Thursday, December 29, 2005

ADTR still bites

Hi Doug,
Please post anonymously...ADTR still bites...

With what has been posted in the blog about "at will" employee status
for NM workers, NM's previous inability to intervene in UC's actions, and
UC's historical (mis)management of its NM workers, I was wondering about
the new LLC...
1) In which of the 50 States is/will the LANS LLC be incorporated or
chartered? ...Delaware perhaps?
2) Will the new LLC bring with it anything new (better) with regard to
employee rights compared to the soon-to-be-terminated arrangement with the
absentee landlord from the State of California?
3) Will the State of New Mexico have any newfound rights to oversee the
welfare of employees of the new LANS LLC?
4) On a related topic, now that LANL will again be under the flag of UC
but as a disconnected LLC, is it now more likely that employees of LLNL
will never risk severence from UC employment?


Actually, even though NM is a "Employment At Will" state, that is trumped by the existence of a policy manual that specifies the procedures for discipline and termination.

It is very difficult (one should never use the term "impossible") to terminate an employee without the supervisor going through the Performance Action Track process.

Of course, this does not apply during the probationary period.

For all of the nonsense that comes out of UPTE, LANL seldom terminates more than about 5 people per year for performance and other such issues.

That said, of course it is possible to just make an employee's life miserable. There is a grevience procedure to deal with this kind of behavior. Given the size of LANL, there are employment opportunities outside of of one's group or division that will allow one to escape from an overbearing supervisor.

It's not a perfect world, but it's not like a sweatship of 1905.
This issue is a very important one, which bears watching. Currently, the LANL employees are not "at will" because they have a right to file a grievance of termination, with an independent hearing officer and a binding outcome. This contrasts with the previous grievance policy which specified hearings that were "advisory" to the Director.

The grievance policy serves to underpin all the "rights" caught up in the remaining policies, thus it is the central point. LANL employees should pay close attention to personnel policies as they will be changed. At UC employees have a right to input policy changes, at LANL there is no such "right", and no employee organization to monitor and defend employee rights. We are left to hope that LANL's current policies, which are much inferior to UC campus policies, persist under the new LLC.
It remains for the LANL workforce to remain vigilant and engaged during this transition process to ensure that "substantially equivalent" is interpreted to include "rights" that are largely safeguarded under federal laws. LANL employees could well see rights eroded. Beside the right to a graded approach for discipline, there is the right to comment on policies that change the terms and conditions of employment. It is not inconvieveable that NNSA, under seige from the Bush Administration, will be found to be "exempt" from these laws like the employees in the Homeland Security Dept. Happy New Year in the brave new world.
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