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Monday, October 13th 2008

9:54 PM

APS Report on Women and Minorities at Fermi

 The report on the visit that the APS made to Fermilab back in May is now available. You can read the entire report here. They state that Fermi is hostile to women (not a news flash to women - or anyone who reads my blog, or Absinthe or Wake Up Physics) and under represented in women and minorities. Didn't Absinthe point this out?

Both Absinthe and Wake Up APS Physics have posted entries about this report. You will probably recall they both have Civil Rights cases pending.

Here are some of my favorite portions of the report, with the best parts underlined. My comments are bolded.

Site Visit to Fermilab National Accelerator Laboratory (FNAL) by the
Committee on the Status of Women in Physics
and the Committee on Minorities in Physics
of the American Physical Society
Introduction and Background.
The Committee on the Status of Women in Physics (CSWP) and the Committee on Minorities (COM) of the American Physical Society (APS) jointly organized and conducted a site visit to Fermilab National Accelerator Laboratory (FNAL) at the request of the Laboratory Director, Piermaria Oddone. The purpose of the visit was to assess the Laboratory's climate for women and minorities in physics and closely related fields, and to provide advice to the Laboratory's leadership on how to improve inclusiveness. The visit was recommended in 2007 by the FNAL Committee on Hiring and Retention of Scientific Staff. The visit was held on May 20-21, 2008. Due to the serious funding cuts experienced by FNAL this fiscal year, furloughs were in place and layoffs were expected to be announced shortly—a situation likely to negatively affect the climate in any organization.  If you recall there were no layoffs. It seems that Fermi cries ‘wolf’ each year about their funding - wringing their hands about layoffs and yet there never are any layoffs…..

During the visit, the team met with groups consisting of women scientists, associate scientists, engineers, post-doctoral fellows; minority scientists, associate scientists, engineers, and post-doctoral fellows; women graduate students and graduate students in general; collaboration spokespersons, laboratory management, division managers, fellowship selection committee chairpersons, and others. Individuals, with the possible exception of the collaboration spokespersons, division managers, and laboratory management, self-selected to attend the sessions. If you recall previous posts by Absinthe and me, those who wished to speak with this committee, first had to notify HR/EEO of their intention to do so, and then they were questioned as to what they intended to say. I can pretty much guarantee that any women who valued her job would not risk meeting with this committee because I can guarantee that if their supervisor found out, they would be marked for retaliation for ‘outing’ their good ole boy mentality...
Status and Demographics
FNAL is the flagship American laboratory for high energy physics research. … Among the 367 physicists, associate scientists, and research associates on the FNAL staff on 12/31/2007 are 43 females (12%) and 70 minorities (19%), of whom only 15 (4%) are non-Asian. … FNAL certainly lags comparable institutions and higher education in its demographics today. We would like to stress that this slow growth demonstrates the need to do new things to achieve the goal of having a significant number of researchers who are minorities (and to increase the representation of women).

we also heard directly (or via private communications after the visit) of several situations that had been poorly resolved. Gee, you think the lawsuits would be a case of ‘poorly resolved’? While during a time that people are being laid off and furloughed the loss of people who “voluntarily” leave the field may seem less of a concern, we believe that it is important to note that the skills of the people leaving, in some cases, may have been more valuable than those of some people who are staying. Yeah, but we can’t get rid of our ‘good ole boys’ – even if they don’t do anything, but boy, here is a chance to get rid of some of those trouble making ‘wimmin’.
the laboratory management should establish and ultimately enforce a code of expected behavior for all participants in its mission – whether users or employees. If you recall one of the things that happened to Absinthe was that Fermi refused to ‘get involved’ when her supervisor was violating her rights because Absinthe and her supervisor were users, not directly employees.

FNAL supervisors, department heads, division directors, and collaboration co-spokespersons wield a lot of power. They are encouraged and allowed to pursue their organization's goal with considerable freedom and flexibility, and little to no management training or accountability for anything except technical results. This is exactly what goes on. There is blatant disregard for employees safety and civil rights in the ‘name of physics’. They have no concern for anything else. I have heard this over and over. A supervisor can do what ever he wants to any employee (including illegal things) as long as they keep the ‘machine’ running. One of the most blatant abusers of this policy rose thru ranks just for this very reason. This situation has created a significant range of climates in different workgroups: some are perceived as being welcoming, supportive, and wonderful. Others are perceived as being demanding, difficult on a personal level, and even abusive. The Laboratory and its people would benefit from upgrading the difficult work group environments to an acceptable level where respect, civility, and appreciation of differences are the norm. This is impossible, these people are too entrenched, too protected by those higher up. They  would have to do some housecleaning, which will never happen. These people have to die or retire.
While flexibility can be very empowering and enabling of success, ignorance and confusion is the opposite, and flexibility wielded by supervisors and managers arbitrarily or with bias can lead to a problematic climate for women and minorities. They hit the nail on the head! Home run! Read some of my previous posts and my website for some prime examples of these managers.

If you read the first part of the report, Fermi and specifically the director, Oddone, requested the visit. I am not sure why they did so. I suspect they expected very different results. I also think they felt pressure to get an independent 'nice' review after Absinthe's report about the inequities of women at Fermi was published in Nature. Oddone is relatively new. He was not director when I was there. He probably is aware of my case as well as Absinthe case. (Someone from his office regularly logs onto my website and blog. I know Fermi employees also visit Absinthe and Wake Up APS as well) The APS report perfectly reports the exact situation that happened to both Absinthe and me. This indicates that it is still going on - and Absinthe and I have been gone more than 4 years.

I did read Oddone's comments about the report. He seemed to be rallying the troops, inspiring their 'can-do' mentality....but I think this may have all been a show. I have spoken with some employees to see if they have heard anything - comments, discussion, any new programs or training being put in place. Of course they have all these policies on paper, but you can see by reading the report, that many employees have no idea what the policies are. Better yet, they allow their managers to pretty much do whatever they want and there are no sanctions for violations of any policy. I find it highly unlikely that this director will vigorously pursue implementation of any new policy and follow thru. It would be very interesting if he would invite APS to make a return visit in about a year to see if there was  any progress.

Here is part of the post from Wake Up Physics on the report:

"Dr. Oddone should make amends to Ms. Kay Weber now that this report confirms what happened to her. Will he? Because his continued funneling of money to lawyers to fight her appeal now looks mean spirited, if not hypocritical."

I'm not holding my breath. The report confirms the claims I have made in my case. I doubt Fermi will decide to cut their losses and offer me a reasonable settlement. A trial will only publically confirm exatly what this report is saying. I look forward to presenting many employees who can testify to this kind of environment.

My next few posts will be a 'refresher' of the evidence I have that supports the conclusions from this report as well as some moral and ethical questions....stay tuned
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Monday, October 13th 2008

9:52 PM

Reunion Part 2

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Wednesday, July 30th 2008

1:02 PM

Department Of Justice Charged w/ Discriminating Against Applicants

Yesterday I came across this disturbing news report.
At the bottom of the article is a link to the full report, which I have not read yet. I don’t know if I am ready to be pissed off again…..

In part the article says: “It seems the Department of Justice has been discriminating against job applicants who do not fit a particular political mold.”

 “For nearly two years, top advisers to then-Attorney General Alberto Gonzales discriminated against applicants for career jobs who weren't Republican or conservative loyalists, the Justice report found.”

“One candidate received high marks for having attended a ‘very Republican school,’ the report notes, but also was faulted for what Goodling called ‘Cons. On God, guns and gays.’”

“The investigation was one of several examining accusations that White House political meddling drove prosecution, policy and employment decisions within the once fiercely independent Justice Department. Those charges were spurred initially by the firings of nine U.S. attorneys in 2006 and culminated with Gonzales' resignation under fire as attorney general last September.”

Ok, these are the guys who are supposed to be enforcing the laws, the laws that say it is illegal to discriminate. But they only want prosecutors who are ok with discrimination it seems – I read another report that no one got past the interview if they thought gays have rights. I guess whether women and blacks have rights would also be questionable.

So it is not surprising then, that they have not yet replied to Absinthe’s charge that the Department Of Energy refuses to comply the FOIA – another pesky law.

If the Department of Justice thinks discrimination laws are irrelevant what chance does anyone have of not having their civil rights violated? I hope there is a big investigation, people go to jail and heads roll. It sounds like the DOJ needs a major overhaul. Luckily the person directing and approving this will be gone after Jan. 20. Hopefully the new occupant will be a Democrat. Obama previously was a employee rights lawyer, so I hope he has not forgotten that.

I also have been looking at other civil rights cases and found another disturbing fact. It appears that depending on where you live will determine how the court ‘interprets’ civil rights violations. I find this incredulous that if you live in one district what would be found to be a violation would not be found to be a violation in another area. I have yet to have any legal expert (or even non-expert) explain to me why this is ok. Laws that protect us against civil rights violations are not local laws, they are federal laws.

Unfortunately I also know that the court in the area where I live is so pro-employer, that one report states that this court has been openly hostile towards employees bringing cases against their employers. I guess big business would want to check this out before locating in an area – and deciding whether they need to follow the law or not……

I just don’t get it……

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Monday, July 28th 2008

12:23 PM

Reunion - Part 1

Last weekend I went to a reunion at the University where I received my Engineering degree. The College of Engineering was celebrating their 100th Anniversary. The Fraternity I was part of celebrated their 75th Anniversary.

Yes, fraternity, not sorority. There were no girls in Engineering when I was there – or at least not enough to have a sorority – although there is one now. As an engineering student you spend the first two years with your class. There was one other girl in my class – she was in electrical engineering however, so not in any of my classes. There were a couple other girls in classes behind me, but I do not recall any of them ever being in any of my classes (well, there was one once, but on the first day, when the professor stated that women have no business being engineers, she ran out in tears, never to return).

After sophomore year, some of the students began to co-op, so then you might be in classes with students either one or more years ahead of you or one or more years behind you, so you got to know a bunch of other students. Most co-ops took 5 or more years to graduate since you worked every other semester. They also held graduation 3 times a year, so even someone graduating in your year might not have graduated with you. I was the only girl graduating when I did – there were about 25-30 of us graduating at that time.

There were 3 of us girls that were part of the frat, first me, and then two a couple years behind me. We were allowed 'crest' privileges. We were allowed to wear clothing with the crest on it and were allowed to eat off china with the crest on it.

The fraternity house was this great old house about 20 blocks off campus. The house was built in about 1910 and the frat bought it in 1934. It was a huge stone, 3 story house. It had a cooper roof and gutters. It had a huge porch and huge yard and tennis court. They had 9 bedrooms. The house had a huge grand staircase in the huge foyer. It was very wide and went to a landing with a sitting area that opened out onto a balcony. From that landing the stairs went either way and the railing curved around so that if you looked up from the ground floor it formed an oval and was open to the second floor ceiling. They had the stairs carpeted in red, so it reminded me of “Gone With The Wind”.

The woodwork in the house was awesome. All carved dark wood. The walls in the foyer were paneled about 8 feet up. The ceilings were about 12’. To the left was a ‘parlor’ that had two huge windows and the rest of the wall space had bookcases with leaded class doors. The door way was huge, closed by two huge solid wood pocket doors about 8’ tall. On the right was the ‘living room’, also with those pocket doors. There was a  grand fireplace. Off the living room was a dining room that also connected to a butler’s pantry and a sun room, those doorways had pocket doors with glass in them. The huge dining room had a trayed ceiling and in each corner there were built in hutches with stained glass doors.

The butler’s pantry had 3 walls of cabinets and hutches with leaded glass doors, and marble counter tops. That led to the kitchen which also had a large walk in pantry. They had a huge commercial stove/oven.

The bedrooms were all a good size, there were 2 – 4 guys living in each of them. Most of the rooms were connected by bathrooms. The bathrooms had those huge claw foot tubs. One bathroom in the hallway had been transformed into a shower room and bathroom. The third floor had 3 bedrooms and then a couple other rooms were used for storage and studying.

The basement had a huge ballroom, with hardwood floors. There was also a band stand stage. They had a pool room and a large bar room with a large horseshoe bar – and a tapper. They also had a laundry room and a tunnel leading to the coach house in the rear.

