|Dave Regan: "I love the Boss and the Boss loves me"|
Dignity Healthcare workers’ "bullshit meters" are jumping off the charts in the wake of SEIU-UHW officials’ recent announcement that they “won” a great new labor contract at Dignity.
Here’s what’s happening:
Dignity Healthcare employs approximately 14,000 SEIU-UHW members across California. It’s the union’s second-largest employer after Kaiser Permanente.
Soon after SEIU’s trusteeship in 2009, trustee Dave Regan began negotiating massive benefit cuts and pay freezes for Dignity workers.
In 2010, Regan and his lieutenant Hal Ruddick famously eliminated workers’ defined-benefit pension plan and then lied to workers about the cuts. The truth was later revealed when Dignity's quarterly financial statement detailed how the company pocketed a $217 million windfall due to SEIU-UHW’s cuts.
In 2012, Regan allowed Dignity to freeze SEIU-UHW members’ wages and implement more benefit cuts... even though the company was making massive profits.
Last year, SEIU-UHW officials accepted even more cuts -- this time to Dignity workers’ health benefits.
Then, at the beginning of 2016, SEIU-UHW returned to the bargaining table to negotiate pay increases for its members. Instead, Dignity demanded even more cuts from Regan!
“Why not?,” Dignity execs undoubtedly said to themselves. "Regan is the gift that keeps on giving."
This year’s negotiations, which were supposed to conclude by April, dragged on as Dignity execs demanded a growing list of concessions.
Here’s how SEIU-UHW recently described Dignity's proposed cuts to the press:
- Wage freeze;
- “Slashing” workers’ already-reduced retirement benefits by “up to 25%;”
- Subcontracting SEIU-UHW members’ jobs
And here’s what one SEIU-UHW member at Dignity told the Long Beach Signal Tribune and the Long Beach Press-Telegraph earlier this month:
According to a media release from the Service Employees International Union-United Healthcare Workers West (SEIU-UHW), Dignity Health has proposed to reduce retirement benefits up to 25 percent and desires to outsource jobs to companies that offer low wages…
[SEIU-UHW member] Jay Villarreal himself said that he was one of the protestors stationed outside the hospital with a bullhorn. The 53-year-old from the Long Beach area has already personally felt the sting of a wage freeze. Villarreal said he has not had a raise in four years.
“And the way the contract is being stated by Dignity Health, I won’t see one for an additional three years…enough is enough really,” Villarreal concluded with a snicker. “Seven years!”
So what did SEIU-UHW do in the face of Dignity’s demands? Strike?
Since Regan parachuted into California in 2009, SEIU-UHW has conducted virtually zero strikes.
In September of 2014, Regan famously told NBC news that strikes are “outdated.” Instead, he prefers a bold new strategy of “collaboration” with the Boss for “win-win” solutions. That’s the approach that Regan calls “21st Century unionism.”
Ya gotta wonder what Dignity workers feel about the last seven years of Regan’s “collaboration” with their multi-millionaire boss. Doesn't sound too "win-win" for workers, right?
Two weeks ago, SEIU-UHW officials suddenly announced they’d finally “won” a wonderful new contract for Dignity workers without any strikes or fight. Here's how they announced it on SEIU-UHW's website:
|August 16, 2016|
Next, SEIU-UHW officials announced they refuse to provide a copy of their wonderful tentative agreement to Dignity workers in advance of workers’ ratification vote. SEIU-UHW will only provide a single copy inside the voting room on the day of the voting.
Must be a wonderful agreement, right?
SEIU-UHW’s triumphant pronouncement of “We won!” is like déjà vu all over again for Dignity workers.
Back in 2010, here’s what SEIU-UHW officials told the membership after they agreed to eliminate workers’ defined-benefit pension plan: