Friday, April 21, 2017

Dave Regan: "I want a higher salary than the presidents of the Steelworkers and UAW"

SEIU-UHW's Dave Regan
Should SEIU-UHW President Dave Regan earn more than the international presidents of the United Auto Workers at the United Steel Workers?

Doesn’t make sense, right?

After all, Leo Gerard (USW) and Dennis Williams (UAW) lead international unions with four to six times as many members as Regan’s local union in California. In 2016, the UAW had 415,963 members while the USW had 548,033.

Nonetheless, that didn’t stop “Wall Street” Dave Regan from pocketing a higher salary in 2016, according to the unions’ DOL Forms LM-2.

In fact, SEIU-UHW’s second-highest paid official, Dave Kieffer, also earned more than the USW’s Gerard and the UAW’s Williams.

Here’s a rundown of their pay, according to Forms LM-2:
Dave Regan, SEIU-UHW President:  $224,706
Dave Kieffer, SEIU-UHW Director of Governmental Relations:  $210,909
Leo Gerard, International President of United Steelworkers:  $207,289
Dennis Williams, International President of United Auto Workers:  $184,159

SEIU-UHW's David Kieffer
A quick glance through SEIU-UHW’s recently filed disclosure report reveals that ten SEIU-UHW officials pocketed more than $150,000 during 2016. The list is below.

And take a look at their job descriptions.

Is it really necessary for one local union to have a Director of Governmental Relations, a Director of Public Affairs, a Director of Healthcare Policy and Advocacy, and a Political Director -- all earning more than $150K a year?
  • Dave Regan, President:  $224,706
  • Dave Kieffer, Director of Governmental Relations:  $210,909
  • Kathy Ochoa, Director of Healthcare Policy and Advocacy:  $179,572
  • Stan Lyles, Vice President:  $176,230
  • Steve Trossman, Director of Public Affairs:  $170,494
  • David Miller, Assistant to the President for Strategic Campaigns:   $168,974
  • Myriam Escamilla, Hospital Division Director:   $162,415
  • Greg Pullman, Chief of Staff:  $153,980
  • Chokri Bensaid, Kaiser Division Director:  $152,860
  • Cass Gualvez, Organizing Director:   $152,521
  • Arianna Jimenez, Political Director:   $152,227

Glad there are unions like NUHW, whose constitution speaks volumes about the union's democratic values by prohibiting the union's president from earning more than the highest-paid rank-and-file member.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

SEIU Nevada Performs Circus Act as Employers Feast at Banquet Table

In Nevada, SEIU’s f*ck-ups continue unabated, according to press reports and a recently released letter authored by one faction inside the 9,000-member local union. 

Meanwhile, some of the state’s largest employers are taking full advantage of SEIU’s dysfunction to deny workers pay increases and strip them of union representation.

Tasty earlier reported on the circus-like show gripping SEIU Nevada (also known as SEIU Local 1107), including dueling “internal charges” filed by the union’s President and Executive Vice President alleging violations of SEIU’s constitution and bylaws.

Last August, police were called to the union’s offices when the union’s Executive Vice President (Sharon Kisling) allegedly chased and threatened one of the union’s staff directors in what he called “a two-and-a-half-hour reign of terror at our office.”

In October, SEIU’s International Executive Board (IEB) held two days of hearings at the Circus Circus Casino to investigate the purple sh*t show. According to an April 12 article in the Las Vegas Review-Journal, the IEB has not issued any results from its hearing. (Michael Scott Davidson, “Impasse Latest Sign of Trouble for Clark County’s Largest Employee Union,” April 12, 2017).

So here’s the latest.

On March 31, 2017, eight officers of SEIU Nevada’s unit of 5,000 workers employed by Clark County sent a letter to SEIU President Mary Kay Henry “expressing our concern for our local and especially our members.” The letter concludes with this appeal:
This local is broken and needs you. Please, please, please do the right thing and hold President Mancini and this local responsible for taking care of our membership which is where the focus should always be.

The letter focuses on problems SEIU Nevada is facing in its contract negotiations with Clark County, which reportedly employs a majority of the local union’s members. Last week, negotiations reached impasse.

According to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, “If a deal is not struck by July 1, when the current contract expires, the county says it will halt scheduled wage and benefit increases for unionized employees until a new contract is agreed upon.”