The coach house was over a large garage and it had two good sized bedrooms a large kitchen and large living room.

Looking back, I found it amazing that 25 college boys were allowed to live alone in this house with no ‘adult’. They did pretty well, having cleaning assignments, and a few cleaning parties during the year. People were coming and going at all hours of the day and night. None of the doors were ever locked.

I was there almost every day and later I lived in the coach house. I am told I was the first girl allowed above the first floor. I am sure I have been in every room at some time. We would watch TV, play cards & drinking games, etc. Lots of pranks occurred as well. I joked with my friends when the movie Animal House came out, that I had lived that!

The drinking age at that time was 18. They would have a semi from the local brewery come and bring kegs of beer. I became quite the expert at tapping a beer with little or no foam! At most times, the beer was on the honor system, you’d tap a beer and leave money in a mug. There were weekday events – ‘smokers’ where students were invited out to learn about the frat. There were a lot of parties. Nearly every weekend. A couple times a year they had huge open parties with a live band where they charged admission. People would come from all over the city. Those were the biggest parties on campus – or off. They were great times. The most fun I ever had.

This past weekend, they had a lot of old pictures out for everyone to look at. It brought back a lot of memories, some I had forgotten, some stories I did not know. It was great fun to remember and laugh about those years.

A number of years ago, the frat sold the house and built a house on campus. I was very sad to hear that grand old house had been sold. Worse, it was sold to a guy who divided the house up into offices.

As part of the reunion this past weekend, they also had tours of the old house. I did not go on the tour. I could not bear to see the house that way. I was so glad to hear from someone that the house had been sold again, and this time a family owned it. This family is trying to restore it to it’s original grandeur. I heard much of the woodwork was lost, but is being replaced. Those hutches in the dining room had been ripped out and sold, but the new owner found them for sale in an antique store and bought them. The stained glass doors are missing however.  I am glad the house it being restored.  I am still glad I did not see it in it’s current state. I prefer to remember it as it was.

They built the new house with some of the same details as the old house, and I could see that. They could not build that grand staircase since it would not conform with code. They have a lot of the old furniture in the new house – the original stove, many tables, including the dining room table. They built in hutches and bookcases. It is a really really nice house for the students. Most college off campus housing is nowhere near as nice. It’s just not the grand old lady.

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Saturday, July 26th 2008

9:24 PM

Good Old Days

I mentioned a while back about how tax dollars are wasted at Fermilab. (check out my website for some of the 'choicest' examples of employees wasting time and money)I was talking to some current and past employees a while ago and they started talking about the 'good old days'. So, here are some the things that went on on the 'good old days'. (I don't know exactly what goes on these days, but I do know some those 'good ole boys' are still there, and they probably didn't have a personality transplant)

First of all there were the fights. Verbal, almost coming to blows, and daily. I got there later than the techs and since most of the techs were in the area near the fridge, microwave, coffee, I would get to hear the daily fights. In one group there were just a couple of guys who intensely disliked each other and so no matter what the 'topic of the day' was, they were sure to take opposing sides, just out of principle. Mostly the topic was some event in the news, but not always. These two guys were almost always at the point of shouting, yelling and posturing by the time I got there. Often the supervisor had to step in to prevent them from coming to blows.

After that supervisor left, the 'new' supervisor was jusr as, if not more, hot headed as those two. Thus guy always got into it with not only his guys but often with two of the engineers. I remember once hearing a lot of shouting and yelliing and then seeing what again, I thought was about to become a fist fight betweeb the tech and engineer. So these kinds of fights were nearly a daily event. And no one ever said anything to any of them. I know a couple of them are still there and still doing the same thing. When we were talking the guys told me about a couple times when someone did have to step in a break up one of these incidents.

I also witnesses a couple of throwng incidents. One supervisor got angry and started throwing nuts and bolts at the techs. These were not small house hold nuts or bolts.

Another supervisor was 'helping' to stack a wall of bricks with a bunch of techs. They had formed a line and were passing the bricks along the line from the pile to the wall. The supervisor thought the pace was too slow, so he started to throw the bricks at the guy downline from him..

