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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 jlscoob5@gmail.com

Thursday, October 30, 2014

All hands: Where is George?

First- A publicity video for the lab was running in a loop at the beginning - it was really awkward - says our "mission is discovery". More like, our mission is "practical solutions for National Security" - we are a weapons lab not a science lab. It shows a bicycle ride around the lab on "mission discovery" - whoever authorized that video is so out of touch it is truly embarrassing.
Next, All Hands Presentation - Unbelievably he presented almost the same highlights as at the last All Hands meeting - High Foot, 191 NIF shots, additive manufacturing, bio assay, wind power. Several slides on safety. They really need to consider going back to the slideshow featuring closer to 100 highlights at the end of All Hands presentations. I can't believe I'm nostalgic for George's All Hands meetings - but he and Parney were much more inclusive and got a lot closer to covering the whole lab instead of the same few select favorites each time. Apparently there was a great question from an audience member at the end, but I stopped watching - maybe someone else can fill us in.

52 comments:

Anonymous said...

Bill is a good guy, but not a very inspiring speaker.

Anonymous said...

I'm OK with earnest sincerity.

Anonymous said...

I want to applaud the guy at the end who had the courage to stand up and say what many of us have been thinking for a long time. He made some great points. Unfortunately management doesn't want to hear those things and likely believes he is the only one with that opinion.

Anonymous said...

The statement made by our brave co-worker are all true and needed to be said NOW more than ever. I watched on TV and even tho the audience did not applaud i did in my office.

Anonymous said...

So what did he say?

Anonymous said...

Go to the MyLLNL page and scroll down to more news for the rebroadcast times. Hopefully they did not edit it out. But it wouldn't surprise me if management cut's it.

Anonymous said...

So will someone please summarize what was said by the guy at the end and any response to him. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

"...So will someone please summarize what was said by the guy at the end and any response to him. Thank you..."

Cricket, cricket...

Anonymous said...

"...So will someone please summarize what was said by the guy at the end and any response to him. Thank you..."


It was crazy what was said but you have to see it for yourself it really cannot be said in words on the blog. It is mind-blowing, I will tell you that.

Anonymous said...

Sure it was.

Anonymous said...

It was crazy. I could not believe my ears! Totally unexpected. Where did he get the nerve to ask that.

Anonymous said...

OK, this is getting stupid. Some one spill the beans or everyone just STFU.

Anonymous said...

The obvious fear of saying anything is speaking volumes.

Anonymous said...

Some guy with a nervous sounding voice basically read a statement and asked for an end to the mandatory 7% wage decrease that is being used to fund some retirement program. He talked about being undervalued and something about how a person would never treat their wife in such a disrespectful way.

It was awkward as hell.

I'm new to the lab, but the obvious answer is to go work somewhere else. The end.

Anonymous said...

Talk about being married to the lab. Problem is, lab management does not view the relationship that way at all. If they ever did, it was pre-LLNS, and before the mass layoffs driven by George Miller himself as President of LLNS.

Anonymous said...

"...Our Priorities

Provide a first-class workplace environment to our employees...."

Where employees are defined as "at will", replaceable, and unappreciated commodities, and we strive to attract and retain the best of them willing to be defined as such.


Anonymous said...

"...Problem is, lab management does not view the relationship that way at all. If they ever did, it was pre-LLNS, and before the mass layoffs driven by George Miller himself as President of LLNS..."

No no. You have George mischaracterized. In his "All Hands" meetings, George said we were part of his "extended family".

Anonymous said...

"Provide a first-class workplace environment to our employees...."

Blah, blah, blah. Has any director ever said the opposite? It's a meaningless motherhood statement.

And everyone knows the statement is not true. The workforce environment has disintegrated over the last 5-10 years. This is seen in many ways: funding stresses, increasing bureaucracy, inability to perform work, absurd overhead, at will employment, an increasing corporate management style, decreasing benefits, ridiculous rules, dishonest management, reduced employee services, non-existent morale, etc. Granted, some of these are outside the control of Lab management but others are within their control.

