary Separation Plan), i.e., the layoff which will start taking place the week of May 19. In other words, some NIF EBAs may wind up returning to their home directorates and displacing other employees who have funded assignments.If this happens, it may be prejudicial to good labor relations, and may even expose the lab to litigation.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Request To Terminate LLNS Contract Immediately

Post anon please;

I encourage all of you who care about your future to express your dismay with the LLNS contract and associate thieves. Please take the time to ask your representative for immediate termination of the LLNS contract and the abolishment of NNSA. Please read recieved Transmitted Fax

The originator should contact Betsy Manson bmason@bayareanewsgroup.com.

From Stephanie M. Lee

This is from Stephanie M. Lee of the Daily Californian. She wants to speak to the author of teh famous fax or anyone who does not mind identifying themselves (a former employee perhaps):

She is referring to the fax mentioned under the "Request to terminate LLNS contract immediatly" post:

Hi everyone,

My name is Stephanie and I cover academics and administration for the Daily Californian in Berkeley. Last week I reported on the latest batch of layoffs, and would now like to get in touch with the author of this letter or anyone else who would like to comment on the situation as they see happening.

I can be reached at smlee@dailycal.org. I understand you most likely have concerns about anonymity and I'd be willing to work with you on that.

Thanks,

Stephanie M. Lee
The Daily Californian
smlee@dailycal.org

Contact 60 minutes!

An anoynymous reader contacted CBS's 60 minutes to bring their attention to the Lab.
Imagine the results we get if every one did that?
Your help is needed; here is the link; all you have to do is direct them to this BLOG.

60 minutes

Betsy Mason reply to fax!

Anonymous said:

I sent the fax to Betsy Mason, and here's her reply.
-----

I would like to write about this, but until I can talk to someone, even if it is off the record, that is behind this letter, I hesitate to take it seriously. If you know anyone involved, please encourage them to contact me and assure them I will respect their privacy if need be.

Betsy

bmason@bayareanewsgroup.com

----

I'd suggest those behind the fax get in touch with her.

She added today 4/23:

Yes, I absolutely can be trusted. I have no interest in getting anybody fired or in any kind of trouble. I've been able to convince editors in the past to let me use anonymous sources when there is a legitimate reason. Nobody will argue with me that pending layoffs aren't a legitimate reason. My story about the declining morale at the lab a few months back had anonymous sources, and that was because they feared for their jobs.

PLEASE READ THE RULES!

The most common violated rule has been to make a comment that is off topic, instead of emailing scooby and asking for a new post (new thread).
The number of off-topic comments has been overwhelming and I still published them.
Starting today, I am deleting any comment that is off topic, no exceptions!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

FTE Status for Professionals Only!

Anonymous post:

Non-professional term employees should be pxxxed off to the max. All those years wasted, waiting for an FTE to be fired or die so they can become an FTE. Well, good old LLNS took care of that wishful though. I hope you understand what Miller said when he was asked what the work force of the future should look like. WE didn't get an answer like you would from a normal person, What you got was a typical politicians dance around coached by a legal department cautioning Miler on every word and how it's presented.
Only professionals will be FTE's. The support labor will stay flexible aka term / contract with no need for FTE's, so they can be disposed of easily.
You got it TERMS? Unless you're a PROFESSIONAL, you will NEVER hold an FTE status. Those hopes are gone for any blue collar support labor employee.
How much simpler do you want it to be presented to you? Does everyone now understand why LLNS is laying off FTE's? It's been determined that it's time to get these people out the gate before they turn 50 and with less than 3 years, so they'll never become vested. The old FTE's are being disposed of so they'll never able to collect they're full projected pension. By doing so will leave the pension plan plush for the assurance ULM is able to obtain their exuberant monthly retirement checks for life. Again, it's all about THEM, not YOU . Do you now have a better understanding of the grand plan? It was explained during the transition but 51% didn't listen. Now it's become a reality.
You've been duped by the best and brightest, once again in the final chapter of your life. NNSA / LLNS should feel proud of themselves.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Thou Has Spoken

Please post anon, just a few notes:

I've jotted down a few notes some of which may or may not have gotten by some of you. Please review the 39 pages of information at the bottom of this post in great detail. The two statements that stuck out the most were these.

_Why are Career Indefinite employees being laid off instead of the FX and SLs? I thought they were the flexible workforce.

_The exclusion status remains in effect for the current Involuntary Separation Program (ISP) - NIFies are going to get the double whammy come September of 2008 when NIF does their normal RIF in conjunction with the labs ISP

Thou-Has-Spoken

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Job classification question

Anonymous asked:
Does anyone know what four digit job classifications are going to be reduced and what the target numbers are for each of those classifications? Management certainly won't tell us. Even and educated guess would be better than no information.

How far behind have you fallen?

Contributed by anonymous:

This tells me if I made $98K in 1980 I would have to make $253,953.20 a year in 2008 to live the same lifestyle. Man have I fallen way way behind the eight ball. It's no wonder I am still eating hotdogs and bread with many cut backs to stay alive. I will never see daylight unless I rob a Brinks truck and put the entire take in a CD. Notice I said stay alive!

Consumer Price Index

Livermore lab job losses a blow to area economy

This article sums up what most of us feel. I suggest you copy it and send it to your congress people using the link on the side bar titled: "email all your congress people in 1 shot"

Contra Costa Times

Livermore lab job losses a blow to area economy
MediaNews editorial
04/19/2008 11:04:33 PM PDT

The corporate management of the Lawrence Livermore Laboratory, which began Oct. 1, is not working. For the third time this year, the staff is being reduced to the point that the future of the lab is in jeopardy.

In May, the new lab management contract for a consortium of private businesses led by the University of California and Bechtel Corp. was announced amid much optimism.

Lab director George Miller predicted a smooth transition. He said new efficiencies, attrition and other changes would save enough revenue to prevent layoffs.

He was dead wrong. Slightly more than a month after the consortium took the helm of the lab, it announced 500 layoffs of temporary and support employees, which took place in January.

In March, 215 permanent employees took buyouts. Others retired or left and were not replaced. In fact, 900 employees, most of them highly skilled, have left the lab this year. But it still isn't enough, according to Miller.

The latest announcement of staff reductions was made Tuesday. As many as 535 more employees could be cut. This time the layoffs would be involuntary and would affect permanent career employees.

What went wrong with predictions of no layoffs? The most benign answer is that the consortium simply underestimated the increased costs associated with corporate management.

Originally, the corporation formed by UC, Bechtel and several other companies to run the lab expected about $80 million in increased costs. The actual cost increase is $280 million. So much for efficiency or accuracy in financial projections.

Most of the additional costs — $200 million — is the result of the lab's loss of the tax-exempt status it had under UC management.

The yearly management fee was increased from $8 million to $46 million. Also, retirement and health benefit costs have been higher than estimated.

