UCLRG Status Report 4/17/09

 

 

Petition Signature Collection:

 

I have prepared the petitions for group signing. There are basically three of them, one to UC, one to DOE and the third to the Politicians of your choice. If you would like to know what we will be asking you to sign, you should look them over. They are posted on the LLNS Web Site. I have also prepared the individual petitions for those who canŐt make the group signing. 

 

On the left side of retiree web page, http://home.comcast.net/~jrequa/retiree.htm,

just after the links to the status reports is a link to the petitions. That takes you to a page with links to both the group and individual petitions.  There are also instructions on how to chose and download the appropriate individual petitions.  The Read Me file found with the downloaded individual petitions has additional instructions.

 

The UC Dialog:

 

Ms. Lapp has decided that we have been talking to the wrong person as shown below.

 

 

On Apr 8, 2009, at 1:45 PM, Katherine Lapp wrote:

Dr. Mr. Requa.

 

Thank you for your email regarding the above caption issue.  Given that you raise legal issues I am forwarding your email to the UC Office of General Counsel and have asked the General CounselŐs Office to review the facts and circumstances that you have identified.  I can commit that your concerns will be dealt with seriously and, for efficiency and clarity, ask that future correspondence on this issue be conducted through that office.  Thank you again for bringing this to our attention.

Sincerely,

 

Katie Lapp

 

 

That puts me back talking to Jeff Blair, the UC lawyer I first complained to last August. Hopefully he will take me more seriously than he did the last time. I sent him an email describing my view of the situation:

 

 

On Apr 12, 2009, at 3:39 PM, LLNL Retiree wrote:

 

Hi Jeff,

 

As the only lawyer to get a copy of KathieŐs email, I assume you are the public face of the UC Office of General Counsel. If not please forward this email to its appropriate destination.

 

Since you did not seem to understand my problem the last time I talked to you, I will try to clarify it. I have spent a great deal of time researching the issue and believe I can state it clearly.

 

Lets start with the short form of my assertions and you can point out where I have gone wrong:

 

  1. I am a UC retiree.

 

  1. When I retired, UC told me that my UC medical benefits would continue.

 

  1. For 7 years after retirement UC provided my medical benefits.

 

  1. When the management contract for LLNS was awarded to LLNS, UC ceased to provide those benefits.

 

  1. UC had no legal justification to quit providing my benefits.

 

  1. UC is legally required to provide my medical benefits.

 

 

I am able to support these assertions in detail if necessary.

 

There are several side issues that tend to obscure the facts of the situation.

 

  1. UC believes that because NNSA put a provision in the DOE-NNSA management contract requiring LLNS to provide medical benefits to UC retirees, that were assigned to the LLNL campus, it released UC from its contractual requirement to provide my medical benefits. Since neither UC nor I are party to that contract, it has no legal effect on our relationship.  In particular, it does not release UC from its contractual obligation to provide my medical benefits.

 

  1. My medical benefits are unfunded. First, I will note that that is true of every UC retiree. While funding is not my responsibility, I will point out that when UC first considered managing the Weapons Laboratories, it told the US government that, as a public entity, it could only do so if the government would agree to pay any unfunded liabilities that arose as a result of managing the Laboratories. That language was in the termination section of the UC-DOE management contract. If UC had adhered to the termination provisions, DOE would have been required to fund UCŐs share of my retiree medical benefits.

 

  1. UC reserves the right to modify or terminate my retiree medical benefits. That is true only if UC modifies or terminates benefits for all UC retirees. It does not allow UC to terminate benefits only for every retiree named Joe Requa or every retiree assigned to work at the LLNS campus. That is based on the California Constitutional right to equal protection.

 

 

 

If you would like to discuss these issues in person, I will be happy to accommodate you.

 

I believe that this issue must be settled in time for the involved UC retirees to be included in the UC open enrollment process this fall. The information I have indicates that it is unlikely that LLNS will be able to offer Kaiser coverage this fall. About one third of the 5400 retirees involved are covered by Kaiser. Dumping about 1000 retirees from Kaiser onto other Livermore Tri-Valley medical providers in a single day is not an event that the existing infrastructure is prepared to handle. I am not sure who would ultimately be held responsible for such an event but UC, DOE and LLNS are all likely candidates.

 

Until you either convince me that I am wrong or you admit I am right, I plan to continue recruiting new members for UCLRG and petitioning appropriate people for redress.

 

Time is of the essence,

Joe

 

 

I have received a note back that he would like a meeting and that his administrative assistant would set it up.

 

On the Legal Front:

 

I have been keeping the lawyers informed of what has been going on. We havenŐt formalized anything yet. Whether or not we need to involve the Judiciary branch of the government may well be determined at my meeting with Jeff.

 

Now for the Bad News:

 

Medical benefits may be just the preliminary bout. The main bout could be fighting for our pensions. One of our members brought the following information to my attention:

 

Gentlemen,

 

I retired from LLNL in 2006 and I'm a member of UCRP.

 

At my request, the UC Treasurer's Office sent me some information about the financial status of the LLNL segment of UCRP.

 

The information confirms my worse fears about the dire financial outlook for LLNL retirees.

 

According to the table on page vii of the the latest UCRP Actuarial Valuation Report:

 

http://www.universityofcalifornia.edu/regents/regmeet/nov08/f10attach2.pdf 

 

the funded ratio of the LLNL segment of UCRP is down to 90.4%, while the funded ratio of UCRP as a whole is 103%.  

 

In other words, as things stand now, about 10% of LLNL retirees are projected to outlive the funds in their segment of UCRP.

 

This grim picture is only going to get worse in future years because the LLNL segment has no active members who are contributing to UCRP.   Our segment only has retired and inactive members who are receiving benefit payments.

 

LLNL retirees should not expect any help from UCRP as a whole.  According to David Olsen of the UC Treasurer's Office, the LLNL segment of UCRP is administered separately from the rest of UCRP and no contributions may flow from the campus-wide segment of UCRP into the LLNL segment.   In his e-mail to me, Mr. Olsen said:  "Contributions and benefit payments which are unique to each segment are accounted for specifically to each segment." 

 

In other words, the LLNL segment is like a lifeboat that has been cut adrift from the UCRP mother ship.

 

Our only hope is that DOE/NNSA will honor its commitment to reimburse UC for any funding shortfalls in UCRP.   Don't hold your breath waiting for that to happen.

 

Dennis Elchesen

 

 

A quick look at the numbers has the LANL segment fully funded at 103% after being separated from the UC segment for 33 months and the LLNL segment funded at 90% after being separated for 9 months. That looks to me like we have been cheated from the start. I havenŐt looked at the LLNS contract in detail to see what it says about pension funds. If DOE has promised to provide additional needed funding funding, it may be just a matter of timing. If not the situation becomes much more serious. The funding levels mentioned above were based on July 1, 2008 values. I am sure they will be much worse when they are reexamined this coming July.

 

I have offered all of the UC retirees that have indicated to me that believe they to be power players a chance to pursue the problem. So far, I have not had a single taker. If you are a power player I have missed and you are willing to step into the breach, please let me know, otherwise I may be stuck with it by default. If I am, because the problem is not as time sensitive as medical, I plan to ignore the issue while we complete political petitioning on the medical and I get a reading of where UC stands on medical from Jeff. After that, it will take a fair amount of time and digging to determine what the best path forward is,

 

Care to Exit?

 

You signed up to pursue fair treatment for medical benefits, not pension benefits. You have the option of not supporting efforts to preserve our Pension benefits. If you would prefer not to support those efforts, please let me know.