Wednesday, March 07, 2007
LANL unfair to longtime employee
Recently, a 23-year veteran employee at LANL was terminated for an absurdly minor security infraction. The employee had an impeccable performance record. "George" was only two years from retirement.
The majority of LANL employees and residents of Los Alamos take security matters seriously, and are dismayed at the recent security breaches. However, it seems that LANS is concerned only with appearances.
"The lab is getting rid of the low-hanging fruit," said a low-level manager recently. LANS does not want to do the difficult job of ferreting out the real security problems; they just care about their bottom line.
A younger, less experienced and cheaper subcontractor, trained by "George," has replaced him. Mid-level management did not fight for this employee, apparently because it, too, is afraid of being caught up in the witch-hunt. The phrase "there but for the grace of God goes I" comes to mind.
On the bright side, "George" can now sell his over-priced Los Alamos home for an obscene profit before the real estate market is flooded as a mass exodus out of Los Alamos begins.
Thanks, but no thanks. There are plenty better places to work, and I'm going to get me a new job at one of them.
And what became of the program for "dispossessed" LANS employees? Why weren't the fired employees "warehoused" in this publicized program until other jobs could be found for them?
I started working at LANL as a contractor employee in September 1999. At that time I was employed by Comforce Technical, a sub-contractor to LANL, which was then managed by the University of California.
In April 2004 the Lab began a highly publicized program called the Contingent Worker Project
to convert (so it said) the majority of contractor employees to regular UC employment. At this point I had already worked at the Lab as a contractor employee for nearly 5 years. But because the CWP was not really a conversion project, I had to apply for my own job in order to get UC employment. But "conversion" was still the casual word used for this hiring action because the jobs were posted as "external," meaning they were advertised to the general public.
The group (IM-1) I worked for was organized as a "recharge" organization that places designers or writers into a "central" or deployed position, and then receives payment for that persons' work. The worker charges time to various cost codes and the money filters back to IM-1. Deployed workers charge at a rate 100% as per a memo of understanding and since they are physically placed in another work group or division at LANL, while those in "central" charge per
project and probably average 80-90% recharge since there was usually "down time" between projects. The specific recharge rates vary, depending on the type of work being done and whether the worker is deployed or in central. Most groups at the lab are not recharge organizations; they operate on 100% funded monies.
At the time of my "conversion" in September 2004, I was on assignment to the Weapons Directorate and was earning 100% recharge for IM-1. I began that assignment April 2002. I was offered the opportunity to apply for a UC regular position via a job ad posted through HR. I applied for the position, was interviewed and several weeks later offered the job, but as a limited term not a regular employee!
I objected to this limited-term status and pointed out that I had applied for a regular status job and that I was one of very few employees on a deployed assignment and was earning 100% recharge money for IM-1. I was assured by the group and team leader (Ruminer and Sandford) that it was merely a matter of their renewing my term for an additional 1 or 2 years and that this was a common practice so there was nothing to worry about.
In early February 07 the new acting group leader of IRM-CAS (Prono) announced that only one full-time regular designer position would be offered but that it required me to apply for it as a new job and that I would have to compete against 4 other limited-term designers as well as anyone at the Lab who is qualified.
I decided that enough was enough and told my team leader that I was going to retire even though I was 19 months short of receiving my full social security benefits. I had been told by the deputy group leader (Wangen) that my limited term would expire on March 31 however, a week later he decreed that my limited term status would expire on March 1 instead of March 31, there by causing me to lose 2 paychecks for March and messing up my carefully made retirement plans.
There are other people within IRM-CAS that are, or will be, affected by this decision, and I am told that Lab-wide there are 450 or more limited term employees.
Welcome to LANS...or in my case, adios.
Making about $80K a year can get you a house at about $300K.
3/07/2007 7:57 PM
Only if you want to live for your home? Again, as the jobs disappear so will the homes. I am sure there will be many vultures circling in hope to gain by others loss. I only hope that the house they buy be eaten by termites, has a radioactive water supply and mold.
Those people who get laid off and don't own their houses in LA are going to be financially wiped out. Saw this happen during the '94 RIF and it was very painful to watch.
Stress like this always causes lots of divorces, spouse abuse, drinking problems, etc. Very, very sad, but I don't think that LANS, NNSA, or Congress give a shit. Most of them seem to want to see us severely punished in one way or another.
Also, expect to soon see many of your fellow staff members panic and do just about anything to hold on to their jobs over the next few years. The fear factor at LANL is going to get very high. You ain't seen nothing yet.