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Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The truth about reclassification

The SPSE said this last year about the 200 reclassification (Thank you SPSE!):

The first ever reclassification of professionals at the Lab is in progress and is expected to be implemented early in 2010. The Scientist and Engineers Classification Project (internal Lab link) started last year with an announcement in the October 20th Newsline. The project started with recommendations from the Compensation Review Board that were released in August of last year.
After months of work by a select committee of 200-series employees charged with defining new job classification levels within the 200 series (Scientists and Engineers), the final model (internal Lab link), approved by LLNS and DOE, has been released. The purpose of this reclassification project is ostensibly to provide a clearly defined career promotion path for scientists and engineers. But, if this were its true purpose, why do the classification levels, IC-1 through IC-5, look much like the current rank groups?
The effect of placing all 200-series employees in these new IC levels will basically be to lock-in the current rank order. The good thing about that is no more dramatic drops in ranking from one year to the next, as some employees have experienced in the past. The bad thing is that it will likely be even more difficult to move up, too. Have you ever asked your supervisor what you have to do to move up a rank group? Were you given a “clear path” of how to do that?
There is another, more serious downside to this proposed reclassification. To explain, a little historical background is required first. The Lab used to have classification levels for scientists and engineers. In the late ‘70s SPSE played a prominent role in bringing about the California Public Records Act (CPRA). As UC employees, information on salaries for all public-sector employees in California became publicly available. With pay and promotion practices of Lab management open to scrutiny, discriminatory practices began to become more and more apparent, leading eventually to a number of discrimination complaints and lawsuits. Instead of correcting the discriminatory practices, Lab management simply eliminated the classification levels.
We lost a lot of things at the transition to private company management of the Lab, but arguably the most important thing we lost is access to information under the CPRA. This is why you no longer see salary data or SPSE’s publication of the yearly S-curve. Since there is no longer openness and transparency in pay and promotion practices, the job reclassification process is sure to become just as arbitrary and corrupt as the ranking process has been.
We welcome your feedback and comments on this article. Please respond by sending comments to, and we will publish a synopsis so there will be an open channel for comments on the S&E Classification Project other than the one picked by management.


Anonymous said...

The main purpose of this reclassification is to reduce the budget for salaries for non-management. Salary ceilings will be created for each job category. Workers will be paced in the lowest possible category to limit their wages and raises. Management will also make it impossible to be promoted to the next level, thereby freezing the salaries of most workers.

Anonymous said...

February 17, 2010 5:35 AM

This is exactly what LLNL was told almost four years ago and LLNS denied it during the question and answer session. One more LIE, hah ? We told you then you wouldn't be able to trust them and again we were right.

Anonymous said...

Do you people really believe what you write? Seriously. The place is flawed but the level of autonomy is still very high outside of B111. There almost certainly is no organized conspiracy to hold you down and if there is it only goes a level or two up the management chain from where you currently are.

Anonymous said...

"Do you people really believe what you write?" (7:02 AM)

Do YOU really believe what YOU write, 7:02 AM. And to succinctly answer your question... yes, we do.

Anonymous said...

Management will also make it impossible to be promoted to the next level, thereby freezing the salaries of most workers.

The salary bands for each category will move each year. And the group leaders will fight to get people moved up every year just like they do and should.

Anonymous said...

You have to give February 18, 2010 7:02 AM some credit. The overall problem with NIF taking every resource and driving the overheads to unheard of levels has made many people at the division level and below (mostly the leadership) petty and self-serving in order to maintain their own projects.

Anonymous said...

Staff salaries will be constrained, and yet project costs have been going way up... something does not add up here!

All that the "for-profit" LLCs seem to have added to the NNSA labs are huge layers of over paid upper management.

Anonymous said...

7:02 AM here. Yes, I do very much believe what I say. People just don't function the way some of you seem to believe and conspiracies don't extend beyond a few people at most if they want to remain secret. Heck, at the lab a conspiracy of more than one isn't going to last long given the way the gossip mill works.

I don't see some grand conspiracy at the management level. I see a lot of flawed human beings just like you and I doing their best for the most part. Sadly some of them are nowhere near the level of competence they need to be effective and the flawed ranking and appraisal process does little or nothing to shield those below from harm or aide in identifying those bad managers.

Anonymous said...

All this discussion of job reclassification of professionals is wasting time, unless there is a TRUE system put in place of performance appraisals tied to salary increases via mathematical formula instead of opinion. LLNS needs to adopt a system where salary ranges (minimum/midpoint/maximum) are KNOWN to everyone and used when configuring "pay for performance" adjustments to an individual salary. The current Ranking and Rating process is purposely kept out of the average worker's view, and in this writer's opinion leads to capricious and arbitrary salary decisions.


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