Saturday, April 29, 2006

Policy Raises LANL Concerns

By John Arnold
Journal Staff Writer

LOS ALAMOS— Los Alamos National Laboratory workers aren't just worried about their pensions. Some are worried about job security.

When Los Alamos National Security, a private company known as LANS, takes over lab operations from the University of California on June 1, members of a LANL labor union worry they will become "at-will" employees— meaning they will no longer be protected by a worker-friendly California labor law and can be fired without cause.

The prospect has national security implications, according to worker rights advocates, who think LANL employees will hesitate to raise health, safety and security concerns for fear of losing their jobs.

"That's not a very comfortable feeling— if you don't know from one day to the next if there's a manager who might've had a bad weekend, comes in one morning and tells you you're fired," said Manny Trujillo, president of the lab's University and Professional Technical Employees union.


Full Story

With this "at will" employment security, LANL employees will have job security comparable to spoils system political appointees.

Another step in the process of making LANL the "employer of choice."
Gee you mean you are just now understanding what this last two years was about. My guess is that the goal of this entire event was to assure that they could get rid of anyone they want, when they want to; and the first to go will be the dead weight that have been doing very little over the last ten years yet drawing big ass salaries. DOE and NNSA have determined that they need to clean house but had to have a way to do it without fear of a law suite due to a RIF. What do you think all of these years of ranking people 1-N have been about. If you are in the top 50% I'd say that you will get to stay if you continue to perform, but if you are in the bottom 50% I'd say you will be gone in the next 15 months. Hold on to your shorts. By the way it is to late to start performing. Your future will be based on the past three years performance. So if you were screwing the pooch in the past it now is going to screw you. Have a good day.
This Journal piece, taken in its entirety, is a pile of steer manure. HEERA only went into effect at LANL in 1999. How many blog readers would say that HEERA's implementation has improved the way LANL employees are treated by management?
Speaking of employment conditions, what about Foley's bonus? If Nanos got $200,000, then imagine what Foley got for "winning" the contract. Is anyone looking into Admiral Foley's bonus? What about the other Admirals at LANS?
HEERA is just a law protecting people who want to unionize. If people don't choose to unionize it is of no use whatsoever. Those who chose to unionize did use HEERA and it did benefit some of them. Those who chose to let management take care of them got nothing. But those who used HEERA found it very helpful.
Before HEERA you had the 1995 RIF. After HEERA you had no RIF. HEERA conveys worker protections that make it more difficult to execute "at will" terminations, like big one that occurred in 1995. And it wasn't just boneheads, deadwood, and high paid slugs that were targeted in that layoff. More often than not it was individuals who had simply pissed off a manager about one thing or another. Maybe it was just their name, or how they looked, or their political leanings that pissed off management, but the "at will" RIF made it open season for anyone management wanted to get rid of...and that's a fact. "At will" management at its finest, that's what that was folks! So how effective were the Lab's policies then at protecting workers? How effective was the Lab's grievance process at ensuring fair treatment? What a joke! At will means precisely that--you work at the will of those you serve...the feudal system at its best. So what's the about termination for cause, which is what HEERA was based on. This is precisely why the Lab couldn't execute another 1995 witch hunt after HEERA was brought into the picture at LANL. That's the value of HEERA. That's what we stand to lose once HEERA is taken out of the equation.
I suspect that all employee protection at LANL and LLNL will be abolished as soon as possible giving the managers just what HeyBabyQuePaso said... It will never be the same,,,,

So with that little bit of information why is it that you people are still having a problem deciding on what you are going to do with your life? You have 15 days to make a choice or you may find yourself "unemployed", which is find with LANS.; they need to make some cuts anyway and all that your procrastination is going to do is make it that much easier and sooner then they estimated. If you think that anything these people are going to do is to be to your benefit, forget it. The idea is for "them" to come out a winner from this day forward at any cost, as long as the profits they show at the end of the years are in the "plus " column. So there you go. 15 days and counting. With that said does anyone know if the number of people who turned their forms in has risen from the 2500 stated before in another post. If so please post the real number.
"joegideon5" and "long gone" reflect on the real problem at LANL, which is ignorance and arogance. They expected HEERA to work magic? HEERA and UC policies only make it possible for employees, such as UPTE, to fight for, and secure their employee rights. At LLNL, HEERA rights allowed SPSE (which is not a union) to defend LLNL employee rights for 30 years. They did one hell of a job, and they continue, as SPSE/UPTE to fight, as in the latest lawsuit. HEERA, in addition to allowing for unions, which have "binding" agreements with management, as on the UC campuses, also says that you can't arbitrarily change the "terms and conditions" (read policies) of employement. The effect of this is that the UC policies form an "employment contract", and that violation can lead to "breach of contract" lawsuits.
The advent of HEERA rights, and the resulting new grievance policy, to LANL in 1999 was an enormous improvement in employee rights, which the average LANL employee, including those previously mentioned, seems to care little about. In that sense, the disappearance of those employee rights should matter little, and no sympathy should be wasted on them. Those who won't stand for their rights don't deserve any.
Sadly, the LLNL employees, who have struggled valiantly for employee rights, may well lose them also. They deserve better, at least the members of SPSE deserve better. Most of the LLNL employees did not join SPSE, or UPTE, taking a free ride on SPSE's efforts.
There must be something in the water at these Labs, which leads the employees to care more about their pensions than their rights. How can these employees "defend our democracy" when they won't even defend their own? It is not too late to wake up and do something, but I don't look for it. And, in a very real sense, they will have the rights they deserve, none!
There must be something in the water at these Labs, which leads the employees to care more about their pensions than their rights. How can these employees "defend our democracy" when they won't even defend their own? It is not too late to wake up and do something, but I don't look for it. And, in a very real sense, they will have the rights they deserve, none!

You are correct and until at least 50% of these people at both labs lose their jobs in a single day, you will never see any support for the unions. If it doesn't affect the mass majority directly, they will never give any support; but let 50% get fired in one day and watch what happens. For now they have other concerns.

Now that gas is $3.39 a gallon and I've just heard on the news that it's predicted to be $5.00 a gallon in the next six months, lets see what happens. With most of the LLNL employees living at least 50 mile one way from work most won't even be able to come to work because their pay raises can't keep up with the demands put on their pocketbooks. So there you go, this years personnel cuts without DOE / NNSA raising a hand. It doesn't get any better then this.
HEERA hasn't (and can't) prevented a RIF since 1999. Massive programmatic budget growth (weapons refurbishments and pit manufacturing) has made the prospect of a RIF irrelevant.

Losing HEERA won't result in any significant loss of rights, since employees in the private sector receive collective bargaining rights through NLRA. The main effect of HEERA was to extend collective bargaining rights to employees of California's higher education system (including, eventually, LANL).

HEERA was deliberately modeled after NLRA, and although there are some minor differences, the similarities are evident from the fact that the PERB consistently seeks precedent from court decisions involving rights granted by the NLRA.

Finally... just a reminder to folks that California, like New Mexico, is an "at-will" employment state. Not surprisingly, CA courts have historically interpreted employee rights more broadly than the New Mexico courts.
Unions. They brought you the 5 day, 40 hour week. Paid vacation. Health benefits. Retirement benefits. Job security.

Good reason to hate 'em.
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