Monday, February 20, 2006

Comment on LANS Benefit proposal

Please post this anonymously. This is my first comment on the LANS Benefit
Proposal non-start. I am a member of the "450" non-SSA LANL employees.


The LANS benefit proposal fails to address major concerns of LANL UC
employees reflecting the absence of employee involvement in the proposal
development process. A new proposal must be developed with employee
representation having input equal to that of DOE and LANS. This employee
representation must be supported by legal consul advocating for current and
future employees that is substantially equivalent to consul for the other
parties. One proposal to independently fund employee legal consul is to use
the employee legal insurance as a class.
Major failures of the draft LANS proposal are:
1. Failure to address the security of a LANS retirement program LANS/DOE
expects employees to transfer retirement funds from the most secure
retirement program without any assurance about the security of these funds
or the guarantor of the long term benefits replicated in the LANS proposal.
A better plan would be to abandon TCP2 and have the entire LANS retirement
program included in UCRS in the manner that LBL employees under their new
contract were able to remain with UCRS. All employee retirement concerns
would vanish and the transition would be much smoother for all concern. In
addition employees at LLNL would be more at ease.
2. Failure to address salary issues in the total compensation package The
major part of a compensation package is salary. No salary issues are
addressed in the presentation materials of the LANS draft benefits proposal.
Are our salaries going to be reduced? What is going to be done for the
employees that are not coordinated with the Social Security system? What
about a salary grant analogus to the current vacation grant that would
assure their take-home pay isn’t reduced, wiping out years if not decades of
market driven raises.
3. Market Hocus pocus For decades our raises have been corrected to the
market. Each year our salary package is approved by DOE. How did we get to
be 129% of the market?. Our retirement program is between UC and the
employees of LANL. If we have done better than market, that is no business
of DOE or LANS and it should not be taken away from us.

Comments:
Excellent comments! The BOX A and BOX B retirement plans are stupid and unfair. The lab has screwed contract workers for years and now plans a second chunk of 2nd class employees (new hires) along with the continuing contract workers.

It's also absurd that contract employees (I had 5 years and know of workers with 10 or more) cannot bring that Lab service credit into LANS but UC employees can. It's supposed to be a new entity so why isn't ALL lab service time honored?

The biggest joke is that we're all supposed to dump our money into the LANS retirement plan with NO guarantees of anything, no cash out option, and (separate issue) dubious insurance coverage on top of everything else.
 
I don't believe it is legally possible to keep current employees in UCRS since they won't be working for UC anymore. I think they could do more to make both plans more attractive, but this may be an issue with meeting requirements of the RFP (such as 105% of DOE labs), rather than what is possible. There is no legal or honest way that they can "guarantee" the new LANS plan, either.
I don't think there are a lot of people in the non SSA group anymore as the opt out occurred 30 years ago. So those people probably are considering retirement with reasonable benefits (I already did).
The factor that is not being factored in by anyone is the original need to exceed benefits of other employers because of the remoteness of Los Alamos. I think this has largely been discounted, but I don't think it should as one doesn't have the option of LLNL folks of simply going to a different employer. It takes some effort to get people to come to Los Alamos, and may require more in the future. So a higher percentage than DOE labs for benefits is a necessity, not a luxury. I think this point really needs to be driven home to DOE.
 
david, I see no problem with NM's high schools and universities being able to supply all of LANL's future employee needs. I'm confident enough of them would come up here with no additional incentives required, aren't you?
 
I don't believe that NM schools have a chance of providing all the trained technical staff this Lab needs. They should be a good supplier of them, but I don't believe there is anywhere near enough. The Lab needs to get people from throughout the nation and always will.
 
educatedbeyondmyability and it wrong and David has it right: There is no way that the NM universities can supply the people that are needed for LANL work. UNM is third tier academically the NMSU is second tier. If these were not in-state schools, we would not recruit at either of them.
 
C'mon now darhtman and david - Don't you think DOE/NNSA has figured this all out? Why would they do this without being sure they can have both a within 105% of median benefits package and the ability to attract the "Best and the Brightest" to LANL?
 
I believe DOE/NNSA have come up with a foolproof (get it? Foolproof) plan to ensure that LANL attracts the "worst and the stupidest" from this point on.

New official LANL motto: "The World's Most Mediocre Science Protecting our 105% of median benefits package."
 
Latest USNWR lists NMSU, UNM and NM Tech as Tier 3 undergrad schools. So what?
 
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