Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Retirees keep eyes on pension moves

ROGER SNODGRASS,, Monitor Assistant Editor

Recently retired from Los Alamos National Laboratory, Bill Stanbro was not alone in expressing concern about the pension item on the tomorrow agenda for the University of California Board of Regents.

"It's not clear what they're up to there," he said this morning.

Late last week, a number of retirees sounded an alarm about UC's plans to set up a separate pension plan for LANL under a proposal submitted by UC President Robert C. Dynes.

E-mails were posted and calls went out for congressional intervention from individuals and representatives of retiree and employee groups.

Full Story

My question is, why not let all retired and current UC employees retire under UCRP and any one who wants to transfer or get hired on with LANSLLC, retire under their new and yet unproven retirement system . Would you like to bet that it is so UCRP can dump their liabilities and obligations so that when the new corporation fails their retirement system is not affected?

Please address this item. I see no reason in the world why it can not be this way. If they need funds to get their pension going, that to me is LANSLLC problem. It should not be done at our expense.
As I commented in a similar post, "I am willing to contribute $1000 to a class action lawsuit if this is accepted by the Regents and the DOE. Who else is willing to contribute?"

The class must automatically include all current LANL/UC retirees, the surviving spouses of LANL/UC retirees who are drawing the spousal share of the LANL/UC employees' retirement, the spouses of current LANL/UC retirees who might draw the spousal share, and current LANL/UC employees who are eligible to retire and their spouses. It also must include divorced spouses for whom part of the LANL/UC retirement was included in the divorce settlement. Anyone not wanting to be included would have to opt out.

This does not affect just a few people, folks.
The reasons are pretty clearly spelled out in the UC documents. Since the people working for LANS not retired need to be transferred to the new, yet undetermined, corporate plan, it is more convenient for them to have the UCRP plan at LANL separated out. All of the liabilities, etc, are then all clearly stated. This doesn't seem to me to be any benefit to the retirees or inactive members, but is more convenient for DOE/NNSA and LANS. The document spells out how this transfer to the LANS plan will be done regardless of whether the UCRP-LANL plan is separated out or not. So there would appear to be no real reason why they can't leave folks in UCRP. I hope the lobbying with the regents that has occurred is enough to get them to respond.
A further worry for many of us old-timers is that due to long UC employment we have no social security. Signing on we had to take an oath of loyalty to the STATE of California and we trusted them. These points would seem germane to any litigation.
As anyone who knows statistical mechanics will tell you, a rock hitting a small pond makes a bigger perturbation than one hitting a large lake. Separating out 15,000 employees from 200,000 means that 'fluctuations' (spelled either with or without the "L") will have a much bigger effect on the pensions of the smaller group. 'Ominous' is the one-word descriptor that comes readily to mind.

Once again, we see the consequences of a VERY BAD IDEA--the privatization of LANL.
Dale is on to something.

I believe that Oaths of Loyalty to
the State of California were still required at least until the mid/late-90's. Any relatively "new" hires out there that can comment on whether or not this is still required?

Think "Social Contract."

It almost doesn't matter, because the number of employees who did sign such an oath, plus retirees, is much larger than the number of recent hirees who may or may not have signed such an oath.
I have just received word that the following law firm in Oakland, Ca has been asked to watch this blog where they will gather your concerns and evaluate if a class action suite is in fact feasible on behalf of employees from both national labs. These people are on the employee’s side. Please keep it that way.

GICCB was made aware of the meeting that took place in San Diego and what was to be discussed. Please do not let this stop each and everyone of you from contacting GICCB and express your concerns on just how you feel about this breech of contract on University of California’s behalf. Your message needs to come through load and clear, however it will not unless we can get all 16,000 current employees and all of its retirees involved. Remember that it isn’t over until the fat lady sings. Please do not accept defeat.

I can only assume that SPSE has asked for the names and addresses of every retiree from both LANL and LLNL from HR and requested that be notified by mail; informing them of what is going on. It is my hopes that someone has taken this for action. Any further delays may cost all of us what we are truly entitled too.

For all the LLNL employees I have one thing to say; "YOU ARE NEXT". I would encourage all of you to save your retirement by partaking in this endeavor. Please take the time contact and just say no. NOT NOW & NOT EVER

A paragraph from the UC PDF that all LLNL employees should take to heart:

...a similar model further refined by the LANL experience could be used
when the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory management contract is
put out for bid, which the DOE/NNSA have indicated will occur in
2006 or 2007.

They can be contacted at
Office Location(s)
Oakland, California
1999 Harrison Street, Suite 1600
Oakland, California 94612-3528
Telephone: 510-832-5411
Fax: 510-832-1918 URL:
Regarding oaths of loyalty:

I was converted to UC from Comforce just a few months ago. And yes, I had to "Swear to the Bear" an oath of loyalty to the State of California.
It seems to me that the really big danger comes if LANS doesn't get the next contract or somehow loses this one early. Those of us now drawing retirement feel pretty secure with UCRS and I'd have a little bit of confidence in the proposed UCRP-LANL arrangement with the University running it but none if LANS were to lose or pull out of the contract. In that event, its a sure bet UC is no longer going to be managing the UCRP-LANL plan and who knows whether there'd be any "attempt at equivalence." I think the plan could then rapidly go defunct. When you consider this scenario there is no way that the proposed moving of currently retired people into UCRP-LANL can be considered a plan with equivalent benefits. Part of benefits is the amount of risk involved. Or maybe UC would like to give us a guarantee that if they lose or pull out of the contract they'll transfer us back into UCRS. A lot of recently retired people are going to outlive this contract.

I think we need to look at the possibility of a class action suit. I'd be willing to put up a $1000 toward it.

Arvid Lundy

PS: I started at the Lab in '67 and signed a loyalty oath. I was one of those who had the option of going under social security later (mid-70s?) and did so. I retired in '98.
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