Friday, January 22, 2016

Source: SEIU-UHW's Dave Regan is on His Way Out

At SEIU-UHW's Executive Board meeting last month, SEIU-UHW President Dave Regan announced he will not run for reelection when his three-year term ends next year, say sources.

Let Tasty be the first to wish Dave a hearty "GTFO." 

So, why is Regan leaving?

Some observers point to his repeated losses and failures, which have certainly taken their toll -- for example, his failed battle with SEIU President Mary Kay Henry, his deepening isolation inside SEIU, his mega-failures in California, etc. 

In the Golden State, Regan has single-handedly led SEIU-UHW through a period in which the union lost half of its membership, destroyed the pensions and workplace standards for tens of thousands of California hospital workers, and flushed an estimated $25-30 million of union members' dues money down the toilet in Regan's failed pursuit of a so-called partnership with the California Hospital Association.

Other sources offer a different explanation for his departure. They say Regan is jumping ship because he's concluded he can’t win reelection next year. Here's what these sources say.

During SEIU-UHW's officer elections in 2011 and 2014, Regan was able to corral little more than 7,000 votes from the union's 140,000 members.

In 2011, Sophia Sims -- a rank-and-file Kaiser worker with few resources -- came within several thousand votes of defeating Regan, who collected only 7,000 votes that year. Not an impressive showing when you consider that Regan massively outspent Sims and also used the union's entire institutional machinery to push his candidacy onto the membership.

The elections were also marred by allegations of vote-rigging by Regan, which were detailed in a complaint to the US Department of Labor and a February 2011 lawsuit filed in Los Angeles Superior Court.
Dave's hand-picked successor? Chokri Bensaid
After the 2011 election, Regan looked for opportunities to knock Sims out of contention in future elections. 

In 2012, he accused her of "gross disloyalty or conduct unbecoming a member" and ordered her to be subjected to an SEIU-UHW show trial. In 2013, Regan's hand-picked kangaroo court found Sims "guilty" and banned her from competing in SEIU-UHW's elections for seven years.

In other words, Regan is vulnerable to internal challenges.

What's more, he’d face an even bigger challenge if he were to run in 2017. 

In the union's 2011 and 2014 elections, Regan relied heavily on SEIU-UHW's homecare workers as his main source of votes. Homecare workers are very isolated from one another (each worker is employed in a separate client's home) and are aggressively targeted for votes by Regan's staff, who serve up heavy doses of misinformation and threats to harvest their votes.

Last June, Mary Kay Henry and the SEIU International Executive Board stripped Regan of his electoral base when they transferred 60,000 SEIU-UHW homecare workers to Laphonza Butler’s SEIU Local 2015.

That means Regan, in 2017, would have to campaign among SEIU-UHW's remaining membership -- hospital workers -- where he faces outright hostility from thousands of workers. Why?

At Dignity Health, Regan gave away 15,000 workers' defined-benefit pension and accepted a wage freeze even though the company was pocketing giant profits… and then he lied to workers about the cuts.

At the Daughters of Charity Health System, Regan has twice used ramrod ratification votes to force massive benefit cuts down the throats of approximately 3,000 workers. In recent months, he agreed to strip hundreds of part-time workers of all their benefits.

So, just how vulnerable is Regan to defeat in the newly changed electoral landscape of SEIU-UHW's shrinking membership?

At Kaiser hospitals alone, Regan's critics turned out 13,000 votes for NUHW in the most recent NLRB decertification election -- nearly double the total number of votes that Regan received in SEIU-UHW's officer elections of 2011 and 2014.

With Diamond Dave headed for retirement next year, who will Regan annoint as his replacement? 

Not Stan Lyles, his current Vice President. 

According to Tasty's sources, Regan told attendees of last month’s Executive Board meeting he’s backing the union's Kaiser Division Director, Chokri Bensaid.  

Bensaid – who works alongside Kaiser’s fatcat executives to sell the "partnership" to workers -- has also built up some level of recognition among Kaiser workers, who’ll now become the largest bloc of voters in the union's officer elections.

As for Regan's departure… good riddance. And GTFO.