Wednesday, September 19, 2018

SEIU’s Andy Stern Joins Billionaires, Not Union Members, in Election Campaign


SEIU's Andy Stern
SEIU President Emeritus Andy Stern has once again shown his true colors.

In an upcoming election for a seat in California’s legislature, Stern has jumped in on the side of billionaires to back a corporate Democrat who’s challenging a union member supported by progressive organizations, multiple local unions, Bernie Sanders’ Our Revolution, the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) and California-based unions inside SEIU.

The November election pits Jovanka Beckles -- a Teamster, two-term Richmond city councilmember and DSA member -- against Buffy Wicks, a former White House official and Clinton Super PAC director who recently relocated to California and has never held elected office.

According to records from the California Secretary of State, Stern has made two contributions to Wicks this year. When contributing the funds, Stern identified himself as a “consultant” for Grandview, LLC, a corporation founded by Stern soon after he resigned as President of SEIU in April 2010. (See below.)

Incorporation documents confirm Stern’s role in the company (see below). Stern may use the corporation as a vehicle for his consulting gigs with tech companies like Uber and AirBnB. Stern’s company is registered to a Washington, DC apartment -- presumably Stern’s -- which appears to have a “grand view” of the Potomac River.
Jovanka Beckles (left) and Buffy Wicks (right)

The race for the California legislative seat has features similar to recent electoral contests in the US including the one between Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Joe Crowley.

During this spring’s primary election, Wicks received $1.2 million from “wealthy donors tied to Lyft, Uber, and Bay Area tech firms, charter school interests, major landlords, a health care industry PAC, and Govern for California, a business-oriented Super PAC created by the board chair of Walmart and a former top advisor to Republican Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger,” according to an article authored by labor journalist Steve Early. (Steve Early, “Teamster Tackles Corporate Democrat in California Assembly Race,” Labor Notes, August 31, 2018)

The "grand view" of the Potomac from the DC apartment
If you’re curious about Wicks’ donors, check out this interesting website -- buffywicks.money -- which offers details about Wicks’ donors including billionaires Ron Conway and Reid Hoffman.

“In contrast,” says Early, “Beckles raised and spent only about $160,000, mostly in smaller, in-state donations. She ran as a “people-powered” candidate, free of corporate money and relied on few paid staffers or outside consultants.” Beckles supports “workers’ and tenants’ rights, single payer health care, and getting big money out of politics,” says Early.

Here's an interview with Beckles in Jacobin Magazine: "We Need a New Economy That Works for the Many” 

Early writes:
Ex-SEIU President Andy Stern is an individual endorser of Wicks—despite the fact that two major SEIU locals and their state council favor Beckles. Since leaving the union, Stern has become a corporate board member and gig economy consultant… In the Assembly District 15 race today, California single-payer advocates favor Beckles over Wicks, whose position on health care reform is much weaker.
If Beckles’ consistent solidarity with local labor causes is reciprocated through sufficient union voter turnout and spending on her behalf, she may indeed be joining the Assembly in January.
And there, she will be a rare “corporate-free” voice for many other working class and poor Californians whose interests tend to be overlooked by state legislators who do take money from business PACs and industry associations.


Beckles is backed by multiple unions including the National Union of Healthcare Workers, Transit (ATU) Local 192, University Professional and Technical Employees (CWA), Teamsters Joint Council 7, SEIU Local 1021, the Alameda and Contra Costa County Labor Councils, the California Labor Federation, both statewide teachers’ unions, AFSCME, and the California Nurses Association.






Friday, September 7, 2018

Press: “Sexual Misconduct Lawsuit Filed against SEIU Prez’s Top Ally”



SEIU-UHW’s Dave Regan is getting more attention in the news… this time for allegations that he and other top SEIU-UHW officials engaged in harassment against women inside the union.

On August 21, Payday Report published an article detailing the latest developments in a lawsuit filed by Mindy Sturge against SEIU-UHW and Marcus Hatcher. Sturge first filed the lawsuit in May, but filed an updated and amended suit in July in Alameda County (Calif.) Superior Court. (Mike Elk, “Sexual Misconduct Lawsuit Filed Against SEIU Prez’s Top Ally,” Payday Report, August and 21, 2018)

Until recently, Hatcher directed SEIU-UHW’s Kaiser Division and served on the union’s Executive Board and Executive Committee. He was one of Regan’s top allies. Sturge, a “Coordinator” in SEIU-UHW’s Kaiser Division, was directly supervised by Hatcher.

