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Challenging budget times at the lab

Original post made by Tim Hunt, Castlewood, on May 14, 2013

Tough times have returned to Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.

This story contains 527 words.

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Posted by cosmic-charlie
a resident of Downtown
on May 14, 2013 at 8:26 am

cosmic-charlie is a registered user.

Don't I know it well!

Many years ago, the career employee was know as an "FTE" or Full Time Employee. And as an FTE, I was very concerned with the retirement structure and the promises made that went along with it.

At the time, with 10 years of service, I quit, out of those concerns, and found a better deal with Stanford (SLAC).

In the Stanford system, employee contributions of 10% or more, was matched in kind up to the 1st 10%, by Stanford.

This was an income reduction tax benefit, and was in real terms, a measurable entity. It was tangible, and real. Very different from some promise.

Bottom line? With 28 years of service to SLAC, my retirement began at the earliest moment to access all of the accumulated funds without early penalties.

With the promise the Lab made, my employment would had to have continued for an additional 6 1/2 years more until age 65 in order to have an equivalent stake, had I not changed jobs.

In addition, health care is a lifetime benefit thru SLAC, just as it was promised at the Lab so many years ago. The difference is, with the Lab moving into a hybrid partnership and away from the UC system, Stanford remains a private entity and BTW, is fully funded, whereas the Lab can modify any deal they want, for any reason, to maintain the bottom line. Hence big time lawsuits we are now seeing.

I maintain promises made should be kept, especially for loyal service over the long haul. If I were near retirement at the Lab, as I would soon be if not for the job change, there would be a great deal of concern about my retirement.

Remember, Lab employees historically did not contribute to Social Security (same as Federal Employees), so all of the eggs were in one basket as it were, and seemed, to this former Lab FTE, too risky to trust in a promise.

Never looked back