On Tuesday, they triumphantly announced that SEIU-UHW and the California Hospital Association (CHA) had reached a “visionary” deal to reshape U.S. labor relations and solve the nation’s healthcare problems. Here’s some of the gushing language from their joint press release:
a breakthrough agreement to form a strategic relationship that will change the face of healthcare in California and serve as new national model for how employers and unions interact.
So what are the details behind this “breakthrough, visionary and transformative” deal?
Well, that’s what Regan and Dauner were supposed to talk about at a press conference they held on Tuesday. However, they refused to disclose any details about the secret deal.
When reporters asked for a copy of the deal, they refused to cough it up. And when reporters asked one question after the next to get some inkling of the basic terms of the deal, Regan and Dauner refused... and instead emitted mealy-mouthed talking points that left reporters frustrated and angry.
It was like a scene from “The Matrix” …with Regan and Dauner trying to dodge reporters’ questions as if their lives depended on it.
Fortunately, Tasty has his own inside sources. They say the deal is basically a do-over of SEIU’s infamous sell-out deals with the nursing home industry.
In SEIU's newly announced deal with CHA, hospital CEOs reportedly agreed to allow Regan to unionize 30,000 California hospital workers, without any employer opposition, in exchange for Regan’s agreement to force the workers into cheap, pre-negotiated “template” contracts with low wages and benefits along with a lengthy ban on strikes.
In addition, Regan agreed to put $20 million of SEIU-UHW members’ dues money into the bosses’ pocket in order to fund political campaigns aimed at winning billions of dollars of additional Medicaid payments for California’s hospitals.
The deal also contains a ‘trigger mechanism’ that will allow SEIU-UHW to organize more of the bosses’ workers… but only if SEIU is successful in delivering the billions of dollars of additional Medicaid revenues for the bosses.
The deal also contains a broad ‘gag clause’ that blocks SEIU and its members from criticizing the hospitals in any way during the 3 1/2 year deal, including in the media, the courts, the legislature and with regulatory watchdog agencies.
The deal has Dave Kieffer’s fingerprints all over it.
Kieffer -- known as “Top-Down” Dave -- was the architect of similar deals between SEIU and the nursing home industry during the past decade (aka, "the nursing home alliance"). In those deals, SEIU infamously committed to team up with nursing home corporations to win “tort reform” designed to dramatically undermine the rights of patients to sue nursing homes that kill or injure them as a result of substandard care.
Kieffer’s earlier deals contained an identical ‘quid pro quo’ that made SEIU’s opportunity to organize workers contingent upon carrying out the industry's legislative dirty work and winning billions of dollars of additional Medicaid revenues for the corporations.
It's a deal with the devil that throws workers and patients under the bus.
So how are observers reacting? Check out this quote from NUHW’s Sal Rosselli in the Los Angeles Times:
"In World War II, being labeled a collaborator was comparable to an act of treason," Sal Rosselli, president of the National Union of Healthcare Workers, said in a statement. "This agreement will undermine the rights of workers and will eliminate the union's watchdog role on behalf of patients.”
Stay tuned for more details as details of the secret deal inevitably leak out. Here's the full statement issued by NUHW on Tuesday.