Friday, January 27, 2006

4:35 pm: N.M. senators oppose separate Los Alamos lab pension fund

By HEATHER CLARK | Associated Press
January 27, 2006

ALBUQUERQUE - New Mexico's senators urged the Department of Energy to reject a plan to create a separate pension fund for Los Alamos National Laboratory employees and retirees.

The University of California Board of Regents last week voted to create the separate fund for the nuclear weapons lab _ called the UCRP-LANL Plan _ and remove it from the overall UC pension fund. The DOE must approve the change.

The decision has outraged lab employees and retirees, who fear the smaller retirement fund would put their pensions at greater risk.

The UCRP-LANL Plan would have had a market value of $4.3 billion had it existed last June, compared with UC's total pension fund worth $41.8 billion at the time.

Sens. Pete Domenici, R-N.M., and Jeff Bingaman, D-N.M., sent a letter Friday to Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman asking him to reject UC's plan.


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This is all good but I hope this does not signal to SPSE / UPTE or any LANL / LLNL employee to let up for a minute.

Please stay prepared for the fall out and continue to fight for what is rightfully your.
This recompete of the LANL M&O contract has turned out to be a sham. Would not the NM senators be well advised to put this whole thing back on the shelf and act like it never happened?

Why should they not be better stewards of the federal trust and just drop this whole LANS mess and go back to the way things were?

The NNM native population would seem to be at significant risk in personnel cuts needed to make the profit margins for LANS and as well as the new NM GRT taxes on LANS. The money has to come from somewhere. Kuckuck hinted as much during the last all-hands meeting. Estimates are that at least 300-500 staff need to go to make ends meet.
Oh, no! You can't do that. We haven't finished turning Los Alamos into Rocky Flats yet. Getting rid of 300-500 non-Pu "specialists" is just the beginning.

(And you thought things were screwed up now. Just you wait.)
Thank you for contacting me regarding the proposed pension plan for Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) employees and retirees. I appreciate your taking the time to share your concerns with me.

I am opposed to the plan to create a separate pension program for LANL employees and retirees, as proposed by the lab's new management team, and I have written a letter to Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman expressing my concerns. I believe that a separate LANL pension plan under the University of California Retirement System Plan (UCRP) would not have sufficient actuarial protection and would require the Department of Energy to provide pay to uphold the lab pension plan. For this reason, I have urged Secretary Bodman to reject the request made by the University of California Board of Regents to segregate and spin off liabilities and assets, and that before any formal action is taken, the concerns of employees and retirees need to be addressed. Please be assured that I will keep your comments in mind as I continue to monitor any new developments with this proposal.

Again, thank you for writing. Please continue to keep me informed of issues important to you and your community.


United States Senator
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