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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


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Sunday, May 31, 2009

Age discrimination lawsuit

Anonymously contributed:

130 Former Lawrence Livermore Lab Employees File Lawsuit in Alameda County Superior Court Alleging Illegal Age Discrimination

OAKLAND, Calif., May 21 /PRNewswire/ -- On May 21, 2009, the Law Firm of Gwilliam, Ivary, Chiosso, Cavalli & Brewer filed an age discrimination lawsuit in Alameda County Superior Court Case Number 09453596 on behalf of 130 former employees against Lawrence Livermore National Security, LLC (LLNS) , the private company co-owned by Bechtel and the University of California that operates the Lawrence Livermore National Lab.

On May 22 and 23, 2008, LLNS laid off approximately 440 employees, the vast majority of whom were the Lab's most senior, experienced employees. California law prohibits discrimination in the workplace against any employee who is over the age of 40 years old, based upon that employee's age. 130 of those employees have retained Gwilliam, Ivary, Chiosso, Cavalli & Brewer to challenge the layoffs. These former Lab employees include administrative assistants, maintenance workers, engineers and senior scientists. The 130 employees filed one lawsuit, but are seeking damages based upon their individual circumstances. These are consolidated cases; it is not a class action lawsuit.

The former employees contend that they were selected by the Lab to lose their jobs because they were older workers (over 40) who were approaching their retirement age. As a result, these former employees are out of work at a stage in life when finding new employment is particularly challenging. Most of these workers have suffered a severe financial hit in the amount of retirement income and benefits they will eventually receive because of their forced, premature "retirement."

The laid off workers contend that the Layoff selection process utilized by the Lab was illegal. The former employees contend that the Lab did not follow Federal Law by seeking voluntary separations to eliminate the need for any layoffs.

Furthermore, approximately 94% of those laid off were over the age of 40, making them "protected employees" pursuant to California's anti-age discrimination laws. The Lab ignored its own polices to target these older workers because of their advanced salaries and approaching retirements.

Today, these targeted older workers are fighting back by filing this lawsuit in Alameda County Superior Court.

According to J. Gary Gwilliam, lead counsel for the former employees, "It's unfortunate that the Lawrence Livermore Lab, the University of California and Bechtel Corporation would treat their employees in a discriminatory manner. I don't think the Department of Energy, with whom they contract, would approve of such conduct. These entities should be setting the highest standards of fairness in the workplace, not the lowest. We are confident the Court will correct this obvious injustice."

In addition, several different plaintiffs allege different kinds of discrimination including race, gender, disability, family leave rights and sexual orientation as well as retaliation. The complaint also alleges intentional infliction of emotional distress, breach of contract and the breach of the covenant of good faith and fair dealing.

CONTACTS: For more information and a copy of the complaint please contact J. Gary Gwilliam, Esq., Randall E. Strauss, Esq., Jane Felice Gorelick

Gwilliam, Ivary, Chiosso, Cavalli & Brewer, A Prof Corp.
1999 Harrison Street, Oakland, California
(510) 832-5411

Friday, May 29, 2009

Kiss your retirement good bye!

Anonymously contributed:
This is the type of BS that's going on behind closed doors under the Obamanation reign. You can say goodbye to your retirement and here's where you can find the author's name. IMHO it's time to end the terror this Socialist Republic of California is bringing upon the working class and put idiots like this and his followers out to pasture for good, by any means you feel fit for the circumstance. I for one will turn my head the other way. It's time for tea party's to start forming across this nation that'll emulate those of the original Boston tea party, forcefully leading to what in todays PC world will be known as a _"reorganization"_ of the entire system, and the removal of all those who endorse taxation without representation.

Authors of bills like this evidently view the common man as a peasants to be used as an endless source of income. This income for the state in their view is to secure what they deem as necessities, but in reality are to be used to secure their personal well being, self righteousness and survival.

It's very evident that now's the time to become well armed, become proficient and fight crime, one shot at a time. As you can see our most dangerous enemies are at the top of the food chain and in some cases elected by those who live with blinders and self preservation in mine, on the backs of those who've earned every dime. Welcome to Socialism.
Legislative Office Analyst's review

Saturday, May 23, 2009

One year after the layoff...

Anonymous wants to know how the folks that were laid off almost a year ago are doing?
Where are you now? Are you happier? Going through hardship? drop a line!

