Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Domenici, LANL, Benefits

Anonymous sent this in:

Read this. Now we will all feel better.

Albuquerque Journal North
Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Around Northern New Mexico

Journal Staff Report
Sen.: Don't Fret Over Lab Benefits

Sen. Pete Domenici, R-N.M., said Los Alamos National Laboratory employees should not be overly anxious about what will happen to their benefits if a new manager wins the contract to operate the laboratory.
"I think people ought to settle down," Domenici said in his weekly radio address on Tuesday. "We're fully aware of the benefits, of the pensions, of the health care, and so is the laboratory."
Domenici said bids to manage the laboratory have to include benefits and "that if they don't, they will be turned down."

"Let's let it (the competition) go and be sure they (LANL employees) are protected and they will be," he said.

Employees at a town hall meeting sponsored by Rep. Tom Udall, D-N.M., in Los Alamos Monday aired concerns that language in the draft request for proposals detailing the criteria for bidding on the LANL contract doesn't sufficiently protect their current benefits under the University of California, the current manager.

UC's contract expires at the end of September 2005. The Department of Energy plans to choose a new operator by sometime this summer.

Employees warned Udall, that unless the criteria is reworded to more firmly protect their accrued benefits under UC, as many 2,000 older employees may choose to retire early.

"I don't believe, in the end, that is going to happen," Domenici said. "I am as worried as they are," he said, about ensuring the benefits remain comparable if UC is no longer managing LANL.

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