Wednesday, December 17, 2014

NUHW Wins Two More Elections

During the past three weeks, workers at two more non-union California hospitals voted to join NUHW… and by overwhelming margins!

By Tasty’s count, NUHW has won six elections this year and added approximately 1,300 members.

Two weeks ago, a unit of 125 service and technical workers at Petaluma Valley Hospital in the San Francisco Bay Area voted to join NUHW. Here's the final tally of the NLRB election:

NUHW: 78
No Union: 13

And here's the tally from an NLRB election in late November at St. Joseph Hospital Eureka for a unit of 85 technical workers:

NUHW: 51
No Union: 13

In April, a separate unit of 270 workers at St. Joseph Hospital Eureka voted by a 2-to-1 margin to join NUHW.

Congrats to NUHW’s newest members!

Monday, December 15, 2014

Myriam's Charm Offensive Gets Rave Reviews

SEIU-UHW's Myriam Escamilla
Myriam Escamilla has continued to wage a specialized ‘charm offensive’ ever since Dave Regan placed her atop the union's Hospital Division earlier this year, says an SEIU-UHW staff person.

Back in June, Tasty relayed reports from UHW staffers who described how co-workers had tagged Escamilla with nicknames like "Attila the Hun" and “El Diablo” after she used tantrums and tirades to bully staff. 

In recent days, an SEIU-UHW staffer sent the following note in response to the title of Tasty’s recent post: “SEIU-UHW’s Dave Regan: "I'm Kaiser's bitch” (Part 2).”

What about Myriam Escamilla? She's the New Head Bitch in charge of the Hospital Division.
She has caused such divisions in UHW staff by terminating and harassing staff. Many staff are out on stress or in line for termination. In 2012 we had a staff person who shot and killed himself due to the pressure of Eric Kizziee, Hal Ruddick, Greg Pullman and Dave Regan. The things that were never made known was the phone message that he left regarding why he was ending his life due to the people listed above. He left this on all their phone lines including Cedars-Sinai [Medical Center].
Eric Kizziee has done so many negative things that now he kisses Myriam's, Greg Pullman’s and Dave Regan’s ass in order to keep his job.
Lots of Hospital Division facilities are looking to decertify UHW because there's no representation anymore. Myriam claims she’s so knowledgeable, but she can't even answer basic questions from staff. And she can't ask Greg Maron, because he has no knowledge of representation.

Sounds like a great place to work, right?

That's not all. 

In addition to abusing her staff, Escamilla is super adept at screwing workers.

In 2012, she signed a secret deal with a nursing home company called Brius Healthcare that slashed workers' wages, benefits, hours, and working conditions. When workers confronted her, Escamilla denied that she had made any back-room deals with their Boss… until workers presented a copy of the secret deal with her signature on it!

Now, SEIU-UHW’s own staffers are getting a chance to enjoy Myriam’s abundant talents!

Sunday, December 7, 2014

SEIU-UHW’s Dave Regan: "I'm Kaiser's bitch” (Part 2)

Dave Regan's latest act of pimpery shows us he'll pretty much do anything that Kaiser Permanente’s execs ask of him.

Here's what happened:

Kaiser's execs are under fire for the HMO's deepening mental health crisis.

In September, Kaiser agreed to pay a $4 million government fine for short-staffing its mental health clinics and forcing patients to wait weeks and even months for basic care. Among multiple violations of patient care laws, Kaiser admitted to maintaining a parallel set of paper waiting lists that hid patients' massive appointment wait times -- just like at the VA hospitals. Today, Kaiser is operating under a government-issued "Cease and Desist Order."

Also in September, a U.S. Congressperson held a community forum where Kaiser was blasted by patients for its mental health failures. One of the forum's sponsors was an elected county official whose husband, a Kaiser patient, tragically took his own life while waiting 42 days for a mental health appointment despite his serious condition.

In October, Kaiser’s patients filed a fourth class action lawsuit against the giant HMO, this one alleging that Kaiser is illegally dumping patients with severe mental illness onto counties. Three other lawsuits allege that Kaiser’s appointment delays are directly connected to suicides by Kaiser patients.

And just two weeks ago, Kaiser's 2,500 mental health clinicians -- who are members of NUHW -- announced they’ve authorized a statewide strike to protest Kaiser's short staffing and its undertreatment of patients.

It's no surprise, then, that Kaiser's PR officials are sweating bullets as they stare at their computer screens and try to dream up ways to escape this PR nightmare. Then one day, however, one of them had a brilliant idea. “Let's call Dave Regan. He'll say anything."

That's how Dave Regan ended up being quoted, alongside Kaiser's chief PR hack John Nelson, in a Modern Healthcare article published last week (see below). In the article, Regan announces that there's no staffing problem at Kaiser's mental health clinics! Way to go, Dave!