Here’s an excerpt from the eight officers’ letter to Henry (full copy is below):
We feel the necessity to let you know that we do not believe that we will have a contract in place by July and we are very, very concerned that we are not being heard and this is even more obvious by President Mancini's actions. With only one (1) organizer working for the County membership, he is being setup for failure. One individual cannot reach 4,000+ members that reside in a County of over 8,000 square miles.
The leadership within the Clark County unit are informing you that we cannot continue in the same direction we are today. The negativity, in-fighting, retaliation, blatant disregard for fellow officers, etc. has got to stop. We have waited patiently since November 1, 2016 for the results of the hearings held on October 30 and 31, 2016 and we can't wait any longer. We need to know the results so they are not being held over our heads. There is no reason that we should feel that you, the SEIU International Officers, are ignoring our continued pleas for help.
SEIU President Mary Kay Henry
Everyday that we draw closer to July 1, 2017, the closer we are to having a membership that is no longer willing to believe in SEIU. They will give themselves a raise by dropping the union that is no longer fulfilling their needs. We are barely over the 50% membership and we are willing to bet that if we drop below that mark, Clark County Management will be convinced to follow in the footsteps of the hospitals being represented by the same union that are currently under the microscope to prove their membership numbers to keep the status of the members union.

Last month, two Las Vegas hospitals unilaterally withdrew recognition of SEIU Nevada after alleging that a majority of the hospitals’ 1,000 Registered Nurses signed cards indicating they no longer wished to be represented by SEIU, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal. (Michael Scott Davidson, “Second Las Vegas Hospital Severs Ties with Union,” March 13, 2017).

The two hospitals -- Desert Springs Hospital and Valley Hospital Medical Center -- are operated by Universal Health Services, Inc., a multi-billion dollar for-profit company headquartered in Pennsylvania.

The effort to remove SEIU was aided by the right-wing National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation. SEIU has filed charges against the hospitals. According to the Review-Journal, SEIU's labor contracts for registered nurses at both hospitals expired in May of 2016 and successor contracts have not been negotiated since then.

Friday, April 7, 2017

Hospital Worker Takes Case to US Supreme Court after SEIU-UHW Officials Fail to Protect Pensions for 15,000 Workers at Dignity Health

A California hospital worker named Starla Rollins has taken a fight to protect 15,000 workers' pension benefits all the way to the US Supreme Court.

Last week, Rollins’ attorneys asked the Supreme Court to safeguard the retirement benefits of tens of thousands of workers at Dignity Health, a giant hospital company headquartered in San Francisco. 

Even though Dignity’s pension plan covers more than 15,000 SEIU-UHW members, SEIU-UHW President Dave Regan and other SEIU-UHW officials have refused to lift a finger to defend workers’ pensions.

Here’s what’s going on:

In 2009 and 2012, SEIU-UHW’s Dave Regan and Hal Ruddick teamed up with Dignity executives to implement sharp cuts to the pension plan covering SEIU-UHW members at more than 30 hospitals across California.

Then, in 2013, Starla Rollins -- a 26-year Ward Clerk at Community Hospital of San Bernardino -- discovered that SEIU-UHW officials had allowed Dignity to underfund SEIU-UHW members’ pension plan by $1.2 billion. (Yes, that’s a “b” for “billion.”)

Because SEIU-UHW officials refused to do anything, Rollins decided to sue Dignity in a class-action lawsuit on behalf of herself and her co-workers. Her lawsuit -- “Starla Rollins v. Dignity Health”-- was filed in 2013. Tasty covered it in this earlier post.

Here’s the latest.

Last July, Rollins and her attorney won an important victory in federal court after doing battle with Dignity’s high-priced lawyers for three years. (See below the decision issued by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.) 

Dignity, rather than accepting defeat, appealed the court’s decision to the US Supreme Court.

Last week, lawyers for both sides argued their case in front of the Supreme Court.
Starla Rollins

The case centers on the following question: A federal law (the Employee Retirement Income Security Act) requires corporations to adequately fund their employees’ pensions so workers actually receive the pension payments they earned when they retire. 

Dignity acknowledges it has underfunded workers’ pension. But company executives claim they’re exempt from federal law because Dignity is a “religious organization” …even though Dignity has bought up many non-religious hospitals. It even changed its name from “Catholic Healthcare West” so it could re-brand itself as a non-religious company.

What happened during last week’s oral argument at the US Supreme Court?

According to a transcript (see copy below), Judge Sonia Sotomayor grilled a lawyer representing Dignity. Here’s an excerpt from her questioning:
[Dignity is] the fifth largest healthcare provider in the nation. They have 60,000 employees. Do you believe that Congress's vision was to let, what is essentially, a corporate entity opt out of protecting all of those employees?

Kick their asses!

So what happens next?

