Thursday, May 04, 2006

DOE Directive, N. 351.1

Submitted by Anonymous:
______________________________

Doug,

Your readers might find this new DOE Directive, N.
351.1, to be of interest. It was approved by DOE on
April 27, 2006 and impacts the benefits offered at all
DOE/NNSA facilities.

..............................
.........................
CONTRACTOR EMPLOYEE PENSION AND MEDICAL BENEFITS
POLICY:

http://www.directives.doe.gov/pdfs/doe/doetext/neword/351/n3511.html


Comments:
This is scarey. A prediction of change to come in the near future.
 
This is a very revealing DOE Order. It mandates that all DOE contractors are to keep their medical costs to within 105% of market. Costs exceeding 105% would be unallowable; meaning no cost reimbursement to the contractor beyond that point. This explains why UC is trying to isolate the LANL portion of UCRP pension fund. In this way DOE mandates like this one, can be accomodated much more readily. No doubt this was one of the behind-the-scenes conditions UC/LANS had to agree with in order to get the LANL contract. I guess you could say now another piece of the puzzle just fell into place.
 
I have had no faith in LANS maintaining the pension beyond the transition period. Certainly they aren't required to do so. This new document seems to imply that DOE would support them in eliminating it.
 
This new Directive seems to leave no doubt that the DOE has intentions of wiping out most of the remaining benefits of its work force. Forget the sweet words that Sec. Bodman may have whispered to us. The true face of DOE is apparent in this document, and it isn't pretty. Plan on seeing your retirement medical coverage wiped out within the next few years. DOE also seems keen on finding ways of forcing current pension-based employees to switch over to "market-driven" 401K's. Based on this, you shouldn't expect DOE to offer any assistance with troubled pensions, regardless of what Tyler may have told us during those NNSA meetings.
 
If DOE feels bold enough to issue an official Directive like this
just days before the LANL May 15th benefits deadline, it makes me
wonder what kind of Directives do they plan on issuing after LANS
takes over on June 1st? Yikes!
 
If DOE tried this on its employees without congressional and public hearings there would be hell to pay. But somehow they get away with unilaterally making such a sweeping change to the lives of private sector employees (DOE or US Government doesn't appear anywhere on my LLNL paycheck or W-2).

DOE wants it both ways - employees that have better skills/knowledge/abilities than their own DOE employees, but who cost DOE less than DOE employees...

The LANL RFP stated in section H-1 that " the Contractor shall be responsible for the employment of all professional, technical, skilled, and unskilled personnel engaged by the Contractor in the work hereunder...Persons employed by the Contractor shall be and remain employees of the Contractor and shall not be deemed employees of the NNSA or the Government."

So even with this language in its M&O contracts, DOE is able to interfere in a basic element of the employee-employer relationship; compensation and retirement benefits... and no one raises a finger in protest.

If DOE wants to control the salaries and benefits of contractor employees, then DOE should hire them directly, and cut out the middleman.

DOE gets away making major changes to how contractors compensate their employees without any review or input from affected employees or contractors... and then its the contractor that has to do DOE's dirty work by inflecting this change on its employees and receive their angry wrath in return.

Congress needs to pass a law that bars the government from interfering in the compensation aspects of the relationship between government contractors and their employees. If DOE thinks its paying too much to reimburse contractors for the compensation/benefit packages that contractors give their employees working at DOE sites, then DOE needs to factor that into the contractor selection process - and hire cheaper contractors. DOE should not be allowed to force contractors into treating its employees working at a DOE site in an unequal fashion from its employees working somewhere else.
 
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