Friday, July 21, 2017

Source: Regan Considers Raid on SEIU-UHW's Strike Fund to Finance More Ballot Initiatives

Dave Regan is reportedly considering a scheme to divert millions of dollars from SEIU-UHW members’ strike fund so he can spend more money on political campaigns, according to an inside source.

Here’s what the source says:

Regan wants money to run more statewide ballot initiatives, which he’s attempted to use (umm, very unsuccessfully) in both California and Arizona.

But ballot initiatives are expensive. 

Regan must hire signature-gatherers to collect millions of signatures from voters to qualify each initiative for the ballot. And then he must launch publicity campaigns to win public support.

In California, Regan reportedly spent upwards of $30 million on failed ballot initiatives targeting the California Hospital Association in hopes of inking a sweetheart partnership agreement with hospital CEOs.

According to Tasty’s source, Regan has considered using another source of money to fund more ballot initiatives -- he thought about boosting SEIU-UHW members’ monthly union dues. However, a dues increase would require a vote of the membership, which Regan and his aides concluded he would lose.

So… Regan reportedly began eyeing SEIU-UHW members’ strike fund.

What’s the strike fund?

SEIU-UHW’s Constitution (Article XV) says the “strike fund is to be used for any and all strikes, strike-related activities, lockouts and to protect the integrity and welfare of the Union as determined by the Executive Board.”

How’s it funded?

One dollar per month is set aside from each member’s union dues to finance the strike fund, according to the union's constitution.

So how can Regan get his hands on the strike fund?

Apparently, he would need to convince the Executive Board that funding ballot initiatives is somehow a “strike-related activity” or is necessary “to protect the integrity and welfare of the Union.”

What a joke, right?

If Executive Board members buy into Regan’s fraudulent scheme, they’ll be leaving the union’s members without a strike fund to defend against hospital corporations trying to slash their wages and benefits.

Stay tuned.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Document Details More Cuts Affecting SEIU-UHW's Verity Health Workers

A source shared a copy of SEIU-UHW’s recent agreement with Verity Health System, which reveals even more cuts affecting the union’s roughly 2,000 members at four California hospitals.

First, SEIU-UHW failed to address the effects of a three-year wage freeze negotiated by SEIU-UHW President Dave Regan during the union’s prior negotiations. 

In 2015, Regan agreed to freeze SEIU-UHW members’ wage scales for three years and also agreed to block workers from receiving “step increases” based on their years of service at the hospital.

Under the agreement negotiated last month, SEIU-UHW members are supposed to once again start getting paid according to a wage scale. However, SEIU-UHW’s wage scale is now three years out of date due to the freeze negotiated by Regan. And… SEIU-UHW did nothing to fix that problem during last month’s negotiations.

Second, SEIU-UHW failed to reverse many of the cuts to its members’ benefits that Regan negotiated in 2015. For example, SEIU-UHW failed to restore workers’ Extended Sick Leave, a benefit that had been in workers’ contract for many years and which NUHW members at Verity hospitals continue to receive. Here’s the provision that SEIU-UHW negotiated for its members in 2015:
Exerpt SEIU-UHW's contract with Verity Health: 2015-18

Third, SEIU-UHW failed to restore benefits for hundreds of its members who lost their health insurance, vacation pay, sick pay, retirement, and other benefits due to cuts negotiated by Regan two years ago. 

In 2015, Regan agreed to radically change workers’ so-called “benefit eligibility standards” so that SEIU-UHW members must regularly work a minimum of 30 hours a week -- instead of 20 hours a week -- in order to qualify for benefits. In contrast, NUHW members at Verity hospitals are eligible for benefits if they work 20 hours a week or more, which is the decades-old standard in California’s healthcare industry.

Why did Regan and Co. refuse to fight for SEIU-UHW's members?

And why did SEIU-UHW officials swallow such a cheap contract in lightning-quick negotiations some 18 months before workers’ current contract is even set to expire?

Important questions, right?


Here's a copy of the tentative agreements that were later signed by officials from both SEIU-UHW and Verity: 

Friday, July 7, 2017

Workers: "SEIU-UHW Cut Backroom Deal with California Hospital Chain"

SEIU-UHW officials have cut another dirty backroom deal with hospital bosses, according to workers at four California hospitals.

Here’s what’s going on:

Two years ago, SEIU-UHW’s Dave Regan made a backroom deal with a New York hedge fund that bought the Daughters of Charity Health System, a chain of six California hospitals in Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay Area.

As BlueMountain Capital was negotiating to buy the chain in 2014, Regan met privately with its execs and agreed to accept massive benefit cuts for SEIU-UHW’s 2,000 members, according to documents later obtained from the California Attorney General.

Next, SEIU-UHW officials used ramrod ratification votes in 2015 to jam a new three-year contract down the throats of SEIU-UHW members at four of the chain’s six hospitals. In addition to containing a freeze on workers’ pay scales and other cuts, Regan’s new contract stripped hundreds of members of basic benefits -- such as health insurance, vacation, sick pay, and retirement benefits -- by gutting workers’ longtime benefit-eligibility standards. See this post for more details.