We are a bit skeptical that a supposedly skilled management team could be unintentionally so far off in estimating increased costs, especially considering the size of the cost of losing tax exemptions. It is also suspicious that so many staff reductions have come so quickly.

We were supportive of the management changes in the wake of security lapses and financial errors at the Livermore and Los Alamos labs, which were run solely by UC.

However, with such rapid shrinkage of the Livermore lab's staff, we now have cause to think the federal government made a mistake in seeking bids for new management instead of pushing for changes within UC's managers.

The loss of so many skilled employees at the Livermore lab reduces its productivity and makes it a less desirable place to work.

Lack of job security at a financially troubled facility is likely to make it far more difficult to attract the top talent that has been the foundation of the lab's success over the years.

Making matters worse, the federal government has been less than generous in funding the lab in the past few years.

With diminished funding, higher than forecast costs and a declining work force, the Livermore lab faces an uncertain future that could be a painful loss for the East Bay economy.

http://www.contracostatimes.com/opinion/ci_8989164

Saturday, April 19, 2008

WARN act notice

Anonymous said:

Just received my WARN Acts notice. The last paragraph claims that a list of internal and external resources is attached.

My letter had no attachments, so I doubt any did.

HR needs to send that list in a separate letter; then layoff all responsble.

All hands meeting presentation

Contributed anonymously:

Notice the text at the bottom of page 6 of the PDF file:

Based on our financial status and need to be more cost
effective – I’ve requested an Involuntary Separation
Program for up to 535 career indefinite employees. We
will continue to assess and reduce our flexible workforce.


PDF

Cowards working behind the scenes

Contributed anonymously:

Question : "Is he the only one with guts to speak his mind in public? Is he the only one convinced we have been sc....ed?"

Answer: He is the only one out of 8000 that has the nerve to speak for the mass majority. The rest are cowards including myself.

I'd prefer to post on the blog and let the world view what's going as ( anon ). In the meantime after viewing the talk given in Washington, DC and GM's most recent tap dance of non-truths and political double talk I've invited every congressman and women to visit one particular topic on the blog. That topic would be entitled April Testimony Reveals Culprit where they too can listen to the testimony given by the three director for themselves. It's my hopes they'll in turn send the URL to all representatives nationally, so they too may understand the consequences of privatizing the national labs; and shortly afterwards execute a proclamation to terminate the contracts of both LANS and LLNS; directing those in charge to the unemployment lines pursuant to forfeiture of all retirement and medical benefits due.

If any of you care to join in, you can find your representative here. Only YOU can put an end to this madness and reverse the injustices that have been done. For all of you that have been laid off, I would hope you too would join in the fight to take back everything these people have taken from you and to assure their demise by any legal avenue or venue you wish. The pen is in fact mightier than the sword and good lawyers are available if you've had enough.

For me it's a matter of feeling as if I've devoted my entire life to the government for NOTHING and until I see proof there's another underlined motive for privatizing the national labs other than assuring the mutual destruction of everyone livelihood by virtue of taking their UCRP and dividing the classes of the rich and poor, I will not be satisfied, and will continue to move forward with my assumptions and reasonings.

Knowing this transition could have been avoided by simply transferring just (2 weeks ) of the Iraqi wars budget to cover all three national labs financial concerns is ridiculous and totally illogical. In conjunction with this fiasco I have a gut feeling NNSA is not telling us everything, nor are they reporting the facts to the Representative of the United States of America. It's as if NNSA is trying to pull a fast one over our representatives eyes by reallocating funds from where they were to be spent, to their favorite projects, or to assure ( NO ONE in NNSA ) was laid off or fired, while they witness 4,500 people from three national labs hit the streets knowing there's more to come in FY-09. So, this brings another question to mind. Just how many NNSA personnel were laid off or fired during the past two years because of budgetary issue. What to bet the answer is ( ZERO ). If this is the case I personally hope the leader of NNSA is found guilty of all charges and is issued a cell block with an appropriate serialized uniform.

At this point in my life and being a subject of this transition I trust no one in these times, until it can be proved that everything that has been done is on the up and up. Until then I hope the transition of LLNL and LANL remain on the radar with the same inquisitiveness as the JFK assassination and UFO's, and is pursued by as many people who believe Kennedy was taken out by our own, continuing the investigation until the truth is found. When it is, I want justice served and reimbursement for all losses to all involved.

IMHO this transition is the worse ploy I've seen in my entire life. It's so unbelievable it's as if those who authorized the labs to go private were in fact undercover KGB agents working for the goal of destroying the nations nuclear complex. If I were the FBI I would seriously consider running a sting operation and check the backgrounds of every corporate member extensively, just for pure self satisfaction of finding any unknown acquaintances or discoveries that may reveals such an involvement. It's mine boggling for me to believe we have anyone in congress or the senate so stupid as to approve this transition.

Someone should write a book.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Is he the only one with guts!

This was contributed anonymously in a comment in another post and deserves
to be brought to the top.
It is the short speech the gentleman gave after Miller presentation>

Is he the only one with guts to speak his mind in public? is he the only one convinced we have been sc....ed?
any others?

Thank you for your courage!


"Hello there. Thank you very much for speaking to us.
At this point, I don't really have a question but I just kinda want to
invoke my right as a us citizen to make a very brief statement. I know other people want to speak so I won't take up anybody's time but I just kinda want to sort of convey as best I could the feeling that myself and a lot of other coworkers are making or feeling right now. because it is a very important and trying time. but anyway in the coming months, bechtel will be placing more visible emphasis on safety issues. Statements will be made that bechtel's concern for the safety of their employees is not compliance driven, but rather done because they care for the people that work with them. What betchel officials fail to grasp is that caring for people is not something that can be achieved by issuing a proclamation. It is something that must be demonstrated by everyday loyal and trustworthy actions.

It does not seem reasonable to believe that becthel would care about slips, trips, and falls while simultaneously engaging in actions which sharply increase the probability of their employees to suffer strokes, heart attacks and home foreclosures unless there were compliance or financial motives behind their actions. What the actions of bechtel have displayed to this point is that of a ruthless and inflexible institution.

Loyal llnl employees are being layed off to suffer the consequences for the miscalculations, last second realizations, and buyer's remorse of betchel officials. The state of California offers a workshare program that would save our operation 10s of millions of dollars in each of the next 2 years and avoiding the laying off of a single individual.
The refusal of this solution convinces me that our betchtel leaders are nothing more than school yard bullies who have grown up. Unfortunately, they are not satisfied with stealing our lunch money. They want nothing less than to rob as many people as possible of their careers and pensions.

Bechtel, if you truly care for the people who work for you, it is now time to put up or shut up. Actions speak louder than words."

