A plea for help:
The question of whether or not UC can palm us off on LLNS may depend on what policies and procedures were in effect when we retired. It is now standard practice to give a retiree an information packet outlining what is promised on retirement. The only thing I remember receiving was a copy of the personal action form associated with my retirement. If any of you got packets of information when you retired and still have that information, I would like a copy along with your date of retirement. Please don’t send me the original. If it becomes important I want you responsible for finding it, not me.
On the legal front:
We have finally had some success in finding a law firm thanks to Dick Epps. We had an initial meeting with Randick O’Dea & Tooliatos on 3/10/09 to describe our problem. The next step is for them to decide whether they are interested in working with us. They believe a class action suit would be appropriate. The first step would to file paperwork and ask a Judge to certify it as a class action. To do that we would need some money up front. The amount is yet unspecified. To initiate action we would need a group of principle plaintiffs each putting up a fixed fee. Dick tried to get Gwilliam to talk with us and instead got an invitation to join the age discrimination suit against LLNS. The initial fee in that case was $1000. I have no idea if that is a realistic number for us, but it gives you one data point.
The UC dialog:
John Cammidge responded a bit earlier than he promised. At the end of the status report is my response to his latest reply followed by his latest reply. We have resolved point one and we are UC retirees. We are working on point 2. I have set up an appointment with John on 3/24/09 for a face to face discussion.
On the political front:
Earnie Nidick and I attended Representative Jerry McNerney’s fireside chat and explained our problem. He is willing to do what he can to help us. Now it is a question of what he can do.
I am currently working on a series of letters. The targets will be Secretary Chu, President Yudof, Senator Feinstein, Senator boxer and Representative Tausher. They will come in two flavors, individual and group. We will collect multiple signatures in areas where there is a reasonable population. We will ask individuals who don’t get to sign a group letter to send individual letters. We will have one signing for all the letters. As long as we are making reasonable progress with John Cammidge we will hold off petitioning President Yudof .
The database input shows a very large cluster in Livermore with smaller clusters in Pleasanton, Dublin, San Ramon and Brentwood. Donna Ventura has offered to help in the Brentwood area. Earnie Nidick has volunteered to help as well. Collecting signatures is one part of this operation I intend to farm out so I need additional volunteers. If you are willing to help please contact me. If you are willing to be in charge of an area, say so.
The latest from UC:
Subject: John Cammidge correspondence
Date: March 11, 2009 2:16:24 PM PDT
If I distrusted you, a signed hardcopy might be of interest but I don't see any point in it now.
I would like to take you up on your offer of a meeting in person. The points we are discussing are only a part of the overall issue I am trying to address and you might understand the point of my questions better if I had a chance to talk with you. I suffer from somewhat limited mobility, but it looks like the 12th Bart station is near your office that I can get there. We would need to pick a day when my daughter can shuttle me between home and Bart which limits me to Tuesdays and Thursdays. This Thursday is open, and next week is out. Any later dates will have to be checked on my daughter's calendar. Any time after 9:30 am would be satisfactory.
Obviously we agree that I am a UC retiree. I will need a bit more information on the question of whether or not UC promises medical benefits. Below are my concerns:
2. Does UC promise medical insurance to its retirees?
UC retiree health benefits are currently offered to employees retiring under specified circumstances. However, UC retiree health benefits are not vested and are not pre-funded. They are quite separate from the benefits provided by UCRP.
To the best of my knowledge, these statements are correct. I have no problem with this part of your answer.
The governing documents state that, "The University of California intends to continue the benefits described in the Group Insurance Regulations indefinitely; however, the benefits of all employees, annuitants, and plan beneficiaries are subject to change or termination at the time of contract renewal or at any other time by the University or other governing authorities." This language is not a promise to offer the same benefits under the same terms for all time.
I have problems with this assertion. Can you provide me with a copy of the “governing documents” since I am not sure what you consider them to be? Also do these documents predate my retirement date or are they “ex post facto” documents? The term contract renewal leads me to believe the document you reference is not a general University policy but one drawn up after DOE began to consider bidding the management contract. I am also curious as to the identity of the other governing authorities. I was not aware that there were other governing authorities involved in the legal relationship between me and the University.
Applying logic to the situation, it is clear that I met the specific circumstances for health benefits at the time of my retirement given I have been receiving them for the past 7 years. You indicate that I ceased to meet them after the change of management contractors at LLNL. I would like to know which criterion/criteria I now fail to meet and the date it/they went into effect.
I appreciate your help,
On Feb 26, 2009, at 12:02 PM, John Cammidge wrote:
Please do so Joe. If we need to talk either on the phone or person to person or if you have questions or see gaps in my reply let me know. I will do all I can to at least help you understand what is going on. If you like I will send you a signed hard copy of my reply?
From: Joe Requa [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Thursday, February 26, 2009 11:29 AM
To: John Cammidge
Subject: Re: Retiree Medical Benefits for UC Retirees
Thanks for your timely reply. I will take a few days to look it over to see if you have responded adequately.
On Feb 24, 2009, at 4:42 PM, John Cammidge wrote:
Dear Mr. Requa:
As promised, here is my reply to your January 28, 2009 correspondence, slightly earlier than I promised. I am willing to discuss the reply in more detail and appreciate that you may be disappointed with the consequences of my statements.
First, let me acknowledge that my earlier correspondence did not directly address your questions. Let me have a go at replying more specifically to the points you raised:
1. Am I a UC retiree?
There is no legal or technical definition of a "UC retiree." Historically, the term has been used to refer to an individual who has terminated employment with the University and is eligible to, and elects, a monthly annuity under the University of California Retirement Plan (UCRP). We know that you are currently receiving a monthly annuity from UCRP so you are therefore a "UC retiree" under the common usage of this term. The simple answer is "yes."
2. Does UC promise medical insurance to its retirees?
UC retiree health benefits are currently offered to employees retiring under specified circumstances. However, UC retiree health benefits are not vested and are not pre-funded. They are quite separate from the benefits provided by UCRP. The governing documents state that, "The University of California intends to continue the benefits described in the Group Insurance Regulations indefinitely; however, the benefits of all employees, annuitants, and plan beneficiaries are subject to change or termination at the time of contract renewal or at any other time by the University or other governing authorities." This language is not a promise to offer the same benefits under the same terms for all time.
3. Why am I not getting UC retiree medical benefits?
When the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory was transitioned to LLNS, you were no longer eligible to participate in the UC annuitant health plan under the eligibility provisions. The change is consistent with the University's ability to amend the annuitant plan, and the requirements of the new management contract for LLNS. As we explained in our second letter, there is no pre-funding for retiree health care. Instead, the Department of Energy now reimburses LLNS for the costs of your health care so you are covered under the LLNS plans. LLNS is accountable for determining the level of benefits and cost sharing provided under its plans.
In your more recent e-mail, you also asked whether UC is acting legally. All legal issues on the transition of LLNL to LLNS were reviewed and approved by internal and external counsel. In addition to the legal concerns, the University also wanted to ensure, to the extent possible, that retiree health care would continue for former UC employees because, as you are aware, that does not always happen.
We understand that you would have preferred to remain in the UC retiree healthcare plan. I hope you can understand the reasons for the changes.
John R. Cammidge
Acting Associate Vice President
Human Resources and Benefits
1111 Franklin Street
Oakland, CA 94607