The Supreme Court justices will publish their decision sometime in June.

What about SEIU-UHW? It continues to do absolutely nothing to protect its members’ retirement benefits. Apparently, “Wall Street” Dave Regan is too busy polishing the CEO’s shoes.

So... huge props to Starla!

In fact, Rollins has been waging not one but two important legal battles against SEIU-UHW for its failure to support its members.

In the second case, Rollins won a giant victory last October when a federal court ordered officials from both SEIU-UHW and Dignity Health to stand trial for illegally laying her off from her 26-year job and then refusing to honor her union contract’s seniority agreement. Rollins was part of the union’s leadership team prior to SEIU’s 2009 trusteeship, when NUHW President Sal Rosselli led the union.

Let’s keep our fingers crossed for the Supreme Court’s June decision! Stay tuned.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Report: Regan Spent Upwards of $1 million of SEIU-UHW Dues on Failed Lawsuits against Hospital Association

Since the collapse of his secretive partnership deal with the California Hospital Association, Dave Regan has spent upwards of $1 million of SEIU-UHW members’ dues money on law firms to represent him in a series of failed lawsuits, according to figures released this week by SEIU-UHW.

The revelations are contained in SEIU-UHW’s annual report to the US Department of Labor, which was signed by Regan on March 30, 2017.

In 2016 alone, Regan delivered $672,049 of SEIU-UHW’s funds to Prometheus Partners LLP, a San Francisco law firm representing him in various lawsuits against the California Hospital Association (CHA). Here’s an excerpt from SEIU-UHW’s Form LM-2 documenting these payments:

Prometheus Partners represents Regan in a lawsuit, “David Regan vs. Duane Dauner,” filed by Regan in February 2016. In January 2017, a judge effectively tossed out Regan’s lawsuit.

Soon thereafter, Regan paid the San Francisco law firm to sue the entire Sacramento County Superior Court. And Regan lost again.

Regan used a separate law firm -- Weinberg, Roger and Rosenfeld -- to file other lawsuits against the CHA, which were also unsuccessful. According to SEIU-UHW’s filing this week, the union paid more than $1.1 million to the Alameda, Calif. firm during 2016. In addition to representing Regan in those suits, the firm also performed other legal services for the union.

Altogether, Regan has spent upwards of $20 million of SEIU-UHW members’ union dues on his so-called CHA strategy, which hinged on negotiating a secret sweetheart deal with hospital CEOs.

Among other provisions, Regan’s deal was designed to force SEIU-UHW members into pre-negotiated labor contracts with stripped-down wages and benefits, to prohibit workers from striking, and to use a far-reaching gag clause to block them from reporting substandard staffing and other patient-care violations to government oversight agencies. In addition to legal fees, Regan spent millions to hire signature-gathering firms in an effort to qualify initiatives for the California ballot.

In addition to costing boatloads of workers’ money, Regan’s dueling lawsuits with the CHA famously landed him in criminal court after he reportedly broke the arm of a process server who was attempting to deliver legal documents to Regan’s Kensington, Calif. home on behalf of the California Hospital Association. It’s unclear whether Regan used the union’s funds to pay for legal representation in this personal criminal matter, which was referred to the District Attorney’s office.

How much of SEIU-UHW members’ dues payments will Regan flush down the toilet in 2017?

We’ll have to wait until next year’s report to answer that question.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Dave Regan Wins Reelection with Votes from Just 3% of Union’s Members

Last week, Dave Regan was declared the winner of SEIU-UHW’s internal election after winning the votes of just 3% of SEIU-UHW’s members. 

Of the union’s 86,512 members, Regan received votes from 2,916 members while his two challengers together collected about 1,000 votes.

Here are the vote totals for the election, according to SEIU-UHW’s website:

Total eligible voters: 86,512
Dave Regan: 2,916 votes
Niko Anagnostopoulos: 511 votes
Cartina Price: 469 votes

Regan’s vote totals dropped from approximately 8,000 in 2014 to just 2,916 in 2017. At the same time, Regan’s challengers collected about the same numbers of votes in 2017 as they did in 2014 – approximately 1,000.

In the run-up to the election, Regan campaigned around California by attending monthly steward council meetings at multiple hospitals. Regan’s efforts may have been prompted by the support shown for one of his challengers, a rank-and-file Kaiser Permanente member named Niko Anagnostopoulos who won the unanimous backing of the steward council at his hospital, which is one of Kaiser’ largest.

