Friday, March 24, 2006

SPSE E-Bulletin Number Eighty-Four

SPSE E-Bulletin Number Eighty-Four
Jim Wolford, Editor
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o Report on SPSE and UPTE Lobbying on Capitol Hill for a LLNL RFP that Preserves Employee Rights and Retirement

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Former SPSE President Jeff Colvin was part of a four-person UPTE lobbying team that spent three days on Capitol Hill last week in conjunction with the annual CWA Legislative Conference. Along with Manny Trujillo of LANL, Jelger Kalmijn of UCSD, and Rodney Orr of UCSB, Colvin visited several Congressional offices, as well as DOE HQ. The UPTE team was asking that Congress:

-- delay or slow down the transition to the new corporate contractor at LANL to allow employees more time to understand and decide among their options for retirement plans, particularly since numerous questions remain as to whether the new contractor's site-specific pension plan is really "substantially equivalent" to UCRP as was required in the LANL Request for Proposals (RFP);

-- pressure DOE to write a different RFP for the LLNL management contract, so that LLNL employees will not have to face the same dreary choice between retaining their vested interest in UCRS and retaining their employment, and will not have to face being converted to "at-will" status.

Here's how Colvin summarizes the three major accomplishments of the trip:

1. We got agreement on concerted and cooperative effort on our issues from both Senators from both states (California and New Mexico), as well as from the key legislators in both parties in the House. In fact, by the time we showed up at Senator Feinstein's (D-CA) office in the afternoon of the second day, the key staffer there had already talked to the Legislative Director from Senator Bingaman's (D-NM) office with whom we had talked the day before. All the legislators are now working together on our behalf.

2. We spent two hours with Tyler Przbylek, the DOE official who is the decision authority on the LLNL contract bidding. He conceded that the LLNL RFP does not have to be identical to the LANL RFP, and expressed interest in finding some way to accommodate our concerns in the LLNL RFP.

3. After much discussion, and an hour-long meeting with the CWA legal staff, we decided to file a lawsuit, and seek immediate injunctive relief, to stop the LANL transition. UPTE's attorneys advise us that the choice being offered LANL employees in the transition may violate as many as three federal laws. We informed all the officials we visited in DC, including Mr. Przbylek, that we would possibly be taking this action. UPTE will hold a news conference at the time the suit is filed, probably in the next couple of weeks.

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Somewhere in NM there ought to be a sympathetic judge who will provide the needed injunction.
Well I suppose now there's no legitimate excuse for any of us delaying becoming an UPTE member. If for no other reason, our $20 a month dues will help pay for the litigation that appears to be forthcoming. Getting a free ride, as so many union bashers are so adept at doing, isn't an option. We want to be treated fairly, well then let's treat the union fairly as well. Count me 100% on board!
Two questions:

1. What 3 federal laws might the choices violate?

2. Since UC/Bechtel will be funded by a government contract, won't they still be covered by the FOIA?
Your $20/month won't go far in a legal fight. Where have you been until now? Hiding under a rock counting your pennies?
LarryLivermore, Just for your information I wrote a HR rep at LANS this week and inquired about how many people at LLNL were retiring. I wanted a real number that was relational to the amount of FTE's that they had. The answer was," very few if any are retiring, most are going inactive vested and rehiring with LANS". So what we have here are a bunch of people who saw that they could double dip, hoping that they can get another five years in an become vested with LANS in order to draw two pension, while at the same time getting a 401K of which LANS will match the first 6%; however I see a flaw in their thinking.

If in order to become vested with LANS you have to do five more years, what happens a years from now when they are all "at will" employees and lets say at (4 years/364days), LANS decides to have a RIF. Does this mean that these people are SOL on their second pension and all they will get out of it is a 401K that they can not lump sum out or draw on until they are 59.5 years old?

What the lack of retirees tells me is that most of them don't really care, otherwise there would have been thousands of employees on this blog taking up arms against the establishment and DOE would have gotten more then 1,700 out of 13,000 people giving input to the contract.

The bottomline Larry is, it will just be more of the same, but this time DOE will have the upper hand on being able to keep the (funds to employee ) ratio in check without fear of a law suite.The unfortunate thing is that LLNL is going to get the very same god deal that LANL got and since DOE has seen that LANL has kowtow to the offer, they will bank on LLNL employees to do the very same. My bet is that DOE is correct 100% and no message will even be send to make a point.

So there you go Larry. It's a lost cause....
I wonder how many employees who were planning to retire are now going to transfer into LANS TCP2 and retire on July 1, 2006 with the extra COLA added to their HAPC? They can terminate LANS once the pension check shows up. Also some of the folks will go into TCP2 (which is vested immediately) just to work a few more years and still preserve their UCRP option. They will be able to see what the UC Regents do about separating out UCRP-LANL and still have the option to take a lump sum if it looks bad. They also might be happy to have a RIF in a year or two and get a severance package.
I think you are dreaming about any severance pay. I'd say more like a size 10.5 where the sun doesn't shine should be expected. As far as what they do with the UC Retirement plan is concerned, we will all get screwed on that one, no matter when you retired or from where you retired from. Color it gone, forever.
Anecdotal evidence suggests you're on it need2%more. Mentality of some seems to be force them to RIF you. We'll see.
I guess I have to chime in here. There still seems to be a lot of conjecture here on the blog. Since the NNSA made three key decisions on comments to TCP-2 a couple of weeks ago, and the information had not yet been posted on the LANS site, I called LANS and asked the following questions:
1. If I pick TCP-2, does my UC service credit now count? "Yes."
2. Then, does my sick leave and vacation accrue at the current rate? "Yes."
3. If it should become necessary, would my severance be calculated based on my UC service credit? "Yes."
5. So, I essientially will have what I have now? "Yes, you will have what you currently are entitled to in terms of vacation/sick leave accrual rate, and severance calculation." I also believe that if we have 5 years service credit as of June 1, we are vested in LANS.

This is not as bad as it could have been. I wish things had not changed, but so far, I don't think it is the massive screw-job it could have been (but time will tell...). Right now, I have no choice but to hope for the best (and plan for the worst).
Comment to b-hoica reference TIER 2 inactived vested employee. The employee is imeadiately vested in Tier-2 no 5 year waiting period. You really need to start attending the briefings and reading the documentation.
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