Retiree's testimony

Anonymous contribution from a retiree:

I retired from the lab back in October because I did not want to work for LLNS and even though I retired through UC, LLNS is still making sure that my life is as difficult as possible. I sincerely believe that they have intentionally held back the information that UC needed to process the retirement package, just as a way to strike back at us for abandoning LLNS. It has been over 6 months now and I still have not been paid one cent for my sick leave (which was well over a year’s worth of sick leave). As far as I can tell in my case it is still all on hold waiting for information from LLNS. This directly affects the retirement money that I need to live on each month, but LLNS does not care. I would like to compare notes to find out how bad LLNS is screwing up the other retiree’s. Every time I call UC to work out the problems, LLNS is always at the root of the problem.

Blogmaster note:
If you are a retiree, please share your experience here.

April Testimony- The Culprit Revealed

Please post anon:

I have listened to a lot of presentations from George Miller and company but non so informative as to what you are going to hear if you'll just take a little time out of your life and spend the next two hours it'll take you to get through this testimony.

This is the first time I've heard all three directors at once tell their story, heard the disappointment from those on the committee when they were made aware the contract fees went from $80M to $130M, and could feel all fingers pointing to NNSA being the bad guys. As the presentation goes along it becomes very obvious who to blame, even though some give praise to the culprit himself. During this testimony you'll also understand your senators views about the labs and their concerns, some of which are definitely counterproductive to the labs existence and for that matter detrimental to the country.

My conclusion after listening to this talk, as I hope was the senators is the LLNS contract should be immediately terminated and LLNL should be turned back over to UC. It's obvious to most, the management team we have now couldn't hold a candle to those who ran LLNL before. In conjunction with abolishing LLNS, NNSA should also be dismantled. The only people making money is LLNS corporate partners, all at the employees expense, they jobs, livelihood and future.

As it stand to date we have 1,500 well trained engineers and scientist in the street with no jobs, mines fulls of classified material, and if times get rough it'll be all for sale. From what I can conclude, it isn't going to get any better. The lay-off count of 200, 300 and 500 are going to rise as the budget continues to dwindle and if you listen very closely those numbers are revealed live to the senators, who in turn have asked each lab to make a full report..

April Testimony

A Real Player Presentation - It Free

Some highlights: brought anonymously from the LANL BLOG

Audio from the Congressional Appropriations meeting held this week is now online. It is 2 hours and 21 minutes long. You can find it here:

----------------------------------
appropriations.senate.gov/Media/
2008_04_14_
Listen_to_the_April_16_
Energy_and_Water_Hearing.ram
----------------------------------

I would urge all staff at LANL to take the time to listen to it. You will find it very interesting.

In particular, you can safely skip the first hour and concentrate on the sections past the 1:00 HR mark.

* 1:05 - Sen. Feinstein discovers the the LLC profit fees for LLNL of $46 million are going to private companies. She seems to have known about the LLC but was unaware that the money was to go to private companies like Bechtel, Washington Group, etc. She is obviously upset on finding this out.

* 1:20 - Anastasio gives his talk (his voice has a warble quality to it; he sounds scared)

*** THIS SECTION BELOW IS CLASSIC! ***
* 1:44 - Sen. Dorgan asks Miller (LLNL) about the full cost for the LLNS LLC. Miller says the full annual cost is $130 million and you can hear Sen. Dorgan in the background suddenly gasp: "Geeze!!!"
**************************************

* 2:01 - Sen. Feinstein makes it very clear she is no friend of nuclear weapons work. However, she is very concerned about the national security implications of putting 500 unemployed weapon scientists on the street out at LLNL.

* 2:06 - Miller says health care costs at LLNL went up $47 million over the previous UC costs with the creation of the new LLC (!!!!)

* 2:14 - Sen. Feinstein attacks NNSA Head D'Agostino for his comments

In general, there is a lot of discussion during the second half regarding concerns about the loss of science at the labs. All the Senators seem concerned about it and want to hear answers from NNSA. The Senators are also very angry and concerned about the quickly rising costs brought about by the creation of the LLCs. It is also clear that the Senators feel that the staff layoffs that have been occurring are largely being driven by the new LLC fees and they are not happy about it.

SPSE Working to Civilize Barbaric and Unfair Layoffs

SPSE Working to Civilize Barbaric and Unfair Layoffs
Sue Byars, SPSE President

On Tuesday, April 15th, LLNS announced the first layoff of career LLNL employees in 35 years. By the end of the week of May 19th, up to 535 more of our friends and colleagues will receive layoff notices and be unceremoniously escorted off of the site or into “Transition Centers” for 30 to 90 days or more. Meanwhile, layoffs of our colleagues who are flexible term and subcontractor employees continues.

SPSE/UPTE Local 11 (SPSE) members are supporting colleagues who are unwilling victims of the unfair layoff process in several ways. First, as Director George Miller requested at the close of his All Hands Address on April 17th, we are offering our friendship, and our empathy, to not only our SPSE brothers and sisters who are laid off, but to all of our colleagues. Second, we are working to provide all who are laid off with future opportunities, both inside and outside of LLNL. Third, we are determined to make LLNS management of “Strategic Human Capital” more empathetic, civilized and supportive of the dedicated admins, mechanics, laborers, technicians, engineers, and scientists vital to LLNL’s Mission.

Current management of “Strategic Human Capital,” as epitomized by the layoff process, is both barbaric and unfair. Art Wong and George Miller openly acknowledged as much in responses to questions asked at the All Hands. Art heads the Strategic Recruiting and Development Department, which is part of the Strategic Human Capital Management Directorate headed by Kathryn Craft Rogers. Art and George announced that they plan to review current policies after the current ISP (Involuntary Separation Program) is completed.

If you have ideas of how to civilize the layoff process, or even better of how to avoid it in the first place, please convey your thoughts directly to both Art and Kathryn and copy me at spse@spse.org.

If you belong to the Skilled Trades Unit, you have empowered your bargaining unit to represent you. In that case please convey your thoughts to your steward, a member of your bargaining committee, or to an officer of SPSE such as myself. Unless LLNS is willing to create multi-tiered personnel policies, we expect SPSE’s ongoing bargaining for contract terms for our skilled trades (800s) unit to benefit all employees. More on this subject later.

We need everyone’s help to document just how unfair the workforce restructuring process is. When you become aware of layoffs in your area, please e-mail or call SPSE with the number of employees affected (a range is fine) and the responsible division or manager.

In the coming weeks and months, we would be especially interested in knowing if any of the laid off employees are replaced, and if so, whether they are replaced by new hires or intra-laboratory transfers. Backfilling eliminated positions is against DOE policy and may be illegal as well. To facilitate follow-on queries, you are welcome to provide your name and contact information.

To provide information or comments on the work force restructuring, please contact SPSE-UPTE Local 11 by either phone, (925) 449-4846, or e-mail, spse@spse.org. We also have openings on our Workers Watch Committee that you are invited to apply for.

BOLDED PHRASES BY SCOOBY

Miller's announcement

Emphasizing that it is a “difficult decision but the right decision,” Director George Miller outlined the Lab’s approved Involuntary Separation Program (ISP) Thursday during meetings for employees and managers.

