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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 authors serve as moderators. For new topics or suggestions, email jlscoob5@gmail.com

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Email Chu

Remind Secretary Chu of what the best and brightest mean. I found a recent comment on this Blog that says it nicely. Cut and paste this excerpt and email him


The.Secretary@hq.doe.gov


Excerpt:
The administration continually touts the "best and brightest" mantra, and why this is so critical to the national security mission for the country. But the contrary message in Friday's announcement is "we can't afford to pay them." Furthermore, this is a continuation of a disturbing trend. For the last several years, the LLNL salary package for scientists and engineers has been in the 1-3% range (data can be found on SPSE.org), while inflation has run in the 3-4% range nationally, and substantially higher in the Bay area.

In the past, justifications have been the benefits package and comparisons to other high tech companies. Pre-transition, the UC benefits were superior to what is typical elsewhere, but post-transition this is no longer the case. Staff hired under LLNS are not eligible for the pension plan, and a 6% 401k match is not atypically generous. The other benefits (medical, dental, vision, legal and term life insurance plans) are also comparable.

The remaining justification is compatibility with similar high tech employers. The fallacy in this approach is that there really aren't other comparable employers; the nuclear security mission is a fundamental difference. These jobs require US citizenship and the ability to obtain and maintain a security clearance, and the specific skills needed are unique to defense programs. Furthermore, the environment in which the Labs work imposes additional restrictions on publishing and collaboration. Thus, the talent pool is significantly smaller that that available to Boeing or Schlumberger or Google. If the Labs only offer comparable employment to other companies, where is the incentive to the next generation of best and brightest? And why should the current staff stay?

How things change: last February, Vice President Biden announced the need to put more money into the Laboratories to cover just such issues as I've raised above in order to ensure future confidence in the Nuclear Posture Review. Now, you announce a salary freeze which exacerbates all the issues the Vice President raised.

16 comments:

Anonymous said...

Dear Secretary Chu,

We would like to extend our most sincerest gratitude for freezing the salaries of our employees. Per our agreement, we have been reducing the salaries in the limit as they approach zero, however, this courageous decision was clearly required. This decision will also continue to successfully erode the morale and capability of our National Labs. Also, we will use this "extra money" wisely by "pumping up" our Managers salaries. As we had promised, you will be given a honorary lifetime emeritus position at the National Laboratory of your choice when you are eventually "ousted" from your Secretarial political appointment. Thanks again for taking the heat off us and put it squarely on your (NNSA) back.

Mikey, George, and Paul

Anonymous said...

Dear Secretary Chu,

I want to thank you for freezing our salaries.
It makes it much easier to leave.

Bye.

Anonymous said...

Dear Secretary Chu,
You failed us!
Congress failed us when they privatized management of th e national labs!
You failed us because you are not putting your money where your mouth is. Don't you dare say we are the Labs' most previous asset!

Anonymous said...

I meant precious asset!

Anonymous said...

New Year's resolution: I quit!
By Jessica Dickler, staff writerDecember 23, 2010: 7:39 AM ET


NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Employers watch out: Your workers can't wait to quit.

According to a recent survey by job-placement firm Manpower, 84% of employees plan to look for a new position in 2011. That's up from just 60% last year.

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Most employees have sat tight through the recession, not even considering other jobs because so few firms were hiring. For the past few years, the Labor Department's quits rate, which serves as a barometer of workers' ability to change jobs, has hovered near an all-time low.

But after years of increased work and frozen compensation, "a lot of people will be looking because they're disappointed with their current jobs," said Paul Bernard, a veteran executive coach and career management advisor who runs his own firm.

Anonymous said...

If you think the previous years of stagnant salaries for non-managers, 2 year long pay freeze and cuts in benefits are bad for lab morale, just wait until Dr. Chu and NNSA announce the need to "right-size" the weapon labs by instituting a round of strategic layoffs.

Watch their actions, not their talk. Their talk is cheap and worse than meaningless. Morale -- as bad as it has become -- probably has much, much further to fall.

Anonymous said...