Several months later, NUHW negotiated with the same hedge fund for a contract covering 650 workers at the chain’s two remaining hospitals, Seton Medical Center and Seton Coastside Hospital. NUHW successfully fended off all of the cuts swallowed by Regan and also won increases of 3% per year to workers’ wage scales and one-time “equity” pay increases of up to 12%.

Last month, SEIU-UHW’s members got their latest surprise.

Under SEIU-UHW’s current labor contract, which expires in late 2018, SEIU-UHW is required to do mid-contract negotiations with the company to implement a new health plan that that “reduces costs for the employer.” Article 25 of SEIU-UHW’s contract reads:
"In order to reduce costs, the Employer and Union will work together as soon as possible to find a new health plan to take effect for 2017 through the term of the contract that maximizes Employee benefits while reducing costs of providing health coverage to the Employer." 

Last month, SEIU-UHW officials gathered a bargaining committee to negotiate over the health plan… but SEIU-UHW officials quickly pulled a giant switcheroo on workers.

Greg Pullman, Regan’s “Chief of Staff,” appeared as SEIU-UHW’s negotiator, and told the bargaining committee he planned to negotiate a quick three-year extension to SEIU-UHW’s piss-poor contract -- the same contract that has stripped hundreds of workers of basic benefits. Pullman said he wanted to roll over SEIU-UHW’s current contract with 3% pay increases for the next years.

What about fighting to restore workers’ benefits so they at least equal those enjoyed by NUHW members? Naaaah… forget it, said Pullman.
Dave Regan
Workers cried foul. But Pullman pushed the deal through a full year and a half before the contract will expire on October 31, 2018.

Now, SEIU-UHW’s 2,000 members are stuck until 2021 with a contract that gives its members second-class benefits compared to NUHW members who work for the same employer, Verity Health System.

SEIU-UHW’s members are stuck, that is, unless they exercise their right to dump SEIU-UHW in a decertification vote just like the workers did at Seton Medical Center and Seton Coastside Hospital.

Friday, June 30, 2017

California Workers Vote to Join NUHW

Congratulations to several hundred workers in Southern California who recently voted to join NUHW in multiple NLRB elections.

On July 13, a group of 125 workers at Kindred Hospital San Diego voted to join NUHW by a margin of…
  • 87 (NUHW)
  • 2 (No Union)
  • 1 (Challenged ballots)

One week later, a unit of 126 workers at 219-bed West Anaheim Medical Center voted by a margin of…
  • 65 (NUHW)
  • 47 (No Union)
  • 6 (Challenged ballots)

And that’s not all.

NUHW has recently won eight elections in a row at outpatient clinics run by Keck Medicine of USC, which operates three acute-care hospitals in Los Angeles.

Keep it up!

Thursday, June 22, 2017

SEIU-UHW’s Dave Regan Continues His Losing Streak against California Hospital Association

Dave Regan has apparently lost yet another round of his legal battle against the California Hospital Association (CHA), according to court records.

On June 14, 2017, Regan’s lawyers submitted a formal notice to the Sacramento County (Calif.) Superior Court announcing that Regan is dropping his personal lawsuit against the CHA. A copy of the notice is posted below.

Why is he dropping his lawsuit?

Regan was likely forced to do so by an outside arbitrator, who was ordered by a Superior Court judge to examine whether Regan’s personal lawsuit violates a provision of Regan’s secret deal with the Hospital Association. As part of the deal, Regan signed a far-reaching “gag clause” and arbitration provision that blocks him and SEIU-UHW members from criticizing hospitals execs, supporting legislation contrary to execs’ interests, suing hospital corporations, or even mentioning hospital executives’ gold-plated salaries in public.

Here’s what happened:

In late 2015, Regan’s “partnership” deal with the CHA collapsed in flames.

Under the 2014 partnership deal, Regan agreed to use SEIU’s political power to deliver $6 billion a year in new Medicaid revenues to California’s hospital corporations. In exchange for the cash, hospital CEOs would push 60,000 of their employees into Regan’s union. Regan sweetened the deal for the bosses by agreeing to ban workers from striking and forcing SEIU-UHW members into pre-negotiated labor contracts with stripped down wages and benefits.

Soon after the collapse of his secret deal, Ragin’ Dave Regan angrily sued Duane Dauner and three other top CHA officials. Regan also re-filed a statewide ballot initiative to target CHA’s members.  

The CHA quickly filed a counter-suit against Regan, arguing that his actions were prohibited by the “gag clause” that Regan himself had signed on behalf of SEIU-UHW.

In June of 2016, a judge agreed with the CHA and ordered SEIU-UHW to withdraw the ballot initiative after Regan had spent millions of dollars of SEIU-UHW members’ dues money to collect signatures to qualify the initiative for the ballot.
SEIU-UHW's Dave Kieffer
Next, the CHA asked the court to force Regan to drop his lawsuit against Dauner and three other top CHA officials. The CHA argued that the suit also violated Regan’s gag clause. In January 2017, a judge ordered the issue to be resolved by an outside arbitrator.

