Friday, July 1, 2016

SEIU-UHW’s Dave Regan Withdraws Ballot Initiative and Launches “Big Lie” Campaign

SEIU-UHW's Dave Regan on the run
SEIU-UHW President Dave Regan has launched a disinformation campaign to try to deflect attention from the embarrassing blunders that forced SEIU-UHW to withdraw a California ballot initiative at a cost of millions of dollars to his union’s members and untold damage to SEIU’s reputation.

Yesterday (June 30), Regan bought ads in the Los Angeles Times and the Sacramento Bee where he published “An Open Letter to California Voters” to try to explain why he’s withdrawing the Hospital Executive Compensation Act of 2016 from the November ballot. (See a full copy of the ad below.)

Regan’s open letter -- composed of equal parts lies and deceit -- says he’s not to blame for a staggering series of f*uck-ups, failures, and ethical transgressions against workers, patients, and taxpayers.

The letter’s over-the-top deceit hints at the phenomenal scale of Regan’s blunders. 

• Last fall, Regan’s sweetheart deal with the California Hospital Association (CHA) exploded in flames.
• In November, Regan angrily filed the ballot initiative even though he had signed a secret pact with the CHA in May of 2014 that specifically prohibited SEIU-UHW from “sponsoring or supporting” any ballot initiatives or legislation that are “adverse to the interests of the hospital industry.” Regan’s secret deal also contained a gag clause blocking SEIU-UHW from “raising concerns about… executive compensation in health care” or saying “derogatory” things about corporations and their bosses.
• In January, a copy of Regan’s secret CHA deal was finally released to the public as a result of the CHA’s litigation. For nearly two years, Regan had treated the deal, known as the "Code of Conduct," like a tightly held state secret, refusing to show it even to SEIU-UHW’s elected governing board.
• In February, Regan’s face was splashed across TV newscasts after he unleashed an allegedly brutal assault on a process server who tried to deliver court records to Regan’s home regarding the CHA lawsuit. 
• In March, a Sacramento County Superior Court judge ordered SEIU-UHW to submit to binding arbitration over the filing of the ballot initiative in violation of Regan's secret CHA deal.
• In June, an arbitrator and a Superior Court judge ruled that Regan had violated his secret agreement with the CHA and consequently ordered SEIU-UHW to withdraw the statewide ballot initiative by June 30 or reimburse the CHA for its costs in opposing the initiative at the ballot box.

Now that Regan has withdrawn his ballot initiative, he's left with the task of somehow explaining his stunning series of f*ck-ups, failures, and sell-outs to his members, politicians, and the public.

For instance, why did the state’s largest healthcare workers’ union surrender its watchdog role by signing a secret pact with hospital CEOs that prohibits SEIU-UHW from doing anything “adverse” to the hospital industry’s interests?

In trademark fashion, Regan is refusing to acknowledge his failures. Instead, he’s promoting an aggressive “Big Lie” campaign to try to cover his tracks.

According to Regan's Big Lie, “an unaccountable arbitrator” is responsible for his phenomenal failures. In yesterday's newspaper ads and e-mail blasts, Regan comically casts himself as a righteous defender of the 99% who tirelessly battles fatcat CEOs.

Referring to the “unaccountable arbitrator,” Regan writes:
Yes, one person can deny the will of 650,000 people and prevent a vote by more than 17.9 million, all in the name of protecting multimillionaire CEO salaries. It's outrageous.

In fact, one person did deny SEIU-UHW the right to challenge CEOs’ outrageously excessive compensation packages. And one person has been protecting multimillionaire CEOs.

His initials are “Dave Regan.”

He personally signed the secret gag clause that blocked SEIU-UHW’s 80,000 members from talking about executive compensation for nearly two years. That's the same gag clause that blocked SEIU-UHW from taking independent positions on countless legislative, policy, and regulatory matters for two years.  

Dave Regan
Last week’s Superior Court decision ordering SEIU-UHW to withdraw its ballot initiative demonstrates just how restrictive the legal handcuffs are that Regan strapped onto his union’s 80,000 members through his secret deal with hospital CEOs.

Oh, and remember those “multimillionaire CEOs” that Regan now rails against?

Well, Wall Street Dave gleefully leapt into bed with those same CEOs only months ago. He held secret meetings with them in fancy hotels like the Fairmont Grand Del Mar where he traded away workers’ wages, benefits, freedom of speech, and right to strike – without even consulting workers.

In fact, Regan climbed so far down the pants of his pinstriped pals that he became their official errand boy, shamelessly pushing CEOs' anti-worker legislation in the halls of California’s legislature.

