Lab averts layoffs

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By Roger Snodgrass

The director of Los Alamos National Laboratory told employees Tuesday that there would be no need for involuntary staff layoffs.The laboratory had sought to reduce its workforce by 500-750 employees, first through voluntary departures and then through involuntary layoffs, if necessary.In December, managers began accepting applications from employees willing to accept a standard severance package to step down.While some people changed their minds, 430 self-selected individuals were eventually approved for the first phase of reduction. Thursday will be their last day.Lab officials said Tuesday that another 140 employees have departed the laboratory since Sept. 17, through natural attrition.The combined total of 570 is still below the higher number of 750 employees the lab had set as the upper end of its reduction goal, Director Michael Anastasio said at an all-employee meeting Tuesday. “However, given the 570 we have achieved, coupled with an assessment of the skill-mix consequences and the budget picture, I have decided that it is best for the laboratory not to proceed with an Involuntary Separation Plan at this time,” Anastasio wrote in a follow-up memo that summarized his discussion.There will be a 10-percent reduction, or about 50 positions, from the so-called flexible workforce.

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