Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Kaiser's "Partnership" Bargaining Begins as Goofy Hugs Delegates

This week, the "partnership unions" are holding their first bargaining session with Kaiser Permanente at the Manhattan Beach Marriott Hotel in Southern California (April 14-16).

Wanna have a glimpse at partnership “bargaining”?

Check out the following photos, tweets and messages from SEIU-UHW’s Dave Regan, Kaiser CEO Bernard Tyson, Kaiser Coalition Exec. Dir. Hal Ruddick, and others. They come from the "bargaining kickoff" held earlier this month (March 30-April 1) as well as the partnership unions' "Union Delegate Conference" at Disneyland (March 27-29).

Staffers from the Labor Management Partnership were so thrilled by the speeches of top union and Kaiser leaders that they tweeted excerpts to the outside world. Here's an interesting excerpt from SEIU-UHW President Dave Regan's speech: "Negotiations are not a debate and tantrums don't work."

Hmm. So if you can't actually "debate" the Boss across the bargaining table about workers' wages, health benefits, staffing levels, pensions, etc... then WTF are contract "negotiations" for? 

Hal Ruddick, the Chief Negotiator for the Coalition of Kaiser Permanente Unions, absolutely loved Diamond Dave's quote! In fact, he tweeted it himself. Way to go, Hal!

Here's another revealing quote from Regan: "We have chosen strategic collaboration." Here, Regan is referencing this infamous interview on NBC television, where he reported that our economy no longer has "employers" and "workers" -- only partners who work in a "teamwork economy." 

Btw, Regan really hates it when workers criticize management. (Ohh, and that goes for all of you SEIU-UHW members who are getting layoff notices from Kaiser despite the company's $3.1 billion in profits last year. Stop criticizing, dammit. Partnership really works).

Here's Ruddick, one of Regan's lieutenants, speaking to the crowd about "leading."

Here's the multi-million-dollar CEO of Kaiser, Bernard Tyson, doing a panel discussion with Hal Ruddick and Kathleen Theobald, the Executive Director of Kaiser Permanente Nurse Anesthetists Association (KPNAA), during the Union Delegates Conference.

Interestingly, even though they're management, Tyson and other Kaiser execs attended the Coalition's "Union Delegates Conference," where "delegates" are presumably supposed to prepare their bargaining strategy for negotiations with the Boss.

Instead... the partnership unions turned the delegates conference into a full-blown propaganda party for Kaiser's fatcat execs, who are systematically working to slash and burn workers' health benefits, pensions, and wages.

Here's Meg Niemi, the President of SEIU Local 49, hugging Kaiser's top HR official, Dennis Dabney. Dabney, who favors $5,000 dollar suits, decided to dress down for the workers.

Here's CEO Tyson at the Union Delegates Conference.

Check this out. The partnership unions and Kaiser even served a "partnership" cake to the delegates!

In case you're wondering... CEO Tyson had a "great" time at the Union Delegate Conference, according to his tweet.

Before the conference was over, the partnership unions placed posters of Tyson in the lobby areas of the Union Delegates Conference. Remember -- Tyson is trying to eliminate workers' pension plan even though Kaiser gives him 9 separate pension plans!

All in all, the delegates -- who are supposed to safeguard the interests of 90,000 Kaiser workers -- had a super awesome time.

And in case Regan, Ruddick and Tyson weren't entertaining enough, the LMP staff even brought along Goofy and other Disney characters to work the delegates!

Wow! This partnership sure is "innovative!"

Sunday, April 12, 2015

NLRB: Hospital Workers Ousted SEIU-UHW, Voted to Join NUHW

Last month, the NLRB issued a 55-page decision that confirmed the results of an NLRB election conducted last year in which more than 700 workers at a Northern California hospital voted to dump SEIU-UHW and join NUHW.

The 55-page decision concludes a year-long investigation into legal challenges filed by SEIU-UHW after the March 2014 election at Seton Medical Center, located just south of San Francisco.

The outcome of the investigation?

Last month, the NLRB threw out all of SEIU-UHW's legal challenges, stating the following:
…none of the Intervenor's [SEIU-UHW’s] objections raises a substantial or material issue of fact or law that would warrant a hearing in this matter.” (p. 54)

The NLRB also called for the election results to be honored by certifying NUHW as the workers' union.

Instead, SEIU-UHW appealed the NLRB's decision to the agency's Washington DC headquarters in an effort to frustrate and delay workers' election decision.

Meanwhile, at Seton Medical Center, SEIU-UHW's name is usually mentioned amidst a string of four-letter words and colorful expletives, say workers. Not only has SEIU-UHW refused to accept workers' election results, it recently began threatening retaliation against workers for not paying dues to SEIU-UHW -- even though workers voted more than a year ago to dump SEIU-UHW.