NIF dedication theme song

Anonymously contributed:

I've found the perfect theme song to be played at NIF's May 29th Dedication just before the V V I P takes the grand stand

NIF Dedication Theme Song

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Good old boys' culture still alive and well

One of the rays of hope I saw in this privatization was the fall of the good ol' boys' culture and seeing the Lab run like a real private company.

This culture is seen in the up hill battle to consolidate services and insfrastructure due to lack of cooperation. Publicly, there is lip service on the merits of consolidation. Privately, many divisions and groups run like companies within the company, looking out for themselves and not LLNL's benefit.

The culture is seen in the egotistic attitude of "we are smarter than the other groups and departments". COMP for example has an incredible prefrence for COMP people when hiring, regardless of qualifications. Just count how many EBAs were shoved in jobs they had no interest in last year while they were plenty of qualified people from other directorates.

I had a manager tell me once about another manager, when I offered a way to resolve an issue for the other Manager:"Let her worry about climbing her own hill".

It is going to be 2 years now and it has not changed much. Will it change?
Will we become a real company where the interest of the institution comes first?

You probably see this culture under many other faces. Would you care to share?


Wake up everybody!

Wake up, wake up! With the state of laboratory, in terms of morale and what LLNS has been doing with retirement benefits, is any one surprised? The laboratory was turned over to private hands. As wall street items have demonstrated (think AIG and others), top personnel only consider their best interests and making a buck. The LLNS managers now operate under a different environment than past LLNL management. Concern for the people working for them? Be serious, does that have anything to do with making a buck, or 'stream lining'. That emotion of 'caring' just gets in the way. I would imagine that if a manger shows that they 'care' about their people, they have started the walk down the plank.

In terms of the retiree benefits that LLNS immediately went after. It is doubtful if LLNS sees them as people. Most likely the retirees are seen as a left over 'nuisance', to be dealt with according. The loyalty of past workers, and that of current workers is no longer an item to have value. Past workers were motivated by the love of their job, the 'campus atmosphere', having a good set of benefits, and doing something for the country. In many cases people could have made more money in private industry, but they chose to stay with the laboratory. They felt at home. The situation has drastically changed with the arrival of the LLNS bureaucracy. The trust, the value system, the benefits, and the work place 'happiness' factor are on a drastic descent. If you were on an airplane, it would be time to strap on the parachute.

LLNS is not about making workers feel comfortable, or exited about working at the new 'lab', it is about profit making, by any means necessary. Smart workers who take this attitude with their salary/work abilities, will be appreciated better outside of the laboratory.

With all of the stripping away of the veneer that constituted LLNL, the management of LLNS keeps giving less reason for workers to stay with them. For workers, considering a long relationship with LLNS, they need to look at how LLNS is handling the retirement benefits of current retirees. They need to glimpse how they will be treated. They need to be concerned.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

When will managers be promoted based on competency and not seniority.

Anonymous said...

Managers seem to think it is their right to be a manager, no matter how incompetent and useless they are. Take some of the capable younger managers and promote them up and layoff the excess useless managers. Then we can get things done around here.

May 18, 2009 11:14 PM

Monday, May 18, 2009

New Security?

Anonymous said...

After years of maintaining an internal protective force, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory is planning to open up its security work to subcontractors for the first time. The lab was the site of an embarrassing security blunder in April of 2008, when a team of mock terrorists were able to steal a cache of special nuclear material during a force-on-force practice exercise, drawing criticism from Congress and government watchdog groups. A spokesman for Lawrence Livermore National Security, LLC, the Bechtel-led consortium that assumed management of the laboratory in October of 2007, said the potential change had nothing to do with the recent security problems, however. The lab announced its intentions to solicit protective forces bids in a May 12 notice. "This has been under discussion since the contract to manage the lab was put out to bid," LLNL spokesman Don Johnston said.

“The thinking is that having a contractor would provide business advantages and flexibility in terms of being able to bring in people when you need them when the security requirements change.”

The University of California, which was the sole manager of the lab up until 2007 and remains a part of the LLC, provided security for the laboratory for decades, leveraging assets across the entire UC system for equipment purchasing, training and staffing. That changed in October of 2007, and the lab's transition to private management was partially blamed for the security slip-up last April, according to the Government Accountability Office. The lab developed a corrective action plan to address the 54 security deficiencies identified after the Department of Energy's Office of Independent Oversight and completed 74 percent of the milestones included in the plan as of December, including the institution of more extensive and more frequent force-on-force exercise.