Earlier this week, the Department of Energy approved the Lab’s Involuntary Separation Program as part of its 3161 Workforce Restructuring Program. The ISP will reduce up to 535 career indefinite positions at the Laboratory. As a result approximately 200 operations positions, 200 science and technology positions, 100 Director’s Office positions and 35 program positions could be eliminated.

As required by federal law, the Laboratory sent out WARN Act notifications to approximately 3,200 Laboratory employees Thursday afternoon. The notifications are required for any employee who could be part of the layoff pool. Any employee who was not excluded from taking the Voluntary Self Select Option Program (VSSOP) will receive a letter.

However, Miller and Art Wong of Strategic Human Capital Management reminded employees that receiving a WARN Act letter does not mean the employee also will receive a layoff notice.

Those employees selected for layoffs will receive official notice the week of May 19. Those employees will leave the Laboratory the week of May 19 through September according to years of service.

The need for a workforce reduction is necessitated by multiple factors — cost of the Lab management contract, a federal budget that was $100 million lower in FY 2008 and that remains uncertain for FY 2009 and higher operating costs. The cost of supporting direct missions for the Laboratory is nearly $1billion, or approximately two thirds of the Lab’s overall budget.

While the Laboratory has streamlined some of its operating costs, a workforce reduction coupled with ongoing efforts to reduce costs, “will ensure we meet our goals for FY09,” Miller said. “We’re implementing our plan to deal with our $280 million shortfall and to reduce the Lab’s cost of doing business in FY 2009 to the same as FY 2007.”

“This has been a difficult path forward. It’s dramatic, and I have no illusions how hard this is,” Miller added. “But I am convinced it’s the right thing to do.”

Miller also cautioned it “will take a lot of empathy and sympathy for the emotions going around,” and he cautioned everyone to be vigilant with regard to safety and security. “In these times it’s very easy to get distracted and that can have serious security and safety consequences; it’s critical we remain focused on our safety and security.”

Wong outlined the ISP process and the efforts each Principal Associate Director has gone through to recommend a plan of action. A Layoff Policy Implementation Review Committee also was formed to ensure fairness, consistency and adherence to policy.

As previously reported, layoffs are based on skills, knowledge and abilities for scientists and engineers (the 200 job series), and seniority for all other job classifications. Seniority is calculated by full-time equivalent months of continuous service. Severance is calculated using the employee’s base salary rate (hourly rate at 100 percent time) and the employee’s length of continuous service.

All job classifications, along with any scientist or engineer with less than 10 years of experience, may receive up to 30 days pay in lieu of notice, along with one week of severance pay per year of service, up to 26 weeks.

Scientists and engineers with more than 10 years service also will receive one week of severance per year of service, up to 26 weeks. Scientists and engineers with more than 10 years of service will not recieve pay in lieu of notice. Instead they will work out of a transition area for the remainder of their notice period. Scientists with more than 10 years but less than 15 will receive 60 days’ calendar notice; more than 15 years but less than 20 receive 90 days’ notice; and more than 20 years of service will receive 120 days’ notice.

The Laboratory will open a resource center to assist affected employees targeted for layoff with benefits, severance and separation and job search assistance. The center’s location will be announced at a later date.

“The goal is to treat these employees with the dignity they deserve,” Wong said.

Starting today, employees who were not excluded from VSSOP may check LAPIS for their seniority and severance calculations.

In addition, Strategic Human Capital Management will be holding briefings at noon April 24, 28 and 30 to further discuss layoff policy details, benefits information and resources available. Information, including slides from Miller’s and Wong’s presentations, also will be posted on the Retooling the Laboratory Website.

Miller closed each meeting by reminding “these are very trying and difficult times for the entire Lab, and it’s important we be sensitive to the variety of emotions.

“As painful and difficult is is, it is the right thing to do. A lot of people will continue to look to us to provide solutions to the important issues of our time.”

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Millers Statements To Washington, DC

Please post anon:

The numbers in Miller talk to Washington don't add up - ( see presentation below ).

It looks as if LLNS needs more than 535 FTE's to go before September of 2008. I suspect they'll do just as they've said today in their telecast, but behind the scenes an additional 50 people per 30 day rolling period will also be released making the total head count released between May and September of 2008 more like 735 FTE's. By doing so LLNS can release an extra 200 people at the rate of 50 per month and they don't have to report this action to the newspaper. This will give LLNS the 1000 people they originally needed in the first place for the VSSOP to balance the budget, ( for now ). If you noticed he didn't say we were going to repeat this next year but he did say "I don't have any control over the federal budget" and in the same breath said he, "expects we have a shortfall in FY-09". So realisitcally the answer to the question of wether we are going to have an ISP in FY-09 is YES.

LLNL future doesn't look pretty to me at all. LLNS has openly said, "it's not their job to find work for the complex, its the job of the engineers and scientist to bring in work". Knowing that most of those with experience on how to do this will be gone soon; how can anyone believe there's going to be work at LLNL to do at all. It's the domino affect. No work equals no need for employees. Less employees equates to more downsizing which consequently means more pats on the back to LLNS from NNSA for doing such a SH job, as the complex gets smaller, smaller and smaller. Soon it will be a "think tank" just as we were told many years ago.

Mission accomplished LLNS. Miller Presentation To Washington

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Rumor corner

LLNS may have excluded the wrong people in last VSSOP?

The exclusions were based on outdated job categories and related skills. ULM are now thinking that in the future, job categories and functional areas will have to be re-defined. The next VSSOP/ISP will be based on the new categories and functional areas.

The questions I have are:

1) Why didnt they think of that before the transition. It seems like their style is “change things as you go”. Planning is out the window!

2) Who will give input on the new changes?

The next RIF apparently is going to be more lucrative than the VSSOP.

Depending on the length of employment, a RIFed person, not only gets their 1 week pay per year of service but also from 30 to 120 days notice, essentially 30 to 120 days pay.

Please feel free to comment on the rumors or add new ones you actually heard.

My Fellow LLNL Employees

My fellow LLNL employees for the last six months I have seen so many broken truths by ULM that I am not sure if they are able to tell what truth is and what is not. All are to blame for our plight. (ULM, NNSA, Congress, DOE) and us employees. We had a chance to form a union, (we would have had bargaining rights, now you receive what management tells you) but too many individuals were Paulanna. We are at war with ULM and you had better be prepared. (They will make the rules up as they go along)

Here are some details for all to ponder, over the last 10 years while LLNL employees have not been paying attention. Rocky Flats was shut down, Mound Laboratory was shut down, NTS has been downsized, and Savannah River’s employee population has shrunk from a high of 18,000 employees to its current size of 7000 employees. Do you see a trend yet? LLNL employees are too arrogant to think that it can’t happen to them. NNSA / DOE are waging a war with us ULM are the eager captains awaiting orders. DOE / NNSA costs have been shrinking over the past 10 years by a considerable amount. What you are being lead to believe is that DOE costs are spiraling out of control to this I say BS. DOE / NNSA have been saving tons of money over the past ten years by downsizing all facilities across the DOE complex.