Then there was the time a couple guys took a motorcycle into one of the accelerators and they were riding it around down there. This is a radioactive aream but hey what's a little fun.

A couple of the 'boys' also took one of the government trucks out to have some fun at lunch time (hey at least it was at lunch). They were 'off roading' and got the truck stuck and had to be towed out.

Then there's the guys who did not secure loads in the bed of the trucks. More than once a quick stop sent the cargo thru the rear window of the truck.

Let's not forget the guys who were at work and under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Everyone knew who was and it was pretty much daily.

And then there were the safety issues. Supervisors like the brick thrower, who disregard safety. They were never disciplined because they kept the 'machine' running - all important! One guy carelessly had stacked dozens of plates weighing hundreds of pounds each. Luckily everyone was able to jump out of the way when they started to fall like dominoes. It sounded like a sonic boom (if you remember those!). Then there was the physicist who insisted a tech do an electrical repair, because they guy who know what to do was gone and he was in a hurry. This tech told him he didn't know how to do this properly including grounding, but they physicist threatened to fire this guy. So he did the work and got electrocuted. He survived but had severe burns. One engineer did not know how to do load calculations (more on the engineers later) so he just 'guestimated' and then added about 100% safety factor. this time he made an error. They were loading a several thousand pound magnet onto a flat bed trailer. The lifting device broke and the magnet fell onto the trailer - and destroyed it.

Oh, for the good old days.....
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Sunday, July 13th 2008

12:38 PM

Congressman Foster: Is he commited to his constituents or Fermilab?

I got a comment the other day about a previous post I wrote about our new congressman. He is her congressman too. I am not really sure if the commenter was asking questions or just making comments, but I did want to reply anyway.

Bill Foster was elected in a special election to fill the remainder of the term left vacant by Hastert. He will have to be elected again in Nov. to keep that position.

In the primary, he ran against another, I think, better candidate, who is not a millionaire. There were some irregularities  in the voting - some areas did not get counted, some people were given an incorrect ballot....so it is unclear what the real counts were (much like our current 'annointed' president). The other candidate did file a challenge but did not have enough money to pursue it.

The general election was a battle of the millionaires. Unfortunately politics like the justice system is only for those who have so much money they really don't need justice or the position....

It was not a conflict of interest for Foster to run, but he will have to answer to his constituents on how he votes and what he supports and doesn't.

While he got Obama's support and was using the 'change' slogans, he immediately went out and hired a republican lobbyist to run his office (he is a Democrat). He appears to be following right in the footsteps of Hastert - so much for change.

Since Foster worked at Fermilab for more than 20 years, he knows full well how money is wasted there.

Is he willing to look into how our tax dollars are being spent?
How about the GAO report that says the DOE labs have more EEO complaints than industry?
How about the report on gender inequities?
How about their blatant refusal to comply with FOIA request to tell us how they are spending our money?

So, Bill Foster, are you going to call for an investigation of your former employer like you might if you heard any other big business was wasting money, violating rights and refusing to comply with law?

My other theory is that Foster (and/or his brother/company) was who donated $5 million to Fermi. Will he answer that question? Will he turn over his financial records? Who is contributing to his campaign? Is it overwhelmingly Fermi employees/management? If any of this is true, then I would question his motivation and impartiality in voting and promoting bills/programs.

I think he owes us some answers.

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Tuesday, July 1st 2008

11:14 AM

Fermi, APS and diversity

Sister of Physics Brothers posted on her blog about a brochure that APS put together on diversity in physics, which prominently featured Fermilab. Of course both APS and Fermilab have cases pending against them for they way their female employees were treated. Actually Fermi has been accused a number of times of violating civil rights and then  there is that report on gender inequities at Fermi. (see my website for more details) And you will remember right after that paper was released Fermi had "let's all be friends"  lunches for women and we can't forget that Fermi also asked APS to come on site and conduct a visit to evaluate the status of women - except that any women who planned to talk to APS about that status was supposed to 'register' with the EEO office, so it really wasn't a 'confidential' visit  and in case the visit didn't come out as Fermi planned, they would have the names of those women who gave the information to APS.

