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Sunday, December 1, 2019

LLNL, twelve years later

Twelve plus years after the for profit LLNS LLC won the contract to manage LLNL missions, are we as LLNS employees better or worse off compared to UC/LLNL employees? On a cost basis, are DOE/NNSA missions better or worse off under LLNS management, or is a Triad like non-profit contractor better for LLNL missions and employees working at LLNL?

20 comments:

Anonymous said...

Are LLNS employees somewhat silenced like the 2019 Hong Kong protestors (wearing masks) for fear of being singled out and dealt with? Is this where we are now? How far have we fallen? Wow!

Anonymous said...


Are LLNS employees somewhat silenced like the 2019 Hong Kong protestors (wearing masks) for fear of being singled out and dealt with? Is this where we are now? How far have we fallen? Wow!

12/02/2019 4:31 PM


Do you really think that someone who posts on this blog is will not be found out by LLNL?

Anonymous said...

"Besides permanent pollution and more than 1,600 federally documented occupational deaths"

WTF? In 75 years that would mean 20 people at year are dying at LANL? You would think someone might have heard about that. I think the last death at LANL was like 25 years ago with an electrical accident.

Sorry Mr Mello but when you say crap like this it just makes me dismiss everything else you have to say.

His use of the term Apartheid makes no sense, as Apartheid which was a South African political systems was based on a set of LAWS that treated people differently on race. There are no such laws at LANL and anyone can work at LANL including anyone from New Mexico or the United States.

He also is very confused about wealth inequality. Unequal wealth is not a driver of poverty, unemployment is the driver. You can have a very wealthy community with everyone in the upper and middle class but still have large inequality just as you can have community where everyone is in poverty but there complete equality. Mello has no knowledge of economics whatsoever.

Anonymous said...

I asked this question directly of many employees at LLNL in order to get the inside scoop. Every single one was adamant that the current contractor is doing an excellent job, there are no complaints, and it is impossible to fathom going back to the old regime.

From this, it is obvious that the new system is a huge success!

Anonymous said...

@ 12/02/2019 9:15 PM

I think that you must be joking. I recently retired, but all the people I knew at the Lab who were around during the pre-transition days all believed that the days under UC management were better than the situation now under LLNS management. Doing quality science has been de-emphasized. ES&H has been taken to extremes. Benefits such as pensions and retiree health insurance are gone.

-Doug

Anonymous said...

Pensions and retiree health insurance have been phased out everywhere. You can thank the DOE for that.

Anonymous said...

9:15 is obviously sarcasm.

Anonymous said...

Pensions and retiree health insurance have been phased out everywhere. You can thank the DOE for that.

12/04/2019 8:56 PM

Funny, I retired from LANL over 12 years ago and still get my retiree healthcare from the successor contractor (Triad.)

Anonymous said...

Funny, I retired from LANL over 12 years ago and still get my retiree healthcare from the successor contractor (Triad.)

12/07/2019 7:00 PM

For new retirees... That better?

Anonymous said...

We need to look back past 12 years to see how changes occured for the labs.

1. 1992, we stopped testing. Until that time the importance of designing and testing nuclear weapons meant that the scientist and engineers were setting the goals of the missions with the military and the management (UC) was along for the ride.

2. After the testing ceased DOE realized that all of those scientist and engineers belonged to them since they were no longer doing "active" projects that put holes in the desert. This was the beginning of the revenge of the C students.

3. Failures, real and imagined, necessitated a whipping boy, Congress slaps DOE's wrist and with St. Pete's help a whipping boy is created: NNSA in 2000.

4. NNSA realizes that to justify their existence they need to ride the herd tightly. Without a real "palpable" mission - Nukes - the paper chase of certifying weapons without testing goes into full swing and NNSA can start creating tighter and tighter rules that would have killed doing a new warhead project. Since a "real" product is not being impacted the rules can be oppressive without drastically affecting a deliverable.

5. More failures, again real and imagined causes the Congress to do it's knee jerk reaction causing the full rebids. This opens the door for a professional hack contractor - Bechtel - to enter the picture and they willingly jump to NNSA's rules and regs in order to maximize their profit. UC was a willing co-conspirator, their cut of the increased contract fee was a big jump from the previous 50+ years of management.

The change over to the new contract at LLNS did the following.

