Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Not much intrinsic enjoying

From Anonymous:

From a Sandia staffer, mid-career:
I think the pension switcheroo they are foisting on LANL retirees and current employees is a disturbing development. That, and the expertise listed in the small business categories for the new contractor do not include research and development. I imagine before too long, the Sandia staff will be told that their pensions are frozen in place, with some increased 401k contribution to make up the difference. Corporate pension analysts predict a race to the bottom as American companies follow IBM's lead in discontinuing defined pension benefits. So much for investing your time and money in your own education, not to be treated as a professional but as a liability to be minimized. No wonder there is a "shortage" of scientific and technical graduates? Why do all the heavy lifting that involves? What is the return, aside from the intrinsic enjoyment? Judging from this blog, there is not much intrinsic enjoying going on.

At other labs, such as ANL, BNL, and JLAB, they have defined contribution retirement plans with TIAA-CREF. In each of these three situations, the laboratory puts in 10%. The good thing about TIAA-CREF is that is stays the same independent of the contractor.

You can take the conservative TIAA route or go the CREF stock market route or any combination of the two.
Sprint just froze their pension for existing employees this week.
Alcoa just closed their pension to new hires last week, and will
likely do an "IBM" and actually freeze it for current staff within
a year. Pensions are falling off faster and faster with each week.
They do it because they can. No one in power is about to stop them.
And no one will probably stop DOE or UC when they finally decide to
go after our pension benefits in outlying years. Why should anyone
demonstrate even the smallest bit of loyalty to American corporations
and our business "leaders" these days? If their lips are moving,
they are probably telling us lies.
To me it's important to differentiate among all the different plans. Comparing UCRP's plan to IBM's, or other companies' plans, is similar to comparing apples to oranges. IBM is a private company, it has a bottom line, it has stockholders. UCRP is basically a government pension with no bottom line and no stockholders to answer to.

The LANS pension is neither of the above. There are no shareholders and a small pool of employees. There is more danger in this kind of plan because it is dependent upon the life of the company. What will happen to folks who have contributed if the company folds in a few years? Why have an individual plan that puts everyone who contributes to it at risk? Why not coordinate with TIAA-CREF which is not dependent upon the life of the company?

The DOE did LANL employees a great disservice by including in the RFP a requirement for a standalone pension, rather than requiring participation in TIAA-CREF. Of course, DOE has the cushy government plan which we the taxpayers contibute to.
The sad part about all of this is that it means the old people will not get to retire and will have to work until death. This also consequently means that the vacancy's that were to come from people retiring will not be there for the young who need to get established in life with a steady job or position. So where does this leave society? Sounds like we are going back to the pre-depression days once more.
Travis...IBM has PBGC to fall into.

UCRS and soon-to-be UCRS-LANL has nothing to fall into except an empty hole.
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