Friday, August 18, 2017

SEIU Inks Anti-Union Deal with Maine's Right-Wing Governor

Maine Gov. Paul LePage
SEIU is getting sharply criticized for cutting a horrible, anti-union deal with Maine’s extreme right-wing governor that’ll severely undermine unions.

Here’s what’s happening.

SEIU’s Maine State Employees Association (SEIU Local 1989) represents 13,000 largely public-sector workers, including more than 9,000 state workers.

Since 2011, Maine Gov. Paul LePage has repeatedly tried -- and failed -- to pass “right-to-work-for-less” legislation in the state’s Republican-controlled legislature. These bills would have eliminated the requirement that state employees who choose not to join a union instead pay a fee to help cover the costs of the union’s collective bargaining and representation services that benefit them. These cost-sharing fees are called “agency fees.”

Gov. LePage -- who has made racist comments and said this week that taking down Confederate statues is equivalent to taking down 9/11 memorials -- called his failure to implement “right-to-work-for-less” laws in Maine as one of his greatest failures as a governor.

Well, Republican lawmakers may have rejected LePage’s anti-union efforts. But that didn’t stop SEIU from accepting the same deal during SEIU’s recent contract negotiations with LePage’s office.

On Monday, the Bangor Daily News (“LePage’s pay raise offer sways biggest state union to accept ‘right to work’ contract language”) reported that SEIU officials, during their contract negotiations with state officials, agreed to eliminate the requirement that workers pay cost-sharing “agency fees” if they choose not to join their union.

What did SEIU get in exchange for this massive concession?

 A 3% pay increase during each of the next two years. 

If SEIU officials had rejected the “right-to-work-for-less” provision, SEIU members would have received 1% pay increases during each of the next two years.

According to the Bangor Daily News, AFSCME -- which also represents some state employees -- rejected a similar deal from LePage’s administration. An AFSCME representative told the newspaper that: “Right to work is designed to cripple unions and take them out of the game.”

How will SEIU’s horrible deal affect workers? Here’s what one reader said in comments posted below the news article:

The union leaders just killed the union for 3% a year for two years. The union will now die of suicide.

Friday, August 11, 2017

SEIU-UHW’s Dave Regan Turns to Ballot Initiatives... Again

Dave Regan
SEIU-UHW’s Dave Regan has returned to his ballot-initiative habit once again.

This week, Regan announced two ballot initiatives targeting the kidney dialysis industry in California, where he’s trying to squeeze some kinda deal out of one of the state’s the largest dialysis companies, DaVita Inc.

The two measures -- tentatively titled the “Kidney Dialysis Patient Protection Act” and the “Fair Pricing for Dialysis Act” -- must be approved by the California Attorney General before Regan can begin collecting signatures from more than 700,000 California voters to qualify the initiatives for the statewide ballot in November 2018.

Regan has been super un-successful at using ballot initiatives to ink sweetheart deals with hospital CEOs in both California and Arizona. Tasty estimates he’s spent more than $25 million of union members’ dues money on his failed ballot initiatives... and hasn't produced a single organizing victory.

Now… he appears to be turning his ballot-initiative phaser on the kidney dialysis industry.

What’s going on?

Since 2016, Regan has been attempting to organize DaVita workers at kidney dialysis clinics. But he’s been unsuccessful. So he’s now trying his ballot-initiative thang to see if DaVita’s CEO might be open to giving him a special deal... at a really good price!

Of course, that’s the problem with Regan. Once he disappears into a hotel suite with the CEOs, workers will never get to know what kind of deal he makes with his pin-striped pals.

In 2014, he negotiated a secret deal with the California Hospital Association… which Regan then refused to show to the union’s Executive Board, let alone the rank-and-file workers. 

Two years later, a copy of the deal became public as a result of a lawsuit. It turned out that when Regan was alone with the bosses in the hotel suite, he agreed to ban SEIU-UHW members from striking, force workers into pre-negotiated contracts with substandard wages and benefits, and gag union members from filing patient-care complaints against hospitals or even criticizing their CEO’s gold-plated salaries.

So the kidney dialysis workers need to beware. If Wall Street Dave actually succeeds in getting a meeting with DaVita’s CEO, workers better be damned sure they force themselves into the meeting.

Other things to watch:

Will the kidney dialysis industry attempt to enforce a California law that makes it illegal to use ballot initiatives as a bargaining chip?

Will Regan raid SEIU-UHW members' strike fund for the millions of dollars it will cost to pay signature-gatherers to collect the more than 700,000 signatures for the two kidney dialysis ballot measures?

Stay tuned.

Friday, August 4, 2017

SEIU Staffers: “SEIU Nevada’s Deputy Trustee is a professional bully”

Tasty got some interesting news about one of the trustees appointed recently to run SEIU Nevada.

In April, SEIU President Mary Kay Henry imposed an “emergency trusteeship” on the 9,000-member union and appointed two “trustees” to run the union after removing the elected board and officers.

Luisa Blue, one of SEIU International’s Executive Vice Presidents, serves as the “Trustee” of SEIU Nevada.

“Deputy Trustee” Martin Manteca -- who normally works as the Organizing Director of SEIU Local 721 in Los Angeles -- is “a professional bully,” say his co-workers at Local 721. They say he’s “harassed” and retaliated against staffers at Local 721.

In 2016, staffers were so upset by Manteca's bullying that 55 of them signed a letter delivered to SEIU Local 721 President Bob Schoonover. A copy of the petition is below.

An “update” circulated to Local 721 staff accuses Manteca of “a pattern of persistent, repeated mistreatment, and a culture of intimidation, harassment, retaliation, and nepotism.”

After staffers complained about Manteca, a number of the whistleblowers reportedly were targeted with retaliation and fired. In the process, Manteca and other Local 721 managers “destroyed the department,” according to staffers.

Sounds like the perfect person to fix SEIU Nevada, which is riven by internal divisions and conflicts, according to Mary Kay Henry.

One staffer from Local 721 writes:

I feel bad for the folks in Nevada. Martin is a professional bully, and has harassed and pushed out so many great organizers here. There'll be few of them left in Nevada once he's done there.

Friday, July 28, 2017

Latest on SEIU's Trusteeship of SEIU Nevada

The New York-New York Casino
Here’s the latest on SEIU’s trusteeship of SEIU Nevada, a 9,000-member union of public and private-sector workers.

On July 13, SEIU held a five-hour trusteeship hearing at the “New York-New York” Casino in Las Vegas, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal (“Las Vegas Union Debates Return to Local Control,” July 14, 2017).

SEIU officials were hush-hush about what happened at the hearing, offering only vague statements to the newspaper.

One union member who attended the hearing told the Review-Journal that “about 25” union members were in attendance, including the union’s former president, Cherie Mancini, who was removed from her position by SEIU President Mary Kay Henry on April 28, 2017.

What happens next?

A hearing officer appointed by Mary Kay Henry will prepare a written ruling as to whether or not Mary Kay Henry’s emergency trusteeship should continue for another year or two. Difficult to predict that one, right?

Below is the four-page order that Henry issued on April 28 describing her justification for the emergency trusteeship … including what she describes as “warring factions” on SEIU Nevada’s Executive Board along with “name calling and shouting matches.” 

Sounds a bit like Trump’s White House, right?

Hey, Mary Kay, could you serve up one of your trusteeship orders on The Donald?

Stay tuned for the next purple shindig at a Las Vegas casino near you.

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.