Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Is there really a signed UC contract extension to May 31, 2006?

From Anonymous:

I am one of those over-50, over 20-years LANL employees who is having a hard time figuring out what to do with the LANL operating contract transition to the new LLC. That is, whether to retire early from UCRS or stick with the transition and suffer the consequences. I have a number of years yet to work productively and I really enjoy my job.

Some months ago I decided to position myself for a retirement from UC effective with the scheduled UC end-date of September 30, 2005.

Today I received an e-note from the Benefits office (HR-B) indicating that I needed to reschedule my early-July Retirement Interview due to the pre-July departure of my assigned Benefits Specialist.

I inquired of HR-B that if indeed the UC contract had been extended to May 31, 2006, that perhaps I would simply defer my Retirement Interview to a date within 90 days of the extension. I asked in addition if the quoted UC extension was "official".

HR-B referred me to the All Hands meeting of Friday, June 10, 2005 for "official confirmation" of the contract extension.

I again inquired regarding the All Hands meeting that simply it was a matter of verbal recognition of the extension by DOE/NNSA managers...no signed papers, or even verbal concurrence from UC. I further asked if there was a certainty that a signed contract extension exists between UC and DOE/NNSA for continuation of UCRS eligibility through May 31, 2006. I then even further asked if a person could see the document if it exists.

The final answer today was: "No, currently, we can not produce a signed copy of the agreement at this time".

Comments:
Take your retirement money and run!
Intelligent people can always find another outlet so they may work productively and really enjoy their life. I am retired and never get bored. Why gamble with your retirement money?
 
I thought Administrator Brooks said there was a signed copy right there in the audience during the all-hands? Is my memory going?
 
Tyler P. also said there was a signed copy. But note that he said the date could be flexible- earlier or later depending on the new contract.
 
It is my understanding that the DOE Los Alamos Area Office has the extension signed by both parties through May 31, and that DOE has the option of extending it an additional 4 months until Sept. 30 without further UC concurrence. I believe Tyler P. did mention that they would like to begin the new contract even earlier than June 1 if possible. These dates will depend upon how long it takes to agree on details of the benefits package plus 60 days for employees to analyze their benefits under the various scenarios before making a decision.
 
However, Tyler P. also said "We're going to negotiate what the present value of those assets are. Easy? Heck no." He anticipated an arduous set of negotiations. (Monitor article, Tuesday, June 14, 2005)

Don't look for this extremely critical step to be completed quickly because there is a huge sum of money at stake. Also, given the past failed attempts by DOE to get to the "excess" generated by UC's good management of UCRP assets, attorneys for both sides are going to be very busy. Poor negotiation by either side carries grave implications of future under-funded liabilities.
 
Beware those who think L-M will have the silver bullet for any new retirement program.

According to Forbes magazine, of the S&P 500 list, Lockheed Martin is #6 of underfunded pension plans. Somewhere in the neighborhood of $14B

It is estimated that it would take them 54 years to catch up in funding current pension plans.
 
The contract extension is posted on the contracts website maintained by the University and can be downloaded using the following link: http://labs.ucop.edu/internet/comix/contract/LANL/lanl_mods/m602_lanl.pdf .
 
The contract extension is posted on the contracts website maintained by the University and can be downloaded using the following link: http://labs.ucop.edu/internet/comix/contract/LANL/lanl_mods/m602_lanl.pdf .
 
8:03, my understanding is the LM pension plan for LANL would be legally separate (like Sandia's) from the LM pension plan for other employees. That underfunding is their problem.
 
Even if it is separate, it is still our problem because it demonstrates an extreme ineptitude for managing pension plans. If they've flown their own pension plan into the ground, what's stopping them from doing the same to ours?
 
The way I understand it, underfunded pension plans are created by a massive shell game.

The employer claims they are matching your contribution, but are in fact skimming the money off the top for cash flow purposes.

These shell games are used to prop up earnings estimates similar to the likes of the ill-reported gains of Enron, Tyco, and Aldelphia to name a few.

So, L-M could very well shuffle money as they see fit and still make you believe that they are following the rules.
 
Yes matching contributions is a game. Where I worked in the past, employer contributions were always 1, 2, 3 pay periods behind in actually DEPOSITING funds in an account thereby creating a large pool of money that had been, in theory, disbursed, but in reality sat in some account somewhere....
 
Yes, laws weekening defined benefits plans were weakened in 1995. You see the results before you. See you local congressional delegation if you have a gripe with it.
It is the job of corporations to make money any way they can. If Congress gives them an opening, believe me, they use it.
 
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