Friday, August 18, 2017

SEIU Inks Anti-Union Deal with Maine's Right-Wing Governor


Maine Gov. Paul LePage
SEIU is getting sharply criticized for cutting a horrible, anti-union deal with Maine’s extreme right-wing governor that’ll severely undermine unions.

Here’s what’s happening.

SEIU’s Maine State Employees Association (SEIU Local 1989) represents 13,000 largely public-sector workers, including more than 9,000 state workers.

Since 2011, Maine Gov. Paul LePage has repeatedly tried -- and failed -- to pass “right-to-work-for-less” legislation in the state’s Republican-controlled legislature. These bills would have eliminated the requirement that state employees who choose not to join a union instead pay a fee to help cover the costs of the union’s collective bargaining and representation services that benefit them. These cost-sharing fees are called “agency fees.”

Gov. LePage -- who has made racist comments and said this week that taking down Confederate statues is equivalent to taking down 9/11 memorials -- called his failure to implement “right-to-work-for-less” laws in Maine as one of his greatest failures as a governor.

Well, Republican lawmakers may have rejected LePage’s anti-union efforts. But that didn’t stop SEIU from accepting the same deal during SEIU’s recent contract negotiations with LePage’s office.

On Monday, the Bangor Daily News (“LePage’s pay raise offer sways biggest state union to accept ‘right to work’ contract language”) reported that SEIU officials, during their contract negotiations with state officials, agreed to eliminate the requirement that workers pay cost-sharing “agency fees” if they choose not to join their union.

What did SEIU get in exchange for this massive concession?

 A 3% pay increase during each of the next two years. 

If SEIU officials had rejected the “right-to-work-for-less” provision, SEIU members would have received 1% pay increases during each of the next two years.

According to the Bangor Daily News, AFSCME -- which also represents some state employees -- rejected a similar deal from LePage’s administration. An AFSCME representative told the newspaper that: “Right to work is designed to cripple unions and take them out of the game.”

How will SEIU’s horrible deal affect workers? Here’s what one reader said in comments posted below the news article:

The union leaders just killed the union for 3% a year for two years. The union will now die of suicide.


Friday, August 11, 2017

SEIU-UHW’s Dave Regan Turns to Ballot Initiatives... Again


Dave Regan
SEIU-UHW’s Dave Regan has returned to his ballot-initiative habit once again.

This week, Regan announced two ballot initiatives targeting the kidney dialysis industry in California, where he’s trying to squeeze some kinda deal out of one of the state’s the largest dialysis companies, DaVita Inc.

The two measures -- tentatively titled the “Kidney Dialysis Patient Protection Act” and the “Fair Pricing for Dialysis Act” -- must be approved by the California Attorney General before Regan can begin collecting signatures from more than 700,000 California voters to qualify the initiatives for the statewide ballot in November 2018.

Regan has been super un-successful at using ballot initiatives to ink sweetheart deals with hospital CEOs in both California and Arizona. Tasty estimates he’s spent more than $25 million of union members’ dues money on his failed ballot initiatives... and hasn't produced a single organizing victory.

Now… he appears to be turning his ballot-initiative phaser on the kidney dialysis industry.

What’s going on?

Since 2016, Regan has been attempting to organize DaVita workers at kidney dialysis clinics. But he’s been unsuccessful. So he’s now trying his ballot-initiative thang to see if DaVita’s CEO might be open to giving him a special deal... at a really good price!

Of course, that’s the problem with Regan. Once he disappears into a hotel suite with the CEOs, workers will never get to know what kind of deal he makes with his pin-striped pals.

In 2014, he negotiated a secret deal with the California Hospital Association… which Regan then refused to show to the union’s Executive Board, let alone the rank-and-file workers. 

Two years later, a copy of the deal became public as a result of a lawsuit. It turned out that when Regan was alone with the bosses in the hotel suite, he agreed to ban SEIU-UHW members from striking, force workers into pre-negotiated contracts with substandard wages and benefits, and gag union members from filing patient-care complaints against hospitals or even criticizing their CEO’s gold-plated salaries.

So the kidney dialysis workers need to beware. If Wall Street Dave actually succeeds in getting a meeting with DaVita’s CEO, workers better be damned sure they force themselves into the meeting.

Other things to watch:

Will the kidney dialysis industry attempt to enforce a California law that makes it illegal to use ballot initiatives as a bargaining chip?

Will Regan raid SEIU-UHW members' strike fund for the millions of dollars it will cost to pay signature-gatherers to collect the more than 700,000 signatures for the two kidney dialysis ballot measures?


Stay tuned.

Friday, August 4, 2017

SEIU Staffers: “SEIU Nevada’s Deputy Trustee is a professional bully”


Tasty got some interesting news about one of the trustees appointed recently to run SEIU Nevada.

In April, SEIU President Mary Kay Henry imposed an “emergency trusteeship” on the 9,000-member union and appointed two “trustees” to run the union after removing the elected board and officers.

Luisa Blue, one of SEIU International’s Executive Vice Presidents, serves as the “Trustee” of SEIU Nevada.

“Deputy Trustee” Martin Manteca -- who normally works as the Organizing Director of SEIU Local 721 in Los Angeles -- is “a professional bully,” say his co-workers at Local 721. They say he’s “harassed” and retaliated against staffers at Local 721.

In 2016, staffers were so upset by Manteca's bullying that 55 of them signed a letter delivered to SEIU Local 721 President Bob Schoonover. A copy of the petition is below.

An “update” circulated to Local 721 staff accuses Manteca of “a pattern of persistent, repeated mistreatment, and a culture of intimidation, harassment, retaliation, and nepotism.”

After staffers complained about Manteca, a number of the whistleblowers reportedly were targeted with retaliation and fired. In the process, Manteca and other Local 721 managers “destroyed the department,” according to staffers.

Sounds like the perfect person to fix SEIU Nevada, which is riven by internal divisions and conflicts, according to Mary Kay Henry.

One staffer from Local 721 writes:

I feel bad for the folks in Nevada. Martin is a professional bully, and has harassed and pushed out so many great organizers here. There'll be few of them left in Nevada once he's done there.