Here’s an excerpt from the article. A full copy of the revised lawsuit is below.
Payday Report has learned that one of the largest Service Employees International Union locals in the country, California-based SEIU-UHW, has been sued in Alameda, California for sexual misconduct and assault committed by a top SEIU official against one of its former organizers. The lawsuits, obtained by Payday Report, accuses SEIU Vice President Dave Regan, who also serves as President of SEIU-UHW, of engaging in sexual misconduct…
SEIU-UHW has long faced criticism as one of the most corrupt and undemocratic union locals in the country; leading many #metoo activists to believe that the undemocratic culture within the union has bred a culture where misogyny and sexual misconduct flourish…
Now a lawsuit filed by a former SEIU staffer, Mindy Sturge, accuses SEIU-UHW President Dave Regan and former SEIU-UHW Kaiser Permanente Division Director Marcus Hatcher, of sexual misconduct and retaliation against Sturge for reporting it.
The lawsuit filed by Sturge also accuses SEIU-UHW of knowingly hiring organizers such as [Pedro] Malave who have been accused of sexual misconduct in other parts of the union.
According to the lawsuit: “Sturge and other women employees, and women union members were the subjects of inappropriate remarks that addressed their looks, their bodies, and their availability/interest in relationships. Sturge was also subjected to offensive touching, and she and others were discussed in inappropriate texts and in comments heard by or related to Sturge”.
Sturge reported the comments to SEIU-UHW management on several occasions, but no investigation was undertaken until Sturge was physically and sexually assaulted by Hatcher in September of 2017.
When Sturge finally did report the incidents, the lawsuit alleges that Regan, who was responsible for investigating all claims as President of the SEIU-UHW, verbally abused and berated Sturge in front of other staff members.
In November of 2017, Hatcher was reportedly fired from SEIU-UHW for violating SEIU’s non-fraternization policy, but the union took no disciplinary action against him for engaging in alleged sexual misconduct and assault. Nor was an action taken against SEIU UHW President Dave Regan for harassment of Sturge.
During this time period, the lawsuit alleges that Hatcher and his allies made social media posts and verbal comments accusing Sturge of lying about the story and trying to shake down Hatcher and the union for money after engaging in a consensual sexual relationship with Hatcher.
The lawsuit alleges that that “SEIU-UHW and its agents furthered the false and defamatory narrative about Sturge by announcing to others, both internally and externally, that Hatcher was fired for violation of the union’s non-fraternization policy as opposed to Hatcher having violated SEIU-UHW’s anti-harassment policy and/or having assaulted Sturge. This gave rise to the implication that Sturge and Hatcher had a consensual relationship or that his termination was the sole result of his consensual relationship(s) with other union staff and/or members”.

The lawsuit alleges that Hatcher and/or other SEIU-UHW staffers waged a campaign on Facebook and other social media designed to trash Sturge’s reputation and to lie about what happened. Here’s an excerpt from the lawsuit:
Among other things, these posts claim that Sturge had lied about the sexual assault by Hatcher, that she had “a consensual affair” with Hatcher, that she had ruined Hatcher’s life and career, that she is a “liar and manipulator,” that she is “a cheat and a home wrecker,” that she traveled to Los Angeles to further her alleged consensual affair with Hatcher, that she would go “bar-hopping” with Hatcher, and that she had reported Hatcher’s conduct to SEIU-UHW solely for the purpose of obtaining a monetary settlement…

According to the lawsuit, all of these statements are false and originated from Hatcher and/or other SEIU-UHW staffers. The latest version of the lawsuit says that when some of these Facebook post attacking Sturge were shown to Greg Pullman (SEIU-UHW’s Chief of Staff), he called the posts “disgusting.”

If the lawsuit proceeds to trial, says Payday Report, it could produce “volumes of evidence” that could shine a light on why top SEIU officials like Regan “were allowed to get away with sexual misconduct and retaliation against those who reported it.”




Thursday, August 30, 2018

Ten Years Later...



This month marks the tenth anniversary of some of the headline-grabbing events that led up to SEIU's disastrous trusteeship of SEIU-UHW.