The HVAC system in my building is non-functional. My office temperature has ranged from 58 (in the middle of the summer) to 92 degrees. It's been like this for 2-3 years. How in the bleeping heck is anyone supposed to do their job in this type of "first class work environment?"

Seriously. How has the work environment improved over the last 10 years? How is it "first class?"

Bottled water in the big jugs is now an unallowable cost. While this may be trivial, it represents the absurdity of our work environment. I think there is a Dilbert cartoon about this.

Like many TCP1 employees, I am simply biding my time. I cannot imagine the amount of turnover when their are no more incentives to keep employees at the Lab.

Anonymous said...

No no. You have George mischaracterized. In his "All Hands" meetings, George said we were part of his "extended family".

Does this mean that everyone is invited to George's house for Thanksgiving dinner? Count me in.

Anonymous said...

George was never the emotional "softy" he appeared to be when the cameras were rolling.

Anonymous said...

"...Where employees are defined as "at will", replaceable, and unappreciated commodities, and we strive to attract and retain the best of them willing to be defined as such..."

We will dip well below "unacceptable" employee morale and retention levels before the NNSA LFO gets a clue outside of what LLNS is feeding them.

Anonymous said...

Probably more than 10%. Bill said there was a net loss all year, and I'll bet the brain drain was worse earlier in the FY.

Anonymous said...


"Probably more than 10%. Bill said there was a net loss all year, and I'll bet the brain drain was worse earlier in the FY.

November 2, 2014 at 6:23 PM"

Since safety and security are the biggest factor in the contract less people can be seen as a bonus.

Anonymous said...

One of the things I recall from the brave employee who spoke at the end was a great analogy of how if a husband treated his wife the way LLNS treats employees... Something like every year on your anniversary you give your wife a gift, then say well I don't know if I'll give you a gift, I'll tell you in 3 months. And it MIGHT be retroactive. I'll decide later. It was a great way to describe they type of shenanigans LLNS keeps playing on us. He said a lot more but that one stuck out to me. I applauded quietly in my office.

Anonymous said...

The guy at the end was awkward as hell. How anyone can defend what he said is mind-boggling. He equated working at the lab with being a battered wife. I don't know about you, but I'm not quite sure being gainfully employed and continuing to be paid - even if the wage has stagnated - is at all comparable to domestic violence.

As a relatively new hire and someone on TCP2, it's getting really old hearing the same damned TCP1 questions asked over and over again, ad nauseum, at each DAH presentation. I feel like all Q&As should allow one TCP1 contribution gripe, one lab governance gripe, and then allow the rest of us to ask questions that haven't been answered a million times by lab management.

You're employed at will. If you hate the environment so much, please leave. No one is making you work here against your will. Go grace someplace else with your presence. Oh wait … all you've done is work at LLNL for 40 years? You have nothing aside from the laurels of missions competed 30 years ago to fall back on? You've spent the last 20 years hoping we'd return to nuclear testing in order to provide some purpose to your now meaningless position? You've spent the last 10 years hating the fact that the piper must be paid when missions, managers, etc. change? Wow … and now you wake up today, longing for the good old days, when in reality they weren't THAT good, and you're just bitter that no one is going to hold your hand, scratch your back, or give you that sense of entitlement that you've grown so accustomed to after a career of having your ass kissed and your ego stoked. GTFO and let the rest of us get the job done.

Anonymous said...

GTFO and let the rest of us get the job done.

November 3, 2014 at 11:06 AM

So what "job" are you getting done. Wiping NNSAs ass?

Anonymous said...

Wow, this thread makes me glad I left years ago. That, and the 30% raise plus a signing bonus.

Anonymous said...

or give you that sense of entitlement that you've grown so accustomed

Decent working conditions are not an entitlement.

You don't think it is a problem when the temperature in my office and throughout my building ranges from 58 to 92, and the Laboratory has done nothing even after repeated requests/complaints over the last two years? The only reason I bring this up is because it is symptomatic of across-the-board Laboratory problems.

But I agree with you. People who don't like it can leave. Just like a battered wife or a battered husband can leave a violent relationship (you're the one making this analogy), Laboratory employees don't need to remain at a dysfunctional organization.

