Saturday, February 11, 2006

Not to abandon any pensioners?

Submitted by Anonymous:
________________________________

The coming transfer of some UCRP assets to the LANS "successor"
pension plan is something all UCRP members need to follow. From my own
observation of discussions of this topic at the Regents' meeting and
by University leadership I can report that the intent of all the
contemplated actions is to properly assign pension obligations between
UCRP and LANS, and not to abandon any pensioners.

There is a lot of confusion right now because it is complicated. One
of the complications was created by the University recently in
recommending that an intermediate step be taken before assets are
transferred to LANS: that all of the obligations of the University to
LANL pensioners, active and inactive employees, that the federal
government is also underwriting through the prime contract, be
identified before the LANS transfer.

Would this action transfer UC pensioners from UCRP to a LANS plan? No.
Would this action eliminate UC's obligation to current LANL retirees
and to individuals who retire or go inactive rather than
"transferring" from UC to LANS? No.

Why would UC suggest that this intermediate step be taken? It is of
extreme interest to all UCRP participants, whether they are at LANL,
another DOE Lab, or a campus, that the federal commitment in the prime
contracts be properly discharged. From the University's perspective
that commitment is not simply the pension contribution costs that have
been authorized to be charged to the contract in the past (and which
have not been charged for the last 15 years) but the actual University
obligations incurred at LANL and at the other DOE Labs. The
University's interpretation of the prime contract is that the federal
government's obligation backs up the University's obligation whether
or not the current assets are sufficient to meet them. (An exception
exists for University mismanagement of UCRP investment.)

In the era when the contracts were extended non-competitively there
was little concern about how the federal obligation would be
fulfilled. But as the contract arrangements are changing it is
important to eliminate any uncertainty regarding the extent of the
future federal obligation. The first step in eliminating that
uncertainty is to define and agree upon the universe of obligations
involved. That is what was recommended to the Regents in January.

UCRP members should not exclusively focus on the assets of UCRP; just
as important, and possibly more so, is the acknowledgement of
obligation. The assets that are currently in UCRP reflect assumptions
about the future and the level of success in investing money collected
in prior years. (There has been some discussion of starting
system-wide contributions again as early as July, 2007.) There will be
some transfer of UCRP assets to a LANS pension plan, but the January
Regents action did not and will not do that; that will occur only
after it is known which of the current UC employees at LANL have
"transferred" to LANS.

The most immediate question is quantifying the University's UCRP
obligation to LANL retirees, active and inactive employees and
assuring that the federal government acknowledges a continuing
obligation to them as well. This is of interest to all UCRP
members. If the federal obligation is limited to past financial
contributions to UCRP and there is a major economic downturn, pensions
may be at risk for all UC retirees. That is not what the University
believes is the deal with the federal government, and now is the time
to ensure that any disagreement on this point is identified and
eliminated.

As stated at the beginning of this post, my own observation is that
the Regents and University leadership is committed to delivering on
the obligations that have been made to all UC employees. Key to making
sure that happens is to eliminate any uncertainty on the federal
commitment that backs up the University's obligations to UC employees
and retirees at DOE Labs. I believe the retirees and employees can be
assured of this intent. But that does not mean that UCRP members
should not follow this closely and become informed about what is
happening.


Comments:
While I appreciate the the time that the submitter took in preparing this commentary, I disagree completely with its conclusion. UC's actions have demonstrated very clearly that it is their express intent to abandon all LANL retirees. I expect that there will soon be an announcement of of a class-action suit against UC that will underscore the fact other people have correctly interpreted UC's intent as well.

--Doug
 
Unless it is identified that all past and current employees are to be allowed to retire under the primary UCRP plan, "all" of those who are eligible to retire should do so one day before the new contractor takes over, leaving LANSLLC with a big hole to fill. The bottom line is that the UC / DOE must remain responsible for all current and future liabilities for everyone regardless of what happens to the economy or their mismanagement of the retirement funds and I do not mean that .33 cents on the dollar BS they pulled with United Airline. It is time to submit your retirement papers and never look back with any regrets. Lets the numbers of those filing speak for itself so that DOE can see that you are serious. For now, DOE believes that you are all talk and no action. My papers get filed March. Have you filed your yet?
 
Doug, I think that you are quite wrong.

It's not so much that UC is planning to abandon all the retirees. I think that UC is pretty much checking out entirely.