Back in 2012, SEIU-UHW's President Dave Regan gave away workers' defined-benefit pension plan, cut their health benefits, and implemented an intrusive Wellness Program… and then literally forced the cuts down workers’ throats of by conducting a ‘ramrod’ ratification vote that violated SEIU's constitution.

It's no wonder, then, that workers say SEIU and Diamond Dave would rank below convicted murderer/cannibal Jeffrey Dahmer in a popularity poll among workers.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

SEIU-UHW’s Dave Regan: “We’re at war!”

Dave Regan recently had a conference call with SEIU-UHW’s staff and told them, "We're at war with the International union," according to sources inside the union.

This is the latest chapter in Reagan's deepening battle with SEIU President Mary Kay Henry and SEIU's International Executive Board, which in January ordered Regan to finally comply with a six-year-old order to transfer SEIU-UHW’s 65,000 home care and nursing home workers to SEIU Local 6434.

According to Tasty’s sources, some of SEIU-UHW’s staff were taken aback by Regan's call to arms. 

Meanwhile, a bunker-like atmosphere has reportedly descended on the union, with the union’s top officials and staffers nervously looking over their shoulders amid suspicions about loyalties. "Is s/he with us or against us?"

A number of SEIU-UHW staffers formerly worked for Mary Kay Henry and SEIU International. These staffers have greater loyalty to the Purple Palace than to Regan. Diamond Dave and his top lieutenants are fully aware of this, say sources, and are growing increasingly nervous about “moles” inside SEIU-UHW who are leaking information to Mary Kay Henry.

Regan, who’s notorious for conducting "witchhunts" and loyalty trials among the union's membership, will likely soon be deploying these tactics on his own staff.

Stay tuned.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Hal Ruddick (aka, "Mr. Backroom Dealer") is the Kaiser Partnership Unions' Chief Negotiator

A tip for Kaiser workers.

Beware of Hal Ruddick. He’s the new Executive Director of the Coalition of Kaiser Permanente Unions and will serve as the “Chief Negotiator” for the partnership unions’ 90,000 members during negotiations with Kaiser Permanente .

As an SEIU staffer and one of Regan’s lieutenants at SEIU-UHW, he has a long history of cutting backroom deals with bosses and lying to workers.

In 2011, Ruddick was the Chief Negotiator for SEIU-UHW’s bargaining with Dignity Health. During the negotiations, Ruddick agreed to eliminate the defined-benefit pension plan for 14,000 SEIU-UHW members and replace it with a 401(k)-style plan. 

Even though it was a huge cut for workers, Ruddick got workers to ratify the cut by telling them it was a "pension improvement." Ruddick and SEIU-UHW actually issued leaflets to workers with a headline of “We Did It!... Pension Improvements.” (See below.)

Months later, Dignity reported the truth about Ruddick's cut in the company's quarterly financial statement: Ruddick’s cut had snatched $217 million from workers’ pockets and deposited it into the company's bottom line.

You can read more in these earlier posts (Fyi, Dignity was formerly called "Catholic Healthcare West."):

And here's another example of Ruddick’s dirty tricks. It comes from Ruddick’s time at SEIU Healthcare Illinois-Indiana, where he was the Chief Negotiator for 8,000 nursing home workers. In 2009, Ruddick did a backroom deal that allowed the Boss to strip millions of dollars from workers' health insurance fund, which sent the fund careening towards bankruptcy. Read more at this post:

So... although this guy should presumably be in some sort of jail by now, he's now serving as the Chief Negotiator for 90,000 Kaiser employees covered by the partnership.

It's the SEIU way...

Friday, April 3, 2015

Update on Kaiser Partnership Bargaining

What happened at this week’s "kickoff” of labor negotiations between Kaiser Permanente and the "partnership unions”?

Well… there wasn't any actual "bargaining."

After a three-day weekend of prancing around Disneyland with Kaiser execs, the partnership unions spent Monday and Tuesday in a "bargaining kickoff.” On Monday, Kaiser’s execs and union officials made speeches interspersed with "Instant Recesses” and "Thrive Activities" to keep participants awake.

On Tuesday, the unions were trained on how to do “interest-based bargaining.”

As far as speeches, sources say Chuck Columbus (Senior VP and Chief Human Resources Officer for Kaiser) was the first speaker and offered a gloom-and-doom picture about the vague, but very dangerous, "challenges" lurking in Kaiser’s future.

Don’t trust Chuck.

