Tuesday, March 8, 2016

SEIU-UHW's Dave Regan Takes His Ballot Initiative Bamboozle to Arizona

Dave Regan has begun circulating a copycat ballot initiative in Arizona as part of his latest attempt to pressure the California Hospital Association (CHA) into signing another secret sweetheart deal with SEIU-UHW.

According to internal SEIU-UHW documents, Regan hopes the threat of an Arizona ballot initiative will leverage several large multi-state hospital corporations to convince CHA’s Duane Dauner into inking another deal with Regan in California.

Regan's Arizona initiative -- called the "Hospital Executive Compensation Act" -- would cap hospital executives' pay at $450,000 per year. It’s identical to the initiatives that Regan filed -- and has twice withdrawn -- in California.

According to records from the Arizona Secretary of State (see below), SEIU-UHW staffers Arianna Jimenez and Cass Gualvez filed the initiative on February 12. By July 7, SEIU-UHW must collect more than 150,000 valid signatures in order to qualify the measure for the state's November 2016 ballot.

An internal SEIU-UHW document discusses Regan’s filing of a California measure (the "Hospital Executive Compensation Act of 2016"), for which SEIU-UHW is now circulating petitions among voters.

The document goes on to state that SEIU-UHW filed "a similar Executive Compensation initiative…in Arizona where several of our employers such as Dignity [Healthcare], Tenet [Healthcare] and CHS [Community Health Systems] are big players in the market." (See full document below.)

Apparently, Regan hopes that CEOs from the three companies will be willing to do some horse-trading in order to get SEIU-UHW to drop its ballot initiative.

In California, legislators enacted a law that criminalizes using ballot initiatives to extort "any thing of value… for the purpose of withdrawing an initiative petition." (Senate Bill 1253, authored by former Sen. Darrell Steinberg). The law was enacted after two rounds of Regan's ballot initiative bamboozle.

For four years, now, Regan’s ballot initiative strategy has been an utter (and massively expensive) failure in California. Regan has poured more than $25 million of SEIU-UHW members' dues into the initiatives. Nonetheless, Regan's "partnership" dreams have exploded in flames as California hospital executives abandoned and then sued SEIU-UHW in response to Regan's violation of an embarrassing "gag clause" penned by Regan.

Today, Regan is even the subject of a criminal investigation after allegedly breaking the arm of a CHA process server. The criminal probe is reportedly in the hands of the Contra Costa County District Attorney.

What's next?

SEIU-UHW's members should get ready to see millions more of their dues dollars disappear down the purple toilet.
Regan selling snake oil to the California public
And Arizonans should be prepared to see Regan deliver his best impersonation of a traveling snake oil salesman. As he did in California, Regan will shower the public with lies about how SEIU-UHW will use the ballot initiative to fight the Good Fight for the Little Man against fatcat CEOs.

But make no mistake, Arizonans. Wall Street Dave has twice "played" Californians like so many pawns on a board game. After promising populist-sounding reforms, Regan will sell you out at the drop of a hat so he can seal his own deal with hospital CEOs. 

In fact, in California, Regan not only dumped SEIU-UHW's ballot initiative in exchange for a secret deal with CEOs, he also signed a gag clause that blocked SEIU-UHW, its members, and allies from even uttering a peep about CEOs’ multi-million-dollar paychecks for a multi-year period. So much for the public interest!

This, my friends, apparently is Regan's "innovative" strategy for "rebuilding" the labor movement… by, umm, destroying the public's trust in unions that should be fighting against the billionaire class rather than secretly colluding with them.