Regan, of course, forgot to tell the journalist that his union doesn't represent any of Kaiser's mental health workers. Whoops!

Here's an excerpt from a comment below the Modern Healthcare article:
Neither Regan nor Nelson are as qualified to comment on the limitations of Kaiser’s mental health services as its clinicians who must wait as long as three months to see their patients for treatment appointments.
Question: What sort of labor leader shills for management? Answer: the Dave Regan sort. Regan does not represent Kaiser's mental health professionals. In 2010, fed up with his betrayal of our benefits, I and 2500 of my colleagues voted overwhelmingly to quit SEIU and join NUHW. Compromised and unqualified, he has no standing to speak comment on the deficiencies plaguing Kaiser mental health.
And here's a cartoon created in response to Regan's quote:

Dave Regan:  "for sale to the highest bidder" ...and willing to throw patients under the bus to advance his personal interest.

Modern Healthcare

Kaiser mental-health staffing under fire again

By Adam Rubenfire   December 4, 2014

Members of the National Union of Healthcare Workers are accusing healthcare giant Kaiser Permanente of understaffing its mental-health services, and they're threatening to strike if their issues aren't resolved. Kaiser has responded that patients with urgent needs can be seen immediately, and it accuses the union in turn of sullying the system's reputation for its own organizing purposes.

The NUHW, founded in 2009 when it split from the Service Employees International Union-United Healthcare Workers West, says patients are waiting too long for appointments because there aren't enough mental-health staffers to meet demand. NUHW members, who represent about 2,500 of Kaiser's mental-health workers in California, voted in November to strike if the system doesn't make improvements.

But Dave Regan, president of the SEIU-UHW, which represents 45,000 Kaiser employees across the state, dismissed NUHW's concerns, saying that the staffing problem “was a limited one and is completely solved.”

However, this isn't the first time Kaiser has been accused of poor psychiatric care. The provider was fined $4 million by the California Department of Managed Health Care in 2013 for failing to provide timely care for its mental-health patients.

The agency also said that Kaiser's marketing materials detailing its mental-health services were confusing and unlawful, including an FAQ sheet informing patients that long-term psychotherapy was unavailable at Kaiser facilities, and would not be covered by Kaiser insurance. This statement and others were found to be in violation of the state's mental-health parity law, which requires mental illnesses to be covered and treated in the same manner as physical illnesses.

Kaiser contested the penalty but ultimately agreed to pay it... (full article)

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Partnership Unions' Bargaining Survey Speaks Volumes

Here's the latest from Kaiser.

The Coalition of Kaiser Permanente Unions (a.k.a. "the partnership unions") has begun circulating a bargaining survey in advance of upcoming national negotiations covering 90,000 workers at Kaiser facilities across the U.S.  The negotiations are scheduled to begin April 14, 2015.

So… Are top officials at the partnership unions planning to fight Kaiser's effort to cut workers' pensions and health benefits?

It sure doesn't look like it.

Check out the Coalition's bargaining survey (see below). It doesn't even mention the idea of preserving the defined-benefit pension plan that Kaiser is trying to replace with a 401(k) plan. And it fails to mention the health benefit cuts that Kaiser has already proposed to the Coalition.

Instead, here’s how the survey attempts to re-frame the Coalition’s dumbed-down bargaining goals:

Completely lame and dishonest, right?

Also absent from the survey? Any mention of Kaiser's record $14.5 billion in profits and its skyrocketing executive pay.

So who's responsible for the survey?

SEIU-UHW, with half of the Coalition's total membership of 90,000 workers, is by far the largest union inside the Coalition and consequently calls all the shots inside the Coalition. In fact, one of Dave Regan's staffers -- Hal Ruddick – is the Executive Director of the Coalition and will be its lead negotiator at the bargaining table.

Meanwhile, the non-partnership unions are intensifying their fight against Kaiser even as partnership union officials prepare to jam cuts down their members’ throats.

Earlier this month, the California Nurses Association’s 18,000 RNs conducted a two-day strike at Kaiser. Also this month, NUHW’s members -- who’ve waged a four-year battle against the cuts and scored a $4 million fine against the HMO -- announced the results of a membership vote to authorize another statewide strike against Kaiser. And in Hawaii, UNITE HERE Local 5 has staged multiple strikes and job actions to oppose cuts to workers' benefits.

Stay tuned.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Cash-Strapped SEIU-UHW to Sell $5M Office as Hospital Association Debt Comes Due

New developments point to serious financial problems at Dave Regan's SEIU-UHW -- including Regan's decision to sell the union's San Francisco office to generate $5 million of needed cash.

