Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Partnership Unions' Tentative Agreements Are Leaked


A copy of the Kaiser partnership unions' "tentative agreements" has finally slipped through the tightly clenched fists of SEIU-UHW officials.

A quick review offers some hints about why they've have treated the TAs like a top-secret White House national security briefing.

First of all, the so-called “TAs” -- which were triumphantly announced by both Kaiser and the partnership unions -- are not actually TAs. 

During labor negotiations, workers and management are supposed to negotiate contract language for the next several-year period. That didn’t happen here. 

Check out the partnership unions' TAs, which was signed by Hal Ruddick ( Coalition of Kaiser Permanente Unions) and Dennis Dabney (Kaiser Permanente). In small font at the bottom of each page is the following disclosure: "Note: The parties will approve contract language at a later time." 

In other words, the two sides didn't actually negotiate contract language. Instead, the "TAs" appear to be rough guidelines for negotiations that’ll happen at “a later date.”

So what are workers currently voting on during their unions' so-called ratification votes?

Good question.

Some of the language in the “TAs” is so half-baked that it's difficult to know what Kaiser and union officials will possibly end up agreeing to at “a later date.”  In at least one case, there's an actual blank spot in the TAs ("$______ per year") related to an apparent increase in the "partnership tax."

The fact that the negotiations haven't been completed raises a bunch of questions. 
Dennis Dabney with SEIU's Meg Niemi
  • Who will be at the negotiating table when Kaiser and the partnership unions actually negotiate the real contract language? Will the partnership unions' bargaining team be elected? Or will it be filled with union staffers who are notoriously in management's pocket?
  • Will the contract language be presented to union members for a vote?
  • What happens if Kaiser takes a harder line at the real negotiating table and members have already ratified a three-year agreement?
A full copy of the so-called "tentative agreements" is pasted below. Here are a few items that jumped out at Tasty in his quick review of the agreement.

Pension:  The TAs set in motion a process that appears to be designed to eliminate workers' defined-benefit pension plan during the next round of negotiations and replace it with a 401(k) plan. Here's what the agreement says:
"The parties remain committed to working on a joint vision and consistent strategy for retirement programs. To that end, a joint committee will be established to review the pension benefits provided in Section 2.B.2.b., and reflected in Exhibit 2.B.2.b. The purpose of the review will be to explore retirement income programs for the purposes of recruiting and retaining employees, controlling costs and liabilities, and ensuring meaningful and predictable income to KP retirees. The joint committee will provide annual summaries of its progress, and will make consensus pension recommendations at the next round of National Bargaining." (Emphasis added)
Partnership Tax:  It looks like the partnership unions and Kaiser will be extracting more money from workers' paychecks through an increase in the partnership tax. Today, workers are taxed at 9 cents for every hour they work in order to fund Kaiser's partnership. Here's an excerpt from the so-called TAs. Check out the blank.
"Under the funding formula in place in 2015, by 2017 the LMP Trust Fund will take in less money than necessary to continue to fund existing programs at their current level... In order to sustain current operations while keeping up with annual cost increases, as well as to implement the new and revised provisions of the 2015 National Agreement, the LMP Trust Fund should be increased by $_______ per year."
“Changes in the Employer's overall funding of Partnership expenses... shall be at least proportional to employee contributions..."
Hal Ruddick: "Was I supposed to bargain contract language?"
Health Benefit Cuts?  The TAs open the door to cuts in workers' health benefits in 2017. In 2018, under Obamacare, the federal government will begin taxing companies if companies’ health benefits exceed a certain dollar threshold. This is what’s known as the "Cadillac tax." 

In the TAs, the partnership unions have "assured" Kaiser that they will do whatever it takes "to avoid the tax." The only way to avoid the tax is to reduce workers' health benefits by making workers pay a substantial portion of the monthly premiums, by boosting workers’ out-of-pocket expenses, etc. Here's the language from the TAs:
"Cadillac Tax:  Kaiser Permanente and the Coalition are committed to KP being the affordable health-care provider of choice. As part of this commitment, Kaiser Permanente and the Coalition agree to collaborate in assuring that KP is not subject to any PPACA excise tax. If it is determined in May 2017 that a tax would be levied in 2018, the parties will meet and reach consensus decisions by August 2017 to avoid the tax."
Retiree Health Cuts: In 2012, the partnership unions accepted cuts to workers' retiree health benefits that gave Kaiser a $1.9 billion windfall, according to the company's published financial statements. 

In the new TAs, the partnership unions have made more changes to these benefits. However, the language in the TAs is so vague and poorly written that it's unclear how it’ll impact workers. The language appears to place a cap on the amount of money that Kaiser will spend per employee for retiree health benefits. Apparently, workers will be on the hook for the rest. The TAs say:
"Coalition represented employees who retire on or after January 1, 2017, shall be subject to the following: Fixed amounts effective 1/1/2017 of $573 in NCAL and $279 SCAL."
Corporate Wellness Program:  In 2012, the partnership unions proposed a system whereby the boss -- Kaiser -- is allowed to track and monitor workers’ body weight, smoking habits, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels. 

Crazy, right?

SEIU-UHW's Dave "Biometric Data" Regan
In the TAs, the partnership unions allow Kaiser to begin capturing even more biometric data from each worker. By 2016, Kaiser will be capturing the following data from workers: smoking, blood pressure, body weight, A1C, mammogram, pap cervical, colorectal, and cancer. 

Welcome to the brave new world of Big Brother... brought to you by Dave Regan and the Coalition of Kaiser Permanente Unions!

Local Bargaining:  SEIU-UHW once again failed to conduct any "local bargaining" on worksite issues affecting SEIU-UHW members. Since the 2009 trusteeship, SEIU-UHW's Dave Regan has not convened any local bargaining with Kaiser.


Here's a copy of the TAs.

Monday, June 29, 2015

More on SEIU's Transfer of California Longterm Care Workers


Here’s additional news, analysis, and commentary on SEIU's transfer of California long-term care workers as well as the "leaked memo" authored by SEIU-UHW’s Dave Regan: (1) an excerpt from labor journalist Cal Winslow’s article and (2) NUHW’s perspective on the situation.

Late last week, Winslow -- author of "Labor’s Civil War in California" -- published "SEIU: Pawns in Their Game" in CounterPunch and Beyond Chron. Here’s an excerpt:

The announcement of the new union itself came from the desk of Mary Kay Henry, the President of SEIU. Good news? SEIU is always about being the biggest, triumphalist in its campaigns – and gimmicks…
The details? Just how will all this happen? Well, we’ll have to wait. So will the workers. Not to worry, however; according to the mailer, “We are developing an orderly transition plan and will be in regular communication with you and all affected members over the next few months.” Questions? “Please call 844-259-1694. Your fellow union members are standing by to take your call.”
I called and was informed that eight members were ahead of me but “your call is important to us.” However, I could leave a question and receive a call back “within two business days.” I held on and after 16 minutes spoke to Minh, a “staff organizer” in Los Angeles. I asked him if it was indeed a done deal he said yes. And would the new local be headed by Laphonza Butler, a Henry protégé, now of Local 6364, “yes, at this point… it is still a process in transition.” And would there be any informational meetings in my area, North Bay, Santa Rosa? “No, none were scheduled.”
…Widely despised in trade union circles, not to mention amongst his own members, Regan came to California in 2008, parachuted in by Andy Stern, then President of SEIU, to take command of a trusteed UHW. Since then he has established himself as a friend of the hospital bosses par excellence, a grantor of concessions, champion of partnerships. His latest secret deal has been with Kaiser Permanente and its hospitals, one that stops the public (and the authorities) from knowing about quality of care problems in the state’s massive healthcare industry.

Finally, here’s NUHW’s take:

