SEIU-UHW is putting on a classic performance during contract-ratification votes at Kaiser Permanente facilities across California, say workers.
In typical Regan style, the union's staffers are refusing to give copies of the tentative agreements to union members. Meanwhile, SEIU-UHW is pressuring workers to give more money to SEIU-UHW by using a deceptive "rap" that's detailed in a leaked internal memo (see below).
What's actually contained in the tentative agreement that workers are now voting on?
It's a mystery… even to the union's own membership.
That's because SEIU-UHW staffers refuse to provide copies of the tentative agreement (“TA”) to the membership.
"How are we supposed to know how to vote when we don't even have a chance to read the TAs and talk about them to our co-workers?," says one worker.
At a second facility, a reader describes what happened during the vote at his hospital. SEIU-UHW staffers kept a single tightly-guarded copy of the TAs inside a staffer's bag and only reluctantly pulled it out (momentarily) after he asked to see it. Here's what he says:
They are keeping that TA tight to the chest. Our site had their vote. I got to see it under close watch, almost as if the folks conducting the vote didn't even like the fact I wanted to read it. Before the vote I ask for a copy of the TA either online or PDF and was denied.
There was only one copy to review at the vote. On the front page at the top it said "Do not remove from voting site." I read the retiree medical changes and tried to talk about it she grabbed the TA from my hands. I had to remind her twice I wasn't done with the TA. And initially when the Rep handed it to me he gestured as if he wanted me to sit close to him with a pointing of his finger. as soon as I was done with it he tucked real quick into his bag.
They did not offer it out to be reviewed in any open statement to us the members of SEIU-UHW but instead handed out a pre-constructed summary with vague information and high lighted the wage increases like we haven't seen 3% raises before.
Why is SEIU-UHW’s Dave Regan being so secretive if the contract has "no takeaways"? Good question.
But even as SEIU-UHW withholds vital contract information from its membership, it's nonetheless calling on workers to open up their wallets for Dave and the Gang.
According to a leaked internal memo, SEIU-UHW has instructed its "Political Staff" to sign up "5,500 new Kaiser COPE contributors or upgrades" during the Kaiser contract-ratification votes.
Why so many?
Sources say SEIU-UHW’s COPE fund will take a hit when the union's 65,000 long-term care workers -- who've historically contributed 60% of SEIU-UHW's COPE dollars -- soon depart for Mary Kay Henry’s SEIU Local 2015. Furthermore, Regan needs even more money than ever to pay for his deal with the California Hospital Association.
That's why Regan is trying to convince Kaiser workers -- who recently were hit by Regan's dues increase -- to dole out even more money to SEIU-UHW.
In an effort to accomplish this task, Regan instructed his staffers to use a deceptive "rap" that spins a tale of Kaiser's "turbulent times" rather than the truth about the company's unprecedented profits of $15.5 billion since 2009. The giant HMO reported of $1 billion in profits during just the first 90 days of 2015. Kaiser and its gold-plated executives are hardly a charity case needing handouts from workers.
Here's an excerpt from Regan's "rap" (the full memo and "rap" are below):
Because of low reimbursement rates Kaiser loses 40 cents on every dollar they spend providing care for patients covered by Medi-Cal.
We know that Kaiser is looking for ways to make up for those losses. Do you think that we can keep Kaiser from making cuts to our healthcare and retirement in every contract that we bargain until you get to retirement? [Wait for answer]
Our work to fully fund Medi-Cal is political work! The only way to protect what we have one in our great Kaiser contract is by engaging in politics.
That's why members give to a separate political fund -- COPE. That's why I give to COPE.
We are asking everyone to invest in our political fund so that we can continue to protect our good jobs, but more importantly to get us to retirement with our benefits intact.
People are building our COPE fund by giving $25 a month…
Here’s the full memo: