Monday, February 21, 2005

Number of TSM Retirees?

From Anonymous:

I have heard a rumor that 4000 LANL employees
have put in for retirement. If these are TSMs
this is a large fraction of the Technical Staff
at LANL. Can anyone from HR confirm

I cannot confirm the number, but we know that 25% of LANL employees are of retirement age and there are about 8000 LANL employees. So about 2000 are eligible to retire -- if the numbers we have been given are correct. I believe the number of employees is close. I am less sure of the percentage eligible for retirement.

Every eligible TSM that I know is planning to retire except for the ones who are just barely 50. Many have already dones so. Many are scrambling to finish up important work they want to do before they retire, in case they aren't invited back after the change of the contract.
Whoa - There are currently ~ 4860 TSM's at the Lab. I doubt that the number is that high for TSM's. Now if you include the entire workforce then I can maybe believe that.
I have to wonder if the desire to change the contract isn't a desire to get rid of the old timers who are considered less pliable and less willing to put up with the agravation and poor decisions by upper management, from Nanos up.
Clearly, HR knows how many people are leaving and the number is no doubt reported upward on a daily basis.
Such a mass exodus cannot be a surprise to Nanos or UC or DOE. I suspect this is what the Communist party used to refer to as a purge.
77 Employees have retired since Oct. 7, with 34 of those being TSMs. 83 retirements are "pending", with 45 of those being TSMs.
83 pending sounds a bit low.
I know of 5 TSMs in my group
who have appointments to put
in for retirement and 4 who
definitely plan to take it.
I think the numbers posted above are correct, many people are just waiting to see what will happen. The SEB posted their revised draft RFQ and it appears that DOE will grant an additional 90 days for you to decide if the new contractor retirement plan is right for you or you should bail out in the UC system.
Appreciate that "pending" means that there has been official notification. There are LOTS of people thinking about it without official notification...
I wouldn't fixate too much on hoping for a high retirement count. A high
retirement count doesn't just mean Nanos is somehow "losing". It also means
that this Lab is clearly dying. When that happening, we all lose. Victory
at any cost is not a victory.
It would also be useful to get some stats on numbers of TSM's who have resigned or were forced out from LANL to take posts elsewhere in the last year. Quite a few good folks who were not eligible for retirement have left.
The last numbers released from the Lab that I saw gave the mean age of staff as 48; this was two years ago. I suspect the mean age since then has increased by about one year. Hence, just under half of the Lab staff are 50 or older, meaning they are eligible to retire if they are vested. You can do the math yourself.

We do know the number of retirees from last June that Nanos mentioned was low (how surprising...); HR has never (to my knowledge) released accurate numbers, although they used to do this on a regular basis. When I came to the Lab, they published the name of all retirees - of course, then the Lab also gave a party. Now, we're expected to slink off quietly (preferably).
Remember that paperwork is only submitted 90 days beforehand. Many, many people I know are planning on retiring in June or putting their paperwork in in June, to be sure to retire before Sept. 30. HR won't count them as Pending until their paperwork is in. But I also know of quite a few retiring in March...
As I understand it, 90 days is not a requirement, but is highly recommeded if you want to start getting your pension or cashout just after you retire/quit. You can do it in one day, letter to personnel ,hand delivered. That is if you are willing or able to wait a while to get you check/s from UCRS. Can someone with direct knowledge confirm? It might be important to some of us who are inclined to wait and see the new contract before disclosing our intentions. Keys, property, ect, could be a minor problem with this though.
The retirements are running about 2x what they were last year, and are at an all time high. Many people are in process but have not submitted final paperwork so they don't show up in the numbers, but we've been told that it's taking about 30 days to get an appointment with Benefits, so there are probably a couple of hundred people in the pipeline. We will most likely see a spike in numbers in Q3 and again in Q4. If the new proposal for the 6 month transition comes to pass, then those numbers may push into Q1/Q2 of '06. The data is available and our HR Group Leader sends it out at least once a month, so it's not a big secret. Ask your HR person and they'll probably give it to you.
Yes, the retirements are up and so are the terminations with people finding other places to go and students not returning to learn and lead. However, the outrageous numbers that are heard in the hallways and the lunchrooms are ficticious. There were originally 280 scheduled to retire by July 1, however only 254 did and there are a few more trickling in. Periodically, one hears the long vested employees speaking about the "mass exodus" of LANL, it is indeed a huge loss for DOE and LANL to lose these hard working, vastly intelligent vessels of knowledge. Hopefully the new contract holder will retain or request for some of these fantastic people to return and allow us to tap their knowledge some more for the future scientists tht are just starting here. Hopefully, all the retiring LANL employees will take the time and honor to impart as much of their knowledge as possible to the people willing to stay so that there is not a knowledge/technology gap created when the new contract begins. There are a large number of people working in areas sensitive or not that hold information in their heads that cannot be learned "on the fly", they just have too many years of working with procedures, tools and machines to impart all of their knowledge, but whatever they can assist those staying behind with will only benefit LANL's future as a prominant DOE Lab. Think carefully about what you have gotten out of the Lab in reality, your science, your experiments, your publications, your status and the status that you have afforded the Lab. Most of the industry leaders in defense, science and academics and the other DOE lab's do not carry the benefits, the salaries, the pensions, nor the experiences you will have received here. This is truly a unique place to have worked and built.
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