Friday, January 30, 2015

Hospital Workers Deliver Loss to SEIU-UHW during Sweetheart C.H.A. Election


Here's some breaking news.

Remember Dave Regan’s sweetheart deal with the California Hospital Association?

That’s the deal where hospital executives welcome SEIU-UHW into their hospitals to unionize up to 60,000 workers. In exchange, SEIU-UHW gives political favors to the Bosses and commits to force workers into pre-negotiated labor contracts with cheap wages and benefits.

Well, last night, the workers at a Southern California hospital rejected SEIU-UHW in one of the first elections run under the CHA deal... and despite the fact that hospital execs gave SEIU- UHW every possible advantage! The final tally at Mission Hospital, a 552-bed hospital in Orange County, was...

SEIU-UHW: 329
No Union: 409

What kind of help did execs give to SEIU-UHW?

SEIU-UHW got complete access to the hospital's break rooms and conference rooms to try to convince workers to vote for SEIU. A list of every employee’s home address and telephone number. An order from hospital execs to every manager and supervisor that prohibited them from saying anything negative about SEIU-UHW. 

In addition, hospital execs agreed to a rush-job scheduling of the election so that no other unions would be able to get on the NLRB ballot.

That left SEIU-UHW as the only union on the ballot… but SEIU-UHW still lost!

Sources say workers are overjoyed to get rid of the SEIU-UHW organizers, who they affectionately called "the purple clowns." Apparently, workers were literally tripping over purple organizers camped out in their break rooms, knocking on the front doors at night, phoning them relentlessly, and stalking them in hospital parking lots and the cafeteria.
SEIU mailer from Mission

Quite a story, right?

Well, here's the kicker.

On Monday, the NLRB counted the ballots in a separate union election initiated by workers at Redwood Memorial Hospital, who petitioned to join NUHW. 

Interestingly, the hospital is owned by the same company that owns Mission Hospital -- that is, St. Joseph Health System.

At Redwood Memorial, however, there was no sweetheart deal... and the Boss fought workers’ efforts to join NUHW. Nevertheless, on Monday workers voted by more than a three-to-one margin to join NUHW!

That's not all. This is the fourth hospital owned by St. Joseph Health System to vote to join NUHW.

Apparently, this rising wave of support for NUHW has caused some serious heart palpitations for St. Joseph's execs. So the company’s top execs decided to invite SEIU-UHW into their remaining non-union hospitals in hopes that the purple company union will blocking workers from joining NUHW.

This isn’t a new tactic. In the 1960s and 1970s, agricultural growers invited the Teamsters into their fields to keep the United Farm Workers out.

This is what SEIU’s Dave Regan calls "strategic collaboration" with the Boss, as he did in this recent TV interview with NBC news!



PS. Sources report that the SEIU-UHW organizers on the Mission Hospital campaign have become increasingly suspicious about Regan’s deal with the California Hospital Association (CHA). During the campaign, workers repeatedly asked the organizers about the sweetheart deal, the pre-negotiated contracts, etc… but Regan refuses to show the agreement to staffers or even the union's elected Executive Board. When they were asked about the CHA deal, SEIU-UHW organizers were instructed to recite a couple of canned talking points and then redirect the conversation towards a different topic.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Video: SEIU-UHW’s Dave Regan Defends Backroom Deals with Hospital Corporations


SEIU-UHW President Dave Regan
Here's a remarkable video that offers new insight into SEIU-UHW’s secret deals with hospital corporations.

It's also a dramatic warning to workers at St. Joseph Health System and other companies where SEIU-UHW is now trying to unionize workers under a sweetheart deal with the California Hospital Association.

Elsewhere on this blogsite, Tasty has documented SEIU-UHW’s multiple backroom deals with hospital corporations including Dignity Health, Daughters of Charity Health System, Kaiser Permanente, and Sutter Health.

These deals have allowed the companies to pocket billions of dollars in profits by eliminating hospital workers' pensions, slashing health benefits, cutting staffing levels, freezing wages, and undermining patient care. For example, SEIU-UHW’s cuts have already allowed Kaiser and Dignity to save more than $2 billion, according to corporate financial statements. SEIU-UHW has even violated its own constitution and blatantly lied to its members in its rush to force benefit cuts down workers' throats.

