Monday, July 28, 2014

Next Up at SEIU Local 99? Scott Washburn


SEIU's Scott Washburn
On her way out the back door, Courtni Pugh -- the recently departed Executive Director of SEIU Local 99 -- announced that Scott Washburn would be taking over as the union’s "Interim Executive Director."

So who’s Washburn and what's his track record?

Washburn is a longtime SEIU staffer who in 2006 was appointed as the "Arizona State Director" of SEIU Local 5 and was tasked with boosting SEIU’s membership in the Grand Canyon State. 

Early in 2012, Purple Palace officials created Local 5 out of a top-down merger of three separate SEIU local unions in Texas, Arizona and Virginia. (WTF?)

So, how did Washburn perform in Arizona?

Not so well.

From 2008 until the end of 2012, Local 5's tri-state membership plummeted from 4,069 to 1,010 members. Ouch!

And in Arizona, Washburn did even worse.

For example, in 2011, more than 700 city employees in Tempe, Arizona decertified SEIU Local 5 to join an independent union called the United Arizona Employee Association.

By 2012, things had gotten so bad that the Purple Palace pulled the plug on the multi-state merger by splitting Local 5 back into its three original local unions (Local 5 in Texas, Local 512 in Virginia, and Local 48 in Arizona).
In Arizona, Washburn performed like a...

Washburn’s "growth strategies" had left SEIU with just 425 members in Arizona, according to records from the U.S. Department of Labor.

So what happened to Washburn?

In typical fashion, he pulled the purple ripcord and landed a comfortable job on SEIU International’s payroll pocketing than $150,000 per year.

And there's more.

In addition to Washburn’s underwhelming track record, Scott has also cultivated many enemies by helping Andy Stern and Dave Regan carry out SEIU’s heavy-handed raids against rank-and-file workers.

In 2009, Washburn famously deployed himself and many of his Arizona staff to California to impose SEIU’s trusteeship on healthcare workers inside SEIU-UHW. 

Later that year, Washburn directed Local 5’s staff to conduct an unsuccessful raid against UNITE HERE at Phoenix’s Sheraton Convention Center Hotel. That won't win Washburn any friends at UNITE HERE Local 11 in Los Angeles.

In 2010, Washburn and his staff spent many more months in California working on SEIU’s law-breaking Kaiser campaign, where SEIU’s illegal threats ultimately overturned the election results.

Meanwhile, Washburn has carefully used Andy Stern's trusteeship as an opportunity to secure full employment for his children. Last year, no fewer than three of Washburn’s kids were employed by SEIU-UHW’s Dave Regan, including Simon Washburn, Ira Washburn and Hannah Washburn.


Hey Local 99 members -- looks like you got a real winner on your hands!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

SEIU's David Holway Prepares for Democracy Fest at the Golden Nugget Hotel


SEIU-style democracy will be on stunning display at the upcoming convention of SEIU’s National Association of Government Employees (SEIU-NAGE).

In September, NAGE -- a union of 31,000 mainly government employees headquartered in Quincy, Massachusetts -- will be holding a three-day convention at the Golden Nugget Hotel in Las Vegas where delegates will elect NAGE’s president and Executive Board.

This democracy-fest will be guided by the steady hand of David Holway, who’ll serve as the master of ceremonies. Holway is a notoriously corrupt member of SEIU’s International Executive Board and is also the president of NAGE.
Tyrone Freeman and David Holway

When Holway opens the convention with a ceremonious blow of his gavel, will democracy break out like a horribly infectious case of poison ivy?

Not exactly.

Check out the list of candidates who are standing for the 47 positions that make up NAGE’s top officers and Executive Board. Below, Tasty has posted the list of candidates, which comes directly from NAGE’s website.

As you'll see, virtually every single candidate is part of the "Holway Slate," meaning that David
Holway personally selected them to run.

Holway loves his golden nuggets
Unfortunately for NAGE’s members, this means the next Executive Board won’t be doing any performance reviews of Holway or re-thinking his ridiculously bloated salary. Last year, Holway pocketed $265,909 for being the president of NAGE’s 31,000 members.

That's not all.

Holway is infamous for finding “innovative” ways to supplement his SEIU paycheck. 

