BLOG purpose

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

Suggest new topics here


Submit candidates for new topics here only. Stay on topic with National Labs' related issues. All submissions are screened first for ...

Monday, April 2, 2018

Morale at LLNL in a nutshell

I thought this comment on the post "Morale at LLNL" deserved to be a post by itself . Well articulated and to the point !

When LLNS make changes that impact our employment benefits, they work out the details and receive approval from the NNSA Field Office. Then the new policies are shrink-wrapped and presented to the worker bees. Employees are out of the decision making loop in any material way, and this leads to lower and lower employee morale. Contracts and profit flows anchored in for decades compound the problem. 

Some may think employee unions or bargaining units have no business in a National Laboratory environment with scientists, engineers, and highly technical staff. But haven't our benefits and job security eroded under LLNS management? I don't understand why SPSE membership didn't grow tenfold in the years after the contract change in 2007. Maybe it relates to the fable of the boiling frog. 

If SPSE were to snapshot employee benefits, job security, and work environment on September 30, 2007 and compare that to the present day LLNS employee, it would be an eye opener for most LLNS employees.


Anonymous said...

"Maybe thinking knowledgeable people like scientists and engineers can figure out that collective bargaining is a loser and has been for over 50 years."

What you have failed to recognize is that due to contracts measured in decades and profits that are never exceeded by underperformance award reductions or penalties, LANS and LLNS do not fit your generalized collective bargaining dynamic. Furthermore, LANS and LLNS are not subject to real time market share competition or the risk of declaring bankruptcy. Therefore, unlike the competition driven employment model you claim to value, "winners" that could manage LANL and LLNL much better, do not replace "loser" managers already in place in a timely and responsive manner. Most thinking knowledgable people will recognize your 50 year assessment of collective bargaining, fails to apply to the situation LANS and LLNS employees find themselves in. I hope you understand that all LANS and LLNS employees are subject to eroding benefits, not just those you define as"losers".

There are two main types of collective bargaining/unions:

1. Private Sector-companies and employees are subject to market competition, and as
such, have a built in tipping point where employee benefits must be realistic in order
to sustain company solvency.

2. Public Sector-collective bargaining on behalf of public sector employees are not
subject to market competition, and as such, employees can demand ever increasing
benefits where employees are not subject to a tipping point leading to insolvency.

In my view, SPSE does not directly fit into either category. Why? SPSE must interface with LLNS, a "Public Sector" like secure for-profit management structure, that is not subject to prompt insolvency, does not exist to represent or protect its employees, and is not subject to missed goals due to employee turnover. Because of these unique factors, SPSE plays an important and beneficial role for all LLNS employees. Thank you SPSE.

Anonymous said...

LANS and LLNS management, have public sector union like protections, that the bulk of their respective employees do not directly share in or benefit from, making "winner and loser" employees a distorted and hypocritical assessment. After more than a decade, it is not surprising that this type of "winner and loser" perspective exists among some of the clear beneficiaries.

Anonymous said...

How about the low morale at LANL? I think is the result of bad management from group leads and above.

Anonymous said...

The low morale at LANL is entirely due to the impending contract changeover. Despite management efforts at communication, many employees are ignorant about who is bidding for the contract and what those bidders have said about what they would do if they won the contract, Sheep are being sheep. Wake up people!!! It's your lives and careers at stake!!

Anonymous said...

In a nutshell, for-profit LLNS has secured a long term flow of fat stacks for themselves with malleable NNSA performance award criteria. Not satisfied with their lucrative contract, LLNS with the support of a compliant NNSA and SHRM, systematically cut benefits to their employees and reduced them to "at will" status. When 130 laid off LLNS employees took LLNS to court, the NNSA reimbursed LLNS nearly 23 million dollars to cover their fees and litigation expenses. Employee morale improves in companies where there is a clear business incentive to do so.

Gary Gwilliam:

"As soon as the Lawrence Livermore National Lab was 'privatized' by the George W. Bush administration in 2007, they began plans to lay off their older, most experienced workers in order to save themselves money. The evidence proved that this layoff was organized and implemented primarily by the Bechtel Corporation, of the LLC who took over the Lab. There had not been a layoff there for 35 years before that."

The new LLC (LLNS) contract to run the lab was over $40 Million more than the UC previously charged. LLNS then added approximately 30 new Bechtel employees in executive and management positions which significantly increased the overhead costs. However, they promised the government they would save $50 million because of their so-called great 'management experience'. To accomplish this, LLNS laid off their most experienced and senior employees in violation of their layoff policies, which required most employees to be laid off in inverse order of seniority. The average age of our 130 clients was 54 years and they had an average of 20 years seniority."

Anonymous said...

Whaaaattt? Bechtel lied? Impossible.

Anonymous said...

If LLNS wanted to lay off worker bees again, would they walk out LLNS employees in mass again, or handle it differently?

Anonymous said...

If LLNS wanted to lay off worker bees again, would they walk out LLNS employees in mass again, or handle it differently?

April 7, 2018 at 5:05 PM

Walk them out. There is no other way unless the government approves an early retirement incentive package....

Anonymous said...

I was talking to a Livermore colleague and friend a few weeks ago, and commented that if you retire under LLNS your pension-covered health benefits are excellent and in fact as a current employee that is a big plus to keep you working at Livermore, despite the high TCP1 contribution. He commented that "you have not been here for the last five years, Livermore Lab health benefits have really deteriorated - we are forced into high deductible plans and pay a lot more than you did when you were working".

Wow, what has happened ! No wonder there is a morale problem. Any comments ?

Anonymous said...

"He commented that "you have not been here for the last five years, Livermore Lab health benefits have really deteriorated - we are forced into high deductible plans and pay a lot more than you did when you were working".

Wow, what has happened ! No wonder there is a morale problem. Any comments ?"

Answer: LLNS "worker bee" employees have no seat at the table. SHRM serves LLNS management not LLNS employees. LLNS management need only seek the approval of the NNSA LFO to propose and implement ever eroding LLNS employee benefits in all forms. LLNS "worker bees" are not being represented by LLNS, and are being continually squeezed without formal representative pushback. But some will continue to reject collect bargaining, as our employment benefits disappear. Maybe when our benefits sink further, a tipping point will be reached, and we can bargain and scramble to maintain what benefits remain. There is a strategic plan.

Anonymous said...

The SPOA has a plan!! Come on now!!

Posts you viewed tbe most last 30 days