He formerly served as the VP of Human Resources at Ford Motor Co., where he eliminated the defined-benefit pension plan for new hires and forced them into a 401(k) plan. He also implemented a two-tiered wage system that pays new Ford employees only half as much as regular employees. This pushed Ford’s profits through the roof.

In 2009, Kaiser's then-CEO George Halvorson and COO Bernard Tyson recruited Columbus to do the same thing at Kaiser… with the assistance of SEIU’s newly implanted trustee from the East Coast, Dave Regan.

A year ago, Regan and Columbus gave a joint presentation to the California Public Employees Retirement System where Regan talked about cutting workers’ benefits if they don't meet the requirements of Kaiser's wellness program. You can see a video of Regan's comments on this earlier post.
Dave Regan with his buddy, Chuck Columbus, in Jan. 2014
At Monday's meeting, Columbus (who earns $1.5 million a year at Kaiser) told workers about the vague challenges facing Kaiser in the future, but forgot to mention one of the biggest challenges -- where to stash Kaiser's billions of profits. Last year alone, Kaiser pocketed profits of $3.1 billion.

Kaiser's Ray Baxter spoke about Kaiser's corporate wellness program, which has been "re-branded" as "Total Health.” 

Another speech had this intriguing title:  "One KP.”

A bevy of bloviating fatcats took the stage including Dennis Dabney (Senior VP of Labor Relations and Labor Management Partnership for Kaiser), Jim Pruitt (VP of Labor Management Partnership and Labor Relations for The Permanente Federation), Artie Southam (Executive VP of Kaiser’s Health Plan Operations), Hal Ruddick (Executive Director of the Coalition of Kaiser Permanente Unions), and Dave Regan.

Lastly, here's a development that speaks volumes about the partnership bargaining. According to Kaiser workers in Northern California, Kaiser is currently laying off SEIU-UHW members with the assistance of SEIU-UHW officials. 

At Kaiser Vallejo Medical Center in Northern California, SEIU-UHW members with as many as 30 years of seniority are receiving layoff notices. They say workers are getting layoff notices without regard to seniority lists. And workers say SEIU-UHW is totally AWOL... even after workers make phone calls and send e-mails to Union Reps and SEIU-UHW’s headquarters in Oakland.

Again... these layoffs are happening as bargaining is underway. And as Kaiser's profits and membership are booming.

Where’s SEIU-UHW?

In the boss's pocket.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

“Pretty much everything he says is completely wrong”

SEIU-UHW's Dave Regan
SEIU-UHW’s Dave Regan suffered an interesting smackdown in a March 30 article featured in “Capital,” a New York publication (Dan Goldberg, "Health Union Split Complicates Nurses' Jobs Push,” Capital New York, March 30, 2015).

Remember how Regan partnered with the California Hospital Association in a failed effort in 2012 to roll back California's nurse-to-patient staffing ratio law?

At the time, RoseAnn DeMoro (Executive Director of the California Nurses Association) said the following about Diamond Dave:
“It would be hard to imagine a more immoral and corrupt scenario than for a labor leader to be lobbying other unions to endanger patients on behalf of corporate hospital executives whose only concern is increasing profits.”
Well, this week’s article focuses on a similar split between the New York State Nurses Association and SEIU 1199 New York… but also includes a fiery exchange between the CNA and Regan.

Here's an excerpt from the article. (FYI, the “Greater New York Hospital Association” is the hospital industry's Chamber of Commerce in New York -- equivalent to the California Hospital Association.)
The same tensions that are now developing in New York are present in California where SEIU United Healthworkers West strongly opposes the staffing ratios that [NYSNA Executive Director Jill] Furillo helped put in place, and uses much the same rhetoric as GNYHA [the Greater New York Hospital Association].
“Sadly, California's mandated inflexible nurse staffing ratios have not improved patient care,” Dave Regan, president of SEIU United Healthcare Workers West, said in an email. “…This short-sighted approach is completely at odds with recent innovations in healthcare, which have seen significantly better patient outcomes – at lower costs -- by utilizing a team-based approach."
Charles Idleson, communications director for the California Nurses Association said Regan's statement was “laughable, dishonest and misrepresented life in California."
"Pretty much everything he says is completely wrong,” Idleson said. “He hates nurses. He hates our organization. He has a partnership with the hospital association in California.”
Idleson said Regan's close working relationship with the California Hospital Association blinded him from doing what's right for nurses and patients.
“He has given up trying to engage in typical, traditional labor activity,” Idleson said. “His entire approach is to cut massive deals with employers that benefit the top tier of his union even at the expense of his own members.”
That same charge could be leveled at [SEIU 1199 George] Gresham and [GNYHA President Ken] Raske, who both believe cooperation serves their memberships better than knock-down, drag-out fights.