Think about it. What kind of manager would take the actions that UC has taken in the last month, if that manager had any concern for the morale of the employees? After all, they've just pretty much told the anyone who has retired, or their survivors, that they're no longer in the pension, a pension they were assured many times they would stay in.

But, look at it from the other angle. UC has demonstrated its complete lack of concern for what LANL employees are thinking -- not just past, but present and future.

I have looked at what is going on here up, down, and sideways, and have discussed it with other folks from the other labs. We think it is going to play out as follows:

1. Sandia evolves to become a work-for-others organization.

2. LANL is a manufacturing organization.

3. LLNL gets to be the open, clean, green, science lab.

Then, a lot of things make sense. UC attaches its name to the LANL bid, in trade for eventually getting an LLNL science lab. But, who runs LANL in the long run? People around here are not even sure it's going to be Bechtel -- it may well be BWXT or the Washington guys.

In any event, science at LANL slowly declines.

For those of you who keep claiming that it's the evil GOP who hate science who are killing us, I would remind you that the science has been under assault in the US Gov't for four decades. Recall that the Saturn V production line was shut down *before* we even landed on the moon. If you look at R&D spending as fraction of GDP, as near as I can tell, it peaked in this country a long time ago. People are just now starting to notice how much harm has been done, but don't look for anything to change -- science has no lobbyists.

ron
 
Folks, sorry for the many typos in the previous comment -- I hit publish instead of preview. oops. Maybe I need to retire!

ron
 
"The most immediate question is quantifying the University's UCRP
obligation to LANL retirees, active and inactive employees and
assuring that the federal government acknowledges a continuing
obligation to them as well."

I hate to sound like a broken record but *quantifying* the UCRP obligation to LANL does NOT require establishing UCRP-LANL. Is there anyone out there on either side of this controversy that doesn't understand that? This is a recording.
 
Criminy Doug, don't you read your own postings? University of CHICAGO is bidding on Fermilab.
 
This post has been removed by a blog administrator.
 
Interesting observations Ron, and I would agree with most of it were it not for a couple of facts that dispute the claim that UC is "checking out entirely". If so, why

1. did they bid on the LANL contract, and
2. there is no number 2.

Otherwise, I agree with your assessment on the likely futures of Sandia, LANL, and LLNL. I also share your (apparent) opinion that UC does not give a good God Damn about LANL UC employees, nor have they for quite some time.

--Doug
 
Re: U of C -- Oops.

--Doug
 
"The most immediate question is quantifying the University's UCRP
obligation to LANL retirees, active and inactive employees and
assuring that the federal government acknowledges a continuing
obligation to them as well."

I hate to sound like a broken record but *quantifying* the UCRP obligation to LANL does NOT require establishing UCRP-LANL. Is there anyone out there on either side of this controversy that doesn't understand that? This is a recording.
# posted by due process : 2/11/2006 10:33:11 AM


You got it. The rest is BS and who cares. The mission of both labs are going to change and so are the people, management, benefits, etc.
 
b-

I don't agree with everything you say, but I appreciate your vote of confidence on this one. The difficulty posed by engaging a powerful and determined adversary, aside from the adversary's power and determination, especially in a forum with a large, changing, and largely passive readership, is that the adversary and its supporters simply hammer away at the party line without acknowledging (nor even attempting to refute) any objections. The only thing I can think of doing in such circumstances is to remain vigilant and not be embarrassed to repeat myself. The powerful and determined adversary suffers no embarrassment, nor does it have any moral scruples that I can detect.
 
I have to agree with most of Rons statement. The daily mantra at Sandian meetings seems to be "We are a work for other organization if we are to be open in 5 years."

LLNL is inside of California and losing it would be a much bigger black eye than LANL. LANL has become a backwater science name for a lot of people and it becoming a manufacturing plant wouldnt cause any big noise.

The reason UCal bid on LANL is standard US govt bid politics. If you want something, you have to usually bid on one to two things you don't want to get that bid. The other bids are greasing the palms bids... I am guessing Bechtel was to keep Ohio's delegation on the bid..

LLNL is being pushed towards bomb free science with the fact that DOE/NNSA is doing lots of things to piss off people living in the valley. LLNL now has gatling guns and an increase in the amount of Pu stored there.. At some point the California delegation will get a revolt from the various people who want to live around Livermore to commute to their Silicon Valley job not worry about a thousand 7.62 rounds going through their condo from the fenced area.