Observers say the crisis is due to Regan's secret deal with the California Hospital Association (CHA), which requires SEIU-UHW to fork over $20 million of SEIU-UHW members' money -- equivalent to one-fifth of the union's annual budget -- to a political fund that hospital owners will use to try to boost their bottom lines by $6 billion a year..

The rushed sale of the office building -- a four-story structure with 12,880 square feet of office space in downtown San Francisco -- underscores the urgency of the Regan's financial problems. According to a four-page real estate listing (see below), Regan doesn't even have a new office to house the soon-to-be displaced union staffers. Instead, the union will have to pay rent to the new owner while Regan looks for somewhere to put them.

Good luck with that. Due to San Francisco's red-hot real estate market, it will be impossible to find affordable office space anywhere near the city -- meaning Regan’s sale of its office building will permanently eliminate the union's footprint from a city where approximately 20,000 of its members work.

And that's not all.

Sources say Regan is attempting to quadruple the amount of money that's taken from union member's dues each month and placed into a political action fund (PAC). This money, too, will be used to back hospital companies' political campaign to boost their bottom line.

If Regan is successful at pushing through this political tax, which would begin in 2015, it would mean less money to hire staff to provide representation and workplace support to union members. Regan's scheme -- which will be considered at an upcoming meeting of the union's Executive Board -- would steer $2.9 million a year into politics and away from representational support for union members.

Lastly, sources say Regan is also trying to cut SEIU-UHW staffers' medical benefits in another scheme to free up money to pour into the CHA’s coffers.

What's next?

Stay tuned for Regan’s next scheme to cannibalize the union. 

Friday, November 21, 2014

“What happens in Vegas…”

It turns out that Dave Regan’s reported effort to snatch 9,000 members from "SEIU Nevada" isn't his first attempt to rig events inside this local union.

In 2007, when Regan was the president of SEIU 1199 Ohio, he illegally funneled thousands of dollars to Andy Stern’s favored candidate in internal union elections taking place inside the same Nevada union.

In fact, Regan was cited by the U.S. Department of Labor for making illegal contributions to Stern’s candidate, Jane McAlevey, who was competing against rank-and-file members for control of the union.

In April 2008, the Department of Labor issued a two-page letter (see below) detailing Regan's illegal contributions, among other “investigative findings.” 

At the time, sources reported that McAlevey used Regan's illegal funding "to unseat officers who were on McAlevey’s enemy lists in the local because [they] questioned her pushing the Andy Stern agenda."

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Source: SEIU-UHW’s Dave Regan Is Pursuing Backroom Deal to Snatch 9,000 Members from SEIU Nevada

SEIU-UHW's Dave Regan
SEIU-UHW’s Dave Regan is attempting to snatch 9,000 members from “SEIU Nevada” through a backroom deal with the local's president, according to inside sources.

Here's what's happening:

SEIU Nevada’s 18,000 members are roughly divided between public-sector workers (mainly Clark County employees) and private-sector workers in the healthcare industry.

In July of 2013, Martin Bassick, a county employee, was elected president of SEIU Nevada. 

Regan apparently approached Bassick about splitting SEIU Nevada’s membership in half and "giving" the union’s 9,000 healthcare workers to Regan. It's not clear what Bassick would get in return. According to Tasty’s sources, these discussions have taken place completely "behind the members' backs."

If Nevada’s healthcare workers were handed over to Regan, observers say it would be disastrous.

Regan is notorious for making backroom deals with employers and would likely use Nevada's 9,000 workers as bargaining chips to get better deals from HCA and Dignity Health for Regan’s 150,000 members in California. In 2008, Regan famously backed a deal to trade away the pensions of SEIU workers in one state in order to advance SEIU officials’ personal agendas in other states.

Observers also point to Regan's track record at SEIU-UHW, where he has…
  • Slashed workers’ health insurance, retirement plans and other benefits -- including the elimination of 20,000 workers’ pensions at Dignity Health and Daughters of Charity Health System.
  • Aggressively boosted monthly union dues, including a 50% increase in the maximum dues rate to $124 per month -- with an ongoing $10 increase each year, which means the top rate is now $134 per month!
  • Dramatically increased Regan's own salary to $300,000 a year and also transformed SEIU-UHW into a profit-making machine, with the union ending last year with $38 million in cash
  • Made countless backroom deals with bosses including a recent deal with the California Hospital Association that would lower workers’ pay and benefits, prohibit workers from criticizing hospitals' poor patient-care practices, and ban workers from striking.

It sounds like SEIU Nevada's members ought to give Bassick a jingle over at the Lacquered Up Nail Salon on Rainbow Blvd.