Hanford (PNNL) was out for bid like LLNL and in the last minute, a poison pill was put into the Omnibus bill effectively killing their transition to a private LLC this was done by Washington’s Senator. PNNL employees lobbied their senator and won.

What to do next, you truly are at war get prepared. First off, we are all voting taxpayers with a muted voice our Senators & Congress people could care less about out plight. Feinstein’s husband is on the UC board do you think that is a conflict of interest? LANL has political power (largest employer in New Mexico) Nobody is fighting for LLNL in Washington DC except for the purpose to make us a smaller LAB. So here is our recourse sue LLNS, there are many ways to start the process let the games begin. Knowingly exposing worker to beryllium is against the law and if proved could be a class action lawsuit costing LLNS performance fees and DOE millions.

Excluding workers from the VSSOP (NIF) directorate then excluding them from the ISP. Lawsuit time if we are truly going to have a layoff that is based on seniority individuals should not be excluded at one side of the lab. I will put my own money up towards that lawsuit. Flex terms, contracts, I am sorry but you should be going out the gate before any FTE (I truly do not want to see this). Management failed to convert you, point the blame directly on them. Make them justify why it is you have been doing the same job as a FTE and were never converted. UC lost this issue in court when they were put to the test. Put ULM on the spot ask questions.

Drug testing, get it started I believe if every individual were drug tested, we would loose 40 to 50 individuals leaving room for good people to stay. Director M should be the first in line at the piss trailer Monday morning to set the example (that is what true leadership would do). Do not be surprised if the 40 key individuals are excluded from the random drug tests. (They should be sued to comply with the DOE order if they get out of it). The rest of us do not count in their minds ULM is strictly out for themselves. Ask questions that put ULM on the spot during all hands meetings. First off we are American taxpayers that pay their salaries they owe each employee an explanation for their actions or inaction. Pull on threads that may be unpleasant for them. Make them earn every penny of their overpaid salary. My goal is to get one of them fired for corruption that will send a message. They like to make examples out of the workers every now and then so that it goes through the workforce. I personally know of a manager who lost his clearance due to an alcohol problem he was never fired. They all seem to be above getting in trouble (LLNL has been investigated by the FBI several times for shall we say inappropriate accounting each AD is guilty of it) Let other Federal agencies know how screwed up ULM is. LLNL has many skeletons in the closet use this against ULM it will slow down the layoff that is impending. Search the web and find the things that have been covered up. Good example is radar on a chip. See what lawsuits and bad PR ULM had to deal with on this particular issue and how quiet that was kept internally. Personally sue ULM we are a California based LLC individuals can be held accountable for their management actions. Look at the California Labor Code you might be surprised that ULM is not adhering to it. That is why they are hiring lawyers with that expertise (look at the jobs bulletin I rest my point)

Middle mangers need to earn their pay as well put them on the spot. They will not help you, their too worried about saving their own backsides and looking good as able henchmen carrying out the orders of ULM. I truly believe in the end ULM will turn against middle management so that ULM can save their rewards.

Things you should know DOE / NNSA Washington DC is a huge part of the problem if they would have had their way none of us would have medical benefits upon retiring from LLNL. (To my surprise senator Kennedy stopped this) Things to ponder all DOE individuals on-site are getting 33% more money on their base pay because of the locality to the bay area, while the rest of us that work at LLNL get 2% raises at best. Where is that money coming from? ULM has the audacity to question hazardous workers individual’s stipends while ULM collects bonuses for meeting PBI’s is there no end to the hypcroscity. Do not be surprised to find out ULM has a PBI to downsize the workforce courtesy of NNSA. Truly why would you want a job knowing that you are destroying individuals livelihoods. Answer pure greed!

There is truly a war being waged upon the worker, you can be like the Jews that went to the gas chamber or you can wake up. I prefer to fight, ULM is not that bright and each one of them has skeletons in their closet that is how they got there. (Remember the one that supposedly had a PhD) We all found out later he was lying. Past Director, having an affair with a fellow employee never proved but possible. As I said, they all have skeletons in the closet exploit them.

Bechtel & Babcock & Wilcox major skeletons in their closet. Bechtel prime contractor big dig in Boston way over budget and lack of following good QA / Engineering killed an innocent motorist. Bechtel, Waste Vitrification plant in Washington way over budget makes NIF look like chump change. Not to mention all the no bid contracts Bechtel has received during the Iraq war. Well then, there is Babcock & Wilcox. B&W was the designer and General Contractor of Three Mile Island fiasco read the NRC report online. Neither of these two companies have stellar records treating their rank & file employees fairly.

Bottom line, become networked, stand –up for your rights, get organized, and voice your concerns loudly. ULM hates this they prefer to deal with us on an individual basis.

Finally, if anyone has a pending lawsuit against ULM / DOE NNSA let people on the blog know so that we can donate legal fees.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Despite failures, CEOs cash in!

If you had any doubts about who your congressman works for, check this out!

Despite failures, CEOs cash in!

More Good News For LLNL Workers

More than 500 to be laid off from Livermore Lab

By Betsy Mason, Staff Writer
Article Created: 04/15/2008 06:17:42 PM PDT

Livermore Lab announced plans Tuesday to lay off up to 535 of its core employees, including some scientists and engineers, starting as early as mid-May.

This will be the first involuntary layoffs from the permanent, career workforce in 35years.

"Implementing an involuntary separation is not a decision I take lightly," lab director George Miller said in a news release Tuesday. "But our laboratory must be agile enough to respond to the challenges facing our nation."

The move is the third time in recent months that the lab has shed employees to make up for increased costs associated with the changeover to a private management corporation from the University of California in October.

In January, the lab laid off about 500 temporary and support employees, and last month, 215 permanent employees opted to take a buyout.

"Through these efforts and normal attrition, we have decreased the lab's workforce by nearly 900 people," Miller said in an e-mail to employees Tuesday. "This is a good start, but not enough to meet our goals."

Still one of the East Bay's largest employers, the lab in less than two years will have gone from more than 8,000 employees to about 6,600 when these latest layoffs take effect.

Lab site planner Sue Byers, president of the Society of Professionals, Scientists and Engineers local union, questions why the career workforce is taking such a big hit this time around.

"For years, though it's not written anywhere, contract and flex-term employees were here for the peaks and valleys," she said. "We still have some flex term and contract workers employed."

The new manager, Lawrence Livermore National Security, LLC, a corporation formed jointly by UC, Bechtel and several other companies specifically to run the lab, anticipated about $80 million in increased costs.

But the actual number has spiraled to $280 million, leaving workforce reductions to make up the difference.