In addition to holding a full-time job as the president of NAGE and serving on SEIU’s International Executive Board, Holway somehow managed to simultaneously hold down another high-paying job as the Executive Director of the Massachusetts Thoroughbred Breeders Association… where he worked tirelessly to encourage more horse racing in Massachusetts!

For this horse-racing gig, Holway pulled down an additional $100,000 per year and also pocketed 7.5% of the revenues from a racetrack called Suffolk Downs, according to the Boston Globe.

It's no wonder that workers have fled SEIU-NAGE so they can join other unions. During the past five years, NAGE has lost roughly one-third of its membership, according to records from the U.S. Department of Labor. Just 20 months ago, 2,300 ambulance workers decertified NAGE and joined AFSCME.


Go figure. 

Sunday, July 20, 2014

What's Art Pulaski thinking?


Art Pulaski
Remember Art Pulaski?

He was formerly married to SEIU’s Josie Mooney and is currently the head of the California Federation of Labor.

In 2012, Pulaski famously teamed up with SEIU-UHW’s Dave Regan to engineer an "emergency" phone call of the Labor Fed’s board in an unsuccessful effort to roll back the state's landmark nurse-to-patient staffing ratio law.

Well… Pulaski has made another decision that’s left observers scratching their heads.

Next week, the California Labor Federation will hold its biennial convention in San Diego, California. Pulaski has decided to put the presidents of UNITE HERE (D. Taylor) and SEIU (Mary Kay Henry) on the same stage.

As you can imagine, the folks over at UNITE HERE are no fans of Henry and SEIU. Back in 2009, Mary Kay Henry was one of Andy Stern's key lieutenants who launched SEIU’s multi-million dollar hostile takeover aimed at seizing control of UNITE HERE and gobbling it up inside of SEIU. 

SEIU’s disastrous scheme -- a byproduct of purple arrogance and imperial ambitions -- was roundly condemned by the labor movement.

So what’s Pulaski thinking?

Good question. Here's the announcement.
The 2014 California Labor Federation Biennial Convention is only 12 days away, and our speaker lineup is as action-packed as our agenda! We know that in order to win in the long run we must grow our movement and go on the offense. That’s why we’re thrilled to announce two keynote speakers who know firsthand what it means to fight in the trenches, grow their memberships and win.
Be sure to join us Tuesday, July 29 to hear SEIU International President, Mary Kay Henry and UNITE HERE President, D. Taylor as each highlight their unique lessons learned from fighting hard to organize new members, and the importance of expanding our offensive game to maintain a powerful movement for all workers. You won’t want to miss this!


Monday, July 14, 2014

SEIU's Courtni Pugh Deploys Purple Parachute in L.A.


SEIU's Courtni Pugh
Check this out.

Remember the article in the Los Angeles Daily News about the rigged ratification vote affecting 33,000 SEIU members who work for the Los Angeles Unified School District?

In a remarkable turn of events, SEIU Local 99's Executive Director Courtni Pugh presided over this epic vote-rigging operation. And then… she left town. For good!

No kidding.

On Local 99's website, Pugh posted an announcement that begins this way:
Dear SEIU Local 99 Members and Friends, 
This has been by far one of the toughest decisions I have ever had to make. But after much thought I have decided to leave my position as Executive Director of SEIU Local 99 to immediately work to elect pro-worker legislators in the state senate.
According to the announcement, an "Interim Executive Director” will take over Pugh’s job on July 19.

Quite a trick, right? Rig the vote. Plunge the union into internal conflict, negative press stories, and pledges of lawsuits to be filed by the union's own members. And then hightail it out of town!

Courtni Pugh: Profile in courage.

Friday, July 11, 2014

SEIU’s Mary Kay Henry Parachutes into SEIU Local 99


Today, SEIU President Mary Kay Henry made "a secret appearance at Local 99 headquarters… to thank the high-paid staff and management for getting the contract ratified so quickly," according to an online post by members of Local 99 (see below).

The post asked union members to phone Local 99's office “and let the receptionist know how you feel and ask her to pass the message to Mary Kay.”

So what’s Mary Kay Henry doing? 

Hmm.... Sounds like one of those unannounced visits to Afghanistan by U.S. presidents aimed at showing confidence to the troops.

Here's the post from a member of Local 99:




Thursday, July 10, 2014

SEIU Local 99 "did us dirty,” say workers


In Los Angeles, SEIU is making headlines over allegations of vote-rigging during a contract-ratification vote affecting 33,000 school employees.

