From Our Office Director
A Word from LANL Director Charlie McMillan
By now, many of you have heard that Los Alamos National Laboratory is offering a voluntary workforce separation program. This week, the NNSA approved our plan to offer severance pay, up to 39 weeks based on years of service, for between 400 and 800 employees who volunteer to leave LANL.
The program will be open to the Lab’s approximately 7,600 regular employees. Students, postdocs, term employees, staff augmentation contractors, and craft workers are not affected at this time. We also will exclude certain essential job functions.
Any action to reduce the Lab’s workforce is painful. We fully realize that for the past few years the Lab has been an island of stability in uncertain economic times, and we are attempting to minimize the impact on Northern New Mexico.
However, the Lab faces the same economic realities as the rest of the nation. With flat or declining budgets for the forseeable future, we have no choice but to adjust the size of our workforce so we can live within our means.
The Laboratory has been through a lot in its nearly 70 years: budget swings, changing national priorities, safety and security challenges, and several serious wildfires. We emerged from these challenges because each time we took the actions necessary to preserve the greatness of the Lab.
By offering a voluntary separation now, we mitigate the risk of an involuntary layoff later, and we position the lab to better respond and deliver on the national security missions of the future.
I appreciate the words of support I have received in the days since we announced this action. I know many of you have questions. I’d like to invite you to three community forums the Lab will host during the week of March 12, where representatives will be available to answer those questions to the best of their ability.
- POJOAQUE: March 12 (6:00-7:30 p.m.) — Cities of Gold Conference Center
- ESPAÑOLA: March 13 (6:00-7:30 p.m.) — Nick L. Salazar Center for the Arts, Northern New Mexico College
- LOS ALAMOS: March 14 (6:00 – 7:30 p.m.) — Duane Smith Auditorium
Our voluntary separation plan will move quickly. Employees whose applications are accepted will exit the Lab on April 5. To our neighbors: thank you for your support as we take these difficult, but necessary, actions. To the employees who leave us: thank you for your years of service to the nation. I wish you well in the next chapters of your life. To those who stay: we will emerge from this as a leaner Lab, preserving the critical skills necessary to execute our missions and firm in our commitment to the people and the science needed to meet the national security challenges of the next 70 years and beyond.