Monday, October 14, 2013

LLNL faces closure

Lawrence Livermore lab faces closure under shutdown San Francisco Chronicle October 11, 2013 Washington -- Two national laboratories in the Bay Area will close Oct. 21 if the partial government shutdown continues, resulting in the furloughs of more than 7,000 employees, members of Congress said Friday. Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in Livermore is the largest, with 6,500 workers. Roughly 1,000 more work at the Livermore campus of the Sandia National Laboratories. Both sites test nuclear arms and maintain the nation's weapon stockpiles. They also conduct research in alternative energy. Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Dublin, whose district includes Lawrence Livermore and Sandia, said the labs have been operating on funds from existing contracts that will run out in a week if the partial shutdown drags on. The two nuclear labs "were told Oct. 21 is the last day they can use what they received from their government contract service agreements," Swalwell said. A spokesman for the Lawrence Livermore lab directed questions to the National Nuclear Security Administration in Washington, which seeks preparations for an "orderly" shutdown. Officials at the agency could not be reached. The Bay Area is also home to the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, which employs 4,200 scientists, engineers and support staff, conducting scientific research across many disciplines. A spokesman there said the lab has no plans to shut down Oct. 21. In Menlo Park, the Slac National Accelerator Laboratory employs more than 1,500 scientists and engineers conducting advanced scientific research. The lab intends to stay open beyond Oct. 21, a spokesman said. All four Bay Area labs are owned by the government but operated by contractors, usually a consortium of universities and private companies. As a result, they've been able so far to avoid laying off employees, unlike government agencies that have furloughed 800,000 workers. The federal government largely closed Oct. 1 when House Republicans refused to pass funding legislation unless it included provisions to dismantle or delay the Affordable Care Act. Negotiations continued Friday between the White House and House and Senate Republicans on a possible path forward. The House has unanimously passed legislation to pay furloughed government workers. Although the Senate has not taken up the bill, the approval by House Republicans all but guarantees federal workers will eventually be paid for the two weeks and counting that they have been furloughed. As contractors, however, workers at national laboratories would have no such guarantee. No legislation has been approved that covers contractors. Swalwell said the Department of Energy, which runs the contracts for the labs, has authority to pay the workers once the labs reopen without requiring a separate act of Congress. Swalwell drafted a letter to Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz asking that the department work with the labs to provide back pay to anyone furloughed. He has signatures from Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., Rep. Jeff Denham, R-Turlock (Stanislaus County), and several Bay Area Democrats including Reps. Zoe Lofgren of San Jose, Barbara Lee of Oakland and Anna Eshoo of Palo Alto. All have labs in their districts. The four Bay Area labs are among seven nationwide that together employ about 30,000 workers, many of them research scientists and engineers. The others are the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico, the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee and the Argonne National Laboratory in Illinois. Swalwell scheduled a town hall meeting at 1:30 p.m. Sunday at the Martinelli Event Center in Livermore to address questions about the possible furloughs.

19 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thanks Tea Party terrorists!

Anonymous said...

Thanks Tea Party terrorists!

There now you've said it....crawl back under your bed.

Anonymous said...

Yes, thank you terrorist in chief

Anonymous said...

No young person is ever going to want to work at LLNL.

Anonymous said...

Just remember that the Republican-controlled House passed the Energy and Water bill in June/July. The Democratic-controlled Senate ignored it.

Enjoy what Diane and Barbra have wrought.

Anonymous said...

Enjoy what Diane and Barbra have wrought.

October 14, 2013 at 7:13 PM

Don't forget Prince Harry.

Anonymous said...

This is really hard on my morale. Who are these folks?

Anonymous said...

Take a breath. Don't think too hard.

Anonymous said...

Will LLNL security make a temporary exception to employee use of marijuana while they are furloughed?

Anonymous said...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wIy9nddRTJo

Let it burn!!!!!

Anonymous said...

The furlough at the Labs will never happen folks! Obama is just using the Labs as "pawns" to broker leverage to get the budget resolved. What a farce this whole state of fear that employees of LANS/LLNS are being hostage over!

Anonymous said...

Bad timing for LLNS morale and workforce retention challenges:

http://www.contracostatimes.com/contracostatimes/ci_24316671/east-bay-national-labs-brace-shutdowns

"Greener Pastures" in the South Bay's "tech sector" job market:

http://www.contracostatimes.com/news/ci_24317544/bay-area-job-market-at-five-year-high

Anonymous said...

nice to see other strong employment options emerging now that the job and housing markets are heating up.

Privatized, 401 k'od, LLNL is a much different place to work in 2013 than UC-run LLNL was through 2007. The skunky smell of decay is Not necessarily all bad for employees.

Expect a large of exodus young personnel who now, under contact 44, lack the incentive to stay long term.

In the past losses in key technologies even in the face of strong UC retention incentives incited a quiet panic among lab leaders. Over a few years the personnel losses lead to raises in the 3 -5% over the cost of living.

Now with a much sullied reputation as a mere contractor, LLNS will need to compensate even more dearly to hire or retain. Why work for petulant, pecuniary, ossified NNSA when Apple, Google, start-ups, Intel and Booz Allen are waving cash, compensation and satisfaction at you?

Over time YOU may get better compensated to stay in the new crappier LLNS-lead workplace, compensated to forgoe the natural urge to seek desirable, happy, stable well-paid workplaces.

The CTO of Twitter knows IT well and is paid $12m per year. The CTO of LLNL down the street must know IT almost as well, and must certify the technological aspects of the once and future nuclear stockpile as well. Worth something? As soon as the good candidates leave, you betcha. McMillan wasn't just blowing a Colorado smoke ring when he said few can do his job well.

Good luck, whereever you end up. NNSA had its chance and went cheap. Soon is the reckoning.

Anonymous said...

I am not sure lab leaders are smart enough to panic. LLNS is a different beast. Content following rules. There is no natural scholarly competition for excellence. Risk averse compliance does not note a loss of talent.

Time and technology will one day demand new packages. Will this private contractor be able?

A look at the dying talent in the LLNL obituary should scare an old hand. Doubtful Parney can measure what is lost as he seeks his yearly contract incentives.

Anonymous said...

LLNS is a different beast...

Can you imaging a Lawrence, Teller, Hausman, May or Emmett growing a giant program here, now? They'd be ignored.

Anonymous said...

or jailed

Anonymous said...

With FY10, and FY11 pay freezes, sketchy programmatic funding, overpaid managers that can't innovate or engineer, and now the shutdown circus, (with LLNS shutdown 2.0 around the corner), the seeds of a mass exodus have been planted. There will be no reversal for this trend in the near term now that the Bay Area tech sector market is taking off.
The LLNS response: A new set of glossy recruitment flyers. Of course that is a tool of attraction not retention.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous Anonymous said...
No young person is ever going to want to work at LLNL.

October 14, 2013 at 6:19 PM


Kinda hard to with all the dead weight still hanging around

Anonymous said...

Kinda hard to with all the dead weight still hanging around

October 17, 2013 at 3:35 PM

Yeah, every new generation thinks it knows more than the last one, and can do it better, etc. No willingness to learn from experience, and absolute surprise and horror when their lack of experience bites them in the butt because they wouldn't listen. Go get'em, young'uns! I'll try not to get any on me when you hit the fan.

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