The extra $200 million stems from losing the tax-exempt status the lab enjoyed under UC, higher than expected retirement and health benefit costs and a yearly management fee increase from $8 million to $46 million.

Higher than expected inflation, and cuts to the Department of Energy budget, have compounded the problem.

"These layoffs will have serious consequences for all of us," Rep. Jerry McNerney, D-Pleasanton, said in a statement Tuesday. "Simply put, the announcement could threaten the lab's ability to continue some of its pioneering research."

The loss of job security could hamper the lab's ability to recruit, Byars said.
"One of the selling points of this lab has been the stability," she said. "So I just don't know how this will impact hiring the best and the brightest."

Miller plans to talk to employees about the layoffs at an all-hands meeting on Thursday after he returns from Washington D.C. where he will testify before the Senate Energy and Water Appropriations Committee about work at the lab and the proposed budget for 2009.

About 3,000 employees are at risk of being laid off. All of these employees were offered buyouts in February.

"We do expect this involuntary separation to affect some scientists and engineers," said lab spokeswoman Susan Houghton.

Scientists and engineers will be laid off according to which skills the lab will need in the future. Other employees will be let go according to seniority.
All workers who are laid off will get the same severance package as those who took the buyouts. This includes one week of pay per year of employment at the lab up to 26 weeks, and a year of medical benefits.

In addition, employees will receive 30 days of pay after they are notified they will be laid off, before their severance kicks in. Scientists and engineers have the option to stay for up to 120 days.

Houghton said lab management is working to find cost savings in other areas as well and so far has managed to recoup $7 million through energy conservation, cuts in travel and other expenses and consolidation of some work, such as Information Technology.

Betsy Mason covers science and the national laboratories.

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

The 3161 Final Q&A

Here's what we've all been waiting on. You gave your input and you got some answers. Most of then were, "thankyou for you suggestions" and "there will be no change of plans".

As you get to the MISC section where they put most of the peoples input that meant anything the answers we got from NNSA became more consistant. Enjoy

Long Awaited For Answers

ISP Approved = 535 FTE's To Go

Colleagues:

As you know we have been going through a series of transition activities involving workforce restructuring and cost reductions that are designed to make the Lab both more efficient and more competitive in the future.

The goal is to enable programmatic growth among our traditional clients and to develop new ones as well.

We are motivated to be more efficient because of the increased costs of doing business under the new contract, decreases in our funding, and because we must modernize our management methods for delivery of services.Workforce restructuring has been an important component of our plan.

Last fall, I announced a three-phase workforce-restructuring plan to streamline our staff.

The first two phases included our flexible term and supplemental labor personnel, as well as a Voluntary Separation Program for indefinite career employees.

Through these efforts and normal attrition, we have decreased the Labs workforce by nearly 900 people. This is a good start, but not enough to meet our goals.

I have been notified that DOE Secretary Sam Bodman and National Nuclear Security Administrator Tom DAgostino have approved the Labs 3161 Workforce Restructuring Plan. This plan includes an Involuntary Separation Program (ISP) for up to 535 indefinite career employees.

We are now proceeding with the detailed planning, including a timeline for implementation, consistent with this authorization.

The approved Workforce Restructuring Plan is available on the NNSA Website. A press release is available on the Web.

As I mentioned to you last month, it is very important for me to share any news like this as soon as possible.

I know that the best way to do this would have been to discuss it in an all-hands meeting today. Unfortunately I cannot do so until Thursday because I am in Washington D.C. today for meetings in preparation for my Wednesday testimony before the Senate Energy and Water Appropriations Subcommittee.

At this testimony I will discuss the countrys nuclear weapons stockpile and nonproliferation programs, the Labs science and technology contributions to the nations security, and the proposed FY2009 budget. I believe that this testimony is extremely important for the Lab, the department and the nation.

I will hold an all-hands meeting as soon as I return on Thursday, April 17, at 1 p.m. in the Bldg. 123 auditorium to talk to you more about our path forward.Thank you for your patience and understanding.

Regards,
George Miller

Do you really know Bechtel?

I have read a lot about Bechtel and still did not feel informed, until I came across this collaborative report from Corpwatch.

Check it!

Monday, April 14, 2008

Budget news!

Contributed by anonymous:

Scooby, you may want to create a separate post for the budget info below. As an eternal optimist, I see the possibility of Miller pleading our case and bringing back $$$ to avoid further destruction of a 'significant treasure'.

Keep up the great work of running this site...

The Senate Energy and Water Appropriations Subcommittee will delve into the nation's nuclear weapons complex in a hearing Wednesday.

The White House's 2009 budget request of $9 billion for the nuclear weapons complex and the national security component of the Energy Department takes up more than one-third of the total $25 billion budget request.

This year DOE's National Nuclear Security Administration announced a complex transformation that will significantly alter the size and location of the nation's nuclear weapons work. NNSA said the idea is to consolidate and shrink the size of the complex while also refocusing on the needs for the 21st century, including nonproliferation, terrorism and defense.

Part of this new vision for NNSA is a controversial new advanced nuclear warhead that DOE says will be easier to maintain, reliable and last longer. The department is asking for $10 million in 2009 to conduct further research on the "reliable replacement warhead" program after facing significant resistance to an $88 million request in 2008.

Chairman Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.) has announced serious doubts about the new technology.

"There must be an authorization before this program continues," Dorgan said at last year's appropriation markup. "There are questions facing this country about what we expect to do in terms of nuclear weapons."

The subcommittee still funded the program at $66 million revealing ranking member Pete Domenici's (R-N.M.) support for the project.

But the House zeroed out the program and the advanced warhead ultimately was not funded in the 2008 omnibus appropriations bill.
National labs

Research on the reliable replacement warhead and other nuclear weapons work for NNSA takes place mainly at the national laboratories at Los Alamos and Sandia in New Mexico and Lawrence Livermore near Berkley, Calif.

The directors of each of these labs are scheduled to appear at the hearing, likely to testify about the quality of funding and their new work under the complex transformation -- which includes new infrastructure but also layoffs of 20 to 30 percent of the workforce over the next decade.

Congress has been critical of the lack of funding for the national laboratories and has appropriated money above the White House's request for the past several years. Dorgan has vowed to sustain appropriate funding for the labs which he described as a "significant treasure" for the country.

Domenici is sure to inquire about the $14 million cut to the Los Alamos laboratory 2009 budget request, although the Sandia site received a $25 million boost. The Lawrence Livermore laboratory was also decreased by $63 million in the 2009 request.

Schedule: The hearing is Wednesday, April 16, at 2 p.m. in 138 Dirksen.

Witnesses: Tom D'Agostino, administrator, National Nuclear Security Administration; George Miller, director, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory; Mike Anastasio, director, Los Alamos National Laboratory; and Tom Hunter, director, Sandia National Laboratory.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Why I cannot trust LLNS?

Someone anonymously suggested this topic. Go for it!

Flex Term and Contract Labor Explained









I guess he got the point.