Ten years ago, SEIU-UHW -- then led by president Sal Rosselli -- was one of the most successful healthcare unions in the nation. Labor journalist Steve Early called SEIU’s takeover of SEIU-UHW “the mother of all trusteeships.” Unfortunately, it gave birth to a Frankenstein-like child headed by Dave Regan, who quickly drove the once-powerful union into the ground.

So what happened ten years ago?

During August 2008, a reporter named Paul Pringle published eight articles in the Los Angeles Times detailing a massive corruption scandal perpetrated by Tyrone Freeman, one of Andy Stern’s closest allies.

Freeman’s corruption was stunning. It ranged from union-funded jaunts to Hawaii with his personal assistant, $175 glasses of cognac and cigars at an exclusive cigar club frequented by Los Angeles movie stars, no-show jobs for relatives, and kickbacks from corporations in exchange for deals that sold out low-wage healthcare workers.

During the months leading up to August 2008, Freeman had served as Andy Stern’s attack dog in Stern’s campaign to “implode” SEIU-UHW. A boatload of Stern’s staffers also worked on the campaign, such as Stephen Lerner, Dave Regan, Bill Ragen, Tom DeBruin, Josie Mooney, Debbie Schneider, Steve Trossman and Denise Poloyac.
Andy Stern

Earlier in the summer of 2008, Freeman was riding high after Stern initiated a maneuver to transfer 65,000 union members out of Rosselli’s SEIU-UHW and put them in Freeman’s union… without a democratic vote by the workers. 

Following the transfer, Freeman would have led one of SEIU’s largest local unions… and he then would have delivered all of his union’s votes to Stern at SEIU’s conventions where Stern sought reelection as the international union’s president.

But in August 2008, the curtains were finally pulled back on Freeman’s years-long corruption scandal and he plummeted to earth like a flaming meteor.

Stern, angry at the loss of his loyal ally, announced on August 25, 2008 that SEIU was launching trusteeship hearings against Rosselli’s union. During the preceding years, SEIU-UHW’s members had caught Stern and his DC-based staffers making backroom deals with healthcare corporations that sold out workers and patients, and violated democratic principles.

In 2010, Stern resigned as the President of SEIU after launching yet another disastrous attack, this time against UNITE HERE. Freeman, in turn, ended up in federal prison. "May God have mercy on me," said Freeman at the time of his sentencing. "I am accountable for these bad decisions."

Meanwhile, Rosselli and his crew of rank-and-file leaders launched the National Union of Healthcare Workers (NUHW) as a militant, member-led, democratic alternative to SEIU.

Ten years later, this history stands sharper in our collective memory.

Here’s a link to the series of articles in the Los Angeles Times from August 2008.


Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Newspaper: Calif. Legislator Filed Complaint against Dave Regan over Barroom Clash



The largest newspaper in California’s capital city has published an article confirming Tasty’s report about a barroom confrontation involving SEIU-UHW President Dave Regan that reportedly injured California Assemblymember Richard Bloom.

Last night -- just ten hours after Tasty posted an account of the incident -- the Sacramento Bee published an article confirming the report and offering new details. (Alexei Koseff, “A union president shoved him at a Sacramento fundraiser, lawmaker reports,” Sacramento Bee, August 21, 2016)

Here are some excerpts:
A California lawmaker reported to the Legislature earlier this month that he was shoved by a health care union president at a downtown Sacramento restaurant.
The confrontation between Assemblyman Richard Bloom, D-Santa Monica, and Dave Regan, president of SEIU-United Healthcare Workers West, occurred on Aug. 8 at Lucca Restaurant and Bar, where the two were attending separate events for the California Legislative Jewish Caucus and California Forward.
Bloom’s office declined to discuss the incident but confirmed that Bloom reported it to the Assembly Rules Committee.

