Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Rebellion inside the Regan Regime

It looks like things are spiraling downwards at SEIU-UHW. Last month, more than 40 members of SEIU-UHW’s Executive Board demanded a meeting with Dave Regan to address a deepening crisis at the union... including the lack of democracy, the failure to represent union members (or even return their phone calls), SEIU's loyalty oaths, disrespect towards members (including by SEIU's Joe Simoes), the deepening crisis in SEIU-UHW's Kaiser Division, etc.

A source gave Tasty a copy of the materials, including this email from Alisha Blinks (an Executive Board member) to other board members. (FYI- the bold and underlined text is exactly how it appeared in the original email.)
From: Alisha Blinks
Subject: Meeting with Dave Agenda
Date: Monday, December 12, 2011, 4:01 AM

Good Evening Everyone;
Below you will find the agenda for Tuesday's meeting with Dave.  We will be meeting first at the UHW office among ourselves from 7-730PM and then with Dave.  These membership specific issues should cover the North and South.  Just remember this is only the beginning of the talks to get our union back on track.  I will keep notes to report out to the South.  There will be NO AGREEMENTS MADE WITH THIS REGIME UNTIL WE ARE ALL TOGETHER AS ONE BODY!  


Day: Tuesday December 13 2011
Time: 7:00PM (7-730PM will be a quick briefing)
Place: UHW Office
          560 Thomas L Berkeley Way
          Oakland CA
Blinks's email also contains a two-page memo -- entitled “Crux of Complaint” -- that paints a dire picture of life under the "Regan regime." (A complete copy of the memo is here). Here's what it says:
The Kaiser Division is in crisis and below is the reasons why we cannot function with these problems any longer.  Deadlines aren’t being kept, staff is not showing up to appointments and the support for the leaders at the facilities from staff is absent from this equation. The usage of the Steward Councils to promote organizing campaigns, pushing of agendas not ratified, constant aggravation to the members requesting their loyalty; where is the Kaiser Division’s loyalty to us?  No trainings, no regional input, no report outs but only consistent training of how to organize, agitate a member or give a CRE. Members want protection, security and fairness from their employer and their union. The priorities of this leadership and the governing body are on opposite ends and it is our responsibility to correct this as a whole and it first starts with listening on the leaderships part…  

The Kaiser Division Director [Joe Simoes] and Sr. Staff members are making inappropriate comments to rank and file leaders, along with mischievous behavior that's inexcusable.  This leadership continues to act divisive and pitting members against one another.  It is disrespectful, disheartening and will no longer be tolerated.  The democracy this union scarcely holds onto is beginning to rapidly diminish.  Instead of forming a cohesive working relationship which can benefit us all we are constantly apologizing to our members for failed processes.  Moreover, calls from staff aren’t being returned, emails not responded to and it has reached the point where members and leaders are just being ignored. Our house is not in order…

This membership body has been patient, transparent and forthright in wanting to partner, however this behavior has not been reciprocated by the current leadership. This sixty plus year union is the way it is because of the knowledge of our leaders, the protection of our members and unity we share.  We are tired of being in a race to the BOTTOM!
The memo also includes an agenda for the board members' meeting with Regan that includes these complaints (b/t/w, "KDSC" refers to the Kaiser Division Steward Council):
  • Violation of the Constitution/KDSC By-Laws and Policies
  • Flawed Communication
  • Staff Absenteeism in Kaiser
  • Failure to Adhere to the Constitution and Bylaws
  • Failure to Respect Member Ratifications
Wow... The documents are quite a stunning indictment of Dave Regan... especially because they're authored by insiders who've been longtime loyal supporters of Regan/SEIU. For example, the group includes people like John Duff, Tinesha Thomas, Shirley Shirlee, Donna Norton, Darnita Garry, Linda Corkill, Diane Barton, Tonya Salcido, Tamika Harris, Treasell Sanders, Jennie Edney, China Newton, etc. And the fact that so many of the union's board members are in open revolt against Regan underscores the seriousness of the problems gripping the union.

So what sorts of "agreements" are the former loyalists trying to extract from the "Regan regime?" And what maneuvers will Regan try to use to either buy off or marginalize his critics? Put on your body armor!