When that happens.. DOE/NNSA will push the labwork probably to NST and combine LLNL and LBNL into one unit for cost savings.
 
The likelihood of those 7.62 rounds ending up in someone back yard is nil, maybe a few holes in some peoples roofs due to ricochets. LLNL has already turned into a college campus full of young students trying to make a name for themselves. It's actually pretty sad to watch, but again it is what it is. As far as what I would view as "real work" going on, well that all stopped at the end of Star Wars and Brilliant Pebbles and the end of testing. It's been going down hill ever since and is currently spiraling out of control with no leadership in building 111. Even Wayne Shotts has jumped ship and no one to date has been appointed to take Mike and Waynes place. Maybe no one wants it because it's a bag of worms. I sincerely think LLNL's days are numbered and that people are just hanging on to get those last few years in when they turn 55 and can leave with their 50% or so. In my opinion it's not such a nice place to work anymore. All of the big fish or should I say overpaid cronies have jumped ship and moved to LANL where they will do what they need to do at an exuberant price and wages to follow.

There the affect of the wine wore off and its back to being normal once more. I am going back for a refill.
 
Well, LANL is waiting to see if LLNL can deploy the Dillon, and they will follow suit (as will other sites). The DBT doesn't take into account how close the neighbors are. I doubt we will ever fire a round (as was the desire for MAD in the Cold War days). Just getting the bar up pretty high so the bad guys will go elsewhere (like PX or Y12).

Actually, it will not be bomb free science at LLNL. The future is pretty bright....

Arcs_n_Sparks
 
Well Arcs_n_Sparks I don't see exactly what is so bright about LLNL's future. It looks like it will be Ascii, Bio and HLS, for as long as that last. With an election year coming up and GWB soon to be out of office I will bet that HLS will be down sized to a minimum crew, leaving most of those issues to the FBI and CIA. As far as Ascii is concerned I have always asked the question, just how much modeling can one do to warrant their existence and for how long can this go on? When it comes to Bio regardless of what it is for I wish the CDC would handle that elsewhere. It should not be in a populated area like Livermore. I actually fear biological more then I do Pu.
 
Views of the environment and future can be self-fulfilling; if you think it will be bad, then guess what? It probably will be.

Agree with you on ASCI, and they are down $30M this year as a result. Too much emphasis on computing in my view.

LLNL is only dealing with bio at the BSL2 and so-to-be BSL3 level. Any guess how many BLS3 labs are in the U.C. system? If you live in Livermore, there is a lot more to worry about than Pu, bio agents, and the Dillon at the lab, and I've lived here 27 years.

Arcs_n_Sparks
 
So it sounds like we are going from bad to worse:

What does “BSL3” mean?

“BSL3” stands for Biosafety Level 3, one of four classifications for biologic research designated by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The levels – 1 through 4 – signify the increasing level of risk individual pathogens can present to humans. Biosafety Level 1 presents no risk of infection in humans while people infected by pathogens labeled as Biosafety Level 4 carry a high mortality rate.

Any guess how many BLS3 labs are in the U.C. system?--- No clue, but I know I want nothing to do with it...

If you live in Livermore, there is a lot more to worry about than Pu, bio agents, and the Dillon at the lab, and I've lived here 27 years.


So tell us what more is there to worry about in Livermore other then these listed. If that be the case it sounds like a place that no one should live or maybe should be closed and moved to NTS.
 
If Chardonnay is your varietal of choice, I'd be worried about that.
 
Well I don't like white wines at all. So I guess red it is..
 
So tell us what more is there to worry about in Livermore other then these listed.

Anastasio leaving.
 
He is history and so are his four cronies. Good reddens.

These four or five pricks are into this for the money and themselves. They have jumped ship and now I hope it sinks from under them.

In reality they won't care, because they are paid so well that after the first year of working at LANL / LANSLLC they could in fact retire without a UC pension and would never know the difference.

The good old boy system is in fact still alive and well. I was hoping that privatizing would have resolved that issue but I can see it's going to me more of the same old crap except more expensive and deeper.
 
Dude,

I've received a slap on the wrist for using your rather mild colloquialism for feces, so be prepared for a barrage of reprimands concerning your allusion to male genitals. In any case, there is no need to be too explicit about things that are fairly well understood. But be careful about being too subtle (OK; that's a stretch) because not everyone reads carefully.

BTW, you're not drinking merlot are you?
 
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