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Saturday, August 11, 2012
Lab Retirees Form New Group!
Lab Retirees Form New Group Independent Newspaper August 10, 2012 12:00 am | By Janet Armantrout +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Concerns over the ability to speak out on issues, particularly health care, has led the Lab Retirees Association to separate from Livermore Laboratory Employees Service Association (LLESA). Livermore Laboratory Retirees Association (LLRA) declared its independence on July 24. In a letter sent to the Lab , the new association wrote that they believe the Lab had redefined the group’s role. A letter from Goodman sent last October stated that the primary purpose of the retirees association as “social in nature.” He continued, “Members of the Retiree Group should not give advice on health benefit coverage or any other benefits to other retirees.” Carole Hilton, chairman of LLRA, pointed out that the by-laws ratified in 2001 have been on file with LLESA. She said that the purpose of the retirees association, as stated in the by-laws, “. . . . is to keep members fully aware of their retirement benefits; to provide a means for bettering the lot of members by working with other retiree organization; and to offer LLNL management the accumulated knowledge, experience, and judgement of the members.” Hilton stated, “Goodman’s letter effectively neutered the by-laws.” She added, “We believe that separating from LLESA and reorganizing as an independent non-profit group will allow us to more effectively serve our membership by sharing information and advocating for improved benefits.” The decision to separate was made after polling the membership. She used as an example of restrictions on advocacy the recent lawsuit filed by Joe Requa aimed at restoring UC coverage for medical benefits. Association members were prohibited from commenting on the lawsuit. Goodman’s letter stated that LLESA recognized that there may be a need for a separate advocacy group made up of retirees for retirees. . . . the current retirees group is not that group. Linda Seaver, a spokesperson for the Lab, stated, “It is my understanding that the retirees are separating because they wanted a more active role in advocacy. We are sorry to see them go. However, we understand why they want to leave.” Recently, the UC Regents extended insurance coverage to all retiree groups within the system. Hilton explained that since retirees were UC employees while at the Lab, the new group qualifies for coverage. The new retiree group will continue as active members of the Council of University of California Retiree Associations (CUCRA). Jeff Garberson is the Information Officer for CUCRA, a consortium of the Retiree Associations of nine University of California campuses. Garberson is also vice-chair of LLRA. Hilton stated, “LLNL’s attempt to squelch our freedom of speech is inconsistent with the policies of the UC campuses, where the various campus retiree associations take an active part in advocating for their membership with both campus and University management.” Seaver said she isn’t aware of the rules regarding UC retiree groups. She pointed out that the Lab is no longer a member of the UC system. Hilton said that the letter from Goodman indicated that all property, including monies would be returned to LLESA. Seaver explained that Any money received by a group from LLESA must be returned. Hilton said the bank account is empty. The decision was made in January not to collect dues until a determination was made on whether or not to separate from the Lab. Hilton raised another issue, which she says is troubling to retirees. That is lack of access to the Lab. She explained that many employees believe that they have expertise that would be valuable to the Lab. Shortened: to see whole article: =============================================================================== http://www.independentnews.com/news/article_c9146ed2-e252-11e1-9605-001a4bcf887a.html
By scooby at August 11, 2012
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