Monday, May 15, 2006

95 percent of Los Alamos lab workers respond to job offers

Associated Press

About 95 percent of Los Alamos National Laboratory employees have responded to job offers from a new management team, dispelling earlier fears that moving from one manager to another would cause a brain drain at the nuclear weapons lab.

Jeff Berger, a spokesman for the lab's incoming manager, Los Alamos National Security LLC, declined to disclose how many responses received by Saturday had accepted jobs with the new manager.

But Berger said he thinks a "vast majority" of the respondents are likely to continue their work at the lab.


Full Story

"However, the number of retirees could rise significantly in the next few weeks. Typically, most employees retire in June so they can take advantage of cost-of-living adjustments."

They won't be retiring from LANS of course. Most that I know who are doing this will be retiring from UC, while continuing to work for LANS. It seems plausible that LANS will have more folks on their hands than they forecast. We'll see.
I guess all the bitching that has been on this blog was for nothing. DOE / NNSA called your bluff and "they won". They have you and you have LANS, so there you go.

As someone said, "It seems plausible that LANS will have more folks on their hands than they forecast. We'll see." With that said and LANS being $200+M in the hole before they get started I wonder what's going to give. Could it be a RIF leaving those double dippers soon to see their party money go away and stuck with only their retirement pay. Only time will tell if LANS will just keep paying you your dual and some cases quadruple incomes for your services. I am sure the press will have a field day with this fiasco. Regardless it was nice while it lasted.
According to the LANS Transition website, there are 9500 people expected to have responded by COB yesterday (15 May 2006). If Heather Clark's figure is correct, namely, that 5% did not respond, that would be 475 no-shows. The only other number in her article is the announcement of 120 new retirees. What did the other 355 people do? -Were they Raptured? 475 no-shows is therefore way too high a number, in my estimation.

All things considered, this can be chalked up as a major success for LANL, LLC. But The Blog, The Union, and the LANL Retiree Group can take some serious amount of credit for pushing LANS and NNSA toward more reasonable policies. The NM Congressional delegation, at the urging of these groups, may have also pushed UC into the position of not segregating LANL retirees into a ghetto, too; we'll just have to see.
The law of unintended consequences seems to hold here. By introducing the TCP-2 option at this time, NNSA and LANS created a powerful incentive to "double dip", which many are taking advantage of.

This sets up future problems. By keeping on board this older contingent , with their large salaries, they will aggravate budget problems, and these "seniors" will then have a lot of say on who gets RIF'd to solve the problems. Not attractive....

The other immediate problem is that TCP-2 requires payment to employee's "defined contribution" plan, unlike the UCRS plan which, since the '90s was a free ride.

A "double dipper" heaven, and a budget nightmare. Nice going NNSA. Be sure to offer this plan to LLNL!
A "double dipper" heaven, and a budget nightmare. Nice going NNSA. Be sure to offer this plan to LLNL!

Don't worry they will. The only reason that this double dipping loop hole is still here is because upper level management wants it there so that people like Mike A. gets his current salary plus retires from UCRP at about 80% whereby his monthly pay raise should be of about $29K a month for the rest of his life. The loop hole is also a nice carrot to dangle in front of the lower paid people's noses, and as you can see it worked. So don't worry, I have talked to many at LLNL and what they are saying is that they are going to do exactly what LANL's 95% have done. They are all going TCP2 and then retire under UCRP before the 120 days is up, where they are banking on getting big pay raises for as long as the corporation will keep them on the pay roll. How sweet it is, for some.
This "double dipping" pay raise talk is nonsense. Say you're
a staff member making about $100 K in salary. If you pull your
retirement at an early age (say, 55 with 25 years of service),
then the extra $40 K or so you might receive on top of your
$100 K salary is going to be taxed very heavily! In effect,
it will be like receiving only around $30 K in extra pay.

Furthermore, by going the "double dip" route while working at age
55, you'll miss out on getting a much bigger $70 K per year payment
when you finally quite working (say, age 60 with 30 years service).

I don't think most people at the labs are this stupid. If
you "double dip" while still working at LANL, you may be able
to raise your current lifestyle, but you'll pay dearly for it
for the rest of your Golden Years, plus, much of that extra income
will simply be eaten up by the fact that it shoves you into a
much higher tax bracket while working for LANL.
Well now. If you were going to be able to retire at $8K a month as I know many people here that could in fact do that, why not get hired on by LANS at the your current $10K + a month and then within the 120 days retire and get an additional $8K a month for as long as LANS will keep you on the payroll. I would take my $18K a month and be very glad to pay the taxes. So what if LANS laid you off, you'd still get you $8K a month for the rest of your life. If you can live on that, then there is something wrong with your lifestyle. If that meant that you'd have to sell your million dollar home at Los Alamos, so what. You mean that place is so great you just have to be there?
Those most likely to consider the "double-dipping" concept I know, are those that were planning on retiring near-term anyway. They realized they had nothing to lose by signing on with LANS. Most folks 50-55+ I know who went inactive will wait awhile before they start pulling their UC pension.

Don't think there are too many million dollar houses in LA. Anyone know if there are more than say, 1 to 5?
As for housing values...go to Zillow.Com and hunt around the Livermore, Danville, Walnut Creek, Alamo areas. You will find $1MM homes to be the median.
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