How badly is SEIU-UHW’s Dave Regan trying to sell out workers in his secret deal with the California Hospital Association (CHA)?
Tasty already posted details about pre-negotiated contracts, gag clauses, and bans on strikes... which will handcuff tens of thousands of workers if Regan is successful. Additional details are hidden from public view because Regan refuses to disclose a copy of the secret agreement.
However… an earlier episode offers evidence of just how much Regan is willing to give away to hospital CEOs so he can wrap his hands around millions of dollars of union dues from workers.
In 2008, Regan inked an infamous back-room deal with Catholic Healthcare Partners, a $6 billion hospital chain in Ohio. At the time, Regan was president of SEIU 1199 Ohio.
How bad was the deal?
Here's a hint.
The Boss -- not the workers -- asked the NLRB to conduct union elections for 8,000 workers! And get this: the Boss asked for only one union to be on the ballot: SEIU!
Normally, the NLRB requires at least 30% of the workers at a hospital to sign a petition for a specific union in order to trigger an NLRB election.
But at Catholic Healthcare Partners, not a single worker signed a petition.
Why would a CEO actually request a union election?
Because Regan had already agreed to handcuff the workers into terrible contracts that wouldn't cost the Boss an extra penny… and would prevent more aggressive unions from representing the Boss’s workers.
How did SEIU and Catholic Healthcare Partners pull off this crazy maneuver?
Apparently, SEIU’s lawyers dug up a little-known section of federal labor law that allows Bosses to file Boss-initiated unionization elections, called “RM” petitions in NLRB lingo.
Here's how a 2008 article in “Monthly Review" describes what happened in Ohio:
In late February, Catholic Healthcare Partners (CHP) filed petitions for Board elections to be held in all bargaining units at nine of its Ohio hospitals… The employer-initiated RM does not require any proof of union membership or election interest. Although some 8,000 healthcare workers were affected by the RM petition, none were involved in calling for the elections. However, accompanying the employer's petitions was a consent agreement drawn up by CHP and a union -- the SEIU. All the elections, it was agreed, will be held within a few weeks, on two selected days, March 12 and 14, a Wednesday and a Friday. The company and union would jointly mail out an election packet and provide a hot line phone number… The Board, in a remarkable display of speed, accepted the consent agreement, closed the ballot, and found enough Board agents to run some 40 to 50 separate elections, all in the matter of a few days.
The article goes on to describe how 60 years ago, conservative unions conspired with General Electric and Westinghouse to use “RM” petitions to oust militant unions and replace them with partnership-style unions acceptable to the Boss.
Here’s a link to the full article.