I've been headhunted by other organizations - commercial and academic - but I don't leave due to high compensation and a rapidly increasing pension. Do I care when the outside temperature is over 100 degrees and every office in my building has a space heater set to maximum? No. Do I care that I perform next to no productive work yet cost the taxpayer over $500K/yr? No. Do I care that the Laboratory is a dying entity with no significant useful mission. No. The Laboratory does nothing to inspire an enthusiastic work environment so I give the same in return. Biding my time.

I didn't watch the Director's talk last week because every director regurgitates the same material. "We need to provide a first-class workplace environment." Yeah, right. I've never heard that before. I guess they've just been practicing up until now but this time they really mean it.

However, I just watched a web rebroadcast of the talk because I wanted to hear the person's comment at the end. I didn't think he sounded nervous or awkward. I thought he came across as sincere and made good comments. Good for him.

Anonymous said...

Decent working conditions are not an entitlement..

True, but it is reasonable to expect that effort is rewarded... behavior scientists call this expectancy theory.

If it is not abided, future effort is jeopardized.

Anonymous said...

November 3, 2014 at 11:06 AM

This post sums up the situation excellently. If you have problem with the lab than please leave, there are so many people out there that would love to have such a high paying job and anyone one of us could be replaced ten times over and probably by people willing to work for less. If you keep up the complaining this may just come to pass. I feel lucky to have this job and so should you. I might not have come from an Ivy level school and was not at the top of my class but I know a good job when I see it. We are at will and are most certainly not entitled to decent working conditions. I for one could imagine much worse working conditions. This is a job just like most other jobs in the United States and you people need to realize that. Why should we be special? You work here for a few years and if you see something better than you leave like everyone else in the workforce. Someone else wants your job and will do it far cheaper. Keep that in mind next time think you have it so rough.

Anonymous said...

it's getting really old hearing the same damned TCP1 questions...

Perhaps a bit of prespective would help. Your long-term coworkers are angry and unhappy that their total compensation has fallen.

Picture yourself in three years, when the lab halves your 401k match and reduces your salary 7%.

Angry and unhappy and ready to leave at a convenient time?

Anonymous said...

For long-term defined benefit plan participants, that age is around age 60.

For defined contribution participants who took their UC pension and kept working that time is never, they are double dipping well and will probably die of old age in their offices.

As a three-year retiree, I can say that most of it is good. I sometimes miss the work, and often miss coworkers, but I do not miss the bullshit one bit.

Not poor management, not the reduction of total compensation, nor the insulting layoffs, nor the Congressional detractors, the NNSA human resource liars and their LLNL-synchophants, nor the enviromental and safety NAZIs.

Anonymous said...

I am the one that made the statement following the All-Hands meeting.

I appreciate the fact that a few people were interested in what I said so here is what I said for those who want to read it:

GOOD MORNING, DIRECTOR,

I WOULD LIKE TO MAKE A BRIEF STATEMENT. I DO NOT WISH FOR ANYONE TO TAKE THE FOLLOWING COMMENTS AS A MEASURE OF DISRESPECT TOWARDS YOU, I AM DOING THIS OUT OF A SENSE OF PURE DESPERATION.

AS WE REFLECT UPON THE WONDERFUL ACHIEVEMENTS OF LLNL, IT MAKES ONE WONDER WHY OUR OVERSEERS HAVE SUCH A STRANGE WAY OF EXPRESSING THEIR GRATITUDE.

A YEAR DOES NOT PASS WITHOUT EXTRA DRAMA BEING ADDED TO THE WAGE REVIEW AND INCREASE PROCESS. ONE WONDERS IF THE PEOPLE MAKING THESE DECISIONS TREAT THEIR WIVES THE SAME WAY ON THEIR WEDDING ANNIVERSARY. DO THEY TELL THEIR LOVED ONE THAT THEIR SPECIAL DAY WILL BE DELAYED 3 MONTHS? PERHAPS EVERY YEAR? THAT THE GIFT MIGHT BE RETROACTIVE? THESE ACTIONS GIVE THE APPEARANCE THAT THE HUSBAND DOES NOT PLACE MUCH IMPORTANCE TOWARDS THE APPRECIATION OF HIS WIFE AND ONLY DOES SO BEGRUDGINGLY. WHY WOULD WE FEEL ANY DIFFERENT?

