Here we go again.
Just several months after filing five statewide ballot initiatives to rein in massive executive salaries and “reform” the healthcare industry, SEIU Local 49 announced last week that it’s withdrawing the initiatives from the November ballot.
According to a press release issued by Oregon's governor, SEIU and five hospital companies have agreed to “come together in a series of conversations aimed at exploring partnerships that can improve our health care system… As a result of this agreement, SEIU will not pursue its five health care related ballot measures in 2014.”
So what did SEIU get from its fake ballot initiatives?
Five hospital companies agreed to sit down and talk to SEIU. Not a huge victory… considering that SEIU appears to already have collective-bargaining relationships with all five of the companies: Kaiser Permanente, Legacy Health, PeaceHealth, Providence Health and Services, and Oregon Health & Science University.
How are Local 49’s members responding to the announcement?
Apparently, they were totally taken by surprise when Local 49’s president, Meg Niemi, pulled the plug on the initiatives. Just last week, SEIU staffers asked rank-and-file leaders to go "all in" to publicly support the ballot initiatives, according to sources inside Local 49.
When workers asked if the union was gonna pull the initiatives just like Dave Regan did in California, the union officials said, "No way." And when workers pressed the issue even further, the union officials assured them that SEIU would make no secret deals.
Tasty bets the rank-and-file members will be even more upset when they learn how much dues money Niemi spent on gathering signatures for her fake initiatives. In 2012, SEIU-UHW’s Dave Regan spent approximately $5.5 million on paid signature gatherers before pulling the plug on virtually the same initiatives in California.
Tweedle dee. Tweedle dumb.
And there are other costs. SEIU has undoubtedly burnt some turf with politicians and the public after pumping up SEIU’s plan to “reform” the healthcare industry.
After all, Niemi announced her initiatives with lots of fireworks and fanfare, saying they were a key part of SEIU’s new “Act Now for a Healthy Oregon" campaign. She promised the initiatives would rein in exorbitant executive salaries, reduce costs for consumers, increase transparency on the healthcare industry, and improve quality for patients.
Unless, of course... Queen Meg decided to toss the "public interest" into the garbage can in exchange for a date to share coffee and pastries with the fatcat execs whose salaries she had criticized.
Here’s more press on SEIU’s healthcare flip-flop:
The Oregonian, “SEIU withdraws health care ballot measures, part of deal with hospitals, John Kitzhaber”
Becker’s Hospital Review, “5 Oregon Health Systems, SEIU to Hash Out Differences With Governor”
Portland Business Journal, “SEIU withdraws ballot measures on hospital exec pay”