The deals show that SEIU-UHW and its president, Dave Regan, are firmly in the bosses’ pocket.

And here's the latest:  Regan has now admitted as much on TV!

Check out the following excerpt from Regan’s five-minute TV interview with Los Angeles’s KNBC TV in September 2014.

During the interview, Regan admits that SEIU-UHW is not interested in fighting employers on behalf of workers and their patients. According to Regan, SEIU-UHW only pursues "collaboration" and "teamwork" with corporations. The era of "adversarial relationships" between workers and corporations is gone, says Regan.

During the interview, Regan presents a stump speech he regularly uses to try to convince workers to accept cuts to their wages and benefits. It's the same speech that bosses routinely deliver during "employee forums" inside hospital auditoriums.

Below is an excerpt from the interview along with Tasty's analysis (the full interview is available here).

The excerpt opens with the beginning of the interview and then cuts to a section where Regan introduces his stump speech by declaring that the labor movement is dying and will not survive unless it "does things very differently."



Quite incredible, right? 

First, Regan says there’s no longer a need for "adversarial relationships" between workers and companies because we no longer live in a society where "we have employers and we have workers." Hmmm.

Did Tasty miss something? 

Last time Tasty checked, giant employers are not only running our economy, they’ve gotten richer than at any time since the 1930s. And they’re waging an aggressive war to take more money from workers' pockets so they can deposit it in their bulging bank accounts. 

This doesn't quite sound like a new "team-based" and "collaborative" economy where bosses are sharing their billions with workers. You gotta wonder what the low-waged workers at Wal-Mart, McDonald's and the Fight for Fifteen companies would say about Regan’s statement that "employers" and "workers" no longer exist.

Next, Regan rolls out an age-old corporate scare tactic... and even spices it up with an extra dose of xenophobia. According to Regan, healthcare workers must accept lower wages and benefits because “the industries we work inside of have to be healthy. Because if they're not, workers' jobs will be moved to India, to China, to Latin America…”

Gimme a break.

The only way that U.S. hospital workers' jobs can be moved overseas is if hospital patients themselves are exported to India, China, and Latin America.

In addition, Regan falsely implies that hospital corporations are hurting for monty -- that hospitals will soon be padlocking their doors and relocating to distant continents.

What's the truth?

Hospitals are making giant profits. At Kaiser, profits are up 40% compared to the prior year and the company has pocketed $14.5 billion in profits since 2009. In 2014, Dignity Health reported an 8.5% profit margin (far higher than the previous year) thanks to a multi-year wage freeze for 15,000 workers negotiated by Regan.

Regan's speech is so lame, it's laughable.

Check out this excerpt. Take special note of Regan's hand motions, which seem to say "I’m spouting some serious bullsh*t and hope you don't actually notice."


The bottom line?

SEIU-UHW's Regan has climbed so far into bed with hospital executives that he's become the Boss’s chief spokesperson. The Boss pulls the puppet strings and Regan's mouth moves.

He's a snake-oil salesmen who’ll sell you out in a second, even as the Boss laughs all the way to the bank.

Here's a transcript of a portion of Regan's interview:
Regan: The culture of unionism is failing. And I think now what most people in this global economy… the economy is very different today than it was 30 years ago or 50 years ago or 70 years ago when the modern labor movement really was born. Then, it was a manufacturing society and this whole notion of “We have employers and we have workers” -- you know, that was accepted. The truth is we live in a society in a world right now where the way you succeed is through collaboration, through teamwork. And frankly, I think unions have to figure out, how do we advocate for the economic interests of our members and workers generally at the same time that we recognize that the industries we work inside of themselves have to be healthy. Because if they're not, the jobs will be moved to India, to China, to Latin America and we have to move beyond that outdated “us versus them” mentality. And I think we have to think about strategic collaboration as the way where workers will gain more through that than through the outdated mode that you describe.


Thursday, January 22, 2015

SEIU's IEB Contemplates Massive Flip-Flop in Puerto Rico as Dave Regan hunts Mega-Merger


This week, SEIU’s International Executive Board (IEB) is meeting in sunny Puerto Rico where they plan to decide the fate of more than 200,000 California home care and nursing home workers.

