Despite earlier reports to the contrary, Dave Regan is officially running for re-election as president of SEIU-UHW.
Days ago, the union announced that Regan will join two other candidates on the ballot in next month’s mail-ballot election. And next week, Regan and the other candidates are supposed to post statements on SEIU-UHW’s website about their candidacies.
What about the earlier reports of Regan’s imminent departure?
In December 2015, Regan told a meeting of the union’s Executive Board he would not run for re-election, according to board members who attended the meeting. Regan also said he was backing the director of SEIU-UHW’s Kaiser Division, Chokri Bensaid, to be his replacement.
Several months ago, staffers at SEIU-UHW confirmed that Regan was on his way out.
Hard to tell. Perhaps Regan had a change of heart and decided to hang onto his annual $250,000 salary.
Observers point to another possibility. If Regan fears his chosen successor might not win a contested election, he may be running so that sometime after he’s installed for a new three-year term, he can resign and have the Executive Board appoint his chosen successor without a union-wide election.
Who’s running against Regan in next month’s election?
Both of his challengers are rank-and-file members at Kaiser Permanente and currently serve on the union’s Executive Board.
One of them, Niko Anagnostopoulos, ran against Regan in 2014 and got about 1,200 votes compared to Regan’s 8,000. Anagnostopoulos has set up a website and Facebook page that criticizes Regan and his slate of Executive Board candidates, which is called the “Healthcare Justice slate,” for failing to represent workers on the job and for Regan’s “failed policies.”
Here’s an excerpt from Anagnostopoulos website:
Currently to remain as an elected officer with the existing UHW administration I would only be contributing to the failed policies of the establishment. You will no doubt become familiar with “HealthCare Justice” as the masses of glossy flyers begin to clutter our mailboxes leading up to the election on March 15th, 2017… The "HealthCare Justice Slate" has failed to represent all of its members. The HealthCare slate leadership has jeopardized UHWs standing by pursuing a reckless policy of litigation with our employers. I know that together we can act on a more constructive relationship with our administrative associates. I believe that new leadership can improve our daily working conditions without further damaging the integrity and public perception of SEIU-UHW.
Last month, says Anagnostopoulos, the SEIU-UHW steward Council at Kaiser Walnut Creek Medical Center voted not to endorse Regan’s “Healthcare Justice slate.” It’s unclear if they voted to endorse Anagnostopoulos.
Anagnostopoulos’ campaign Facebook page takes a shot at Regan and the other six-figure staffers like Cass Gualvez who are Regan’s candidates for SEIU-UHW’s “Executive Committee.” Here’s what it says:
Here is a graphic showing the candidates for the SEIU-UHW election. We have included the union staff salaries. Do you feel protected? Have they earned re-election?
The third candidate is Cartina Price, a Licensed Vocational Nurse at Kaiser Torrance Clinic in Los Angeles. It’s not clear if she has a website presence so far.
SEIU-UHW’s past elections have been marked by low voter turnout and plenty of controversy. During SEIU-UHW's officer elections in 2011 and 2014, Regan was able to corral little more than 8,000 votes from the union's 140,000 members.
In 2011, Sophia Sims -- a rank-and-file Kaiser worker with few resources -- came within several thousand votes of defeating Regan, who collected only 7,000 votes that year. Not an impressive showing when you consider that Regan massively outspent Sims and also used the union's entire institutional machinery to push his candidacy onto the membership.
The elections were also marred by allegations of vote-rigging by Regan, which were detailed in a complaint to the US Department of Labor and a February 2011 lawsuit filed in Los Angeles Superior Court.
After the 2011 election, Regan looked for opportunities to knock Sims out of contention in future elections.
In 2012, he accused her of "gross disloyalty or conduct unbecoming a member" and ordered her to be subjected to an SEIU-UHW show trial. In 2013, Regan's hand-picked kangaroo court found Sims "guilty" and banned her from competing in SEIU-UHW's elections for seven years.
This year’s election will be the first since SEIU-UHW lost more than half of its membership when the union’s long-term care workers were transferred to SEIU Local 2015, headed by Laphonza Butler. Historically, Regan relied on homecare workers as a key source of votes in elections.