Monday, February 05, 2007


Cut spending by $192 million

From an earlier comment:


*** RED ALERT! ***

Even in a Bush budget loaded with pork, the Whitehouse has just decided to cut funding for both LANL and SNL in FY08. If this doesn't convince everyone that hard times are a'coming for the labs, nothing will. We could be looking at close to $100 million in reduced funding for next year. Add in the $200 million deficit due to our new management overhead structure and you're looking at a possible $300 million shortfall for next year.

Yes, Virginia, there will be RIFs in FY08. I would guess at least 10% of the LANL workforce will be hit. If you think the housing market on the Hill is bad now, just wait till next year.


Bush’s Proposed Budget Would Cut Los Alamos, Sandia Budgets - AP, Feb 05, 2007

WASHINGTON (AP) - New Mexico’s lawmakers are condemning President Bush’s proposed cuts to the state’s nuclear research labs, saying they reflect the wrong priorities.

Bush’s 2008 spending plan — delivered to Congress on Monday — would cut spending by $192 million for Los Alamos National Laboratory and Sandia National Laboratories.

Although the Democratic-controlled Congress will hash out the budget, the state’s lawmakers say Bush’s proposal is reason to worry about the Energy Department labs.

U.S. Senator Jeff Bingaman says he’s concerned the president’s budget choices might undermine future energy security.

New Mexico’s senators have promised they will question Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman about several items in the budget.

It's all part of the plan. The pieces are coming together. First lose most of the WFO at LANL (that part has been effectively accomplished). Then reduce the work force over the next year or 18 months, selectively getting rid of all of the scientists and support staff not involved with SNM, and viola! All that is left is the core of people who will produce pits.
I'm sure our highly paid ADs and LANL's Program Managers will be able to round up new funding to cover this short fall. With FTE rates of $400 K or more per year and our stifling bureaucracy (which is about to get much worse, thanks to NNSA and DOE), outside sponsors will be fighting each other to hand us new funding, right?

What's the word I'm looking for to describe this evolving fiasco... Oh, I know, it's a Perfect Storm! Start putting less time into your projects and more time into polishing up that resume that you'll need for next year.
Looks like NNSA is all hot and bothered to get cracking on that Complex 2030 downsizing thingy. They'll start by loping off a big chunk of the LANL workforce next year. It will be interesting to see if NNSA/DOE allow severance payments for the people who get laid off, or whether they find some means to work around that expense. Since our severance benefit isn't guaranteed, LANS could decide to change LANL severance policy at DOE's behest. I also wouldn't hold out any hope for enticements to get people to leave. When we were directly under UC, the large UC budget could allow them to be very generous in this respect. With the thread-bare LANS budget already in distress, the LANL operating budget can't afford to offer enticements to jump ship (not that DOE would probably ever let them do it these days). I also wonder how much longer our retirement medical benefits will last under these dire budgetary constraints. Not long, I would guess.
Go Jeff, Go Pete, Go Jeff, Go Pete...
Somewhere in Washington DC, a self-satisfied Mr. Stupak and Mr. Barton are chuckling mighty loud.
I want to share an incident that recently occurred. Mike Matteson (Bechtel) and a LANL Manager (Double Dipper) were expressing their delight regarding their salaries. What a fortunate opportunity for them while a contractor was sitting next to them had just been notified of their termination. Manager’s salaries are off the charts and no one is doing anything about it!
Of course people are doing something about it. They're raising various tax rates.
"Of course people are doing something about it"!
They're joining the Union in droves!
They're writing letters to their newspaper editors!
They're writing letters to their Congressional Delegation!
They're calling up Andy Lenderman at the SF NewMex.
They're calling up Roger Snodgrass at the LA Monitor.
They're calling up John Arnold at the ABQ Journal.
They're ... they're ... ummmm ...
Am I being overly optimistic ? ? ?

--Pat, the optimistic Dog (but not overly so)
Pat, the Dog said...
"Of course people are doing something about it"!
They're joining the Union in droves!

Let me see...UPTE sent out the following email today - read it! There are more than 17 errors, but my favorite is in number (3) where UPTE gets the director's name wrong, and even better -- the email address has 2 TYPOS.