According to a January 17th email penned by Greg Pullman ("Chief of Staff" for SEIU-UHW’s Dave Regan), the IEB is deciding whether or not to merge California's homecare, nursing home, and hospital workers into a giant mega-local that presumably will be controlled by Regan.

Here's what the e-mail says (see complete copy below):

As many of you are aware, there has been a long standing debate in SEIU over whether homecare and nursing home workers are members of the healthcare delivery team and are stronger united with all healthcare workers or if they are better off separated out into a long term care only local union. That question is again being taken up by the SEIU International Executive Board in Puerto Rico next week. We expect a spirited debate. This is a question that has significant consequences for our members and many of us have strong feelings about it. We hope that there will be a healthy process to debate and decide on this matter. We will be holding a staff meeting on Monday, January 26 at 10am to report back on the discussion. In the meantime, please stay focused on the important work we are doing. No change will be occurring immediately and there will be ample time to discuss this and address the obvious number of questions and concerns it raises. Thank you for your continued focus on improving the lives of healthcare workers in California.
Regan has been gunning to merge SEIU Local 6434’s members into his union for some time, thereby sparking a war with Local 6434’s president LaPhonza Butler, who also serves as the President of the SEIU California State Council.

A pro-merger decision from Puerto Rico would showcase the apparently limitless capacity of SEIU’s top officials to simply “make sh*t up” to suit their political whims.

Back in 2008, SEIU’s IEB took exactly the opposite position.

The IEB hired a former UAW attorney named Leonard Page (a personal friend of SEIU General Counsel Judy Scott) to conduct “impartial” hearings about the future of California's healthcare workers. At the end of Page’s kangaroo court, the IEB issued a decree ordering hospital and long-term care workers to be segregated into separate SEIU locals.
 
SEIU's Judy Scott
SEIU officials claimed the decision would ‘make workers stronger.’ The real reason behind the decision, of course, was purely political:  to strip 60,000 workers from Sal Rosselli’s local because its leaders had rightfully criticized secret backroom deals orchestrated by Andy Stern, Mary Kay Henry and Co. that sold out rank-and-file workers and undermined worker democracy.

In January of 2009, Stern and Co. used Page’s report as the rationale for imposing an “emergency" trusteeship on Rosselli’s local.

After the trusteeship, the IEB never implemented the transfer of the 60,000 workers… which apparently wasn't such a big “emergency.” In fact, it's been six long years, and the IEB has still not implemented their decision.

Which brings us back to this week's seaside confab in San Juan…  

It promises to offer quite a spectacle to observers. IEB members may be masters of contradiction, but this sort of flip-flopping will require them to twist themselves into mind-bending pretzels.

And Regan will end up as the most contorted pretzel of them all.

In 2008, he served on the IEB and voted in favor of segregating California’s hospital and long-term care workers into separate locals. In fact, he was one of the main proponents and conspired with Tyrone Freeman to coordinate the pro-separation campaign.

Today, Regan is absolutely opposed to… uhh… what he voted for then. Has the flip-flopping politician so famously said: "I voted for it before I voted against it."

At least Regan gets a vote. That's a lot more than can be said for the 200,000 rank-and-file workers who’ll be affected by the decision.


P.S. Tasty will share more details about that Regan's after-hours meeting with Tyrone… which happened to involve cigars!


Wednesday, January 21, 2015

More News from NUHW’s Strike at Kaiser Permanente


By all accounts, NUHW’s members carried off quite a strike at Kaiser last week. The one-week strike, which ended Monday morning, was honored by nearly 100% of NUHW’s 4,000 members, according to Tasty’s sources.

Kaiser's patients and their family members -- including public officials and a popular newspaper columnist -- stepped forward and publicized their own horror stories about Kaiser's under-staffed mental health clinics. Patients even brought homemade signs and walked picket lines with the striking workers.

One county official -- who lost her husband to suicide after Kaiser delayed his care -- sent this letter of support to striking mental health clinicians.