RFP Slated for June

Without revealing details, Johnson said the lab performed "quite well" in a follow-up review by the Office of Independent Oversight last month, but he conceded that the protective forces change could lead to security improvements. "We're hoping that over the long term it'll strengthen our security," he said. "All of the areas that were pointed out [in the review] have been addressed. Of course it takes some time to complete all of those. We hope to have all of that done by the time a new [security] contractor comes in."

According to the solicitation, work will be performed at the lab's main campus in Livermore, Calif., as well as at its Tracy, Calif., testing site, and security services for Sandia National Laboratories' Livermore site could also be included in the scope of the contract. Sandia's California campus shares a border with Livermore's main site. The services that will be provided include the monitoring of alarms and dispatch of security personnel, tactical response to alarms, traffic safety, law enforcement services, explosive detection, vehicle searches, site-wide access control and security personnel training. Johnson said a Request for Proposals is likely to be released in June with an award scheduled for October.

May 18, 2009 1:17 PM

Lab Morale Hits Bottom

Anonymous said...

Morale is so low management has resorted to offering an incentive to get employees to volunteer for family day. One of the incentives is a lunch meeting with ULM. I would call that a disincentive but at least we know what ULM thinks of itself.

May 18, 2009 12:58 PM

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Expired Hand Sanitizer!

So, did anyone else notice the "free" Hand Sanitizer the lab is handing out is EXPIRED?

Lab Make Over

Anonymous said...

What is with all of the tree trimming, road repaving, tree planting, shrub pruning and mountains of tan bark? Does anyone know how much this costing the programs?

May 14, 2009 6:54 AM

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Monday, May 11, 2009

Yet more training.

Anonymous said...

Have you taken IS0012-W and seen the new work control program? This is another step towards stopping all work except bureaucratic paperwork. What group of idiots sold this?

May 11, 2009 5:20 PM

Saturday, May 9, 2009

The proposed LLNL 2010 budget is down 7 million

Anonymous said...

The proposed LLNL 2010 budget is down 7 million from last year. Not bad but will Congress approve it? Repubs are already whining that the cuts aren't deep enough.

May 7, 2009 5:55 PM

A post on the LANL blog

Anonymous said...

A post on the LANL blog says that there will be 3% salary package this year with non-retroactive raises coming in January.

May 4, 2009 5:08 PM

NIF is dumping people

Anonymous said...

NIF is dumping people. Unknown why but rumor has it that they are getting rid of dead wood.

May 4, 2009 5:06 PM

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Complete the UPTE-CWA health and safety survey today!


Important Notice: Complete the UPTE-CWA health and safety survey today!
UPTE-CWA E-Bulletin: May 05, 2009
(1) TX/RX Strike Threat Forces Bargaining to Start, But UC Trumps Up Dismissal of UPTE Negotiator and Continues Unilateral Changes
(2) Complete Health and Safety Survey Today to Support Contract Demands
(3) UC/Bechtel Eliminates Retiree Health Benefits For Livermore, Who’s Next?
(4) Educate Yourself About May 19 Special Election Ballot Initiatives

(1) Berkeley TX/RX Strike Forces Bargaining to Start, But UC Trumps Up Dismissal of UPTE Negotiator and Continues Unilateral Changes
We have good news and bad news. The good news is that after 13 months of bargaining, UC has finally put a proposal on the table that is more than 0%. UC is offering 1% for each of the three years of the contract, plus a step increase in the third year. All increases in the last year depend on the state budget. So with a poor state budget, this offer really adds up to 2% spread over 3 years. While UC packaged this wage offer as part of a comprehensive settlement, none of the other articles were different than what they had previously presented. In an effort to get bargaining moving, the UPTE team immediately made counter offers on wages and health and safety issues, leaving the ball in UC’s court.

The bad news is that UC continues to implement parking and health benefit cost increases instead of bargaining them as they are legally obligated to do. UC also continues to refuse to provide critical information regarding the pension plan that we requested 2 years ago.

Worse news yet, UC has brought its union-busting campaign of our bargaining team to a new low. On transparently trumped up charges, the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab has told UPTE bargainer Victor Dorsett that they intend to dismiss him. Dorsett (he goes by his last name) was already being forced by management to follow additional procedures and have different quality standards because of his union activity. Now UC has used these exceptional standards and procedures to set him up for dismissal. Every one of the UPTE’s bargainers has been negatively impacted at their jobs because of their union activity. UC human resources have refused to take responsibility, giving union-busting managers the green light to break the law.

As long as UC continues to unilaterally implement changes and harass our bargainers, the bargaining process remains broken. We have demanded the immediate rescission of the intent to dismiss Victor Dorsett (see letter to John Cammidge, UC’s associate vice president for human resources).

We are compelled to proceed with the strike of our Berkeley local unless UC fulfils these demands prior to Wednesday, May 6.

On all other campuses, we call on members to attend support actions and also to fill out a strike pledge card today. If UC continues its illegal bargaining practices, we must have a strong statewide strike threat to force them to negotiate fairly.

(2) Complete Health and Safety Survey Today to Support Contract Demands
If you have not done so yet, fill out the UPTE Health and Safety Survey today. The survey is in memoriam for Sheri Sangji who died on January 16, 2009 as a result of laboratory accident at UC Los Angeles.

(3) UC/Bechtel Eliminate Retiree Health Benefits for Livermore, Who’s Next?
In a stunning setback, the Lawrence Livermore National Lab has replaced retiree health benefits with an annual check of $2400. This applies to those who retired when the lab was still run by UC as well as all current employees. LLNL is now run by a private limited liability corporation of which UC is a 50% owner.

This blow to those who can least afford it is a grim reminder that all our current retiree health benefits are not guaranteed. We are bargaining to have these benefits locked into our contract.

UPTE-CWA retirees and activists will be working with Livermore retirees to restore retiree health benefits.

(4) Educate Yourself About May 19 Special Ballot Initiatives
The initiatives on the May 19 Special Election ballot are complex and could have a great impact on all of us. UPTE-CWA has not taken a position on the initiatives, but strongly encourages you to review the State of California Vote Information Guide and remember to vote.

The UPTE E-Bulletin is prepared by UPTE-CWA President Jelger Kalmijn for all members.
If you have any questions or comments, please do not hesitate to write him at

UPTE-CWA 9119 | P.O. Box 4443, Berkeley, CA 94704 | 510.704.8783 |

For corrections, add and removal requests,
send email to

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

"US unemployment rate" chart looks parabolic

Anonymous said...

"US unemployment rate" chart looks parabolic: Unemployment

Not a good time to be looking for a job.

I received from LLNS my TCP1 (Defined Benefit Pension) summary notice

Anonymous said...

I received from LLNS my TCP1 (Defined Benefit Pension) summary notice as required by the Pension Protection Act of 2006. Since the plan has only been around for a year and half there's limited information and its from Jan 1, 2008. As of that date there were 3927 in the plan - 3915 active and 12 retired/separated but not getting benefits yet. Based on what was in the "Funding Target Attainment Percentage" table the plan was at 209.62% of its funding target - $1.65 Billion in assets and $790 Million in liabilities. 109% more than what is required to pay lifetime pensions to all the participants in TCP1.

There was another section in the summary text called "Fair Market Value of Assets" and it was said to offer a "clearer picture of a plan's funded status as of a given point in time." This was as of Dec 31, 2008 - $1.3 Billion in assets and $882 Million in liabilities. My calculation puts TCP1 at 147.91% of necessary funding or 47% overfunded.

Am I understanding this information correctly? how does this compare to current UCRP numbers?

May 4, 2009 6:59 AM

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Kaiser co payment now double or triple!

Anonymous said...

Just went to renew my meds, and contrary to what I was told, the copayments are double or triple. I am a retiree- took the buyout, and glad I did! Before, meds were a 90 day supply for one copayment. We were told that the 2009 copayment would only cover 30 days of meds, unless we used Kaiser's mail program, in which case it would cover 90 days, like before. But Kaiser now charges 2 copayments, even if you use the mail. Now $10 for generics, and $25 for non.

NOTE: You gotta fight Kaiser for everything?

At this rate many generics cost less if you forget about your coverage, and just pay the cost of the meds, at Kaisers' member rate. Also ask for a whole bottle. Atenolol costs $10 for 50 pills, (100 days), or $10.50 for 100. Others are similar.

Q. Have others had this problem? How can they possibly say this is "substantially equivalent?" What can we do?


May 2, 2009 10:56 AM

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