UPTE-CWA Los Alamos Bulletin | February 2007

(1) <#one>Is Workforce Mobility Just One Step from Out the Door?
(2) <#two>Social Security Rip Off of Long-Term Employees
(3) <#three>Special Pension Deal for Mike Anastazio
(4) <#four>Complaint Issues by Labor Board Against UC
(5) <#five>UC Regents of Act on Pension Transfer
(6) <#six>Join UPTE-CWA Today!
(7) <#seven>UPTE-CWA Open Forum

(1) Is Workforce Mobility Just One Step from Out the Door?
As LANS keeps falling short of money because of management's unanticipated need to pay for gross receipts taxes, groups all around the lab are running short on funds. Employees in these groups are being placed in the workforce mobility program. Often this means great disruption to their former group and a new job that may not fit their skills. While the lab is adhering to the promise of no layoffs for the first year under the new contract, UPTE-CWA is worried that those on workforce mobility will be the first pushed out the door on July 1 when the first year is over.

If you have been placed on workforce mobility, UPTE wants to hear from you. Send us an email or call us at 662-4679. Tell us how long you have been at the lab, whether you chose TCP1 or TCP2, what you did at your old job and what you do in your new job. We will keep all information confidential.

We need to know if LANS is doing its best to find work for current employees, or if they are discriminating against certain groups that they hope to layoff in the near future. Only with your input can the union present testimony to legislators and take effect action to ensure that all are treated fairly. We look forward to hearing from you.

(2) Social Security Rip Off for Long-Term Employees
LANS has reneged on its commitment to reimburse approximately 450 long-term employees for Social Security contributions that they will never get any benefits for. These employees were hired before UC mandated participation in Social Security. They will never obtain any benefit from their $7000 per year contributions because they will not work for another 40-quarter years, which is the minimum to be eligible for Social Security benefits.

If you are one of these 450 employees, we want your story. Contact us right away. We are taking this issue to lawmakers in Sacramento and Washington, DC. Real life stories always have a greater impact that just a description of this problem.

(3) Special Pension Deal for Mike Anastazio
UPTE members at Lawrence Livermore discovered that when it comes to our pensions being privatized, we were not all equal. While we all had to make difficult choices whether to keep our pension with UC (TCP2), or to transfer our pension assets to LANS (TCP1), the new lab director got a written guarantee that UC would make up any difference in value between his LANS market-driven plan and what he would have gotten at UC if he had stayed at Lawrence Livermore. Mike got his cake (i.e., his UC pension), and got to eat it too (i.e., an iron clad guarantee that if his LANS 401K style plan did not measure up he would be covered). Two of his deputies also got the same deal.

If the LANS plans are truly „substantially equivalent‰ why weren't they good enough for Mike? You can let Mike know you like the same deal by emailing him at

(4) Complaint Issued by Labor Board Against UC
The labor board that covered Los Alamos employees when they worked for UC has issued a complaint against UC that the University failed to adequately confer with and provide information to employees during the transition. It is unclear what remedy the labor board (PERB) can impose, but we believe that the only fair resolution would be to undo the privatization and provide employees with real information and an opportunity to give input.

Additionally, UPTE has a lawsuit against the University of California claiming that UC defrauded employees of vested benefits that were part of their UC pension.

(5) UC Regents to Act on Pension Transfer
The Regents have yet to make a final determination over how much to transfer to the new LANS defined benefit plan for those employees who transferred their assets to LANS. The University has illegally refused to provide information about how it is determining this amount to UPTE and other unions. An unfair labor practice charge has been submitted as part of the pension negotiations UPTE is holding with UC.

For those that left their pension with UC, the University has not yet come to an agreement with DOE over how to fund the pensions or the retiree health benefits of those that are already retired. At this point, it does not look like UC will create a separate spin off fund, but nothing is for sure.

(6) Join UPTE-CWA Today!
Working together, we have a stronger voice to improve our working conditions at Los Alamos. Sign up for payroll deduction today to help build a more effective union at Los Alamos.

(7) UPTE-CWA Open Forum
Questions or just want to find out more? Come to our monthly public meeting at the Mesa Public Library on the 3 rd Tuesday. February 20 is the next meeting. We meet at 5:15 PM. All employees are welcome and bring your friends.

This electronic bulletin is prepared by UPTE-CWA Los Alamos leaders. We appreciate any feedback at
And the e-mail address for the union is:

(If you get a bounce, e-mail

-Don't thank me.

--Pat, the Dog
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