This week, SEIU’s International Executive Board (IEB) is meeting in sunny Puerto Rico where they plan to decide the fate of more than 200,000 California home care and nursing home workers.
According to a January 17th email penned by Greg Pullman ("Chief of Staff" for SEIU-UHW’s Dave Regan), the IEB is deciding whether or not to merge California's homecare, nursing home, and hospital workers into a giant mega-local that presumably will be controlled by Regan.
Here's what the e-mail says (see complete copy below):
As many of you are aware, there has been a long standing debate in SEIU over whether homecare and nursing home workers are members of the healthcare delivery team and are stronger united with all healthcare workers or if they are better off separated out into a long term care only local union. That question is again being taken up by the SEIU International Executive Board in Puerto Rico next week. We expect a spirited debate. This is a question that has significant consequences for our members and many of us have strong feelings about it. We hope that there will be a healthy process to debate and decide on this matter. We will be holding a staff meeting on Monday, January 26 at 10am to report back on the discussion. In the meantime, please stay focused on the important work we are doing. No change will be occurring immediately and there will be ample time to discuss this and address the obvious number of questions and concerns it raises. Thank you for your continued focus on improving the lives of healthcare workers in California.
Regan has been gunning to merge SEIU Local 6434’s members into his union for some time, thereby sparking a war with Local 6434’s president LaPhonza Butler, who also serves as the President of the SEIU California State Council.
A pro-merger decision from Puerto Rico would showcase the apparently limitless capacity of SEIU’s top officials to simply “make sh*t up” to suit their political whims.
Back in 2008, SEIU’s IEB took exactly the opposite position.
The IEB hired a former UAW attorney named Leonard Page (a personal friend of SEIU General Counsel Judy Scott) to conduct “impartial” hearings about the future of California's healthcare workers. At the end of Page’s kangaroo court, the IEB issued a decree ordering hospital and long-term care workers to be segregated into separate SEIU locals.
SEIU officials claimed the decision would ‘make workers stronger.’ The real reason behind the decision, of course, was purely political: to strip 60,000 workers from Sal Rosselli’s local because its leaders had rightfully criticized secret backroom deals orchestrated by Andy Stern, Mary Kay Henry and Co. that sold out rank-and-file workers and undermined worker democracy.
In January of 2009, Stern and Co. used Page’s report as the rationale for imposing an “emergency" trusteeship on Rosselli’s local.
After the trusteeship, the IEB never implemented the transfer of the 60,000 workers… which apparently wasn't such a big “emergency.” In fact, it's been six long years, and the IEB has still not implemented their decision.
Which brings us back to this week's seaside confab in San Juan…
It promises to offer quite a spectacle to observers. IEB members may be masters of contradiction, but this sort of flip-flopping will require them to twist themselves into mind-bending pretzels.
And Regan will end up as the most contorted pretzel of them all.
In 2008, he served on the IEB and voted in favor of segregating California’s hospital and long-term care workers into separate locals. In fact, he was one of the main proponents and conspired with Tyrone Freeman to coordinate the pro-separation campaign.
Today, Regan is absolutely opposed to… uhh… what he voted for then. Has the flip-flopping politician so famously said: "I voted for it before I voted against it."
At least Regan gets a vote. That's a lot more than can be said for the 200,000 rank-and-file workers who’ll be affected by the decision.
P.S. Tasty will share more details about that Regan's after-hours meeting with Tyrone… which happened to involve cigars!