During his speeches to steward council meetings at Kaiser hospitals, Regan reportedly said he wants to negotiate a 10-year labor contract with Kaiser during the partnership unions’ negotiations next year. In California’s hospital industry, union contracts are typically two to four years in duration.

Interestingly, at St. Francis Medical Center in Los Angeles, Regan’s slate of candidates (the so-called “Healthcare Justice” slate) lost elections for seats on SEIU-UHW’s Executive Board. Independent candidates beat Regan’s slate by more than a two-to-one margin. The 384-bed hospital is part of Verity Health System, formerly the Daughters of Charity Health System.

In 2015, Regan negotiated massive cuts for workers at St. Francis and other Verity hospitals, including freezing workers’ wage scales, eliminating benefits for many part-time workers, and multiple other cuts. Next, Regan used a system of ramrod membership votes to ratify his give-backs to the four-profit company. SEIU-UHW members called Regan’s contract “the worst contracting or history.”

Facebook post by one of Regan's challengers following the vote count.

What’s next?

It’s unclear whether Regan intends to serve out the full three years of his next term of office.

In December 2015, Regan told a meeting of the SEIU-UHW’s Executive Board he would not run for re-election, according to board members who attended the meeting. Regan said he was backing the director of SEIU-UHW’s Kaiser Division, Chokri Bensaid, to succeed him.

As the election approached, however, Regan suddenly declared his candidacy. 

Some observers speculate he ran for reelection because he was concerned that Bensaid could not win a contested election. According to these observers, it’s possible Regan will resign his position during his next term of office so that Bensaid can be appointed by the union’s Executive Board as his successor.

Stay tuned.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Will Trustees Shed Light on Andy Stern's "Golden Handshake" with Former SEIU Official in Michigan?

With SEIU Healthcare Michigan under an emergency trusteeship due to allegations of financial malpractice, Tasty took a look at the union’s recent financial disclosure reports and discovered some interesting details.

During recent years, the union has paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to Paul Policicchio, the union’s former president, even though Policicchio resigned his position more than 15 years ago.

According to the union’s annual reports to the US Department Labor (Form LM-2), SEIU Healthcare Michigan has been paying Policicchio $53,400 a year for many years. 

And the payments have continued through 2015, the most recent year for which records are available, even though Policicchio died in 2013.

What are the payments for?

In some years, the union says the payments were for “Consulting Services.” In other years, it describes them as “Retiree Supplement.”

In November of 2013, when Policicchio died at age 63 following a battle with cancer, SEIU Healthcare Michigan began making the $53,400-a-year payments to his wife, according to the records.

For what alleged purpose?

In 2015, SEIU Healthcare Michigan paid her $53,400 for serving as a “Retiree Consultant,” according to the records.

What’s going on?

Tasty’s sources believe these payments are part of a “buyout” engineered by SEIU President Emeritus Andy Stern.
Andy Stern

In 1988, Policicchio became the president of Detroit-based SEIU Local 79, the predecessor union of SEIU Healthcare Michigan. He also was named an SEIU International Vice President in Washington, DC.

In 1996, Stern took office as SEIU’s president and reportedly wanted to move Policicchio out of SEIU so he could fill Policicchio’s position with one of Stern’s allies. So Stern allegedly engineered a “buyout” to coax Policicchio out the door. 

In 2001, Policicchio retired from SEIU at age 51 with an SEIU pension and Stern’s fat “golden handshake” in his pocket.

Sources believe Stern’s “buyout” likely included a “gag clause” that barred Policicchio from saying anything bad about Stern, SEIU or the buyout.

So just how big was Stern’s alleged “golden handshake?”

Hard to say.

But perhaps Mary Kay Henry and her trustees -- Tom Balanoff, Inga Skippings, and Ed Burke -- can take a look at SEIU Healthcare Michigan's books and shed some light on this six-figure, purple-hued mystery. Inquiring minds want to know. 

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Corruption Allegations Prompt Mary Kay Henry to Put SEIU Healthcare Michigan in Trusteeship

Notice of trusteeship posted on door of union's office
Last month, SEIU President Mary Kay Henry placed SEIU Healthcare Michigan under an “emergency trusteeship” amid allegations of financial malpractice, according to a statement from SEIU that’s posted on the local union’s website. A copy of the trusteeship order, signed by Henry, is available below.

Henry removed Marge Faville Robinson, the union’s president, who is also a member of SEIU’s International Executive Board.

Later this month, an SEIU-appointed “Hearing Officer” is scheduled to conduct a hearing where evidence will be presented about alleged corruption and improprieties.