Friday, April 11, 2008

How Do You Compare

Please post anon and ask your audience to pass the link along.

This was sent to me by an unknown contributor. After viewing the movie I thought about how minuscule our problems are compared to what you're about to view. While watching I asked myself, am I half the person this man is. The answer wasn't only no, but, no way could I do this. Please take the time to rank yourself and let us know how you compare. Enjoy

One Stong Individual

If all else fails cut and paste the URL and then download the video to your hard drive and then watch. Please watch the entire lecture, it's not that long and I'm sure you can spare a few minutes out of your life. It's was an eye opener for me.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

LLNS- New Involuntary Seperation Plan 2008

Watch the water. If you have the ability to stop frame or slow motion look at this movie frame by frame starting just as the jumper begins to enter the water, then note what happens as he begins his rebound. The movie bares what I think is an appropriate title since this is how many people fell on a day to day basis at LLNL. This my friends is a real ISP aka Involuntary Separation Plan.

No severance ( pay ) here, or for that matter needed. Involuntary Separation Plan 2008 You may have to wait for download or right click. Watch carefully. This could be your severance pay in lieu of notice.

NOTE: You may have to download Windows Media Player 11 for slow motion functionality feature.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Unemployment for VSSOP'er

The answer to the question of unemployment for VSSOP participants is: NO!

I just got my Notice of Determination from EDD this afternoon. It says that under Section 1256 I'm disqualified because I voluntarily quit my most recent work without good cause. (Note that they call the VSSOP a SEVERANCE BONUS PROGRAM.) I am disqualified until I perform services in bona fide employment for which I receive remuneration equal to or in excess of five times my weekly benefit amount. Of course, I guess I'd then have to be laid of from that job to qualify. So they really didn't say anything about waiting until you exhaust the severance.

Or I can appeal, but I don't see much point in that. Prior to the VSSOP, I tried to figure out if I would qualify, but I couldn't get that info for certain from the EDD web site, and calling them was pointless, since they wouldn't talk to you anyway (long story.) I had a feeling, though, that I wouldn't qualify due to the fact that I was the cause of the separation.

While they never lied to us, LLNS HR made it sound as if it was a possibility. They'd only tell you that you were on your own, but they'd never fought it before. Well, thanks again, LLNS. Just another case of partial information or disinformation.

They, in fact, knew all along that the VSSOP was designed to exclude unemployment. That's why we were made to resign instead of "volunteering to be laid off" ala LANL. Why didn't they just come out and say it?

It would have helped to tide things over until I can find another job. Maybe I should have had something lined-up prior to taking the VSSOP, but I just had to get out of there to preserve my mental and physical well being.

If anyone either qualifies, hears of someone who qualified, or places an appeal and wins, I'd sure like to hear about it.

Rule benefits some sick lab workers

Contributed anonymously, this article:

By Betsy Mason, STAFF WRITER
Article Created: 04/07/2008 02:31:24 AM PDT


Former Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory workers who became ill from on-the-job exposure to radiation will now have their compensation claims fast-tracked through the Department of Labor.

Effective today, a new rule added to the Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program Act will make the claims process significantly easier for some claimants, including some who have already been denied compensation.

Workers who spent at least 250 days in an area monitored for radiation at the lab or at the lab's Site 300 near Tracy any time between 1950 and 1973, and later were diagnosed with one of 22 different cancers, will automatically qualify for a $150,000 lump-sum payment and have their medical expenses covered from the date they first filed their claim.

"Anyone who gets sick while in the service of our national interest should receive the benefits they deserve," said Rep. Ellen Tauscher, D-Alamo. "And even more, these critical services must be delivered quickly."

A petition for special status for Livermore workers filed by Raili Glenn of Pleasanton, whose husband David died in 2005 from bone marrow cancer after 25 years at the lab, was approved by an advisory board in January, because of the lack of complete records for work at the lab prior to 1973.

Under the new ruling, the DOL will take another look at all claims from Livermore lab workers that are currently open or have been denied to see if they qualify for approval.

Previously, these workers had to endure a lengthy and complicated claims process that required them to prove they received a high enough level of radiation to cause their specific cancer.

This often involved years of back-and-forth with the labor department and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health; the gathering of medical, employment and exposure records; phone interviews; and appeals.

Many workers have waited four years or more for a decision on their claims. Many have been denied, some died before a decision was made, and some are still waiting. High levels of frustration and feelings of betrayal are widespread among the claimants, many of whom are in the throes of battling cancer while trying to prove their cases.

Of the 1,266 claims that have been filed to date by Livermore lab workers, 818 have been decided and 67 percent of those decisions have been denials.

Now some of these workers, or their surviving family members, can skip the most difficult step of determining the level of exposure. All they need is proof that they worked at the lab in an area that was monitored for radiation.

Groups of workers at two dozen Department of Energy sites across the country, including the Nevada Test Site and Los Alamos National Laboratory, have also been given this special status.

"While this designation is certainly a step in the right direction, I'm concerned that many people are being left out," said Rob Schwartz, staff attorney for lab watchdog group Tri-Valley CAREs. "For instance, employees who worked in administrative areas will not be covered" by the new rule.

Workers who were at the Livermore lab after 1973 or who worked at Sandia/California or Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratories will still need to complete the entire claims process, though there are currently petitions to grant more workers special, fast-track status.

Betsy Mason covers science and the national laboratories. Reach her at 925-952-5026 or bmason@bayareanewsgroup.com.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Did VSSOP takers get unemployment benefits?

Anonymously asked:

I was wondering if anyone knows whether any VSSOPers have qualified to receive unemployment benefits?
I wanted to take the VSSOP but also wanted to receive unemployment so I passed on volunteering to leave in March. I am curious how it worked out for those who left. Does anyone know?

Monday, April 7, 2008

Sick-out poll results

If the poll is any reflection of the Lab population, then about half the people think LLNS/NNSA are doing a super job managing the lab!

% of people who would participate in a 1-day sickout as a way to express their dissatisfaction with LLNS: 52
% of those who would not: 42

Clearly, some folks have given up!

Sunday, April 6, 2008

A Quick Observation

Post brought to the top

I only just found this blog and I’ve just spent the last few hours reading it all! I think there’s too much emphasis on the role that the transition directly played in the current problems. The problems were created by years of allowing costs to spiral out of control –that is not pushing back on DOE directives on safety and security. You could argue that this was an indirect result of the transition since there was so many years leading up to it where LLNL/UC was unwilling to put a foot wrong lest it lose the contract.

It could be argued that a government funded lab that is as complicated to run and secure as LLNL just shouldn’t be in California – it’s too expensive here. It would seem somewhat reasonable then to conclude that the current contractor’s job, one that is 7 years in length, is to shut the lab down. The government has decided that regardless of how cheap LLNL is compared to futile efforts like the Iraq war, it can’t afford us anymore. In the end this comes down to a general reduction in the value of science and its long term benefits versus the potential for obvious and short term results. The whole of America is feeling this squeeze from corporations due to spiraling costs and we are certainly not alone. Sometimes it’s hard to separate irritation with what is happening at LLNL with what is happening in the US as a whole.