NUHW has documented more than a dozen suicides directly connected to Kaiser's excessive wait times and under-staffed clinics -- including three suicides by the family members of sitting elected officials in California.

In Oakland, hundreds of workers gathered in front of Kaiser's national headquarters and chanted, "No more suicides!”

Meanwhile, Kaiser's operating engineers joined workers in a sympathy strike. And firefighters -- the first responders who care for many people in mental health crises -- volunteered to
cook meals for hundreds of strikers on Friday.

The Massachusetts Nurses Association donated $5,000 to the striking workers.

The strike received massive press attention across the U.S., including this piece on NPR's national weekend broadcast. The strike even got international coverage like this piece published in London.


And on a more humorous note... check out one worker's creative re-writing of Kaiser's post-strike e-mail to workers. The original message, penned by two of Kaiser's overpaid corporate hacks named GregAdams and Robbie Pearl, was so jam-packed with corporate-speak and mealy-mouthed misinformation that the worker was compelled to set the record straight by clowning its dishonest authors. 


Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Kaiser Permanente Blows Smoke; NUHW Lands Body Blow


Remember the saying, “It's not the size of the union in the fight, but the size of the fight in the union”?

Well, on Monday, 4,000 of NUHW’s members launched a week-long strike against Kaiser Permanente across California to protest the HMO's chronic understaffing of its mental health services and the horrible impact on patients, including tragic suicides.

The strike -- which NUHW says is the largest strike by mental health professionals in the nation-- is quite remarkable.

NUHW’s members are giving the U.S.'s biggest HMO a run for the money… and have already left their multi-billion-dollar employer with a black eye and a bloody nose!

In response to workers’ strike, media outlets have published more than a thousand stories about Kaiser's underfunded and failed mental health services. Three elected officials have stepped forward with accounts about how their family members committed suicide after Kaiser delayed their access to mental health care.

Kaiser, now playing defense, is running daily full-page ads in newspapers across the state along with a steady flow of radio ads in a desperate effort to repair the damage.

So why has Kaiser blundered so badly?

According to observers, Kaiser's fatcat executives decided to ignore the well-documented problems affecting their mental health services and instead proceeded to carefully insert their heads even deeper inside the posterior end of their gastrointestinal tracts.

Kaiser's John Nelson
One of Kaiser's chief idiots is John Nelson, the Vice President of Brand Management. 

Before joining Kaiser, Nelson worked as "a strategic communications professional” for Pacific Gas and Electric Company, the utility that was fined $1.4 billion for killing 8 people and blowing up multiple city blocks in a firestorm that resulted from PGE’s greedy refusal to fix its leaky, underground natural gas pipes.

Nelson, like a rabid "climate denier," loves to issue vociferous denials of any criticism of Kaiser's mental health services... even though, just four months ago, Kaiser paid a $4 million fine to state regulators for multiple mental health violations, including imposing lengthy illegal appointment delays on patients and falsifying appointment records by employing a parallel set of books.

Last month, SEIU-UHW's Dave Regan delivered one of his more pathetic performances by working hand in hand with Nelson to spout Kaiser's corporate talking points against Kaiser's patients and workers. 

Yesterday, an award-winning columnist at the San Francisco Chronicle penned a piece that sent Nelson's head spinning. It turns out the columnist, Jon Carroll, is a Kaiser member and has personally had problems with the HMO's mental health care. Carroll skillfully clowned Kaiser for its dishonest media campaign by publishing a column entitled: "This Just In: Patients Know Stuff Too."

Carroll writes:
...some of us are not ordinary outsiders -- some of us are Kaiser members. We watch the bureaucracy yawn and shift. We understand the virtues and hate the flaws. And here's a true thing: Kaiser mental healthcare facilities are really not very good.
He goes on to describe his own experiences at Kaiser and then launches a frontal assault on Nelson’s bald-faced lies:
So Kaiser can throw around as much smoke as it can find. It already paid a fine for its scheduling practices. The paucity of its mental health services is pretty well known locally. If it's going to consciously gut the programs, it should just say so and move on. But it can't pretend that black is white.
Ouch!

