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.”



Friday, June 2, 2017

Dave Regan Axes Top Staffer at SEIU-UHW


Myriam Escamilla
Dave Regan has axed one of SEIU-UHW’s top staff directors, according to staffers. Tasty confirmed that Myriam Escamilla, who served as the Director of SEIU-UHW’s Hospital Division, is no longer employed at the union.

Escamilla was so close to Regan that he placed her on the Executive Committee of SEIU-UHW’s Executive Board. Last year, she pocketed $162,415 in pay, according to records filed with the US Department of Labor.

She also has a long relationship with Greg Pullman, Regan’s Chief of Staff. The pair formerly worked together at SEIU Local 521 before teaming up at SEIU-UHW.

Not anymore.

Escamilla was well known for her tantrums, tirades, bullying, and Machiavellian scheming, according to staffers. 

One staffer told Tasty: “Myriam's reputation for abusing staff -- including public humiliation -- is well-deserved.” A former staffer at Local 521 calls her a “primo backstabber.”

After Regan parachuted into California, Escamilla joined with Regan like two peas in a pod.

Bullying? Check.
Arrogant? Check.
Tirades? Check.
Backroom deals with bosses? Check.

Perhaps that’s why staffers reportedly tagged her with nicknames like “Attila the Hun” and “El Diablo.”

In one memorable incident, an SEIU-UHW staffer described how Escamilla fired him during his first week on the job after he expressed reluctance at “donating” part of his paycheck to Regan’s election fund.

Another staffer wrote: “She has caused such divisions in UHW staff by terminating and harassing staff. Many staff are out on stress or in line for termination.”

Oh, and don’t forget Myriam’s other stand-out qualities: dishonesty and incompetence.

In 2012, Escamilla famously negotiated a backroom deal that allowed California’s largest nursing home company to slash SEIU-UHW members’ wages and benefits. After inking the deal, she carefully hid it from workers. And when workers questioned her, she blatantly lied to them. Which explains why workers decided to decertify SEIU-UHW and join NUHW.

In another memorable incident, Escamilla forgot to file a ULP charge in advance of a strike by 160 workers, allowing the boss to lock out 38 workers for months and months.

Escamilla’s reganesque style and her willingness to forfeit workers and principles in order to elevate her position explains her lengthy tenure alongside Regan.

So what caused Regan to axe her?

At this point, it’s not clear. 

Tipsters should drop Tasty a line at tastysternburger@gmail.com

Friday, May 26, 2017

San Diego Workers Vote to Decertify SEIU


Last week, 386 municipal workers in the City of Chula Vista (the 2nd largest city in the San Diego metropolitan area) voted by more than a two-to-one margin to leave SEIU Local 221 and instead join an independent union.

The final tally on the vote, which was conducted by California’s Public Employment Relations Board, was:
Association of Chula Vista Employees (ACE):  163
SEIU Local 221:  81
No Union:  4

Why did workers vote to decertify SEIU?

An article in a local newspaper (The Star News, “Muni union members consider a break,” April 1, 2017) offers some insight:
Esteban Barajas, a Chula Vista public works employee and a full dues paying member with SEIU, said he wants to see his union break away from SEIU because he said they do not properly represent Chula Vista Employees when they are needed, and are only around every three years during contract negotiations and he said SEIU does not give CVEA a fair share of money.  He said SEIU receives about $250,000 annually as part of CVEA’s union dues.
“We’re supposed to be on the top of the food chain so why are they getting $250,000 and we are over here living off of top ramen soups?”

Workers at the City of Chula Vista are just the latest group to decertify SEIU Local 221. In recent years, at least eight other bargaining units have bolted Loco 221 including…

1) San Diego Community College District
2) City of San Marcos
3) City of La Mesa
4) San Diego County’s Probation Officers Unit
5) San Diego County’s Crafts Unit

Friday, May 19, 2017

SEIU Is Sued over Nevada Trusteeship


A supporter of SEIU Nevada’s former president has filed a lawsuit challenging SEIU International’s recent trusteeship of the local union, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal (Las Vegas Review-Journal, “Union member suing to restore local control of SEIU Nevada chapter,” May 16. 2017).

On Tuesday, Cherie Mancini (the union’s former president) appeared alongside ten supporters in a District courtroom seeking a court order to return control of the union to its recently disbanded executive board, according to the newspaper. 

The lawsuit is now headed to federal court.

Last month, SEIU President Mary Kay Henry removed Mancini and Sharon Kisling (SEIU Nevada’s former executive vice president) from their positions and then had two of her lieutenants conduct a nighttime meeting with SEIU Nevada’s remaining executive board members, who reportedly voted to ask Henry to place the union under an “emergency trusteeship.”

The lawyer suing SEIU International told the Review-Journal that the trusteeship is invalid because SEIU Nevada’s executive board members were led to believe they had no choice but vote for trusteeship.

The Review-Journal quotes Mancini as saying the following:
"There was a manufactured emergency by the removal of myself and the vice president at the same time. I think that the membership needs to determine whether there needs to be a trusteeship or not.”

The newspaper also reports that following the trusteeship, SEIU officials “fired the local’s chief financial officer Robert Clarke, communications director Dana Gentry and [Peter] Nguyen, the director of organizing and representation.”

Stay tuned.

Friday, May 12, 2017

How Many SEIU-UHW Senior Staffers Can Dance on the Head of Dave Regan’s Pin?


Tasty got ahold of an interesting document that offers more details about the sky-high salaries Dave Regan pays himself and his buddies inside SEIU-UHW.

According to the document (a 2017 pay scale for SEIU-UHW’s “Senior Staff”), the union has installed no fewer than eight separate layers of highly paid “senior staffers” with titles like “Senior Management-Level V,” “Chief of Staff,” and “President.”

Their annual salaries range from $120,000 to $227,000. A copy is below.

So much for “Fight for $15.” 

Apparently, SEIU-UHW managers favor the motto: “Sitting for $75.”

Just in case SEIU-UHW wasn’t already larded up with beaucoup overpaid bureaucrats, in 2017 Regan decided to add two more layers of phat managers atop the teetering, top-heavy union: Senior Management-Levels III and IV.

SEIU-UHW’s salaries are stunningly high:  Regan earns more than the Presidents of at least two international unions, the United Auto Workers and the United Steelworkers.

So… it’s obvious why Regan pays himself so much money. But why is he lavishing six-figure salaries on senior staffers?

A source explains it this way: “It costs a lot of money to buy people’s loyalty.”

If staffers don’t like the union’s leader or his vision, then how do you keep them on the job? You bribe them by paying sky-high salaries. Golden handcuffs, as they say.

Other unions have a radically different vision that's more democratic and egalitarian. For example, at NUHW, the union’s constitution prohibits the president from earning more than the highest-paid rank-and-file member.

Regan’s salary structure recalls recent critiques of SEIU’s brand of “neoliberal unionism.” Last September, the authors of one piece in Jacobin Magazine called on the labor movement to confront SEIU:
The proliferation of this model of unionism would spell disaster for the American labor movement. Our movement’s success depends on how widely and how militantly we can organize workers to fight corporate power and the 1 percent, not embrace them. 
Union members and leaders must do everything in their power to halt the march of neoliberal unionism, before they march the labor movement straight into its grave.