"Corporate Collaborator" Dave Regan undercut by SEIU International; SEIU-UHW members caught in crossfire
"In the labor movement, there are two kinds of leaders — those who fight big corporations, and those who collaborate with them," Consumer Watchdog President Jamie Court wrote in the Huffington Post this week. "The poster child for the collaborators just had half his membership taken away.
"David Regan, head of United Healthcare Workers West, who inked sweetheart deals with California's largest HMO, Kaiser and its hospitals, to keep quality-of-care problems hush-hush, and only fought for corporations' political goals, lost 70,000 of his 150,000 members recently. 
"It's a fitting fate for one of labor's biggest corporate sellouts."
Mary Kay Henry, president of SEIU International, is shoring up her power base within the union by unilaterally cutting SEIU–UHW in half and moving 70,000 home care workers into a new local. SEIU–UHW members not only didn't get to vote on the move, they were not even aware of it until the deal was done. 
Those who remember the 2009 trusteeship of SEIU–UHW will appreciate the irony of this latest fiasco, which Cal Winslow has dissected in his latest article, "Pawns in SEIU's Game," published this week by CounterPunch and BeyondChron.  
This same top-down decision to eviscerate SEIU–UHW was the basis for the trusteeship that resulted in the ouster of the union's previous leaders, who went on to form democratic, member-led NUHW with the support of thousands of SEIU–UHW members. It was clear then that the transfer was purely a political move, a scheme by SEIU International's then President Andy Stern and then Vice President Mary Kay Henry to get rid of the democratic leadership of SEIU–UHW and put it firmly under the control of SEIU International in Washington DC.
And if anyone doubted that fact, it was later made abundantly clear when Stern and Henry decided not to follow through on the move once they'd installed their friend Dave Regan as president of SEIU–UHW. 
Stern has since moved on to join the ranks of corporate America, leaving Mary Kay Henry in charge, and now she's resurrected the scheme, this time to undermine her former protégé, Regan, who has responded with an outlandishly hypocritical memo that rails against the very same actions that helped get him his job in 2009. Regan was in favor of carving up SEIU–UHW when it worked in his favor but calls it "a massive betrayal" now that it doesn't.
Click here to read Dave Regan's memo. If you think it sounds familiar, it is. These are the same arguments voiced by NUHW leaders when they were ousted from SEIU–UHW by Regan, Henry, and Stern six years ago. 
One could almost find it amusing if it weren't so tragic. A once democratic union that was built through decades of struggle has been steadily undermined over the past six years until it has become a corporatized branch of the autocratic SEIU International. And now, with the transfer of half of SEIU–UHW's membership into a new local, the dismantling of what was once the biggest, strongest, proudest healthcare union in California is nearly complete. 
Our condolences to SEIU–UHW members, who remain trapped in an undemocratic and increasingly corporate-minded union whose leaders protect their own power at the expense of the workers they ostensibly represent. 



Thursday, June 25, 2015

Leaked Memo In Full: Dave Regan on Internal War with SEIU


Check out Dave Regan’s leaked memo, first described in a June 17th article in the San Francisco Business Times. Tasty has pasted it below.

In the memo -- "Who’s Gonna Bell the Cat? The Tyranny of the Majority: Ethics and Values in SEIU?” -- Regan catapults himself to new heights of hypocrisy by tearfully condemning SEIU's decision to transfer 65,000 SEIU-UHW long-term care workers to a new statewide union.

In 2009, Regan not only supported this transfer, he was a top SEIU staffers in DC who designed, promoted, and executed the plan to carry out the transfer of these same 65,000 workers. Later, SEIU President Andy Stern rewarded Regan for his political hatchet job by appointing him to head SEIU-UHW after its pro-democracy leadership had been removed.

As far as Regan's hypocrisy, the president of a consumer rights organization describes it this way in a piece published yesterday in the Huffington Post:
Regan has "issued one of the more hypocritical memos ever written... In a long, dressed-up whine about his fate, he complained about payoffs, gag clauses, and everything being for sale, including souls. These are the very strategies Regan made his bones with in the union movement."

In Dave’s delusional memo, Regan tries to reinvent himself as a crusader for union democracy, transparency, and worker rights. Regan pretends to leap onto the stage as a hero who’s being victimized by a tyrannical despot. Cloaked in self-righteous armor, he climbs atop his high horse and tearfully moans and groans about the horrific crimes and injustices that, uhh, he himself actually perpetrated against these same workers.

And in case that’s not enough, Dave heaves another steaming shovelful of bullsh*t atop his dungheap of hypocrisy.

Remember the recent revelations about the gag clause that Regan secretly signed with the California Hospital Association?

Well, Dave didn't blink an eye when, with the stroke of his pen, he gagged more 80,000 hospital workers from reporting patient-care violations to government investigators. But now, he's crying crocodile tears over an internal SEIU gag rule (which he reportedly agreed to) that's supposed to stop him, a graduate of Cornell University, from airing SEIU's dirty laundry with the outside world.

