Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Staff-augmentation portion of Contingent Worker Project begins wrapping up

From Anonymous:

600 jobs out of 4,000? ..... "build on the momentum" ? a year later and they are still doing early phases of "staff augmentation" ?

Staff-augmentation portion of Contingent Worker Project begins wrapping up

Project advertises 900 new jobs to date

Nearly a year after it was first announced, the Laboratory's Contingent Worker Project will substantially complete a major portion of the project by month's end.

A "contingent worker" is a person who works under a Laboratory subcontract and is not an employee of the University of California. The CWP - which looked at subcontract assignments to determine whether they were more appropriate as UC employment positions - intends to wrap up the staff-augmentation portion of the project on March 31. The staff-augmentation portion of the project focuses on contingent worker assignments under the four primary staff-augmentation subcontracting firms: Butler, Weirich, Comforce and The Plus Group.

The second portion of the project, the task-order portion, focuses on work performed under task orders, stand-alone technical subcontracts or consultant agreements. The CWP team intends to complete the task-order portion of the project this summer.

In a master management memo to Laboratory managers, Richard Marquez, associate director for administration (ADA), noted that although the project did experience delays due to the suspension of operations last summer, the project has achieved significant progress (Adobe Acrobat Reader required). He asked managers in each organization to build upon the project's momentum and take necessary measures to close out the staff-augmentation portion of the project by the March 31 deadline.

The CWP team has completed its review of the nearly 1,500 staff-augmentation assignments identified under the project. The team estimates that as many as 1,000 new UC positions could be created under the auspices of the CWP.

To date, under the staff-augmentation portion of the project, nearly 900 UC jobs have been posted and more than 600 job offers have been accepted. Former contingent workers have filled 80 percent of these jobs so far. Nearly three-quarters of the new UC jobs are full-time regular positions.

Every new UC position created under the auspices of the CWP has undergone extensive analyses by Human Resources (HR) personnel to ensure that job classifications and salary levels are consistent with similar UC positions across the Laboratory. This approach helps ensure that salary fairness achieved under Laboratory Director Pete Nanos' salary initiative is maintained across the institution.

"The results of the Contingent Worker Project to date have been consistent with goals originally set out for the project," said Gilbert Ratliff, CWP co-leader. "The project has provided opportunities for contingent workers to become UC employees, and, as a result, has enhanced contingent workers' opportunities for employment stability, upward mobility and career enhancement."

Under the task-order portion of the project, about 100 subcontracted positions have been identified as more appropriately UC positions. CWP team members estimate that only about 10 to 15 percent of the 1,800 task-order/stand-alone technical services agreements could be affected by the CWP.

The task-order portion of the project is being conducted in a more deliberate manner than the other portion. Marquez is reviewing all recommendations of the task-order portion to ensure that Laboratory divisions have based their proposed actions on prudent business decisions. Based on these reviews, the CWP team is identifying appropriate strategies, such as redefining scopes of work within task orders, to maintain sound business practices. Marquez has instructed additional review of such strategies by the cognizant associate Laboratory director to ensure that the strategies address business requirements of the affected line organization.

In addition, CWP and Laboratory leaders have met with regional business leaders, through the Lab's Business Integration Board and other venues, to design processes to help ensure that the Laboratory's use of task orders is more business friendly. These ongoing dialogues with regional businesses help fulfill commitments that the Laboratory made during a CWP-sponsored "vendor town hall" meeting last spring.

"The task-order portion is an important component of the overall project," said Ratliff. "Under this portion, the team has gathered a large amount of useful information that is being used to improve business processes, such as creation of a system of centralized oversight for contingent-worker assignments. Once implemented, these improvements will help ensure that contingent worker assignments are appropriately managed and that the Laboratory utilizes contingent workers appropriately and cost effectively."

Managers with questions about completing the CWP within their specific organizations should contact their HR generalist or deployed HR group leaders, or contact Ratliff at 5-5196. More information about the Contingent Worker Project is at the updated CWP Web site at http://int.lanl.gov/orgs/hr/cwp online. Questions about the project can be sent to cwp@lanl.gov by electronic mail .



Comments:
The CWP was intended to address two issues: The cost of subcontracted employees and the Microsoft class action case. The original (flawed) analyisis showed that LANL could save close to $20M/yr by converting subcontracted employees to UC Regular by eliminating the subcontract house's overhead, G&A, profit, and GRT. The assumption was that the contingent workers would come over at their existing pay rates.

Wrong assumption. By the time the contingent workers were leveled against their UC peer groups the savings evaporated. And some people got exhorbitant raises to convert. The $20M in annual savings will never be realized and LA County will be out about $6M in GRT they would otherwise have received.

So why press on with the CWP if it's not saving money? Because of the Microsoft case, where contingent workers (body shoppers) working side by side with MS employees were denied MS corporate benefits. The court ruled that, for all practical purposes, these body shop employees were MS employees and that laundering their paychecks through a third party did not break the employee-employer relationship. The body shop workers got back pay and benefits from MS, in addition to whatever pay and benefits MS had paid to their body shop. LANL is afraid that a similar class action lawsuit might hit here, so the defensive position is to convert the body shop people to UC Regular to defuse the situation.
 
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