I have been out of the lab for a while and working part time on with various firms and I can tell you that no one, noda, zip; cares about the pay or employment at the labs unless they are looking for a job. Most of the general public does not even know what is going on at the labs; much less care and Chu and other know this. There are many talented people in the world that can fill the ranks at the labs as people leave.
I suspect that all of this bickering and complaining about the pay freeze is people blowing off steam; however, your actions will have little effect on changing things since the labs are but a small fraction of the voting population. Most of the folks working at the labs will just take what is offered and go on about their jobs.
The best thing you can do is improve your skills, go back to school, network, and then find somewhere else to work. If you are planning to stay tied to the labs, then learn to put up with pay freezes, salary reductions, increase in benefit costs, more rules and regulations, and a government that does not really care about you.
You see DOE and other government departments and agencies only care about the programs and projects; not the individuals that manage and work in them. And once they quit caring about the projects and programs, the only thing that will matter is cleaning up the sites as they close down the labs.
This is the ugly reality of post-cold war labs and a department of energy that gets little attention from anyone.

Anonymous said...

I am happy to contribute my future raises to help pay for the tax cuts we are giving to the wealthiest 2% of Americans. Thanks, republicans!

Anonymous said...

You are welcome, December 29, 2010 10:41 AM! Glad I could help! (By the way, you didn't "give me a tax cut" you just didn't increase my taxes.) Thanks again!

Anonymous said...

Would someone please explain how freezing Lab workers salaries saves the government money? My understanding is that raises are taken from the labs operating costs, only issue is that DOE authorizes the amount recommended by the Labs. What did I miss? Someone had better keep a close eye on where the Lab Directors ensconce this money that was going to used for raises.

Anonymous said...

I guess the writer of Dec 30 did not comprehend what the writer of Dec 29 was saying, or he his just not swift enough to understand the tax package.

Anonymous said...

Let's be perfectly clear about a few facts:

The powers in DC don't care about the Labs or the scientists, they haven't since the Berlin Wall came down, and this is a bi-partisan value. Our "leaders" have undermined the Labs continuously for 20 years and this pay freeze is just the latest salvo.

"Shared sacrifice" is only for the little people, not the upper crust whether its the tax payers making over $250K or the Lab's executives. BTW, the Venn diagram has complete overlap here.

The collective Lab rank and file are going to have to simply suck it.

Anonymous said...

I guess the writer of Dec 30 did not comprehend what the writer of Dec 29 was saying, or he his just not swift enough to understand the tax package.

December 31, 2010 7:55 PM

What I understand (and apparently you don't) is that the result of congressional action is that tax rates are exactly the same as they've been for 8 years. That's not "giving a tax cut" to anyone. It's declining to raise taxes on anyone. Or would you call any tax rate lower than the record highs in the early 80's a "tax cut"?

Anonymous said...

For those in TCP-1 close to retirement age, the financial impact of the salary freeze alters the optimized time to retire calculation, moving the optimum time forward substantially because COLAs still apply to retirement benefits.

I expect many more TCP-1 retirements over this year, as senior employees realize this long freeze costs them thousands of lost retirement income per year, and work to minimize the negative impact by retiring as soon as they hit the age 60 maximum age factor.

Anonymous said...

Dear Secretary Chu,

Thank you for your New Year's presents.

The salary freeze made it a snap to decide to retire. Though the freeze will cost a few thousand per year in retirement, an unavoidable loss, it removes the financial incentive to stay a day past age 60.

Your other generous present is a lower key work environment. With no wage increase to worry about, we need not strive excessively, nor trouble ourselves.

This is not the terminus envisaged after years of effort, but it will do.

Gun Ho Fat Ch-oi

Anonymous said...

"For those in TCP-1 close to retirement age, the financial impact of the salary freeze alters the optimized time to retire calculation, moving the optimum time forward substantially because COLAs still apply to retirement benefits." - 4:52 PM


Brilliant observation. I'm gone. I've had enough! I can do far better by retiring right now and taking a job at a saner institution not run by DOE morons!

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