Cry me a river, muthafuka!

And spare me your morally righteous bullsh*t.

As Jamie Court, the president of Consumer Watchdog, noted in his Huffington Post article:
In the labor movement, there are two kinds of leaders -- those who fight big corporations, and those who collaborate with them. The poster child for the collaborators just had half his membership taken away.
David Regan, head of United Healthcare Workers West, who inked sweetheart deals with California's largest HMO, Kaiser and its hospitals, to keep quality of care problems hush-hush, and only fought for corporations' political goals, lost 70,000 of his 150,000 members recently.
It's a fitting fate for one of labor's biggest corporate sellouts.


Here's the full piece:

Monday, June 22, 2015

SEIU-UHW to Kaiser workers at ratification votes: "No information for you… but give us more money!"


SEIU-UHW is putting on a classic performance during contract-ratification votes at Kaiser Permanente facilities across California, say workers.
  
In typical Regan style, the union's staffers are refusing to give copies of the tentative agreements to union members. Meanwhile, SEIU-UHW is pressuring workers to give more money to SEIU-UHW by using a deceptive "rap" that's detailed in a leaked internal memo (see below).

What's actually contained in the tentative agreement that workers are now voting on?

It's a mystery… even to the union's own membership.

That's because SEIU-UHW staffers refuse to provide copies of the tentative agreement (“TA”) to the membership. 

"How are we supposed to know how to vote when we don't even have a chance to read the TAs and talk about them to our co-workers?," says one worker.

At a second facility, a reader describes what happened during the vote at his hospital. SEIU-UHW staffers kept a single tightly-guarded copy of the TAs inside a staffer's bag and only reluctantly pulled it out (momentarily) after he asked to see it. Here's what he says:
They are keeping that TA tight to the chest. Our site had their vote. I got to see it under close watch, almost as if the folks conducting the vote didn't even like the fact I wanted to read it. Before the vote I ask for a copy of the TA either online or PDF and was denied.
There was only one copy to review at the vote. On the front page at the top it said "Do not remove from voting site." I read the retiree medical changes and tried to talk about it she grabbed the TA from my hands. I had to remind her twice I wasn't done with the TA. And initially when the Rep handed it to me he gestured as if he wanted me to sit close to him with a pointing of his finger. as soon as I was done with it he tucked real quick into his bag.
They did not offer it out to be reviewed in any open statement to us the members of SEIU-UHW but instead handed out a pre-constructed summary with vague information and high lighted the wage increases like we haven't seen 3% raises before.

Why is SEIU-UHW’s Dave Regan being so secretive if the contract has "no takeaways"? Good question.

But even as SEIU-UHW withholds vital contract information from its membership, it's nonetheless calling on workers to open up their wallets for Dave and the Gang. 

According to a leaked internal memo, SEIU-UHW has instructed its "Political Staff" to sign up "5,500 new Kaiser COPE contributors or upgrades" during the Kaiser contract-ratification votes.

Why so many?

Sources say SEIU-UHW’s COPE fund will take a hit when the union's 65,000 long-term care workers -- who've historically contributed 60% of SEIU-UHW's COPE dollars -- soon depart for Mary Kay Henry’s SEIU Local 2015. Furthermore, Regan needs even more money than ever to pay for his deal with the California Hospital Association.

That's why Regan is trying to convince Kaiser workers -- who recently were hit by Regan's dues increase -- to dole out even more money to SEIU-UHW. 

In an effort to accomplish this task, Regan instructed his staffers to use a deceptive "rap" that spins a tale of Kaiser's "turbulent times" rather than the truth about the company's unprecedented profits of $15.5 billion since 2009.  The giant HMO reported of $1 billion in profits during just the first 90 days of 2015. Kaiser and its gold-plated executives are hardly a charity case needing handouts from workers.