IN THE LAST 10 YEARS SALARIES IN MY CLASSIFICATION GROUP HAVE LAGGED 36 PERCENT BEHIND THE INFLATION RATE IN THE AREA WHERE WE LIVE, EVEN WITH PROMOTIONS AND RANK INCREASES. THE AMERICAN ETHIC WAS ALWAYS THAT YOU COULD MAKE A BETTER LIFE FOR YOURSELF BY BECOMING A BETTER EMPLOYEE. THAT CLEARLY IS NOT THE CASE FOR DOE/NNSA WORKERS.

WE UNFORTUNATELY WORK FOR A VERY TOXIC COMBINATION OF BIG GOVERNMENT AND BIG BUSINESS. WHEN EITHER ONE OF THOSE UNCOVERS A NEW REVENUE STREAM, THEY ARE VERY RELUCTANT TO GIVE IT UP. UNFORTUNATELY, THAT REVENUE STREAM IS OUR PAYCHECKS. IF THE VALUE OF MY PAYCHECK GOING DOWN 36% WASN'T BAD ENOUGH, LAB MANAGEMENT HAS DECIDED THAT TCP1 WORKERS SHOULD HAVE TO PAY FOR THE RETIREMENT PLAN WHICH WAS SOLD TO US AS A PERK. THEY EVEN DID THEIR BEST TO MAKE IT HURT AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE BY HAVING THE ANNOUNCED 7% REDUCTION IN ACTUALITY BE AN 11% LOWERING OF MY PAY. I WAS A FOOL TO TRUST YOU PEOPLE.

I FORMALLY CHALLENGE WHOEVER IS RESPONSIBLE FOR THIS TO APPEAR DIRECTLY ON THIS STAGE AND PRESENT A CLEAR EXIT STRATEGY FOR EMPLOYEE CONTRIBUTIONS TO THE RETIREMENT PLAN, UNFORTUNATELY I DON'T BELIEVE THOSE PEOPLE HAVE THE COURTESY OR COURAGE TO DO SO.

THANK YOU FOR GIVING ME THE OPPORTUNITY TO VENT. THAT MAKES YOU A REAL AMERICAN IN MY BOOK AS REAL AMERICANS GIVE OTHER AMERICANS THE CHANCE TO EXPRESS THEMSELVES. MAY GOD BLESS OUR LAB.

The Director stated that the contributions to the pension program were consistent with what other institutions are doing, that he did not expect them to end but would let us know if anything were to change.

I wish that the two newer folks who seemed offended by my actions would understand that the reason why the TCP1 issue keeps coming up is that we have been misled for years regarding the stability of the plan and the conditions and duration to which employees would have to contribute. Of course you have not been at the lab long enough to understand that.

I would also wish that you would appreciate the fact as you are newer hires, that you have not yet had the opportunity to experience the deceptive practices of LLNS/DOE first hand. Perhaps you would then be more knowledgeable and considerate in your rebuttals.

Finally, telling one to STFO is certainly counterproductive when you are expressing your opinion. I certainly won't and all you are doing is demonstrating that you have a fundamental uncaring for all people other than yourself and that you are not as happy as you have the potential to be.

Thanks for reading. May God's Grace and the Golden Rule prevail.

Kevin C. Johnson

Anonymous said...

"Finally, telling one to STFO is certainly counterproductive when you are expressing your opinion. I certainly won't and all you are doing is demonstrating that you have a fundamental uncaring for all people other than yourself and that you are not as happy as you have the potential to be."

Kevin, I understand why you are upset, but the DIrector told you the truth. We are doing what every other corporate institution is doing. LLNLs cannot act differently from other corporations it will not be able to compete or the corporation will be intersted in running LLNLs . This is the way of the world my friend. Before you judge the younger folks too harshly you may want to consider that they may just be more realistic about the situation. You claim that you where made promises in a different era however that era is over and is never coming back. Perhaps you should just consider yourself lucky for the job you have. I agree that saying STFO is just mean and adds nothing to the conversation. With that said one still has to make choices. If you are unhappy than perhaps you should find a job elsewhere which will pay you what you feel you are worth. Perhaps you will find that the LLNLs is not that different most other corporations. I think the analogy of a husband to a wife is simply wrong. The contract between a husband and a wife is very different from that of a corporation to its employees. A husband has a responsibility his wife while a corporation has a responsibility to it's share holders. If a corporation can benefit the share holders at the expense of the employees than that is what they are obliged to do. Of course if the corporation does actions that are adverse that they no longer have employees than that will also hurt the share holders, so they must strike a balance in order to maximize profit and profit is the sole purpose of a corporation. I do applaud your honesty and courage to say what you think.

Anonymous said...

Of course if the corporation does actions that are adverse that they no longer have employees than that will also hurt the share holders, so they must strike a balance in order to maximize profit and profit is the sole purpose of a corporation.
November 3, 2014 at 10:04 PM

I think you misunderstand, there are no shareholders in LLNS and it is not a corporation. Neither is LLNL. LLNS is a limited liability company composed of members, similar to a partnership, and LLNL is owned by the federal government. LLNS gets money from the federal government to manage the lab, and if it does that well it takes in more money than it spends, providing a profit for the member companies. There are no products, sales, or any of the other features of a big corporation like Boeing or Intel, and in fact there isn't a lot of money to be made by anyone, all of it in the form of management fees and bonuses. UC used to manage the lab, now it is managed by LLNS, but that does not mean the lab ever was a university campus, and it does not mean it is now a corporation.

Anonymous said...

November 4, 2014 at 7:12 AM

I do not disagree with you however we hear over and over again from management that we are a corporation and must use corporate metrics for how we treat our employees and that we need to pay or managers by corporate standards, pay our Director like a CEO, leaner, meaner, cut corners, bonuses, corporate secrecy and so on.

Anonymous said...

"The guy at the end was awkward as hell. How anyone can defend what he said is mind-boggling. He equated working at the lab with being a battered wife."

He made no such claim. Your own comments and projections demonstrate the type of person you are.

Anonymous said...

"If you have problem with the lab than please leave ... there are so many people out there that would love to have such a high paying job ... anyone one of us could be replaced ten times over ... I feel lucky to have this job and so should you ... not entitled to decent working conditions ... could imagine much worse working conditions ... Why should we be special? You work here for a few years and if you see something better than you leave ... Keep that in mind next time think you have it so rough.

Exactly. That's what I tell my wife every day ...

"Honey, if you have a problem with our relationship then please leave. There are plenty of other women out there who would love to be married to me. You can be replaced ten times over. You should feel lucky to be married to me. You aren't entitled to be treated well just because you're my wife. You need to realize that you're no more special than any other wife out there. If you see something better then just move on. There are worse men out there. Keep that in mind next time you think you have it so rough. Just GTFO if you don't like our relationship."

That's sarcasm, of course. Spouses treat each other well in successful marriages. Likewise, employers/employees treat each other well in successful businesses. The "GTFO if you don't like it" attitude doesn't foster success.

Anonymous said...

Well said

Anonymous said...

" We are doing what every other corporate institution is doing. LLNLs cannot act differently from other corporations it will not be able to compete or the corporation will be intersted in running LLNLs .

November 3, 2014 at 10:04 PM"

Dear Mr./Ms.November 3, 2014 at 10:04 PM;

You knucklehead! Have you been on Mars for the past decade? Do you not yet understand that "other corporate institutions" do NOT design nuclear weapons, and do NOT require Q clearances to come to work every day? If you have not yet figured it out by yourself, let me give you a clue free of charge -- these people are responsible for the security of this country. That they are treated like the chattel of "other corporate institutions" like Walmart, Target, and Enron is a testament to the depths that our so-called government has sunk to. That ingrates like yourself castigate them for their efforts to request a decent living wage from their disinterested bosses is a testament to the callousness that has become the norm in this land. I hope that you are doing well in your studies of Mandarin -- you will need it, once these labs decay into dust, and this nation no longer has a nuclear deterrent.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

"...Because you think you are special or that we do something that is special we must paid more and treated better than Walmart employees..."