For many support positions at the lab, their salary is way above that which they would obtain for an equivalent position in the private sector. Why would these people have ever taken the VVSOP? This growth of overpaid support over the last 20 years is really what has caused costs to spiral.

We are now at a point of diminishing returns. We (scientists who write proposals for funding) are finding it next to impossible to obtain funds because of our high cost. No-one will pay what we cost. Therefore funds continue to reduce and costs continue to rise.

Added to this, the incredible waste of management. Everytime you hear the word “reorg”, millions of dollars just got wasted doing something that adds no value! This vicious cost versus fund cycle is a death spiral for the lab. Biosecurity has about 12 months to extinction at LLNL. Chemistry and basic physics, maybe 2 years. DNT and comp can survive longer but NIF failure will close the lab.

In the process, every decision the lab management makes lowers the standard of the workforce and makes the above scenario even more likely. “Substantially equivalent in the aggregate!” It’s very sad. In the end this is not about persecution as I think everyone has a responsibility for their own career and relative job security. In the end, the reason that talented scientists won’t come to the lab is nothing to do with job security, it’s because of the observable loss of quality science and wasteful management occurring around them. This is about the loss of values, integrity, and scientific discovery that is occurring as LLNL (and in the nation as a whole) as it is slowly taken down.

April 6, 2008 5:35 PM

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Misinformation, a strategic tactic to influence an outcome

In this case the game was played very well. Whats this say about the information you were given before you made your choice during the transition? Please pass this URL and ask all 7000+ employees to vote. You have 24 days left.

What groups would you target?

Anonymously contributed:


Try to be positive. Firing the right people might actually be good for the Lab. If you could lay off whomever you wanted to, what groups would you target? OK, ULM is a given. Who is next?

Friday, April 4, 2008

Finally, Something Good For The Nation

LLNL teams with Quantum Fuel Systems to accelerate high-pressure storage technologies for hydrogen vehicles Vern Switzer and Tim Ross check the pressure on the inner vessel that holds hydrogen of any temperature.

The Laboratory is working with Quantum Fuel Systems Technologies on a next-generation manufacturing technique for hydrogen storage vessels.As part of a $5.6 million three-year contract with the U.S. Department of Energy, Livermore researchers will demonstrate a unique high-speed composite processing technique.

LLNL participates in DOEs National Hydrogen Storage Project, which focuses on developing material-based options that can operate at more practical temperatures and pressures and meet the stringent targets required for the commercialization of hydrogen vehicles across all platforms.

Hydrogen pressure vessels are typically made by winding carbon fiber wetted in adhesive around a liner made of either plastic or metal. This wet winding technique is slow because the winding speed is limited by diffusion processes that control the adhesion of subsequent layers of fiber. Slow winding increases the cost of the pressure vessels because it requires continuous operation of a dedicated, expensive machine. Oven curing of the finished vessel is often required.

LLNL has developed a dry tape winding process that considerably reduces the time required for pressure vessel winding (15 minutes vs. three hours for wet winding), and does not require oven curing. This minimizes the cost of pressure vessel manufacturing, said Salvador Aceves, leader of LLNLs Energy Conversion and Storage Group.

This technique can be applied to any kind of pressure vessel, including those used in the aircraft industry, said Andrew Weisberg, a composite materials engineer at LLNL.

Quantum, which specializes in hydrogen storage systems, also has partnered with the Boeing Company to leverage advances in precision composite material processing technologies in the aerospace sector.

The project will develop and demonstrate an innovative hybrid process, which integrates the most optimal features of high precision aerospace and high speed commercial manufacturing techniques.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

UC transfers UCRP assets to LLNS pension plan

In NewsOnline today:

On Tuesday (April 1), the University of California transferred assets valued at more than $1.6 billion (valued as of Sept. 30, 2007) from the University of California Retirement Plan (UCRP) to the LLNS Defined Benefit Pension Plan. The transferred assets cover just more than $1 billion of associated liabilities. These are the pension assets and liabilities for the benefits of LLNL employees who chose TCP1.

With this transfer, the LLNS plan will be the best funded pension plan in the DOE Complex with a funded ratio of 166 percent. “We do not expect to need to make plan contributions for a number of years, and with reasonable investment returns, contributions may not be required for decades,” said Paul Rosenketter, chairman of the LLNS Benefit & Investment Committee. “The LLNS Benefits and Investment Committee has selected a number of highly regarded managers to invest these assets in a diverse set of equity and fixed income investment vehicles to cover future pension benefit payments.”

The UCRP pension assets and liabilities for retirees and for LLNL employees who chose TCP2 remain with UCRP. Those pension benefit payments will be paid directly by UCRP.

The DOE/NNSA contract required that the LLNL segment assets remaining with UCRP be sufficient to cover 100 percent of the associated liabilities for the retained benefits (as of Sept. 30, 2007). In addition, DOE/NNSA is required to reimburse UC for contributions made on behalf of the LLNL segment of UCRP when then segment liabilities exceed assets.

Because of the negative performance of the various financial markets since the start of the LLNS contract, UC and DOE/NNSA recognized that contributions for the LLNL segment of UCRP will be required next year. As a result of the anticipated contributions, DOE/NNSA determined UC should hold back additional assets of $140 million as a “Contribution Reserve Amount” to pay the anticipated UCRP contributions. This amount would be sufficient to cover payments for approximately three years. If the $140 million were not held back, DOE/NNSA would have required LLNS to make the UCRP contributions from the Laboratory’s operating funds, which would have severely impacted Lab programs and required even deeper reductions in Lab staffing.

Regardless of whether pension benefits will be paid by the LLNS plan or UCRP, Frank Russo, principal associate director of Operations and Business, reminded employees that both plans are “safe, secure and well funded.” DOE/NNSA is contractually obligated to make contributions to UCRP for any future funding shortfalls in the LLNL segment and, by federal law and contract, must continue to ensure the financial integrity of the LLNS plan.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Ed Moses Speech Delayed

Please post anon:

It looks like the stress of having to do those dirty deeds may in fact be getting to our leader. His presentation was delayed until tomorrow. If anyone gets the facts from this enlightening talk please be sure to post the FACTS here, soon after the presentation.

Now we wait for George Miller to step up to the plate with FACTS and see how things are viewed from the top down. Just maybe they'll give us _real numbers / body count_, which_classifications_are these unlucky ones coming from, and the exact_departure dates_for those selected individuals. At least tell us what month of what year this will be over. If we're going to do this again next year, FY-09, than at least tell us now so we can prepared ourselves accordingly. We need _cold hard honest facts_ with no ability to read between the lines, but it must be the truth.

Blog Archive