Here's an excerpt from Regan's "rap" (the full memo and "rap" are below):
Because of low reimbursement rates Kaiser loses 40 cents on every dollar they spend providing care for patients covered by Medi-Cal.
We know that Kaiser is looking for ways to make up for those losses. Do you think that we can keep Kaiser from making cuts to our healthcare and retirement in every contract that we bargain until you get to retirement? [Wait for answer]
Our work to fully fund Medi-Cal is political work! The only way to protect what we have one in our great Kaiser contract is by engaging in politics.
That's why members give to a separate political fund -- COPE. That's why I give to COPE.
We are asking everyone to invest in our political fund so that we can continue to protect our good jobs, but more importantly to get us to retirement with our benefits intact.
People are building our COPE fund by giving $25 a month…


Here’s the full memo:

Friday, June 19, 2015

Breaking: SEIU-UHW and California Hospital Association Are Busted as Secret Deal Is Outed


Remember Dave Regan's secret deal with the California Hospital Association?

Regan signed this so-called "21st Century" deal with hospital executives more than a year ago, but he's refused to show a copy to SEIU-UHW's membership, Executive Board, staff, or the public.

Now, we know why.

NUHW got ahold of a copy and posted it on its website!

It turns out that Diamond Dave did lots of wheeling and dealing when he met with his pin-striped pals in the executive suites of California hospital corporations.

Regan, for example, proposed to permanently ban SEIU-UHW members from conducting strikes, according to the records. And he agreed to allow hospital corporations to "flex" workers by requiring them to take on more work.


He also signed a far-reaching "gag clause" that blocks SEIU-UHW and its members from reporting patient-care violations to health inspectors and other government oversight agencies. (Hmmm... so much for SEIU’s claims to stand up for patients and the public.)
 
CHA's Duane Dauner
According to NUHW, Regan’s gag clause violates workers' rights… along with four California laws. Yesterday, NUHW filed a complaint with the California Attorney General to block the hospitals and Regan from implementing illegal gag clauses. 

NUHW's complaint (posted below) contains nearly 100 pages of internal records including e-mails, meeting agendas, minutes, plaintive letters from Diamond Dave to hospital CEOs, and details of Kaiser Permanente's involvement in the dirty deal, including that of Kaiser exec Greg Adams.

NUHW's complaint takes Kaiser to task for negotiating and signing the deal just months after it was fined $4 million by state investigators for violating multiple mental health laws, including falsifying patients' appointment records and forcing patients to endure lengthy, illegal waits for appointments... which are reportedly connected to multiple suicides.

That's not all.

According to a copy of the CHA deal, Regan also agreed to prohibit SEIU-UHW from "pursuing, sponsoring or supporting any legislation, initiative, regulatory, or other efforts that are adverse to the interests" of hospital corporations.

And Regan agreed to prohibit SEIU-UHW from engaging in any "Anti-Employer Activities," which are defined in a lengthy paragraph of lawyerly text.

SEIU's Regan tossed patients under the bus.
Regan also agreed to ban SEIU-UHW from issuing any communications (e.g., press releases, leaflets, letters, website posts, letters to the editor, etc.) that "raise concerns about hospital pricing and executive compensation in health care."

Remember… just months ago, Regan stood at podiums, surrounded by patients, and criticized hospital corporations for charging patients $21 for an aspirin. 

It turns out that was pure theater... and the patients were mere pawns in Diamond Dave's game. Soon thereafter, Regan tossed California's patients under the bus in order to expedite his backroom deal with hospital CEOs and the CHA's CEO Duane Dauner.


Stay tuned. More details will follow as Tasty digests the trove of documents released by NUHW. Here's NUHW’s complaint along with the 100 pages of exhibits.




Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Leaked Memo: SEIU-UHW’s Dave Regan Wages Internal War against Mary Kay Henry and SEIU


Dave Regan’s faintly concealed anger towards SEIU President Mary Kay Henry, which is contained in a June 6 letter to long-term care workers, has now burst into the open thanks to a leaked memo.

Today, the San Francisco Business Times published this article

'Massive Betrayal': Leaked Memo Reveals SEIU's Internal War over Health Care Workers.”

So who’s the author of the seven-page "leaked memo"?

Dave Regan!