We already know what happens to women who complain at Fermi.....So how nice it is now that Fermi and APS are helping each other out. Fermi invites APS to do a visit and APS features Fermi in it's brochure. It kind of smells of conflict of interest to me.....

So let me tell you about my 'diversity' experiences while I worked at Fermi. (part of my 'pork' report - how they spend your tax dollars)

Of course how women are treated is well documented.

I was the group leader for about 20-25 technicians as well as an engineer and some co-op students. I was involved in meetings where prospective employees were discussed and I also served as the recruiting coordinator for my department for a number of years. I was also involved in the annual increase and merit money discussions for many years.

Not too long after I became the group leader, the person in my group who was in charge of daily assignments, time sheets, etc for the technicians told me he was keeping a 'log' on the one and only black person in the group. He said it was for disciplinary purposes. He planned to collect enough 'evidence' and then write this person up. It smacked of harrasment and discrimination to me, so I immediately told him he could not do this, unless he kept logs on every person in the group and treated them all equally. I went to my supervisor and told him about the situation and he backed me up. Years later this same person was singling out another black technician for similar treatment. I spoke to this technician since I saw that this guy was attempting to single him out and set him up and I thought this guy's plan was to fire him. This tech had been set up and lied about and blamed for things that were not his fault (the modus operandi of this guy) At this time it was the same management that did the retaliating against me. I suggested this technician tell someone or make some kind of complaint so there was a record of it. I recently heard that this same guy was still after this technician, but now he got in trouble - finally. This time this guy was reported and disciplined. It only took years and the department head dying. I am so glad that they have this new department head, who I know, and besides being a good engineer also seems to be a decent, moral and ethical person (but unfortunately in the minority there) Too bad it took close to 15 years to happen. People in that department tell me they felt such relief when Lange died and how much more pleasant the atmosphere is now.

Back to my experience. During the meetings where we looked over the applications of prospective employees, there were discussions that appalled and horrified me. I heard comments like "That name does not sound white", "That is a 'black' college. We all know an "A" at 'those' schools is equivalent to a "D" at 'other' (white) schools". These were comments by the person who was in charge of all technicians as well as engineering management, one person who went on the be the department head.

Yes, I did report each and every comment. I still heard some after that, but I am sure they were more careful not to say that in front of me. No one was relieved of their position, and I am quite sure they did not change their opinions and feelings.

Once when some applications were being reviewed and one engineer pointed out that we should interview one candidate because he was an Eagle Scout, I asked what the equivalent criteria he would look be looking for from the women. He gave me a look that said,'why would we interview women?'. I am not sure how being an Eagle Scout enhances any engineering ability.....

Of course the same kind of comments came up during the meetings to discuss annual rankings which were tied directly into how much of an annual increase everyone received. Time and time again I was appalled at the racist comments (which no one else ever objected to) as well as comments and vehement arguments about the rankings of employees that never even did any work for these men. They wanted their own personal (and biased) opinions on these people to be taken into account. We were supposed to be evaluating their work not our personal opinion of them or their race! As far as I know this never ended....it went on as long as I was involved, thru the early 2000's. I am fairly certain those individuals still there have not changed their opinion (the guy I mentioned above that singled out black technicians was 'reported' by the department head for that same behavior just recently).

It would be interesting to compare the pay and annual increase rates of the black employees in that department versus the white boys. I'm sure that data exists. Of course that would take a FOIA - and we already know Fermi does not comply with that law.

There was also the time that I heard from some of the black men that there were some racist comments written in a bathroom. This bathroom was mainly frequented by men other than the techs in my department. There was a bathroom adjacent to the tech area that they all used for the most part. This other bathroom was down a hallway and not near any tech areas but near offices - management and engineers. Curiously Lange also only used this out of the way bathroom. He never used the one within feet of his office. When a black technician reported the graffiti to him, he claimed to have no knowledge of it - even tho I was told there was no way that anyone (white males) using this bathroom could miss it. Lange did have what appeared to be 'class' issues, (and probably race issues), so no one was surprised that he would not ever use a bathroom that had been 'soiled' by technicians. He had referred to the technicians in his department as 'grease monkeys'....