According to the Bee, Regan began arguing with Andrew Crutchfield, director of the political advocacy group Govern for California, who was attending the event organized by the California Legislative Jewish Caucus.
A few people from both parties came over to break up the dispute. Bloom got between Regan and Crutchfield, Sen. Ben Allen said, and that’s when Regan pushed him out of the way…
“From the short period of time that I witnessed the altercation, Mr. Regan appeared belligerent,” Allen said.
[SEIU-UHW staffer Steve] Trossman said Regan “maybe had a glass of wine” that night. He was not kicked out of the restaurant, Trossman said...
“I really don’t think alcohol was a factor in this,” Trossman said. “Dave is very passionate about workers…”

Sen. Ben Allen is a Democrat from Santa Monica, Calif. and serves as the Chair of the Senate Education Committee.
Regan's barroom clash was the top item in CALmatters

So, why did Regan -- who reportedly has a history of engaging in alcohol-fueled fights -- get “belligerent” and require lawmakers from both houses of California’s legislature to stop him from getting into a fistfight inside a Sacramento restaurant and bar?

According to Trossman, Regan tried to fight Crutchfield because Crutchfield was “gloating” about the US Supreme Court’s anti-union Janus decision and was criticizing unions.

Now… even if Crutchfield is the biggest rightwing anti-union ideologue in the nation, is it smart or strategic for a union leader to try to punch him during the middle of two political events attended by dozens of California legislators?

In the Sacramento Bee, Trossman tries to argue that Regan was not at fault because he was “provoked” or manipulated by Crutchfield into trying to punch him.

Hmmm, that’s a great message. 

If it’s so damn easy to manipulate Regan into doing stupid sh*t, isn’t Trossman basically saying Dave is a dumbass?

After all, rank-and-file union leaders face provocations at their worksites all the time from aggressive supervisors, anti-union bosses, etc. They manage to keep their cool. Why can’t Dave?

Thirdly, if Dave is gonna do something stupid, he should at least try to hit the guy he’s arguing with… and not an innocent bystander who happens to be a state legislator.

At the end of today, it's obvious that Regan can’t keep his cool. Remember, he’s the one who assaulted a process server who was simply trying to deliver legal papers to his house, according to court documents.

It seems like Regan’s handlers should keep him away from public events. And process servers. And union staff members. After all, who knows when someone will next set Regan off like a fistful of nitroglycerin?

Here’s a link to the full story in the Sacramento Bee:  A union president shoved him at a Sacramento fundraiser, lawmaker reports.”

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Sources: Dave Regan Injured a California Lawmaker during Barroom Fight


SEIU-UHW President Dave Regan sent a California legislator to the hospital after knocking him down during Regan’s allegedly drunken attack on an unidentified patron of Sacramento restaurant and bar, according to sources.
SEIU-UHW's Dave Regan

The legislator, Assemblymember Richard Bloom (D-West Los Angeles), is considering taking legal action against Regan, say sources. He was at the restaurant to attend an event organized by the California Legislative Jewish Caucus when he was inadvertently injured by Regan.

Here’s what happened, say Tasty’s sources:

Earlier this month, Regan attended an event sponsored by “California Forward” at Lucca Restaurant and Bar, just two blocks from the state capitol.

Regan serves on the board of “California Forward,” which describes itself as a “bipartisan leadership council” that articulates “a vision for governance reforms to break the partisan gridlock and fortify fiscal management.” Other board members include Duf Sundheim (the former Chairman of the California Republican Party) and Wade Rose (Vice President of Government Relations at Dignity Health).

During the event, Regan reportedly got drunk and began arguing with an unknown patron. (Apparently, this was Dave’s method of ‘bridging the partisan divide.’) While attempting to punch the patron, Regan instead knocked Assemblymember Bloom to the floor, who was injured and reportedly transported to a local hospital.

Assemblymember Bloom happened to be at the restaurant attending a separate event sponsored by the California Legislative Jewish Caucus. He’s one of 16 legislators who comprise the caucus.

According to Tasty’s sources, California’s capital is now abuzz with reports about Regan’s reportedly drunken attack at Lucca and the injuries sustained by Bloom. 

As readers know, Regan is shadowed by a long trail of allegations, arrests, restraining orders and lawsuits related to physical assault, threats and violence.

In the most recent incident known to Tasty, in 2016 Regan allegedly attacked a process server attempting to deliver legal documents from the California Hospital Association to Regan’s home in Kensington, Calif. The process server later documented Regan’s assault in court records and in photographs of his injuries. He wrote a description of the assault submitted to the court, which reads in part:
"Mr. Regan kept hitting me in the head with his fist… I thought I was going to die."

During a police investigation, Regan attempted to intimidate an investigating police officer, according to CBS News. The incident resulted in a criminal complaint against Regan that was referred to the District Attorney. Ragin’ Dave Regan was also subject to a court-ordered restraining order.