For more info, here's a link to photos and news coverage of the strike on NUHW’s website.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

A Union in Wolf's Clothing


This week, SEIU-UHW officials have catapulted to new heights of pathetic behavior at public hearings held by the California Attorney General to evaluate the proposed sale of Daughters of Charity Health System, a chain of six hospitals in Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay Area.

At the hearings, SEIU-UHW is shamelessly pimping for Blue Wolf Capital Partners, a New York private-equity firm that just happened to ink a secret backroom deal with Dave Regan

If Blue Wolf wins the bidding process, Regan's deal would allow it to boost its profits by slashing the pay and benefits of SEIU-UHW’s 2,700 members by more than $100 million a year, according to a deal signed by Regan and posted on this blog site earlier in the week.

From every indication, Regan is highly motivated to convince the A.G. to support his newfound private-equity "partner.” How else can you explain the fact that SEIU-UHW’s staffers and members have turned up at the hearings wearing "Blue Wolf" T-shirts? No joke. Check out these pictures. Pathetic.



As they say, a picture is worth 1,000 words.

And there's more.

SEIU-UHW’s rank-and-file members at the Daughters hospitals are apparently in open rebellion against Regan's sellout deal. In fact, Regan has so little support from Daughters workers that he's been forced to bus public-sector homecare workers from 150 miles away wearing "Blue Wolf" shirts in a pathetically lame effort to convince the AG that somehow "workers" support Blue Wolf.

Unfortunately for Regan, SEIU-UHW’s own members have dropped a host of proverbial turds into Regan's purple punch bowl.

Yesterday, an SEIU-UHW member from Daughters O'Connor Hospital in San Jose testified that a majority of SEIU-UHW’s members at his hospital oppose SEIU-UHW’s support for Blue Wolf. To back up his point, he then presented the Attorney General with petitions signed by half of SEIU-UHW’s members at the hospital… which he says were gathered in 48 hours!

SEIU-UHW's Dave Regan
Today, the AG held a hearing for St. Louise Regional Hospital in Gilroy. One of SEIU-UHW’s stewards at the hospital testified in opposition to SEIU-UHW and presented handfuls of petitions signed by her co-workers. 

During her testimony, the worker reportedly broke down and cried, saying she had once supported SEIU-UHW “but they’re wrong about this and we employees are very disappointed in them. Because of this, I believe the union no longer has the support of employees.”

After the steward left the hearing to go back to work, one of Regan's hack staffers went to the mic and tried to convince the Attorney General that the steward had been bullied by hospital officials into testifying as she did. This reportedly prompted an AG official to say, "You gotta be kidding me.” I guess the same hospital officials bullied hundreds of workers to sign petitions, too. 

They apparently don't understand, but SEIU-UHW’s members should be overflowing with joy and gratitude that their union's president, Dave Regan, cut a backroom deal with New York fatcats to slash and burn their pay and benefits.

Later, when news of the SEIU-UHW staffer's deceitful testimony to the AG reached the hospital, the steward and her co-workers reacted with righteous outrage. Needless to say, Wall Street Dave doesn't have many supporters left at the hospital.
A picture from Northern Pulp, one of Blue Wolf's acquisitions. It
performs 
"whole tree harvesting," which local residents describe as "ecocide."
Blue Wolf: Bringing a bright future to a community near you!


All in all, then, it's been quite a week so far. 

SEIU staffers in Blue Wolf T-shirts.  Fake hospital workers bused in from 150 miles away. SEIU-UHW’s members in open rebellion against Regan's backroom deal.  And Regan forced to publicly deploy his weapons of treachery and deceit against the union's own members… even as the Attorney General looks on.

Monday, January 5, 2015

SEIU-UHW's Dave Regan Is Caught Making Backroom Deal with New York Company to Slash Hospital Workers' Pay



SEIU-UHW's Dave Regan
SEIU-UHW's Dave Regan has been caught red-handed after secretly signing a deal to slash the pay and benefits of 2,700 of the union's members in California.

That's not all.

Proof of the backroom deal is printed in black-and-white in documents submitted to the California Attorney General, which Tasty has posted below!  

Here's what happened:

In California, a chain of six hospitals called the “Daughters of Charity Health System” is up for sale.