Here’s how SEIU described the rationale behind the trusteeship in a post on SEIU Healthcare Michigan’s website. Apparently, an unknown whistleblower reported the alleged corruption. (“SEIU Healthcare Michigan Placed into Emergency Trusteeship”)
After someone with knowledge of the local reported potential financial malpractice at Healthcare Michigan, representatives of the International Union conducted a review of the local union’s books and records and found information indicating abuse of the local union’s loan and paid time off/earned vacation policy. Following this review, President Henry concluded that it was necessary to place the local into an emergency trusteeship to protect the interests of members and to allow for a full investigation to determine all the facts.

“An SEIU spokeswoman declined to comment on whether police were involved in the investigation,” according to an article published by MLive, an online news site operated by Booth Newspapers, which publishes eight newspapers in the state of Michigan. (Stephen Kloosterman, “'Financial malpractice' alleged at Michigan healthcare union,” MLive, February 22, 2017)

In comments to a Detroit TV station, Inga Skippings (Mary Kay Henry’s Chief of Staff) stated that President Marge Faville Robinson and Secretary-Treasurer Shalaya Bryant were removed from their positions while SEIU officials investigate.
"The union took steps to bring in trustees at the local and launch a pretty expansive investigation into what could have been going on here," Skippings said.
The union says a whistleblower came forward telling representatives to look at the books leading to claims of abuse of finances specifically in the union's loan and vacation policy.
"There was initial work done to suss out the credibility before we took the action we did," Skippings said.
The union won't give a dollar amount, but clearly it was enough evidence to warrant both Robinson and Bryant being removed from their position while the union looks at how long and how deep this potential fraud goes.

Henry appointed three SEIU officials to serve as trustees: Tom Balanoff (President of SEIU Local 1), Inga Skippings (Henry’s Chief of Staff) and Ed Burke (a consultant who formerly was an SEIU staff member).

Regular readers of this blog know that Faville Robinson is no stranger to controversy. In fact, allegations of nepotism and corruption have swirled about her like detritus in a toilet bowl.

For example, Faville Robinson collects an unusually fat salary from SEIU Healthcare Michigan despite the fact that the union’s membership has nose-dived from 57,239 members in 2009 to only 10,715 members in 2015. In 2015, the union paid Faville Robinson $209,889, according to the union’s annual report filed with the US Department of Labor.

The union also happens to employ Marge’s daughter and niece. In 2015, the union paid her daughter, Norma Kersting, $108,336 for being its “Director of Representation.” Meanwhile, Marge’s niece (Brenda Robinson) was paid $110,679 to be the union’s “Legal Director.” It used to employ her son, Josh, too.

In 2011, the union provided Marge with a union-paid Buick SUV. According to the union’s most recent annual report, it appears the union has continued to give her a swank car. Here’s what a note to the report states: “A vehicle provided to an Officer is used part of the time for personal transportation.”

Several years ago, the National Union of Healthcare Workers (NUHW) -- an advocate of rank-and-file democracy and union transparency -- reported that SEIU Healthcare Michigan was renting a luxury apartment for Marge’s use when she traveled to Detroit.

In 2015, SEIU Healthcare Michigan received a flood of cash when it sold four buildings and properties for $2.3 million, according to reports filed with the Department of Labor.

Faville Robinson has served as the union’s president since 2008.
Andy Stern and Mary Kay Henry

In October 2008, SEIU President Emeritus Andy Stern appointed her to the union’s presidency after her predecessor, Rickman Jackson, was removed from office when the Los Angeles Times revealed he’d stolen more than $33,000 from low-wage homecare workers as part of the Tyrone Freeman corruption scandal.

Stern appointed Jackson and Freeman to their positions atop SEIU locals, where they served as his loyal allies while stealing from SEIU’s members. Jackson, despite his corruption, continues on the payroll of SEIU International, where he collected $138,000 as a “Campaign Organizing Director” during 2015.

In addition to her roles at the local union and SEIU’s International Executive Board, Faville Robinson also served as the President of the “Cassie Stern Healthcare Workers Education and Training Center.” Rickman Jackson named the center for Andy Stern’s deceased daughter.

In 2010, the Cassie Stern Training Center was dissolved by state officials while Faville Robinson served as its president, according to IRS records.

SEIU Healthcare Michigan is the third SEIU local union to be placed in trusteeship or under "monitorship" in recent months. 

In August of 2016, SEIU imposed an emergency trusteeship on SEIU Local 73 in Chicago. In December of 2016, Mary Kay Henry remove the president of Los Angeles-based SEIU Local 99 and placed the union under the control of an SEIU-appointed monitor, Eliseo Medina. In October of 2016, SEIU's International Executive Board held two days of hearings in Las Vegas, Nevada to investigate charges filed against the top officials of SEIU Healthcare Nevada.

More news to follow.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Verity Health Workers: “Why did SEIU-UHW give away our health insurance, sick pay, and retirement benefits and freeze our pay scales?”

Nearly 2,000 workers at a chain of California hospitals are asking why SEIU-UHW officials agreed to freeze their pay scale and give away health insurance, vacation, sick pay, retirement benefits, and other benefits during contract negotiations with the company’s top executives.

Workers are angry, say Tasty’s sources, after NUHW recently negotiated a contract with the same company, Verity Health System, but didn’t accept any of the cuts negotiated by SEIU-UHW officials.

NUHW’s contract, ratified in December, covers workers at two of the company’s six hospitals. SEIU-UHW represents workers at the company’s remaining four hospitals.

Here’s what happened.

In November 2015, Dave Regan and other SEIU-UHW officials negotiated massive cuts for SEIU-UHW’s approximately 2,000 members at Verity Health System, formerly known as the Daughters of Charity Health System. SEIU-UHW represents workers at O’Connor Hospital, St. Louise Regional Hospital, St. Francis Medical Center, and St. Vincent Medical Center.

During negotiations, Regan agreed to freeze workers’ wage scales and to eliminate a whole range of benefits -- including health insurance, vacation pay, sick pay, and retirement benefits -- for hundreds of SEIU-UHW’s members who work part time at the hospitals.

As far as the benefit cuts, Regan agreed to change the contract’s so-called “benefit eligibility standard” so that part-time workers must now work at least 30 hours a week, instead of 20 hours a week, to be eligible for health insurance, sick pay, vacation pay, etc.

Regan also agreed to eliminate float differentials and short-call pay, cut Paid Time Off (PTO) accruals, eliminate “Jury Duty Leave” and “Education Leave,” eliminate future Extended Sick Leave accruals, as well as multiple other cuts. Regan also accepted the elimination of retiree health benefits for all employees at St. Louise Regional Hospital and O'Connor Hospital, according to a copy of the deal.

SEIU-UHW members called Regan’s contract “the worst contract in our history.”

To add insult to injury, Regan jammed the wage freeze and benefit cuts down workers’ throats by using ramrod ratification votes.
Dave Regan, SEIU-UHW
Two months later, approximately 650 workers at two Verity hospitals (Seton Medical Center and Seton Coastside Hospital) began their own negotiations with Verity officials after decertifying SEIU-UHW and voting to join NUHW.

With NUHW, workers successfully fought off all of management’s benefit cuts and won increases of 3% per year to workers’ wage scales during each year of the three-year contract. In addition, NUHW members won one-time “equity” pay increases of up to 12%.

Across California, Regan and SEIU-UHW have a well-documented history of cutting backroom deals with hospital CEOs to gut workers’ pay, benefits, and working conditions. Now, at the Verity hospitals, Regan’s dirty deeds have produced a lopsided outcome for employees who do the same work just miles apart. SEIU-UHW members, working 40 miles away from their NUHW counterparts, now receive vastly inferior benefits from the same company.  

Regan’s cuts offer another jarring contradiction.

SEIU officials have rightfully criticized Trump’s effort to cut health coverage under the Medicaid Program and the Affordable Care Act. So, ummm, why did one of SEIU’s top officials – Dave Regan – agree to eliminate health coverage for hundreds of SEIU’s own members without any kind of fight?

And while we’re on the topic of contradictions, why did Regan ink his sell-out deal with Verity, a company controlled by New York hedge fund BlueMountain Capital?

So much for SEIU’s fight against the 1% and the billionaire class, who are pocketing unprecedented profits while US workers struggle to pay rent and put food on the table.

Monday, February 27, 2017

SEIU-UHW’s Dave Regan Loses (Again) to Hospital Association

Dave Regan’s winless streak is now even longer.

On February 17, 2017, an appeals court in California slapped down Regan’s latest legal airball. 

Regan filed the suit last month, just days after a Sacramento County Superior Court judge tossed out Regan’s personal lawsuit against the California Hospital Association (CHA) over his secret “partnership” deal with the CHA.

In response to the judge's action, Regan decided to sue the entire Sacramento County Superior Court in a case called “Regan, etc. v. The Superior Court of Sacramento County.”

In the suit, Regan implored the Court of Appeal for the Third Appellate District to block the judge’s ruling that requires “Wall Street” Dave to undergo yet another round of “binding arbitration” over alleged violations of his secret deal with the CHA.

This time, it took the court only 17 days to whack Regan’s wobbly three-point attempt into the 17th row, according to court records. A copy of the one-sentence decision is below.

What’s next?

It looks like Regan, president of SEIU-UHW, and his erstwhile paramour, Duane Dauner (CEO of the CHA), will soon be perched on the witness stand where they can exchange wistful sighs and furtive glances.

More drama for Dave and Duane.

Stay tuned.

Friday, February 17, 2017

SEIU-UHW’s Dave Regan: ‘I’m running for re-election’

Despite earlier reports to the contrary, Dave Regan is officially running for re-election as president of SEIU-UHW.

Days ago, the union announced that Regan will join two other candidates on the ballot in next month’s mail-ballot election. And next week, Regan and the other candidates are supposed to post statements on SEIU-UHW’s website about their candidacies.

What about the earlier reports of Regan’s imminent departure?

In December 2015, Regan told a meeting of the union’s Executive Board he would not run for re-election, according to board members who attended the meeting. Regan also said he was backing the director of SEIU-UHW’s Kaiser Division, Chokri Bensaid, to be his replacement.

Several months ago, staffers at SEIU-UHW confirmed that Regan was on his way out.

What changed?

Hard to tell. Perhaps Regan had a change of heart and decided to hang onto his annual $250,000 salary.

Observers point to another possibility. If Regan fears his chosen successor might not win a contested election, he may be running so that sometime after he’s installed for a new three-year term, he can resign and have the Executive Board appoint his chosen successor without a union-wide election.

Who’s running against Regan in next month’s election?
Niko Anagnostopoulos
Both of his challengers are rank-and-file members at Kaiser Permanente and currently serve on the union’s Executive Board.

One of them, Niko Anagnostopoulos, ran against Regan in 2014 and got about 1,200 votes compared to Regan’s 8,000. Anagnostopoulos has set up a website and Facebook page that criticizes Regan and his slate of Executive Board candidates, which is called the “Healthcare Justice slate,” for failing to represent workers on the job and for Regan’s “failed policies.”

Here’s an excerpt from Anagnostopoulos website:
Currently to remain as an elected officer with the existing UHW administration I would only be contributing to the failed policies of the establishment.  You will no doubt become familiar with “HealthCare Justice” as the masses of glossy flyers begin to clutter our mailboxes leading up to the election on March 15th, 2017…    The "HealthCare Justice Slate" has failed to represent all of its members.  The HealthCare slate leadership has jeopardized UHWs standing by pursuing a reckless policy of litigation with our employers.  I know that together we can act on a more constructive relationship with our administrative associates.  I believe that new leadership can improve our daily working conditions without further damaging the integrity and public perception of SEIU-UHW.

Last month, says Anagnostopoulos, the SEIU-UHW steward Council at Kaiser Walnut Creek Medical Center voted not to endorse Regan’s “Healthcare Justice slate.” It’s unclear if they voted to endorse Anagnostopoulos.

Anagnostopoulos’ campaign Facebook page takes a shot at Regan and the other six-figure staffers like Cass Gualvez who are Regan’s candidates for SEIU-UHW’s “Executive Committee.” Here’s what it says:
Here is a graphic showing the candidates for the SEIU-UHW election. We have included the union staff salaries. Do you feel protected? Have they earned re-election?

The third candidate is Cartina Price, a Licensed Vocational Nurse at Kaiser Torrance Clinic in Los Angeles.  It’s not clear if she has a website presence so far.
Cartina Price

SEIU-UHW’s past elections have been marked by low voter turnout and plenty of controversy. During SEIU-UHW's officer elections in 2011 and 2014, Regan was able to corral little more than 8,000 votes from the union's 140,000 members.

In 2011, Sophia Sims -- a rank-and-file Kaiser worker with few resources -- came within several thousand votes of defeating Regan, who collected only 7,000 votes that year. Not an impressive showing when you consider that Regan massively outspent Sims and also used the union's entire institutional machinery to push his candidacy onto the membership.

The elections were also marred by allegations of vote-rigging by Regan, which were detailed in a complaint to the US Department of Labor and a February 2011 lawsuit filed in Los Angeles Superior Court.

After the 2011 election, Regan looked for opportunities to knock Sims out of contention in future elections.

In 2012, he accused her of "gross disloyalty or conduct unbecoming a member" and ordered her to be subjected to an SEIU-UHW show trial. In 2013, Regan's hand-picked kangaroo court found Sims "guilty" and banned her from competing in SEIU-UHW's elections for seven years.