In 2008, Regan led busloads of SEIU staffers and supporters in an attack against a national conference held by "Labor Notes," a network of union activists seeking to democratize and reform US labor unions.
Regan's 2008 assaults on Labor Notes Conference
Regan's troops violently forced their way into the conference in Dearborn, Michigan, where they reportedly punched, kicked and knocked participants to the floor. One female conference attendee was sent to the hospital with injuries to her head and one of the members of Regan's union at the time, SEIU 1199 West Virginia, Kentucky, Ohio, died during Regan's assault from a heart attack.

John Sweeney (then President of the AFL-CIO) denounced Regan's attack on the conference, stating: "There is no justification -- none -- for the violent attack orchestrated by SEIU," according to the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal.

In 2011, Regan was sued for allegedly violating two civil rights laws by carrying out a plan of assault, battery, intimidation, threat and coercion in an effort to silence SEIU-UHW’s critics. Later, Regan reportedly settled the lawsuit out of court.

During a 2009 election among homecare workers in Fresno County, SEIU staffers reportedly threatened immigrant home care workers with deportation unless they voted for SEIU-UHW, according to TV news coverage and video-taped testimonials of workers and SEIU staff.

During NLRB elections at Kaiser Permanente in 2010, SEIU-UHW employed a "World War III" strategy designed to intimidate its members by employing, for example, violent "shout downs" and intimidation tactics against union members.

In one infamous incident inside a hospital cafeteria, SEIU-UHW staffer Tiffany Ford issued death threats against Kaiser employees… for which a Los Angeles Superior Court judge imposed a restraining order against her.

Another SEIU-UHW staffer, Liz Castillo, became a YouTube sensation (90,000 views) for her violent assault in a hospital cafeteria captured on videotape.

SEIU-UHW -- including staffer Angela Hewett -- even threatened and intimidated 80-year-old labor legend Dolores Huerta, who co-founded of the United Farm Workers Union with Cesar Chavez. In one incident, SEIU-UHW representatives shamefully screamed at Ms. Huerta to "go back to the fields."

In 1995, Regan was arrested by police in Ohio for disorderly conduct, according to CBS News.

Regan, in addition to serving as the President of SEIU-UHW, is also a Vice President of SEIU and serves on its DC-based International Executive Board headed by SEIU President Mary Kay Henry.

Here's the 2016 CBS news clip reporting on Regan's assault on a process server at his home.



Wednesday, August 15, 2018

More Bumps in the Road for Dave Regan’s Ballot-Initiative Bonanza



SEIU-UHW’s Dave Regan is facing more problems in his quest to pass at least ten ballot initiatives during 2018.

After first abandoning his effort to place an initiative on Arizona’s November ballot targeting the kidney dialysis industry, Regan then dropped his plans for ballot measures in three California cities “after not gathering enough signatures,” according to the East Bay Times.

The three measures would have targeted Stanford Health Care in the cities of Pleasanton, Emeryville and Redwood City. Regan tried to use the threat of his ballot initiatives to pressure Stanford into signing a special unionization deal. (Angela Ruggeiro, “Livermore sued over city measure for healthcare costs; asks court to rule on legality,” East Bay Times, August 10, 2018)

Earlier this year, the City of Emeryville sued SEIU-UHW alleging that Regan’s ballot initiative is unconstitutional, violates due process rules, and is preempted by state and federal laws.



In a fourth city in the San Francisco Bay Area – Livermore -- Regan successfully gathered enough signatures to qualify his anti-Stanford initiative for the citywide ballot. However, Diamond Dave and his attorneys are now locked in dueling lawsuits with the city.

On August 2, Regan sued the City of Livermore alleging that the ballot language approved by the City Council is biased. The lawsuit was filed in Alameda County Superior Court, according to press accounts and SEIU-UHW’s website.

Meanwhile, the City of Livermore has filed a court petition challenging the constitutionality of Regan’s ballot initiative. The city says healthcare prices are governed by statewide rules and that it would be improper for the city to create its own separate standards. The city attorney “likened the scenario to if Livermore adopted a different vehicle code, just for the city, which would go against state vehicle codes.”
Livermore City Attorney Jason Alcala

As the lawsuits move forward, pin-striped lawyers and pollsters and consultants are chanting “Ka-Ching!” as the price tag on Regan’s 2018 ballot-initiative bonanza soars ever higher.