Make no doubt about it:  Regan is a two-faced liar who’s a disgrace to the labor movement.

Below are copies of Regan’s ads in the Los Angeles Times and the Sacramento Bee as well as an e-mail blast that he sent yesterday to SEIU-UHW’s members and the public as part of his “Big Lie” campaign.

Here's an e-mail blast Regan sent to SEIU-UHW members on June 30:

I just finished up a special meeting with our SEIU-UHW Executive Board, where we wrestled with how best to move forward after receiving a deeply flawed arbitration decision affecting the fate of our initiative, the Hospital Executive Compensation Act of 2016. In his ruling, the arbitrator ordered us to withdraw the initiative or risk being fined $65 million (or more). Given the fact the arbitrator was essentially threatening our union with bankruptcy if we moved forward in support of the initiative, our Executive Board made the difficult decision to recommend that the proponents withdraw the initiative in order to best protect the interests of SEIU-UHW members (see Resolution 22-16).

As I’m sure you can imagine, I am incredibly frustrated with the arbitrator’s ruling. With the stroke of a pen, one person has wiped away the clear intentions and hard work of so many SEIU-UHW members and staff, and the nearly 650,000 California voters who signed our initiative petition. I want to be clear, though, that this is only a temporary setback. The arbitrator ruled we can’t pursue this initiative this year, and his authority is only limited to this one decision. Going forward, we can freely use any and all of the tools in our ballot initiative toolbox to accomplish our goals of ensuring members are able to get to retirement with all our wages and benefits intact and ensuring access to quality healthcare for all Californians.

In our meeting yesterday, our Executive Board reaffirmed our commitment to speaking out against excessive hospital CEO pay, holding the hospital industry accountable to patients and workers, fixing California’s broken Medi-Cal system, and ensuring a rising standard of living for healthcare workers. To that end, an Open Letter to California Voters from our Executive Board will appear tomorrow (Thursday) as ads in the Sacramento Bee and L.A. Times.

Here is the text of that open letter:


The 85,000 hospital and clinic workers of the Service Employees International Union-United Healthcare Workers West (SEIU-UHW) want to work in a healthcare system that delivers affordable, high-quality care on an equal basis to all Californians. We also know we have a lot of work to do to get there. 

Take Sutter Health, one of the largest hospital chains in the state. Sutter is considered to be a non-profit charity, meaning it doesn’t pay taxes, a huge benefit courtesy of California taxpayers. In exchange, Sutter is supposed to serve the public and you would expect that it would operate in the service of all Californians.

But it turns out Sutter charges 25 percent more than other hospitals in California, nearly $4,000 per patient admission (based on 2013 prices). It can “get away” with this because many of its facilities operate in areas where there is little or no competition, enabling it to use its market power to raise prices.

It also pays its executives some of the highest salaries in the state. In 2014, at least 24 Sutter executives were paid more than a million dollars, 2 were paid more than $2 million, 1 was paid more than $4 million, and one executive was paid more than $6 million.

And they call themselves non-profits? Charities? Really? 

Sutter is one of the many examples in a California hospital industry where CEOs get extremely wealthy while patients face crippling costs. That is why the caregivers of SEIU-UHW sponsored the Hospital Executive Compensation Act of 2016, which would limit hospital executive compensation to the same level as the President of the United States, or $450,000 a year. And that is why nearly 650,000 California voters signed petitions to put it on the ballot in November. We believe this initiative would be an important step toward lowering healthcare costs and improving access to care. 

Hospital executives are desperate to deny you the right to vote on this initiative. They initiated legal proceedings and got an unaccountable arbitrator, named Richard L. Ahearn, to order us to withdraw the ballot initiative you signed – before you had a chance to vote on it. Yes, one person can deny the will of 650,000 people and prevent a vote by more than 17.9 million, all in the name of protecting multimillionaire CEO salaries. It's outrageous.

The caregivers of SEIU-UHW regret that we are being ordered to withdraw this initiative and that California voters are losing their right to vote on it THIS year. But we pledge that we will keep speaking out on the corrupting effects of excessive executive compensation in our healthcare system and will work to bring a similar initiative back to the ballot as soon as possible. 

All Californians need access to the highest quality, affordable healthcare. We will continue working day and night toward that goal.


The Members of the SEIU-UHW Executive Board

I look forward to working with you in November and beyond to build a better healthcare system for California and a better standard of living for healthcare workers.

In Unity,

Dave Regan
President, SEIU-UHW