This year’s election will be the first since SEIU-UHW lost more than half of its membership when the union’s long-term care workers were transferred to SEIU Local 2015, headed by Laphonza Butler. Historically, Regan relied on homecare workers as a key source of votes in elections.

Friday, February 3, 2017

President of SEIU Union in Chicago Appeals Purple Palace’s Trusteeship Decision

Christine Boardman
On Monday, Christine Boardman (President of SEIU Local 73) formally appealed SEIU’s recent decision to continue its trusteeship of the union, which represents 25,000 public-sector workers in Illinois and Northwestern Indiana.

Boardman, in a January 30 letter to SEIU President Mary Kay Henry and Secretary-Treasurer Gerry Hudson, says SEIU’s decision to continue the trusteeship “is fraught with factual and legal errors and is in violation of the SEIU International Constitution as well as the LMRDA,” a reference to the federal Labor Management Reporting and Disclosure Act. Boardman requested a hearing before SEIU’s International Executive Board as part of her appeal. 

A copy of Boardman’s letter is below.

In an e-mail to supporters, Boardman vowed to fight SEIU’s decision, which was first announced on January 27 on Local 73’s website.

Last August, SEIU officials seized control of Local 73 through an “emergency trusteeship.” The action suspended Boardman and Matthew Brandon, Local 73’s Secretary-Treasurer, from their elected positions and also suspended the union’s Executive Board. Henry appointed three of her representatives to run the union as "trustees."

On September 24, 2016, SEIU officials conducted a “trusteeship hearing” headed by a hearing officer, Edgar Romney, to determine whether SEIU’s “emergency trusteeship” was justified and should continue. Romney, who was selected by Mary Kay Henry, is a member of SEIU’s International Executive Board and is the Secretary-Treasurer of SEIU’s “Workers United” division, which happens to owe $16.7 million to SEIU.

SEIU’s trusteeship hearings are typically kangaroo courts in which attorneys from the Purple Palace literally write a pre-ordained decision that's simply signed by the Hearing Officer.

On January 25, 2017, SEIU’s International Executive Board (IEB) approved Romney’s finding that “the trusteeship was imposed properly and should be continued.” 

Surprise, surprise, right? 

The IEB also adopted Romney’s recommendation that Local 73’s Executive Board be disbanded and that Boardman and Brandon be permanently removed from office.

Mary Kay Henry has appointed two trustees to run the local: Dian Palmer (President of SEIU Healthcare Wisconsin) and Denise Poloyac (Director of SEIU’s Property Services Division).

Eliseo Medina, who launched the trusteeship in August, is no longer a trustee at Local 73. At the end of summer, he flew back to California to serve as Henry’s “monitor” of SEIU Local 99 in Los Angeles following alleged misconduct by SEIU officials there.

So what’s the basis of Boardman’s appeal?

She says the trusteeship hearing and the subsequent actions by SEIU’s International Executive Board were “fraught with factual and legal errors” that violated SEIU’s Constitution.

In an e-mail sent to supporters this week, Boardman said the “vast majority” of the witnesses at the trusteeship hearing were from SEIU International. Neither Boardman nor Brandon was allowed to ask questions of SEIU witnesses, whom she describes as “bogus.” Boardman says she was permitted to make a statement during the hearing, but portions of her testimony – including an objection – were never included in the hearing records.

Furthermore, Boardman says SEIU’s justification for the trusteeship is “ridiculous.”

SEIU officials said they seized control of Local 73 because of fighting between Boardman and Brandon. “However,” writes Boardman, “the International used a different standard on [Local 73] than they did on other locals.” She continues:
This includes Local 99 in LA where the President was found to be stealing money and Local 1107 in Las Vegas where the Executive Vice President had an order of protection issued against her because of physical confrontations with the staff.  Six months later the President and Executive Vice President of 1107 filed charges against each other, plus 400 members signed petitions asking that the International trustee Local 1107.  For those locals the International did not have an emergency trusteeship. The International’s position that we [Local number 73] needed an “emergency trusteeship” is ridiculous.

Those familiar with SEIU’s recent history are likely laughing their asses off to see Edgar Romney serving as some sort of judge of moral probity. 

In 2009, Romney and Bruce Raynor joined Andy Stern in SEIU’s attempted hostile takeover of UNITE HERE, the United States’ largest union of hotel, food service, and casino workers. Across the US, labor leaders and observers slammed SEIU, Raynor, and Romney for their underhanded attack on UNITE HERE and its 450,000 members.