from: The Independent, JANUARY 22, 2009


Lab Retirees Shortchanged

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory retirees are protesting changes that have befallen their health care coverage.


Under a program initiated by LLNLŐs new management, the coverage has been shifted from a University of California group policy to individual policies.


ŇIn theory, we are UC retirees. However, we are not receiving the same treatment as other UC retirees,Ó explained one of those affected.


Under the management contract now governing the Livermore Lab, privatization has come to the institution. Among other moves, health care coverage has been shifted to an entity named Lawrence Livermore National Security, LLC, and through subcontracts to three other entities.


LLNL employees have wondered how this system, with four different entities involved, each taking its own administrative fee, will do better than the not-for-profit UC program. It turns out that itŐs not doing better, but instead is shortchanging the retirees.


It should be noted that many Lab employees, by working at LLNL, made less in wages than they would have earned elsewhere. They accepted the lower pay, in part, because the LabŐs health care coverage was so good. They now face being without that coverage, while at the same time drawing less in retirement wages.


Much like loyal soldiers, the LLNL retirees have served their country in their work at the Livermore Lab. TheyŐve long expected the UC health care coverage be there for them when they retire. Now facing their retirement years, they deserve nothing less.