".. It is amusing that we want to attract and retain "the best and brightest", yet we always point to mediocre or typical competitor workplace benefits and practices (?). I think we have a discontinuity in our workforce expectation graph folks. The X axis just happens to be in years not months, and beyond LANSLLNS report card window of concern..."

Anonymous said...

Bechtel is a Corporation like it or not. They conduct themselves just like any other firm. Maybe you need to let go and realize the days of wine and roses are over it is all about job cost and efficiency.

Anonymous said...

Except that "Bechtel" does not run LLNS/LANS. Those LLCs are headed by UC. LLNS/LANS cannot and does not "compete" in a corporate environment. If and when the DOE/NNSA decides to "compete" either the LLNL or LANL contract, it will choose who gets to "compete." If LLNS and/or LANS lose the contract, they will cease to exist. There is nothing in the LLNS/LANS "corporate" structure that even remotely resembles a "real" corporation.

Anonymous said...

The situation is more serious than most realize. Employees adjust their effort according to the rewards earned. In Behavioral science this is called expectancy theory.

Reducing rewards reduces the effort attaining the rewards.

It is likely those of you who see little reward for your effort are not giving much extra effort.

Not a statement about personal habits, a statement about organizational behavior.

Anonymous said...

" We are doing what every other corporate institution is doing. LLNLs cannot act differently from other corporations it will not be able to compete or the corporation will be intersted in running LLNLs .

November 3, 2014 at 10:04 PM"

Dear Mr./Ms.November 3, 2014 at 10:04 PM;

You knucklehead!

November 4, 2014 at 8:52 PM

Is that you Sir Charles Barkely? Terrible, terrible, terrible...

Anonymous said...

I am not getting paid enough to live in Kalifornia, You keep promising more money but never deliver. You told me you loved me and you would call me in the morning. You said my TCP1 was safe. You said my medical was safe. You told me there was room for advancement. You said the job was something bigger than myself. Blah,blah,Blah,blah,Blah,blah,Blah,blah.

How many times do so called educated idiots have to be hit in the head before you realize it doesn't feel good? Move on, move on.

POS

Anonymous said...

POS, you have become a real sociopath. Your misogyny is scary. Get help.

Anonymous said...

To 11/4 7:12. Good description except fopr one statement. If LLNL takes in more money than it spends, that does not translate in to profit. It becomes carryover. LLNS makes money just on fee. The only "for profit" characteristic of llns is the for profit nature of the underlying llc partners. The arrangement is no different than the old UC arrangement, in the sense that UC also just operated for a fee. The for profit members take their fee and pocket it, while UC (now and in the past) turns it back to the Lab, but the basic arrangement is the same. There is now way that llns makes more profit if they cut expenses, as an example.

Anonymous said...

November 7, 2014 at 8:37 PM

You are absolutely correct, but don't expect the troglodytes on this blog to accept the truth. BTW, if you had proofread your post, the unfortunate "now" in your last line could have corrected to "no" as intended. In failing to do so, you probably created some unintended agreement from those with whom you disagree.

Anonymous said...

"
To 11/4 7:12. Good description except fopr one statement. If LLNL takes in more money than it spends, that does not translate in to profit. It becomes carryover. LLNS makes money just on fee. The only "for profit" characteristic of llns is the for profit nature of the underlying llc partners. The arrangement is no different than the old UC arrangement, in the sense that UC also just operated for a fee. The for profit members take their fee and pocket it, while UC (now and in the past) turns it back to the Lab, but the basic arrangement is the same. There is now way that llns makes more profit if they cut expenses, as an example.

November 7, 2014 at 8:37 PM"

What you say is true, however corporations are very clever in how to leverage there position to maximize profits in other ways. They can transition people through the labs and transitions bonuses that way. They also add people to the lab who are in a holding pattern before there next project. These people are not paid by the profits but by the labs. They combine trips to other places which include a lab trip as well and write off the costs. These people are masters at this and will get every single dime. I heard one estimate is that they can leverage double or more their profit.

Anonymous said...

Not to mention the information and access they gain.

As to cost cutting, if that helps them meet contract metrics, then it does allow them to capture more of the yearly award fee.

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