Here's what's happening:

SEIU Local 99 has been negotiating with the Los Angeles Unified School District on behalf of 33,000 employees who work as teacher assistants, cafeteria workers, custodians and other positions. At the end of June, SEIU officials reached a tentative contract settlement and, according to workers, promptly deployed a bag of purple tricks aimed at winning a membership ratification vote at any cost.

First, Local 99's Executive Director, Courtni Pugh, ordered a rapid-fire ratification vote in which fewer than 8% of the workers actually cast ballots. Workers say SEIU failed to notify many union members about the vote. One writes: “The majority of Unit B was not notified, emailed, called or texted about the voting.”

Here's another piece of the story from a different Local 99 member:
Currently, many school employees are on Summer Recess with a majority of school sites closed until mid August, so lots of people that would have received their information at their worksite, may never have gotten word of a vote for contract ratification.
Next, SEIU lied about the pay hikes under the tentative agreement. 
The scene inside an SEIU polling place

According to the Los Angeles Daily News, “Union officials misrepresented that wage hike, passing out fliers and making statements that a 6.64 percent pay raise was ‘guaranteed.’ A close inspection of the contract, however,” revealed that more than 10,000 workers will receive increases of only 2%, according to the Daily News.

Next, SEIU officials changed the rules for the vote count. Here's how the Daily News describes it:
But the vote counting and contract ratification process was changed at the last minute.
 Prior to the three-day election that started Monday — and for as long as anyone can remember — each of Local 99’s four bargaining units had the individual right to accept or reject contracts by vote. The ballots for individual bargaining units — B, C, F and G — were labeled and printed on different colored paper and listed by the name of each unit. If a unit rejected the deal, that unit would go back to the bargaining table.
 But as union workers prepared to tally this contract’s ballots Wednesday night, staff announced a departure from standard voting procedure: All the ballots would be tossed into a single pool and tallied together.
 The tactic, Local 99 member and former political action committee chair Kathryn Torres said, was the latest in a series of dishonest and legally questionable plays union staff has employed.
 A faction of members, Torres said, will be looking to the courts and labor relations board for help.

“We are willing to take it as far as we have to, because right is right and wrong is wrong,” Torres said.
After the vote was finished, SEIU officials did backflips and exchanged high-fives while sending triumphant announcements to the membership. Here's a message posted by SEIU officials on Local 99’s Facebook page: 
We did it! The votes are counted and we ratified the agreement with LAUSD. 82% VOTED YES!
Meanwhile, here's how one union member responded:
Yes, you did it alright. You alienated members by blocking them from your Facebook page when they dared to disagree with you. You rushed a vote through while many of your members were out of town. You lied to the media about how much of a raise we were being offered. You instructed our own union reps to not talk to anyone who disagreed with the contract. You got us nothing for a raise and yet you charge us higher union dues than administrators pay. You did it alright. You got me wondering if there is a way to opt out of the union. I have been told that there is.

Another member put it this way: “They misled us. That’s why a lot of us members are upset and angry, because our own union did us dirty…”

Sunday, July 6, 2014

SEIU’s Andy Stern and Anna Burger Revive Their Alliance


Stern and Burger
Strap on your errr... seatbelts. 

Sources report that Andy Stern and Anna Burger have revived their infamous alliance. But this time… all of their partnership activities are taking place between the sheets!

(Note to readers: Tasty apologizes for any unsettling imagery evoked by this reporting.)

The duo's romantic liaison is widely discussed inside SEIU circles, say sources.

In fact, it's long been rumored that Stern and Burger carried on a secret love affair while they ruled the Purple Palace. Stern, Burger and their families shared a summer vacation home on the Jersey Shore.

Stern and Hamsher
Near the end of his term as SEIU’s President, according to Politico, Stern had a two-year romantic relationship with Firedoglake blogger Jane Hamsher

Hamsher is described as a “botox liberal” who’s defiantly crossed the picket lines of fellow writers and journalists.

An intimate moment on the "love bus"
In April of 2010, when Stern resigned as SEIU's President, he famously announced: ‘I'm ready to fall in love.’


Tasty ain’t quite sure if his carnal coalition with Anna fits the bill. 

Whatever the case, it confirms many observers' views that SEIU is closer to a Mexican telenovela than an actual labor union.