Monday, December 18, 2006
NOW READ THIS! MESSAGE TO LIVERMORE WORKERS:
We all get screwed while the white collar workers are laughing all the way to the bank. Now tell me how they are better that the CEO of ENRON?
From: "SPSE" Subject: If Mike Can Do It, Why Can't We?
Date: Mon, 18 Dec 2006 14:17:30 -0800
If Mike Can Do It, Why Can't We?
To many of us, collective bargaining is an abstract and alien concept. To make it more concrete, why not ask what you could get from the power to bargain? The answer begins with a true story.
As most of us know, in exchange for his role in winning the contact to run Los Alamos, former LLNL Director Michael Anastasio got an offer from LANS to be the first LANL Director under the new contract. However, fewer of us know that as part of his total compensation Mike was promised in writing that he will get an annuity on retiring that will compensate him for the difference between what he would have earned under UCRP and what he gets under the LANS market-driven retirement plan. That's right, when Mike leaves his Director job, he's guaranteed the equivalent of his UCRP pension, not TCP1, TCP2, or some other McPension based on a half-hearted stab at "substantially equivalent". The deal was made not because Mike is bright, or a talented scientist, but because his high profile gave him the wherewithal to ask for it. A similar deal was offered to two of his lesser-known deputies, Charlie McMillan and Bret Knapp.
How did this come about? The truth is, Mike and his inner circle weren't born on a tenure track. They're all former LLNL employees who got recognition while standing on our backs. None of them would have risen past the rank of staff member were it not for the cooperation, the talent, and the toil of their co-workers, and, by extension, every one of us who show up every morning to do our jobs. The nuclear weapon design and stockpile stewardship that these men take credit for wouldn't have happened without the infrastructure to support them. It took computers, Site 300, machine shops, and the superblock. It took the people who keep the electricity and Ethernet packets flowing, and the toilets flushing. It took nuclear chemists, and numerical mathematicians, and mechanical designers. It took groundspeople and custodians making the Lab a fit place to invite Presidents, Members of Congress, and Secretaries of Energy. Do you think they all came to work saying "I wonder what can I do today to glorify the Director and his friends?" No. The excellence of LLNL comes from each of us deciding to be the best we can be at what we do.
Mike gets a pension equivalent to his UC pension, but the employees at Los Alamos don't. Why is that? The answer at the end of the day is that Mike had the power to bargain. Many of us reject this notion. We like to believe that we've had decent salaries, benefits, and employment rights all these years because we deserve them. But the Los Alamos of today gives the lie to this way of thinking. Our counterparts there had what they had because they were public sector employees of UC just like us. Now they're LANS employees and they've lost valuable aspects of their jobs. In a fair and just world, LANS would have recognized its entire staff for their dedication and good ideas. They would have given them the same guaranteed pension they gave Mike. But the world of business doesn't operate that way. To quote a popular advertising slogan, in the private sector, "you don't get what you deserve, you get what you negotiate."
As hard as it is to face, the days of getting a fair shake without negotiating for it are over, and without collective bargaining status, we won't get the right to negotiate. We've worked hard at this Laboratory, some of us for decades. Many of us have done it believing that we'd offset the risk of pursuing the unique specialties of LLNL-how many places can you get a job as a plutonium metallurgist?-by getting a fair degree of job security in return. But it turns out we were wrong. The fact is, unless we do something about it, not only our pensions, but our public-sector job rights are going to be casualties of the transition.
Getting the right to bargain starts with signing the authorization petition at the end of this message. Remember, if you want a seat at the table, the only way to get it is through collective bargaining. Are we saying that if you sign a card you'll stand a good chance of continuing your UC pension? Not at all. We're saying that if you and enough of your co-workers sign cards we'll get the supermajority of employees we need to summon the new employer to the table. We'll have the chance to negotiate the terms and conditions of our employment-including aspects of compensation like retirement and benefits. It will be a long and difficult path, but we won't even get to start it without you taking this first step with us. Don't pass up this chance.
If you've not already done so, please consider signing the authorization petition for collective bargaining.
[Visit our web site at spse.org]
Society of Professionals, Scientists & Engineers
Local 11 University Professional and Technical Employees, CWA Local 9119
P.O. Box 1066, Livermore, CA 94551
(925) 449-4846 voice
(925) 449-4851 fax
Office Hours: Mon. - Fri. 8am to Noon
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My Livermore compatriots:
LANL staff have failed in droves to sign up for UPTE.
Look where it got them.
--Pat, the Dog
Is anyone sending Mikey a Christmas gift. Please make it a good one.