Last week, Regan’s lawyers informed the court that Regan is dropping his lawsuit against Dauner and three other CHA officials, including Kaiser Permanente’s Greg Adams. Regan likely dropped the suit as a result the arbitrator’s decision, which is not available to the public.

This latest developments represent yet another stinging defeat for Regan and SEIU-UHW. 

When Regan announced his secret deal with the CHA in 2014, Regan borrowed a page from Donald Trump and famously called it an "audacious new proposal to save the labor movement" …even though it violated every value held dear by the labor movement.

Way to go, Dave!

Several important questions remain unresolved:
  • Did the arbitrator also order Regan to pay all of the CHA’s legal costs? That could total millions of dollars.
  • Who will pay all of millions of dollars of legal bills connected to Regan’s disastrous lawsuit, including the fancy lawyers hired by Regan? Since the suit was filed in Regan’s personal name, shouldn’t he pay for it? Regan will undoubtedly try to push the costs of his bone-headed lawsuit onto SEIU-UHW’s members.
  • What about the $34 million that Regan squirreled away inside a secret “partnership” organization? The CHA has demanded that Regan return the money. Their demands are part of legal claims filed with the Superior Court.

Stay tuned.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Insiders Describe Failures, Mistreatment and Firings inside SEIU-UHW

Dave Regan
Sources have offered more details about Dave Regan’s recent firing of Myriam Escamilla,  who formerly headed SEIU-UHW’s Hospital Division. They also describe a culture of bullying, abuse and mistreatment of SEIU-UHW staff.

One SEIU-UHW staffer writes: "I could write a book about how fucked up Dave Regan and his gang of fascist upper staff [are]."

Why was Escamilla fired?

According to one source, Regan reportedly canned her because she allowed Dignity Health and HCA to eliminate their financial contributions to SEIU-UHW’s Education and Training Fund during negotiations.

Prior to SEIU’s 2009 trusteeship, Sal Rosselli and his team negotiated contract provisions that required the two multi-billion dollar companies to contribute millions of dollars a year to an education and training fund to allow workers to go back to school to train for higher-paid positions inside the healthcare industry.

In a separate report to Tasty, an SEIU-UHW staffer sent along the following note about Escamilla, Regan, Chief of Staff Greg Pullman, and other SEIU-UHW officials, who reportedly “totally mistreat the staff.” (FYI, Paul Matakiewicz is a former supervisor in SEIU-UHW’s Hospital Division.)
Myriam came in and destroyed the whole division. She was a raging, racist bitch. She totally harassed and set up Paul Matakiewicz to be forced out after the years he help build that division. 
…She only had that job because she had once been married to Greg Pullman. I'm glad she was fired. She and other upper staff have tried everything they can to force out a current staffer who is disabled, but had never let it interfere with her work. They've tried to set up up, fuck with her numbers and turn members against her. This really speaks well of a "workers union." I could write a book about how fucked up Dave Regan and his gang of fascist upper staff.

Friday, June 9, 2017

Workers: "Why We Left SEIU"

More details are emerging about why 400 city workers in San Diego last month voted to leave SEIU Local 221 and form an independent union called the Association of Chula Vista Employees.

The details are captured in an article published this week in San Diego’s largest daily newspaper (San Diego Union-Tribune, “Split by Chula Vista employees is the latest rift in local labor unions,” June 5, 2017). Here’s an excerpt from the article:
A group of the city’s employees — librarians, planners, forensic investigators and others — voted last month to leave Service Employees International Union, Local 221, and to represent themselves in a new organization…
Many Chula Vista employees had been long-frustrated with the quality of advocacy SEIU had provided on their behalf, said Nicole Hobson, the president of the newly formed Association of Chula Vista Employees.
“This decision was kind of a long time coming,” she said “Lack of services, high dues, they have high employee turnaround, they give us inexperienced representatives,” she said…
The loss of employees at the county’s second-largest city from the largest public-sector union is the most recent turbulence in the organized labor in the county, as well as for SEIU. Last year nearly 500 Poway Unified School District Employees left SEIU in order to represent themselves, as did at least seven other employee groups in the last decade, including employees at the San Diego Community College District, City of La Mesa, as well as some county workers…
Kim Vander Bie, another officer in the new Chula Vista union, said that SEIU wasn’t good at communicating with its members, and they didn’t learn about plans to leave the Labor Council until a decision had already been made.
“I personally didn’t give it a lot of thought because it wasn’t presented to us,” she said. “They didn’t communicate with us very well. We’d find out after the fact, or too late.”
Employees dues have been cut in half since leaving SEIU, and the new city employee union is about to begin contract negotiations with city management. With more independence, they’re planning to get more involved in local elections as they build their treasury, Vander Bie said.
“I hope that future employees will be very cautious before getting into that type of relationship,” she said. “I’m not against unions, which is why I am very active with our new union, but some unions are better than others. Some have better leadership with others. We just had a bad experience.”