Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Contingent Worker Project, Dead

From Anonymous:

The highly publicized Contingent Worker Project (CWP) is apparently
dead. The CWP was initiated to "convert" 3,000-4,000 long-time
contract employees at the Lab and save upward of $30 million a year in
contractor fees and gross receipt tax. It got about 1/3 done before
the infamous Stand Down, dribbled out a few more jobs after
resumption, and is now apparently no longer economically feasible to
continue because of UC contract uncertainties and budget problams. The
Stand Down will continue to rack up losses in budget monies lost and
projects that have moved to other labs, and the 1,500 or more contract
employees who did not get "converted" before the knee-jerk Stand Down
get screwed.

The "conversion" never was a conversion in any case. Employees
basically had to apply for their own jobs. UC does NOT award
retroactive "service credit" for years spent at the Lab as a
contractor. Contractors do NOT get UC pension monies. So even if the
CWP were to continue, those who were not converted in 2004 lose yet
another year of service credit toward any possible UC pension.

An interesting note is that the conversions that were made in 2004
were pretty much restricted to specific directorates at the Lab. One
specific directorate made practically no conversions, although it
posted job ads and conducted interviews. So a UC-sponsored, Lab-wide
program NEVER WAS carried out in an equitable manner. The CWP was
incredibly badly planned from the get-go and swamped HR. The project
lurched forward in fits and starts. Some groups at the Lab converted
ALL of their contract employees; other groups converted NONE.

So while UC employees fret about future retirement benefits (as they
should), the many contractors at the Lab continue to work every day
without any UC benefits at all. They continue to work every day
without accruing any service credit. They continue to work every day
while colleagues doing the same work in other groups and divisions but
who were converted accrue service credit toward retirement
pensions. Equal pay (benefits) for equal work?

Aside from the inequity and questionable ethics employed by the Lab in
implementing the CWP, there is also the issue of job security. As was
announced at a recent "brown bag" lunch, contractors are easy to get
rid of. If the 2006 budget is as bleak as we're being led to believe
it is, how many contractors will simply lose their jobs? It has
happened before.

The bottom line is that Lab management has screwed up again. It has
botched a worthy initiative and has clammed up about the status/future
of a once-publicized project. Rich Marquez gave a much-publicized
update to the state legislators in August 2004, but nothing much has
been said since. It is likely that more than 1,500 long-time workers
at the Lab will be denied UC status and maybe even denied a job all
because of mismanagement at high levels.

And even now I can hear the Director's response because we've all
heard it before: If you don't like it here, go work somewhere else!
Maybe it's time the Director took his own advice.

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