|California Gov. Jerry Brown|
What do California’s top political and union leaders think about SEIU-UHW President Dave Regan?
That’s one of the intriguing findings in a 42-page decision issued last month by the arbitrator who investigated the dispute between SEIU-UHW and the California Hospital Association.
According to the arbitrator’s report, California Gov. Jerry Brown -- who is scheduled to speak at next week’s Democratic National Convention -- refused to be in the same room with Regan. Ditto for the California Teachers Association and the SEIU California State Council.
Why do they dislike Regan so much?
It turns out that Regan betrayed them by attempting to raid billions of dollars set aside for California’s chronically underfunded schools.
Here’s what happened.
In 2012, the governor joined the teachers union and many other civic organizations in successfully passing a ballot initiative that established a “Millionaire’s Tax” to improve funding for California’s schools. The tax, also called “Proposition 30,” will expire in 2018.
Last year, the California Teachers Association began openly preparing to file a new ballot initiative to extend California’s “Millionaire’s Tax” and its funding for schools.
As the teachers began their efforts, Regan eyed an opportunity.
Under the terms of his secret partnership with the California Hospital Association, Regan was under the gun to deliver billions of dollars of new government funding to hospital CEOs in order to buy their consent to unionize 30,000 of the hospitals’ non-union employees.
Regan, rather than supporting the schools, introduced a separate ballot initiative to snatch $2.5 billion a year from the schools and put it into the pockets of the hospital CEOs with whom he’d secretly been conspiring.
In June of 2015, Regan asked the California Hospital Association (CHA) to join him in filing the competing ballot initiative. Here’s what happened next, according to the arbitrator’s report:
"CHA representatives expressed surprise and raised a number of concerns about the Union's proposal, including the likelihood that the California Teachers Association (CTA), the so-called "ABC Coalition" and the Governor would be angry and unhappy if the LMC [SEIU-UHW and the CHA] were to file a competing statewide tax increase initiative. In particular, CHA expressed concern that competing Proposition 30 initiatives would undermine each other, decreasing the opportunity of either passing." (pp. 11-12)
SEIU-UHW nonetheless filed its competing ballot initiative.
Next, Regan tried to engage Gov. Brown and the teachers union in negotiations over a compromise ballot initiative that would steer billion to his hospital CEO pals.
Regan asked CHA CEO Duane Dauner to reach out to the Governor’s office. He also called on Peter Ragone and former California Senate President Darrell Steinberg to reach out to the California Teachers Association (CTA) and the SEIU California State Council, which was working with the CTA.
How did they respond to Regan’s plea?
Here’s what the arbitrator wrote in his decision:
"Despite efforts by CHA to have UHW and the LMC included in the discussions, both the Governor's office and the other stakeholders, including CTA and the SEIU State Council, continued to insist that they would not meet with UHW or the LMC, but only with CHA separately." (p. 13)
Ouch. (The term “LMC” refers to the “Labor-Management Committee” that SEIU-UHW and the CHA set up to carry out their secret partnership deal. Duane Dauner and Dave Regan were the co-chairs of the LMC.)
|Gov. Brown campaigning for Prop 30|
Several months later, Regan begged the Governor, the CTA, and other “stakeholders” to allow SEIU-UHW to join them in a single ballot initiative. But they again refused. The arbitrator says it was “clear that the other stakeholders would not modify their position of opposition to UHW’s involvement.” (p. 13)
In November, the CHA announced its support for the teachers’ ballot initiative. According to the arbitrator, the CHA’s Duane Dauner phoned Regan on November 3, 2015 and “explained to representatives of UHW that the new coalition was not willing to work with UHW and that they, therefore, could not be part of the coalition.” (p. 19)
The arbitrator’s decision makes multiple other references to statewide leaders’ apparently extreme dislike for Regan:
“...it was the stakeholders that insisted UHW was not welcome.” (p. 22)
“UHW was generally aware that.. the Governor's office, CTA and other stakeholders were unwilling to meet with UHW or to allow UHW to join their coalition.” (pp. 23-24)
Elsewhere, the arbitrator refers to “UHW's apparently strained relationship with the governor and the SEIU State Council.”
We all know what happened next. When Regan failed to deliver the billions of dollars he’d promised to his CEO pals, his secret partnership deal with the Hospital Association exploded in flames.
|Dave Regan and the gang that can't shoot straight|
In an angry response to his former CEO pals, Regan filed a new ballot initiative designed to cap their salaries at $450,000 a year.
Unfortunately, Regan forgot to read the gag clause that he’d signed as part of his secret partnership deal, which legally blocked SEIU-UHW from taking any action "adverse" to the interests of the hospital industry.
Last month, after Regan had already wasted $5 million of SEIU-UHW members’ dues money to collect signatures for his doomed executive-compensation ballot initiative, a Superior Court judge ordered Regan to withdraw the initiative or face tens of millions of dollars of penalties.
Altogether, it was quite a remarkable series of failures and f*ck-ups by Regan and his chief political strategist, Dave Kieffer.
As one observer remarked: “It looks like Dave Regan is chief gunner for the gang that can’t shoot straight.”