One of the companies trying to buy the chain is Blue Wolf Capital Partners, a private-equity firm based in New York City that has personal connections to SEIU-UHW officials.

Not surprisingly, SEIU-UHW is aggressively backing Blue Wolf's bid to buy the hospital chain.

In September, Blue Wolf’s executives presented their final bid to the Daughters of Charity’s Board of Directors… and announced they'd gotten a signed commitment from SEIU-UHW’s Dave Regan to slash workers’ pay and benefits by 15%.
 
Workers, of course, know nothing about the deal.

A second union -- the United Nurses Association of California (UNAC) -- also signed the backroom deal. UNAC is a "partnership union" that represents RNs at Daughters of Charity and Kaiser Permanente in Southern California.

So how bad are the cuts specified in the secret deal?

According to Blue Wolf, Regan's cuts would reduce workers' current annual $700 million in pay and benefits by 15%.

Here’s an excerpt from a presentation that Blue Wolf made to SEIU-UHW’s Dave Regan and UNAC officials back in June of 2014. Check out the title on the first page: “SEIU/UNAC Briefing Materials – Collective Bargaining.” The following page details hundreds of millions of dollars of cuts to workers' health benefits, retirement, staffing levels, paid time-off, and premium pay. It starts this way:
A critical part of the operational turn-around includes reducing the current $700 million cost of labor and benefits by 15%.

Ron Bloom, Lazard Freres

In September, when Blue Wolf presented this jaw-dropping news to the Daughters of Charity, the hospital chain's Board of Directors were so taken aback they questioned Blue Wolf's ability to actually carry out the massive cuts.

Nine days later, Ron Bloom -- a former Obama Administration official and a Vice Chairman at Lazard Freres, the investment banking firm that's representing Blue Wolf -- wrote a letter to the Daughters of Charity saying the following: (The full letter is available on the Attorney General's website at this link):

You expressed a concern regarding the likelihood of ratification of collective bargaining agreements along the lines we have discussed. We believe that the materials submitted with our bid reflects the strong support of the leadership of UNAC and the SEIU for our proposal and we are completely confident that upon your acceptance of our offer we will be able to obtain ratification of new collective bargaining agreements. These agreements would be effective at closing and would allow us to realize the labor cost savings for employees represented by these two unions of the magnitude we have prior discussed. We have provided you with letters from the Presidents of those two organizations confirming our belief.
How confident is Blue Wolf it’ll slash and burn workers' pay and benefits if it wins the bidding process?
Adam Blumenthal, Blue Wolf Man

"Completely Confident."

And what about Regan's letter?

Fortunately, Tasty found a copy of it on the Attorney General's website. 

In his letter to Adam Blumenthal (Managing Partner of Blue Wolf), Regan writes the following (see the full letter below):
On behalf of the SEIU and all bargaining unit members we represent at the DOCHS facility, we are pleased to have successfully completed labor contract negotiations with Blue Wolf Capital Partners LLC and its related entities, to create a new collective bargaining agreement… The Union hereby agrees, to the extent that the New CBA is regarded as a modification of the existing CBA, to all such modifications. Further the Union pledges that it will promptly take all necessary, reasonable, and legal steps to secure approval, ratification, acceptance of the New CBA. We commit that all such approvals will take place in advance of "Final Approval."
How dirty can you possibly get? Remember, Regan did all of this behind the backs of SEIU-UHW’s rank-and-file members. (Who actually pay his f*ckin' salary.)

Regan says he'll take "all necessary steps… to secure approval, ratification, acceptance of the New CBA.”  

Hmm... what does that mean?

Unfortunately, Daughters of Charity workers are all too familiar with Regan's top-down, undemocratic, and authoritarian tactics. In 2012, Regan used an unconstitutional ramrod "ratification vote" to force massive cuts down the throats of Daughters workers… including the elimination of their defined-benefit pension plan. 

In one particularly memorable episode, Regan reached a settlement with company officials at 9:35 PM on a Saturday night and then held a membership ratification vote just nine hours later at 7:00 AM the following morning (a Sunday).

Later, when workers formally challenged the unconstitutional vote, SEIU President Mary Kay Henry simply turned her back on the workers.


So, Dave, whatta you got to say?