Here are some excerpts from the San Francisco Business Times article (the full article is below. Btw, the leaked memo has not yet surfaced publicly):
Regan said the local's leadership first officially heard about the plan to downsize UHW in January, but believes it was hatched last October and has roots in years of enmity between local and national leaders.
"We are absolutely clear this decision is malicious and undertaken with the full knowledge that the interests of California healthcare workers are being sacrificed to the political needs of Mary Kay Henry," Regan wrote. "We are ashamed and embarrassed for our Union."
The decision "marks the first time in my 25 years in SEIU (that) the union has knowingly, intentionally and willfully taken a major action that is contrary to the basic interests of the membership," Regan wrote in a highly opinionated seven-page missive obtained by the San Francisco Business Times.
"To put it bluntly," he added, "this decision is a massive betrayal of our stated principles and values. 
By writing the missive, which was undated but clearly written after May 21, Regan noted that he may be violating a "gag order" by SEIU's leadership forbidding officers and staffers from speaking "candidly and completely" about the decision to wrest half of his membership away.

Another quote indicates Regan may be actively working to undermine SEIU’s efforts in California.
"The effort to win the hearts and minds of UHW homecare leaders and members will be a challenging task, given their strong attachment to their UHW identity," he wrote. "This effort will not be done in weeks or even months.”

Of course, Regan's righteous indignation is tainted by so much hypocrisy (and plain old bullsh*t) that it's hard to know where to start.

Dave Regan
Regan says SEIU’s decision "marks the first time in my 25 years in SEIU (that) the union has knowingly, intentionally and willfully taken a major action that is contrary to the basic interests of the membership."

Regan apparently has forgotten about the undemocratic and disastrous trusteeship that he himself imposed on California healthcare workers in 2009. Since parachuting into California, Regan has a eliminated the defined benefit pensions of more than 25,000 SEIU-UHW members and replaced them with 401(k)s. He's accomplished this disgusting feat by brazenly lying to workers and violating SEIU-UHW's own constitution… as he famously did to 4,000 workers at the Daughters of Charity Health System.

Today, Regan professes to feel heartfelt pain that SEIU officials are harming "the interests of California healthcare workers." 

Gimme a break.

Remember, this is the same guy who, soon after parachuting into California as Andy Stern’s trustee, promptly fired several thousand democratically elected SEIU-UHW Shop Stewards and then imposed "loyalty oaths" on union members.

He reportedly directed a campaign of threats, intimidation and even violence against rank-and-file workers who favored joining another union… and even had his staff attack 85-year-old labor icon Dolores Huerta and make death threats against workers.
 
Mary Kay Henry
This is the same guy who liquidated SEIU-UHW members’ $4.1 million strike fund in the waning days of the trusteeship, when Regan exercised total control over the union’s finances.

This is the same guy who has refused to allow SEIU-UHW’s own Executive Board to see a copy of the secret deal he signed with the California Hospital Association, which reportedly gags workers and forfeits their right to strike.

Today, Regan passionately defends the right of workers to stay in SEIU-UHW. But in 2008-09, he aggressively backed SEIU’s effort to transfer SEIU-UHW's long-term care workers into a separate union by arguing it would be better for workers.

How much integrity can Regan claim to have when he flip-flops so violently? Not much. 

Yo Dave, take a long hard look in the mirror.

Here's the full article:


San Francisco Business Times

'Massive betrayal': Leaked memo reveals SEIU's internal war over health care workers

Jun 17, 2015

Chris Rauber

California's largest health care union is being cut virtually in half by the Service Employees' International Union's senior leaders in Washington, D.C., a step its Oakland-based leader calls "devastating" to union members.

Dave Regan, president of the Oakland-based United Healthcare Workers' West local, which currently represents about 150,000 workers in the Golden State, said SEIU President Mary Kay Henry announced the move May 21. It will slice 70,000 home care workers from UHW and transfer them to another SEIU local, leaving about 80,000 hospital and clinic service workers in the rump UHW local.

The decision "marks the first time in my 25 years in SEIU (that) the union has knowingly, intentionally and willfully taken a major action that is contrary to the basic interests of the membership," Regan wrote in a highly opinionated seven-page missive obtained by the San Francisco Business Times.

"To put it bluntly," he added, "this decision is a massive betrayal of our stated principles and values.
By writing the missive, which was undated but clearly written after May 21, Regan noted that he may be violating a "gag order" by SEIU's leadership forbidding officers and staffers from speaking "candidly and completely" about the decision to wrest half of his membership away.

"I want to make it clear that I have offered my thoughts not in my capacity as the President of UHW," he wrote, "but rather in my capacity as an individual member of SEIU, who is protected by the SEIU Constitution."

Officials at UHW didn't immediately respond to requests for comment. But SEIU, which boasts 2 million members and 150 locals nationwide, provided a statement from Mary Kay Henry on Wednesday afternoon.

Henry's response focused on the need for good long-term-care jobs, without delving into Regan's allegations. "That's why SEIU has begun the process of uniting all long-term care members in California into one strong union with one clear goal," she said, "winning $15 an hour and a union for everyone in the state who provides care and support to seniors and people with disabilities."

The newly chartered Local 2015 will have more than 280,000 members, Henry said, making it the largest such union local in the nation.

Another SEIU memo, this one reportedly written April 14 by International Executive Vice President Kirk Adams, confirms that creation of the new long-term-care local in California is starting this month, and involves shifting more than 200,000 SEIU workers from their current locals to a single California unit focusing on nursing home and home care.

It also suggests that the fight between UHW and the national leadership will have extensive fallout.

"The effort to win the hearts and minds of UHW homecare leaders and members will be a challenging task, given their strong attachment to their UHW identity," he wrote. "This effort will not be done in weeks or even months.”

A long-brewing battle

Regan said the local's leadership first officially heard about the plan to downsize UHW in January, but believes it was hatched last October and has roots in years of enmity between local and national leaders.

"We are absolutely clear this decision is malicious and undertaken with the full knowledge that the interests of California healthcare workers are being sacrificed to the political needs of Mary Kay Henry," Regan wrote. "We are ashamed and embarrassed for our Union."

But he insisted the Oakland local will keep fighting for its controversial "partnership" with the California Hospital Association, designed to help UHW recruit more members; for enhanced state funding of the Medi-Cal program for the poor, and for a $15 per hour minimum wage via a planned November 2016 ballot initiative.

Ironically, the current hostility between Oakland-based UHW and the parent union echoes a similar battle six and a half years years ago when former longtime UHW President Sal Rosselli tangled with top leaders and left to start the upstart National Union of Healthcare Workers, which has battled SEIU and UHW ever since. The union leader who replaced the fiery Rosselli: Dave Regan.


When I reached Rosselli by phone, he thoroughly enjoyed the irony of the situation, noting that Regan is now tangling with Henry over the same issue that splintered the union almost seven years ago, whether long-term-care workers are better off in UHW and other broad health care locals or in a specialized unit.

SEIU-UHW's Dave Regan Rains on Mary Kay Henry's Big New Union


It turns out that SEIU-UHW’s Dave Regan is a sore loser.

Diamond Dave recently lost his battle with SEIU President Mary Kay Henry over the transfer of 65,000 long-term care workers into a new local union (SEIU Local 2015).

Check out the following letter sent by SEIU-UHW to its soon-to-be-transferred nursing home and home care members.

Obviously, Regan can’t blast Mary Kay head-on. He’s part of SEIU. And a full frontal attack would violate all of SEIU’s rules. Given those constraints, however, Regan does his best to piss all over Mary Kay’s decision and to inflame workers’ opposition to SEIU and Mary Kay Henry.

Just how angry is Dave? 

Take note of the first line (“Dear…”), where Dave has removed "SEIU" from the union's title. Further below, see SEIU’s counter-message to workers in a recently delivered glossy mailer extolling the wondrous virtues of SEIU Local 2015.

Stay tuned for more volleys in the ongoing "war" between Diamond Dave and Mary Kay...

Dear UHW member,
We are writing to inform you that our national organization, SEIU, has decided to remove the care and nursing home members from the local union you have always been a part of (SEIU-UHW), and put you in a new organization called SEIU Local 2015. The new organization will be run by leaders appointed by the SEIU President Mary Kay Henry. You may receive phone calls, mailings or visits from SEIU to give you more information about this…
The elected leaders of SEIU-UHW urged SEIU not to separate home care and nursing home workers from the hospital workers in our union and instead unite all healthcare workers in one powerful organization. The leaders of SEIU decided on a different path and soon you will be transitioned into SEIU Local 2015.