Sunday, March 05, 2006

Contractors will be let go?

Doug or Brad, please post this anonymously.
I don't know if this is new information for you but I have been told that as of May 31st all contractors will be let go and none will be renewed. If you have any information to corroborate this it might be useful information for contract employees.

Future of not only contract employees, but what about contract support firms such as LATA, KSL, Holmes and Narver, Merrick...etc.? Looks like Bechtel will have a field day.
Well the LANS Q&A under Organization and Management - posted below - doesn't mention that these contracts have been automatically extended for the past few years and that they do expire on 5/31 - so it is unclear to me what exactly is meant by "existing contracts". Hoping this is only a rumor...otherwise it will be a busy two months.

"010 (Posted 2/15/06)

Q: What will happen with the contract employees such as Comforce, Butler, Weirich employees?

A: As required by Article H-22 of the Contract, on June 1, existing subcontracts at the Laboratory will be transferred from UC to LANS. After that point, LANS will evaluate how these subcontracts fit into its execution approach. "
So I guess the question is, why would Bechtel keep all of these contractors and support personnel around when they could fill these slots with their own people? Let me think..

My suggestion is that you hope for the best and plan for the worse.
Without taking contractors into account for the moment, let's look at what the current estimate for staff reduction looks like.

$11M shortfall in the budget for FY2007
$100M "Transition costs"
$100M GRT
$79M Contractor fee
$290M less than 2006

At an FTE rate of $320,000, that is 906 staff members who might need to go. More people will be told to hit the bricks if they target the lower-paid employees (like contractors, TEC, SSM, etc.).
The untold cost of staff reduction, whether of UC TSM or long term contract staff, is the loss of project specific expertise.
If their expertise is not in the area of pit production, they can hit the road.
In any case official notification one way or the other is what I need to see. As I wrote elsewhere the last time I checked with my employer they had been told that they would have a contract as of 1 June but had not yet received anything in writing.
Don't feed the rumor mill. Contractors will be carried forward (at least for the interim) for both PR reasons (no layoff in the first year) and for pragmatic ones. (1) You couldn't hire enough Q-cleared people all at once to fill the existing contractor's shoes - from anywhere, much less from Bechtel. If they're working for Bechtel, they already have jobs and are covered. (2) Most contractors are minorities and/or women. Dumping them all at once would bring a lengthy racial discrimination suit and give LANS a major black eye before they even took over. They're not going to do that. (3) Contractors are not featherbedding - unlike many LANL support people (HR, Facilities, and BUS come to mind) they do essential work. Getting rid of them will bring the wheels of LANL to a stop.

My best guess: just like the fiasco that Valles Caldera has turned out to be, the LANL recompete will be papered over with supplemental appropriations to cover the added costs. In this case, I think Hobson is our friend. For NNSA to publicly admit the mess they've made with the rebid will reverberate through Congress. Better to throw some money under the table at LANL as "transition costs" in a supplemental appropriation than take the heat in DC.
I concur with your three points, your last one is what I was pointing out in regards to "loss of expertise" issues.
I remain optimistic, although certainly
not naively so - just waiting on the word.
Why not collect all contractor badges and say "we'll call you". Then sit back and see what keeps running without contractors... and what breaks with no contractors. Then ask the question - what was this contractor doing that was so important to this process, why was a contractor put in a position of importance, and ask the manager in charge what they hell were you doing, and then bring that expertise in house from internal. That is how Bechtel will do it.
No, Butthead, that's not how Bechtel will do it. There will be more and more contractor positions because they are CHEAPER and now LANL is a for profit laboratory. You can make more money with contractors for whom you have to provide no benefits and whom you can hire for a period of time and then let go. Look for many operations to be outsourced to contractors - such as some CCN groups which are already being moved to the operations side of LANL. That's really close to outsourcing. And those CCN folks, many of whom are tremendously overpaid, will feel the pinch. No more 90k/year for someone with no degree.
You need to read the LANS Transition website:

028 (New Q&A 3/6/06)
Q: Assuming LANS decides that it is more cost effective to out source say desk-top computing. How long after June 1st might that happen?

A: LANS has no plans at this time to outsource desktop computing activities.
"NO PLANS AT THIS TIME" does not mean it will not happen after Jun 1.
I agree of course, Travis.

I'm just waiting to see the LANS meets Northern NM show.

Speaking of which, does anyone have stats on the ratio of support staff to programmatic TSMs, or a similar metric, at various sites in the DOE complex? I think I had seen them years ago.
The real "issue" is that UC's highly touted CONVERSION of contractors 2 years ago was a dismal flop even though Marquez yapped about its success (my estimate is 1/3 got converted) and the Contingent Worker Project committee even got nominated for a Distinguished Service Award for doing NOTHIING but shuffling the figures so that 1800 or so contractors mysteriously got reclassed (on paper) as consultants so they could UP the stats.... Whatever happens to contractors under LANS, the truth will be buried under shuffling piles of data....
Look at what the contingent worker program did. There is now a cadre of employees who have only been employed for a couple of years. Last in, first out will be the rule. Those folks are probably quaking in their boots as they begin to realize that they are cannon fodder for the upcoming RIF.
So after many postings on this thread we have neither confirmed or denied the original question.. anyone have real information or at least a good sense a formal announcement will be forthcoming?
red004, it looks like you'll know on June 1.
From LANL homepage. "A Big Week for Transition

This is a big week for the Transition period, with key milestones scheduled for the "People" phase of Transition...

Let me also address other questions related to employment.

Employment Questions
Last week, LANL's Supply Chain Management (SUP) Division, in coordination with LANS management, mailed out letters to LANL subcontractors assigning those subcontracts to LANS and extending those that would have expired May 31..."

There you go.
What became of yesterday's (March 7th) big announcement as heralded by Marquez?
KSL has been "downsizing" their staff for months. Dozens have been let go without notice. Would seem they are preparing for the worst and trying to cut their fat budget. Why have KSL when Bechtel/Washington Group can do their job? I imagine in the next year we will see a tremendous change and it will be long over due, where KSl is concerned.
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