The overall budget did not go up. The huge increase in management fee and the dramatically increased cost of medical (instead of getting the group discount of all of the much lareger UC employee pool we were getting a group rate for just LLNS employees). Remember that many more people at Livermore decided to take TCP2 than what happened at LANL. That meant that LLNS had to do more matching of funds for the 401k which was money that had to come out of the Lab's budget immediately.
Couple all of that together and that's what got us into the layoff. In the eyes of NNSA they were probably putting a check mark on a spreadsheet noting they tightened up the ship.

Are the employees better or worse compared to the UC/LLNL era? From the viewpoint of benefits, most certainly not. If one joined the lab after the contract change you did not qualify for TCP1 and your retirement medical was certainly not what UC has to offer.

Are the missions better or worse under LLNS? The revenge of the C students of NNSA created more and more ticky tacky rules that consumed man hours of work and multiple layers of paperwork, all of which made missions more expensive at the labs.

Would a Triad like contractor be better for the LLNL? Well if they could push back on the ticky tacky rules and paperwork (which Bectel was only to happy to oblige to have the employees do), then a TRIAD sort of arrangement would be better for the missions.

A Triad like non profit would not be able to bring back a UC like retirement plan nor a gold plated medical retirement plan. The government has seen the cheaper alternatives and it won't go back.

Anonymous said...

Having worked across the DOE complex I can tell you this started back in the early 90s. The DOE decided the previous non profit arrangements were no longer in their interest and they found the contractors who had run the complex for 50 years for “no profit” (or a single dollar in Dupont’s case) would not BOW to their will. With the end of the Cold War, the mission was no longer survival. DOE could now exact their will with no consequence. The production facilities would suffer their wrath first. The Companies who came to defend their nation in the 1940s gave up and walked away. New contractors came in and the DOE started to run the complex truly for the first time. The new contractors, figureheads for the DOE, started to implement the new DOE plan: Downsize the complex. What remained the same? The employees. Only a few managers changed. 95% of the workers were the same as before. First the layoffs. Production went from over 100,000 employees to less than 30,000 in 12 years. Next benefits. New employees were moved off the pension system, a liability the DOE disliked for decades. Next retiree medical. Before, 15 years of service equated to medical benefits and supplements for life. Now, no benefits for new hires. This all occurred before 2006. Then after DOE decimated the production facilities, they turned their sight to the Laboratories. If you didn’t see this coming, you couldn’t have been paying attention. For profit, non-profit. It will change nothing for employee benefits and mission. The DOE now truly runs the labs.

Anonymous said...

FWIW, TRIAD is almost as bad as Bechtel when it comes to, “tricky-tacky” rules.

Anonymous said...

I don't care. They are paying for my retiree health and dental insurance as required by DOE. Good for them.

Anonymous said...

News flash: nobody offers pensions or retiree benefits anymore. Anybody under 40 is not comparing the post-WW II era of prosperity that the boomers took from the current generation to how things used to be.

Anonymous said...

The DOE now truly runs the labs.

12/08/2019 7:26 PM

That's kind of appropriate, since the DOE owns the labs.

Anonymous said...

12/08/2019 7:26 PM

That's kind of appropriate, since the DOE owns the labs.

——————

Of course. The issue is are they equip to do it. Since the early 1990s when they truly took control, I would submit the answer is no.

Anonymous said...

So what? They are the owners. Incompetent owners are still owners. What is your solution? Stage an armed revolution to take control of the NNSA labs? Ever hear of the Pro Force? Good luck with that.

Anonymous said...

"So what? They are the owners. Incompetent owners are still owners. What is your solution? Stage an armed revolution to take control of the NNSA labs? Ever hear of the Pro Force? Good luck with that.

12/15/2019 5:35 PM"

Well we have seen the solution. Competent leave and people with little other job opportunities stay. Hence the downgrade from the one premier labs to what we have today. See if fixes itself.

Anonymous said...

See if fixes itself.

12/16/2019 12:21 PM

Then why are you still complaining?

Anonymous said...

Then why are you still complaining?

12/16/2019 5:38 PM

Oh, I am not the one that was complaining. I was merely pointing to someone that people do have choices and there is consequence to bad DOE management (revenge of the C students). Basically the solution is a personal one. If you can do better than an NNSA lab than move one, NNSA will not miss you, nor does it need you (at least it does not think it needs you), but we will never know until it is too late. If you cannot do better than these are pretty cush jobs. Heck maybe the really good jobs are NNSA administration.

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