Why is the City of Livermore against Regan’s ballot initiative?

If approved by voters, the measure would force the city to spend nearly $2 million a year to implement and administer Regan’s initiative, according to experts hired by city officials. Additionally, city officials fear that Regan’s initiative would drive hospitals, clinics and other healthcare providers out of the city.

Late last year, Regan apparently launched his ballot-initiative bonanza with great hopes… despite the failure of his past efforts. In 2018, Regan introduced more ballot initiatives than during the past six years combined.

So far, however, Regan has come up empty-handed... and it’s unlikely he’ll eke out any deals at this stage of the game. Once the initiatives have been put on the ballot, there’s little incentive for the targeted companies to negotiate with Regan because he no longer has the power to remove the initiatives from the ballot.

Regan -- who believes ballot initiatives are some kind of miraculous solution for the profound problems gripping the US labor movement -- has dumped more than $10 million of his members’ funds into initiatives during 2018.

What could workers have done with this money?

And what’ll happen to Diamond Dave if he ends the year without a single unionization deal?

Stay tuned.  

Friday, August 10, 2018

SEIU Shutters Department, Gets Tongue-Lashing from Longtime Director



SEIU’s national leaders are coming under sharp criticism by the former director of SEIU International’s Occupational Health and Safety Program.

Why?

“As of July 1,” according to an article published in an online newsletter about workplace safety and labor issues, “the two-million member union will no longer have a health and safety program as it lays off its last health and safety staffer, Mark Catlin, who has been SEIU’s lone health and safety staffer for many months.”

Here’s what Bill Borwegen, the former director of SEIU’s Occupational Health and Safety Program, said:
‘Healthcare for All’ is a meaningless jingoistic slogan if unions aren’t willing to fund even the most meager of efforts to reduce workplace hazards that lead to preventable injuries, illnesses and deaths.  And with the release of the most recent troubling latest BLS statistics demonstrating how – if anything-- unions need to be redoubling their efforts at this time. Wow. Tragically this is a symptom of what happens when union leadership becomes thoroughly and utterly disengaged from the day to day workplace realities of those they get the privilege to serve.

Sharp language, right? “A union leadership that’s thoroughly and utterly disengaged from the day to day workplace realities of those they get the privilege to serve.”

Why is Borwegen -- who worked at SEIU for 30 years and was a well-known staffer there -- so critical?

It turns out that SEIU’s members work in industries, like health care, with skyhigh injury rates. In fact, injury rates among healthcare workers are higher than in the manufacturing industry. According to OSHA,
More workers are injured in the healthcare and social assistance industry sector than any other. This industry has one of the highest rates of work related injuries and illnesses. In 2010, the healthcare and social assistance industry reported more injury and illness cases than any other private industry sector -- 653,900 cases. That is 152,000 more cases than the next industry sector: manufacturing… Nursing aides, orderlies, and attendants had the highest rates of musculoskeletal disorders of all occupations in 2010.

Musculoskeletal disorders refer, for example, to the back and shoulder injuries that nursing home workers suffer from having to lift and turn bed-bound patients.

OSHA goes on to describe other workplace dangers confronting healthcare workers:
Healthcare workers face a number of serious safety and health hazards. They include bloodborne pathogens and biological hazards, potential chemical and drug exposures, waste anesthetic gas exposures, respiratory hazards, ergonomic hazards from lifting and repetitive tasks, laser hazards, workplace violence, hazards associated with laboratories, and radioactive material and x-ray hazards.

SEIU’s elimination of its Health and Safety Program is even more troubling given the rivers of money that Andy Stern and Mary Kay Henry diverted away from local unions and poured into SEIU’s DC-headquarters over many years.

As part of their effort to centralize control and power in SEIU’s DC headquarters, Stern and Henry pushed through changes that required local SEIU affiliates to send more and more of their dues money to the national headquarters. In one episode, they even passed a measure to divert millions of dollars from SEIU’s national industry strike fund into SEIU International’s annual budget.

With all that money, why are SEIU officials shutting down a program that should be a core job of unions?

Like Borwegen said: it’s because of officials who are thoroughly and utterly disengaged from the day-to-day lives of their members.