It turns out that Dave Regan's "audacious new proposal to save the labor movement" will now secure him a spot in a California jail.
Here's what's happening.
Last year, Regan deliberately withheld several consumer-friendly ballot initiatives from California voters as part of his secret, sell-out deal with the California Hospital Association.
Soon thereafter, Regan -- who’s totally allergic to the idea of actually organizing workers -- declared that his two-part strategy of (1) dishonest ballot initiatives and (2) sell-out deals with corporations is actually a masterful new plan to “save” the U.S. labor movement.
In May of 2014, Regan jetted to Washington, DC and proposed that the Purple Palace replicate his strategy across the entire US.
The following month, Regan laid out his genius strategy in a piece called "Live Better Together” and convinced journalist Josh Israel to pen a puff piece entitled, "The Audacious New Proposal to Save the Labor Movement." According to Israel, Regan is planning to take his "audacious" ballot initiative strategy to a national level… and will remake the labor movement!
Except it won't.
In fact, it’ll now land Regan a ticket to the Big House in California.
It turns out that Regan's bait-and-switch ballot initiative maneuver generated an angry public backlash in California. It's not hard to understand why. After all, people don't usually like to get lied to… and that's exactly what Regan did.
In early 2014, Regan and SEIU-UHW staffers traversed California and asked legislators, community organizations, and hundreds of thousands of voters to sign on to consumer-friendly ballot initiatives that would have capped executives’ fatcat salaries and reduced patients’ hospital bills. Under state law, the public can qualify proposed new laws for the statewide ballot by collecting a sufficient number of signatures from voters.
However… just before the deadline for filing voters' signatures with state election officials, Regan decided to toss the signatures in the trash in exchange for his own secret deal with hospital bosses. It turns out that voters' signatures were simply a bargaining chip that Regan used during his private negotiations with hospital bosses.
"Sorry about that, José Q. Public and Leslie P. Legislator. We decided to use your signatures like so many poker chips at the casino table. We ditched you like a basket of hot potatoes. But yo, stay tuned, we’re gonna ask you to sign other fake ballot initiatives so we can use you again. How many times can we play you? Let's see. We're SEIU!”
Strangely enough, it turns out that the public ain’t so keen on being used by Diamond Dave and his purple gang.
Multiple California newspapers -- including the Los Angeles Times, San Jose Mercury News, Orange County Register, and San Diego Union Tribune -- published editorials against SEIU-UHW with titles like “SEIU Is Abusing Ballot System."
In August, California state legislators overwhelmingly passed Senate Bill 1253, which was signed by the governor in September. The new legislation, authored by the most powerful Democrat in the California Senate, criminalizes Regan's bait-and-switch ballot initiative maneuver. According to the State of California:
This bill makes it a crime for a proponent of a statewide initiative measure to seek, solicit, bargain for, or obtain any money or thing of value of or from any person, firm, or corporation for the purpose of withdrawing an initiative petition after filing it with the appropriate elections official.
What will happen to Regan if he violates the new law?
A $5,000 fine or imprisonment for up to three years… or both.
Way to go, Dave!
There's nothing quite like burning turf with California voters, legislators, community organizations, newspapers… and then having the state legislature turn your genius strategy into a criminal act. You're the man! A f*cking Einstein!
Btw, stay tuned to see what happens to Meg Niemi, an acolyte of Diamond Dave's, who’s attempting to use the same dishonest bait-and-switch ballot initiative strategy in Oregon.
Will SEIU's latest experience prompt it to finally build democratic, worker-run unions?
Little chance of that. Keep your eye out for SEIU's next half-baked shortcut scheme to "rebuild the labor movement."