So much for 'diversity'. Whatever 'pretty picture' APS and Fermi have collaborated to paint, the reality is much much different.
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Tuesday, July 1st 2008

11:08 AM

Surpise, Surprise - Just as I predicted - no layoffs at Fermi

Today it was announced that there will be no layoff's at Fermi after all......just as I predicted, it appears they were just crying wolf, I suspect for publicity and sympathy.....and some 'extra' money. Remember 'someone' gave them $5 million. So now they have the pork money they need to continue with their 'mission'. They can continue to pay to defend those accused of retaliation and discrimination, those that are sex offended, porn viewers and those who expose themselves at work.
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Friday, June 27th 2008

10:58 PM

Write to Fermi's congressman...and updates

Contact the congressman for Fermi's district:

I got a card in the mail today from Bill Foster. He was elected to replace Hastert and represents Fermilab. He is also a physicist that was a former employee. No conflict of interest there! The reports I have read about Foster in his short term is that the public is very displeased with his 'business as usual' policies despite his campaign claims to the contrary. He has greatly displeased the democrats, which he claims to be. Anyway, he has been involved in a blitz of publicity. He is doing 'town visits', etc. This card reads "Have your voice heard". (BTW this mailing was paid for by us - even tho he is a multimillionaire)
He claims he does not go along with the crowd. He says he cast the deciding vote on an ethics bill to hold congress accountable to citizens.

How about this:
Hold Fermilab accountable to the taxpayers.
Investigate the issues brought up by the report showing inequities at Fermilab.
Investigate why they continue to ignore a FOIA request to disclose what they spend on EEO charges.

Here is where you can write to Bill Foster:
27 N. River St.
Batavai, IL. 60510

Hold him accountable for what he claims he will do!

Fermi layoff update:
The other day I got an email from an anonymous person about my post about the Fermi layoffs. I said that I had heard that only low level technicians and administrative staff was asked to 'volunteer'  to be laid off. This person claims that ALL scientists were also asked. I don't know who this person is, or what their position is that they would know this, since I doubt they know all the scientists. I know that my sources tell me that no scientist or engineer or upper level management in my old department/division was sent a letter. If someone at those levels wants to contact me and tell me that he got one of those proposals, I will print their reply here. Until I hear from some reliable source, I will have to go with my sources. And we can wait to see who actually gets laid off and if there are any scientists included.

Not big pork, but a little oink:
I read a letter to the editor in the local paper yesterday. A Fermi employee wrote about his medical treatment at Fermi (there are a couple other treatment facilities opening locally). In his letter he invited anyone to contact him at Fermilab to talk about his (personal) medical treatment. Yes, call him on his Fermilab phone and talk to him while we are paying him. (He is not associated with the treatment center.) This is an example of the pervasive attitude that anything goes....do what you like, no one is ever held accountable - unless you complain and then they will go after you for doing what everyone else is doing.....

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Friday, June 20th 2008

9:50 PM

Another study on women in science....

Ok, I promised my next post would be about how Fermi spends it's money - that will be next - but I just can across this courtesy of Absinthe. It is an article about the lack of diversity in science and the reasons for it.

An excerpt from the article:

Engineers have their “hard hat culture,” while biological and chemical scientists find themselves in the “lab coat” culture and computer experts inhabit a “geek culture.” What they all have in common is that they are “at best unsupportive and at worst downright hostile to women,” the study said.

The 147-page report (which was sponsored by Alcoa, Johnson & Johnson, Microsoft, Pfizer and Cisco) is filled with tales of sexual harassment (63 percent of women say they experienced harassment on the job); and dismissive attitudes of male colleagues (53 percent said in order to succeed in their careers they had to “act like a man”); and a lack of mentors (51 percent of engineers say they lack one); and hours that suit men with wives at home but not working mothers (41 percent of technology workers says they need to be available “24/7”).

The work environment is hostile, they are harassed, they are dismissed.....this is not a minority of the women in these fields, this is a majority. Then when complain they are dismissed by the EEO's, the HR departments and the courts, who all think this does not really happen.

Remember the report that Absinthe did regarding the inequities for women at Fermilab said the same thing.

What does it take for the people who can put a stop to this to 'get a clue'?

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