An arbitrator has ruled that SEIU-UHW President Dave Regan violated the terms of his secret “partnership” deal with the California Hospital Association (CHA) by filing a California ballot initiative that seeks to cap hospital executives’ salaries, according to recently filed court records.
The arbitrator has ordered SEIU-UHW to withdraw its 2016 Executive Compensation Initiative, which SEIU-UHW filed this spring after spending at least $5 million to gather signatures to qualify the measure for the November 2016 ballot.
CHA’s attorneys describe the arbitrator’s decision the following way in a document filed with the court on June 16, 2016 (see full copy below):
On June 6, 2016 the Arbitrator issued an opinion and partial final award prohibiting UHW and its agents from pursuing, sponsoring or supporting the 2016 Executive Compensation Initiative, which required UHW and its agents to immediately withdraw the 2016 Executive Compensation Initiative from the ballot qualification process and take any other acts necessary to terminate their pursuit, sponsorship, or support of that initiative.
On June 24, 2016 at 2:00pm, Sacramento County (Calif.) Superior Court Judge David Brown will conduct a hearing to finalize the arbitrator’s decision.
SEIU-UHW’s attorneys have filed a last-ditch attempt to “vacate” the arbitrator’s decision. Yesterday (June 16), both the CHA and SEIU-UHW delivered lengthy legal briefs to the judge in advance of next week’s hearing. Additional legal briefs are due next week.
What’s the basis for the arbitrator’s decision against SEIU-UHW?
In May of 2014, Regan and CHA CEO Duane Dauner signed a secret partnership deal containing a far-reaching gag clause that, for example, prohibits SEIU-UHW from making comments “raising concerns about… executive compensation in health care.”
The gag clause also blocks SEIU-UHW from “sponsoring or supporting… initiatives adverse to the California hospital industry,” among other prohibitions.
Regan, who co-authored and signed the secret partnership deal, nonetheless decided to violate its terms when, in November of 2015, he filed a statewide ballot initiative that seeks to cap hospital executives’ salaries at $450,000 per year.
At that time, the CHA had essentially abandoned Regan and the partnership after Regan failed to deliver on a promise to deposit billions more dollars of Medicaid funding into hospital executives’ pockets.
It’s the third time in four years that Regan has filed the same initiative, which Regan hopes will leverage the CHA into an act of industrial love-making that’s a cynical money-for-members quid pro quo that sells out patients, workers, and taxpayers.
Following SEIU-UHW’s filing of the executive-compensation ballot measure in November 2015, the CHA went to court to compel SEIU-UHW to submit its violations of the terms of the secret partnership agreement to binding arbitration.
In March of 2016, a judge ordered SEIU-UHW into arbitration, which then led to the arbitrator’s decision, issued just days ago.
For more than a year, Regan’s partnership deal with Dauner was a closely guarded secret. Regan famously refused to show it to SEIU-UHW’s members, staff, and even to the union’s Executive Board.
In June of 2015, NUHW obtained a copy of the secret deal and filed a complaint with California Attorney General Kamala Harris alleging that the deal’s gag clause -- which blocks SEIU-UHW from "pursuing, sponsoring or supporting any legislation, initiative, regulatory, or other efforts that are adverse to the interests" of hospital corporations -- violates California law by blocking healthcare workers from reporting patient-care violations to government oversight agencies.
The secret deal also prohibits SEIU-UHW members from conducting strikes against California’s healthcare corporations.
In January of 2016, the CHA was forced to disclose a copy of the partnership agreement -- called the “Code of Conduct” -- when the CHA sued SEIU-UHW in California Superior Court to compel arbitration. These records confirmed the authenticity of the documents disclosed earlier by NUHW.
Stay tuned for more developments.