Wednesday, September 19, 2018

SEIU’s Andy Stern Joins Billionaires, Not Union Members, in Election Campaign

SEIU's Andy Stern
SEIU President Emeritus Andy Stern has once again shown his true colors.

In an upcoming election for a seat in California’s legislature, Stern has jumped in on the side of billionaires to back a corporate Democrat who’s challenging a union member supported by progressive organizations, multiple local unions, Bernie Sanders’ Our Revolution, the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) and California-based unions inside SEIU.

The November election pits Jovanka Beckles -- a Teamster, two-term Richmond city councilmember and DSA member -- against Buffy Wicks, a former White House official and Clinton Super PAC director who recently relocated to California and has never held elected office.

According to records from the California Secretary of State, Stern has made two contributions to Wicks this year. When contributing the funds, Stern identified himself as a “consultant” for Grandview, LLC, a corporation founded by Stern soon after he resigned as President of SEIU in April 2010. (See below.)

Incorporation documents confirm Stern’s role in the company (see below). Stern may use the corporation as a vehicle for his consulting gigs with tech companies like Uber and AirBnB. Stern’s company is registered to a Washington, DC apartment -- presumably Stern’s -- which appears to have a “grand view” of the Potomac River.
Jovanka Beckles (left) and Buffy Wicks (right)

The race for the California legislative seat has features similar to recent electoral contests in the US including the one between Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Joe Crowley.

During this spring’s primary election, Wicks received $1.2 million from “wealthy donors tied to Lyft, Uber, and Bay Area tech firms, charter school interests, major landlords, a health care industry PAC, and Govern for California, a business-oriented Super PAC created by the board chair of Walmart and a former top advisor to Republican Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger,” according to an article authored by labor journalist Steve Early. (Steve Early, “Teamster Tackles Corporate Democrat in California Assembly Race,” Labor Notes, August 31, 2018)

The "grand view" of the Potomac from the DC apartment
If you’re curious about Wicks’ donors, check out this interesting website -- -- which offers details about Wicks’ donors including billionaires Ron Conway and Reid Hoffman.

“In contrast,” says Early, “Beckles raised and spent only about $160,000, mostly in smaller, in-state donations. She ran as a “people-powered” candidate, free of corporate money and relied on few paid staffers or outside consultants.” Beckles supports “workers’ and tenants’ rights, single payer health care, and getting big money out of politics,” says Early.

Here's an interview with Beckles in Jacobin Magazine: "We Need a New Economy That Works for the Many” 

Early writes:
Ex-SEIU President Andy Stern is an individual endorser of Wicks—despite the fact that two major SEIU locals and their state council favor Beckles. Since leaving the union, Stern has become a corporate board member and gig economy consultant… In the Assembly District 15 race today, California single-payer advocates favor Beckles over Wicks, whose position on health care reform is much weaker.
If Beckles’ consistent solidarity with local labor causes is reciprocated through sufficient union voter turnout and spending on her behalf, she may indeed be joining the Assembly in January.
And there, she will be a rare “corporate-free” voice for many other working class and poor Californians whose interests tend to be overlooked by state legislators who do take money from business PACs and industry associations.

Beckles is backed by multiple unions including the National Union of Healthcare Workers, Transit (ATU) Local 192, University Professional and Technical Employees (CWA), Teamsters Joint Council 7, SEIU Local 1021, the Alameda and Contra Costa County Labor Councils, the California Labor Federation, both statewide teachers’ unions, AFSCME, and the California Nurses Association.

Friday, September 7, 2018

Press: “Sexual Misconduct Lawsuit Filed against SEIU Prez’s Top Ally”

SEIU-UHW’s Dave Regan is getting more attention in the news… this time for allegations that he and other top SEIU-UHW officials engaged in harassment against women inside the union.

On August 21, Payday Report published an article detailing the latest developments in a lawsuit filed by Mindy Sturge against SEIU-UHW and Marcus Hatcher. Sturge first filed the lawsuit in May, but filed an updated and amended suit in July in Alameda County (Calif.) Superior Court. (Mike Elk, “Sexual Misconduct Lawsuit Filed Against SEIU Prez’s Top Ally,” Payday Report, August and 21, 2018)

Until recently, Hatcher directed SEIU-UHW’s Kaiser Division and served on the union’s Executive Board and Executive Committee. He was one of Regan’s top allies. Sturge, a “Coordinator” in SEIU-UHW’s Kaiser Division, was directly supervised by Hatcher.

Here’s an excerpt from the article. A full copy of the revised lawsuit is below.
Payday Report has learned that one of the largest Service Employees International Union locals in the country, California-based SEIU-UHW, has been sued in Alameda, California for sexual misconduct and assault committed by a top SEIU official against one of its former organizers. The lawsuits, obtained by Payday Report, accuses SEIU Vice President Dave Regan, who also serves as President of SEIU-UHW, of engaging in sexual misconduct…
SEIU-UHW has long faced criticism as one of the most corrupt and undemocratic union locals in the country; leading many #metoo activists to believe that the undemocratic culture within the union has bred a culture where misogyny and sexual misconduct flourish…
Now a lawsuit filed by a former SEIU staffer, Mindy Sturge, accuses SEIU-UHW President Dave Regan and former SEIU-UHW Kaiser Permanente Division Director Marcus Hatcher, of sexual misconduct and retaliation against Sturge for reporting it.
The lawsuit filed by Sturge also accuses SEIU-UHW of knowingly hiring organizers such as [Pedro] Malave who have been accused of sexual misconduct in other parts of the union.
According to the lawsuit: “Sturge and other women employees, and women union members were the subjects of inappropriate remarks that addressed their looks, their bodies, and their availability/interest in relationships. Sturge was also subjected to offensive touching, and she and others were discussed in inappropriate texts and in comments heard by or related to Sturge”.
Sturge reported the comments to SEIU-UHW management on several occasions, but no investigation was undertaken until Sturge was physically and sexually assaulted by Hatcher in September of 2017.
When Sturge finally did report the incidents, the lawsuit alleges that Regan, who was responsible for investigating all claims as President of the SEIU-UHW, verbally abused and berated Sturge in front of other staff members.
In November of 2017, Hatcher was reportedly fired from SEIU-UHW for violating SEIU’s non-fraternization policy, but the union took no disciplinary action against him for engaging in alleged sexual misconduct and assault. Nor was an action taken against SEIU UHW President Dave Regan for harassment of Sturge.
During this time period, the lawsuit alleges that Hatcher and his allies made social media posts and verbal comments accusing Sturge of lying about the story and trying to shake down Hatcher and the union for money after engaging in a consensual sexual relationship with Hatcher.
The lawsuit alleges that that “SEIU-UHW and its agents furthered the false and defamatory narrative about Sturge by announcing to others, both internally and externally, that Hatcher was fired for violation of the union’s non-fraternization policy as opposed to Hatcher having violated SEIU-UHW’s anti-harassment policy and/or having assaulted Sturge. This gave rise to the implication that Sturge and Hatcher had a consensual relationship or that his termination was the sole result of his consensual relationship(s) with other union staff and/or members”.

The lawsuit alleges that Hatcher and/or other SEIU-UHW staffers waged a campaign on Facebook and other social media designed to trash Sturge’s reputation and to lie about what happened. Here’s an excerpt from the lawsuit:
Among other things, these posts claim that Sturge had lied about the sexual assault by Hatcher, that she had “a consensual affair” with Hatcher, that she had ruined Hatcher’s life and career, that she is a “liar and manipulator,” that she is “a cheat and a home wrecker,” that she traveled to Los Angeles to further her alleged consensual affair with Hatcher, that she would go “bar-hopping” with Hatcher, and that she had reported Hatcher’s conduct to SEIU-UHW solely for the purpose of obtaining a monetary settlement…

According to the lawsuit, all of these statements are false and originated from Hatcher and/or other SEIU-UHW staffers. The latest version of the lawsuit says that when some of these Facebook post attacking Sturge were shown to Greg Pullman (SEIU-UHW’s Chief of Staff), he called the posts “disgusting.”

If the lawsuit proceeds to trial, says Payday Report, it could produce “volumes of evidence” that could shine a light on why top SEIU officials like Regan “were allowed to get away with sexual misconduct and retaliation against those who reported it.”

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Ten Years Later...

This month marks the tenth anniversary of some of the headline-grabbing events that led up to SEIU's disastrous trusteeship of SEIU-UHW.

Ten years ago, SEIU-UHW -- then led by president Sal Rosselli -- was one of the most successful healthcare unions in the nation. Labor journalist Steve Early called SEIU’s takeover of SEIU-UHW “the mother of all trusteeships.” Unfortunately, it gave birth to a Frankenstein-like child headed by Dave Regan, who quickly drove the once-powerful union into the ground.

So what happened ten years ago?

During August 2008, a reporter named Paul Pringle published eight articles in the Los Angeles Times detailing a massive corruption scandal perpetrated by Tyrone Freeman, one of Andy Stern’s closest allies.

Freeman’s corruption was stunning. It ranged from union-funded jaunts to Hawaii with his personal assistant, $175 glasses of cognac and cigars at an exclusive cigar club frequented by Los Angeles movie stars, no-show jobs for relatives, and kickbacks from corporations in exchange for deals that sold out low-wage healthcare workers.

During the months leading up to August 2008, Freeman had served as Andy Stern’s attack dog in Stern’s campaign to “implode” SEIU-UHW. A boatload of Stern’s staffers also worked on the campaign, such as Stephen Lerner, Dave Regan, Bill Ragen, Tom DeBruin, Josie Mooney, Debbie Schneider, Steve Trossman and Denise Poloyac.
Andy Stern

Earlier in the summer of 2008, Freeman was riding high after Stern initiated a maneuver to transfer 65,000 union members out of Rosselli’s SEIU-UHW and put them in Freeman’s union… without a democratic vote by the workers. 

Following the transfer, Freeman would have led one of SEIU’s largest local unions… and he then would have delivered all of his union’s votes to Stern at SEIU’s conventions where Stern sought reelection as the international union’s president.

But in August 2008, the curtains were finally pulled back on Freeman’s years-long corruption scandal and he plummeted to earth like a flaming meteor.

Stern, angry at the loss of his loyal ally, announced on August 25, 2008 that SEIU was launching trusteeship hearings against Rosselli’s union. During the preceding years, SEIU-UHW’s members had caught Stern and his DC-based staffers making backroom deals with healthcare corporations that sold out workers and patients, and violated democratic principles.

In 2010, Stern resigned as the President of SEIU after launching yet another disastrous attack, this time against UNITE HERE. Freeman, in turn, ended up in federal prison. "May God have mercy on me," said Freeman at the time of his sentencing. "I am accountable for these bad decisions."

Meanwhile, Rosselli and his crew of rank-and-file leaders launched the National Union of Healthcare Workers (NUHW) as a militant, member-led, democratic alternative to SEIU.

Ten years later, this history stands sharper in our collective memory.

Here’s a link to the series of articles in the Los Angeles Times from August 2008.

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Newspaper: Calif. Legislator Filed Complaint against Dave Regan over Barroom Clash

The largest newspaper in California’s capital city has published an article confirming Tasty’s report about a barroom confrontation involving SEIU-UHW President Dave Regan that reportedly injured California Assemblymember Richard Bloom.

Last night -- just ten hours after Tasty posted an account of the incident -- the Sacramento Bee published an article confirming the report and offering new details. (Alexei Koseff, “A union president shoved him at a Sacramento fundraiser, lawmaker reports,” Sacramento Bee, August 21, 2016)

Here are some excerpts:
A California lawmaker reported to the Legislature earlier this month that he was shoved by a health care union president at a downtown Sacramento restaurant.
The confrontation between Assemblyman Richard Bloom, D-Santa Monica, and Dave Regan, president of SEIU-United Healthcare Workers West, occurred on Aug. 8 at Lucca Restaurant and Bar, where the two were attending separate events for the California Legislative Jewish Caucus and California Forward.
Bloom’s office declined to discuss the incident but confirmed that Bloom reported it to the Assembly Rules Committee.

According to the Bee, Regan began arguing with Andrew Crutchfield, director of the political advocacy group Govern for California, who was attending the event organized by the California Legislative Jewish Caucus.
A few people from both parties came over to break up the dispute. Bloom got between Regan and Crutchfield, Sen. Ben Allen said, and that’s when Regan pushed him out of the way…
“From the short period of time that I witnessed the altercation, Mr. Regan appeared belligerent,” Allen said.
[SEIU-UHW staffer Steve] Trossman said Regan “maybe had a glass of wine” that night. He was not kicked out of the restaurant, Trossman said...
“I really don’t think alcohol was a factor in this,” Trossman said. “Dave is very passionate about workers…”

Sen. Ben Allen is a Democrat from Santa Monica, Calif. and serves as the Chair of the Senate Education Committee.
Regan's barroom clash was the top item in CALmatters

So, why did Regan -- who reportedly has a history of engaging in alcohol-fueled fights -- get “belligerent” and require lawmakers from both houses of California’s legislature to stop him from getting into a fistfight inside a Sacramento restaurant and bar?

According to Trossman, Regan tried to fight Crutchfield because Crutchfield was “gloating” about the US Supreme Court’s anti-union Janus decision and was criticizing unions.

Now… even if Crutchfield is the biggest rightwing anti-union ideologue in the nation, is it smart or strategic for a union leader to try to punch him during the middle of two political events attended by dozens of California legislators?

In the Sacramento Bee, Trossman tries to argue that Regan was not at fault because he was “provoked” or manipulated by Crutchfield into trying to punch him.

Hmmm, that’s a great message. 

If it’s so damn easy to manipulate Regan into doing stupid sh*t, isn’t Trossman basically saying Dave is a dumbass?

After all, rank-and-file union leaders face provocations at their worksites all the time from aggressive supervisors, anti-union bosses, etc. They manage to keep their cool. Why can’t Dave?

Thirdly, if Dave is gonna do something stupid, he should at least try to hit the guy he’s arguing with… and not an innocent bystander who happens to be a state legislator.

At the end of today, it's obvious that Regan can’t keep his cool. Remember, he’s the one who assaulted a process server who was simply trying to deliver legal papers to his house, according to court documents.

It seems like Regan’s handlers should keep him away from public events. And process servers. And union staff members. After all, who knows when someone will next set Regan off like a fistful of nitroglycerin?

Here’s a link to the full story in the Sacramento Bee:  A union president shoved him at a Sacramento fundraiser, lawmaker reports.”

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Sources: Dave Regan Injured a California Lawmaker during Barroom Fight

SEIU-UHW President Dave Regan sent a California legislator to the hospital after knocking him down during Regan’s allegedly drunken attack on an unidentified patron of Sacramento restaurant and bar, according to sources.
SEIU-UHW's Dave Regan

The legislator, Assemblymember Richard Bloom (D-West Los Angeles), is considering taking legal action against Regan, say sources. He was at the restaurant to attend an event organized by the California Legislative Jewish Caucus when he was inadvertently injured by Regan.

Here’s what happened, say Tasty’s sources:

Earlier this month, Regan attended an event sponsored by “California Forward” at Lucca Restaurant and Bar, just two blocks from the state capitol.

Regan serves on the board of “California Forward,” which describes itself as a “bipartisan leadership council” that articulates “a vision for governance reforms to break the partisan gridlock and fortify fiscal management.” Other board members include Duf Sundheim (the former Chairman of the California Republican Party) and Wade Rose (Vice President of Government Relations at Dignity Health).

During the event, Regan reportedly got drunk and began arguing with an unknown patron. (Apparently, this was Dave’s method of ‘bridging the partisan divide.’) While attempting to punch the patron, Regan instead knocked Assemblymember Bloom to the floor, who was injured and reportedly transported to a local hospital.

Assemblymember Bloom happened to be at the restaurant attending a separate event sponsored by the California Legislative Jewish Caucus. He’s one of 16 legislators who comprise the caucus.

According to Tasty’s sources, California’s capital is now abuzz with reports about Regan’s reportedly drunken attack at Lucca and the injuries sustained by Bloom. 

As readers know, Regan is shadowed by a long trail of allegations, arrests, restraining orders and lawsuits related to physical assault, threats and violence.

In the most recent incident known to Tasty, in 2016 Regan allegedly attacked a process server attempting to deliver legal documents from the California Hospital Association to Regan’s home in Kensington, Calif. The process server later documented Regan’s assault in court records and in photographs of his injuries. He wrote a description of the assault submitted to the court, which reads in part:
"Mr. Regan kept hitting me in the head with his fist… I thought I was going to die."

During a police investigation, Regan attempted to intimidate an investigating police officer, according to CBS News. The incident resulted in a criminal complaint against Regan that was referred to the District Attorney. Ragin’ Dave Regan was also subject to a court-ordered restraining order.

In 2008, Regan led busloads of SEIU staffers and supporters in an attack against a national conference held by "Labor Notes," a network of union activists seeking to democratize and reform US labor unions.
Regan's 2008 assaults on Labor Notes Conference
Regan's troops violently forced their way into the conference in Dearborn, Michigan, where they reportedly punched, kicked and knocked participants to the floor. One female conference attendee was sent to the hospital with injuries to her head and one of the members of Regan's union at the time, SEIU 1199 West Virginia, Kentucky, Ohio, died during Regan's assault from a heart attack.

John Sweeney (then President of the AFL-CIO) denounced Regan's attack on the conference, stating: "There is no justification -- none -- for the violent attack orchestrated by SEIU," according to the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal.

In 2011, Regan was sued for allegedly violating two civil rights laws by carrying out a plan of assault, battery, intimidation, threat and coercion in an effort to silence SEIU-UHW’s critics. Later, Regan reportedly settled the lawsuit out of court.

During a 2009 election among homecare workers in Fresno County, SEIU staffers reportedly threatened immigrant home care workers with deportation unless they voted for SEIU-UHW, according to TV news coverage and video-taped testimonials of workers and SEIU staff.

During NLRB elections at Kaiser Permanente in 2010, SEIU-UHW employed a "World War III" strategy designed to intimidate its members by employing, for example, violent "shout downs" and intimidation tactics against union members.

In one infamous incident inside a hospital cafeteria, SEIU-UHW staffer Tiffany Ford issued death threats against Kaiser employees… for which a Los Angeles Superior Court judge imposed a restraining order against her.

Another SEIU-UHW staffer, Liz Castillo, became a YouTube sensation (90,000 views) for her violent assault in a hospital cafeteria captured on videotape.

SEIU-UHW -- including staffer Angela Hewett -- even threatened and intimidated 80-year-old labor legend Dolores Huerta, who co-founded of the United Farm Workers Union with Cesar Chavez. In one incident, SEIU-UHW representatives shamefully screamed at Ms. Huerta to "go back to the fields."

In 1995, Regan was arrested by police in Ohio for disorderly conduct, according to CBS News.

Regan, in addition to serving as the President of SEIU-UHW, is also a Vice President of SEIU and serves on its DC-based International Executive Board headed by SEIU President Mary Kay Henry.

Here's the 2016 CBS news clip reporting on Regan's assault on a process server at his home.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

More Bumps in the Road for Dave Regan’s Ballot-Initiative Bonanza

SEIU-UHW’s Dave Regan is facing more problems in his quest to pass at least ten ballot initiatives during 2018.

After first abandoning his effort to place an initiative on Arizona’s November ballot targeting the kidney dialysis industry, Regan then dropped his plans for ballot measures in three California cities “after not gathering enough signatures,” according to the East Bay Times.

The three measures would have targeted Stanford Health Care in the cities of Pleasanton, Emeryville and Redwood City. Regan tried to use the threat of his ballot initiatives to pressure Stanford into signing a special unionization deal. (Angela Ruggeiro, “Livermore sued over city measure for healthcare costs; asks court to rule on legality,” East Bay Times, August 10, 2018)

Earlier this year, the City of Emeryville sued SEIU-UHW alleging that Regan’s ballot initiative is unconstitutional, violates due process rules, and is preempted by state and federal laws.

In a fourth city in the San Francisco Bay Area – Livermore -- Regan successfully gathered enough signatures to qualify his anti-Stanford initiative for the citywide ballot. However, Diamond Dave and his attorneys are now locked in dueling lawsuits with the city.

On August 2, Regan sued the City of Livermore alleging that the ballot language approved by the City Council is biased. The lawsuit was filed in Alameda County Superior Court, according to press accounts and SEIU-UHW’s website.

Meanwhile, the City of Livermore has filed a court petition challenging the constitutionality of Regan’s ballot initiative. The city says healthcare prices are governed by statewide rules and that it would be improper for the city to create its own separate standards. The city attorney “likened the scenario to if Livermore adopted a different vehicle code, just for the city, which would go against state vehicle codes.”
Livermore City Attorney Jason Alcala

As the lawsuits move forward, pin-striped lawyers and pollsters and consultants are chanting “Ka-Ching!” as the price tag on Regan’s 2018 ballot-initiative bonanza soars ever higher.

Why is the City of Livermore against Regan’s ballot initiative?

If approved by voters, the measure would force the city to spend nearly $2 million a year to implement and administer Regan’s initiative, according to experts hired by city officials. Additionally, city officials fear that Regan’s initiative would drive hospitals, clinics and other healthcare providers out of the city.

Late last year, Regan apparently launched his ballot-initiative bonanza with great hopes… despite the failure of his past efforts. In 2018, Regan introduced more ballot initiatives than during the past six years combined.

So far, however, Regan has come up empty-handed... and it’s unlikely he’ll eke out any deals at this stage of the game. Once the initiatives have been put on the ballot, there’s little incentive for the targeted companies to negotiate with Regan because he no longer has the power to remove the initiatives from the ballot.

Regan -- who believes ballot initiatives are some kind of miraculous solution for the profound problems gripping the US labor movement -- has dumped more than $10 million of his members’ funds into initiatives during 2018.

What could workers have done with this money?

And what’ll happen to Diamond Dave if he ends the year without a single unionization deal?

Stay tuned.  

Friday, August 10, 2018

SEIU Shutters Department, Gets Tongue-Lashing from Longtime Director

SEIU’s national leaders are coming under sharp criticism by the former director of SEIU International’s Occupational Health and Safety Program.


“As of July 1,” according to an article published in an online newsletter about workplace safety and labor issues, “the two-million member union will no longer have a health and safety program as it lays off its last health and safety staffer, Mark Catlin, who has been SEIU’s lone health and safety staffer for many months.”

Here’s what Bill Borwegen, the former director of SEIU’s Occupational Health and Safety Program, said:
‘Healthcare for All’ is a meaningless jingoistic slogan if unions aren’t willing to fund even the most meager of efforts to reduce workplace hazards that lead to preventable injuries, illnesses and deaths.  And with the release of the most recent troubling latest BLS statistics demonstrating how – if anything-- unions need to be redoubling their efforts at this time. Wow. Tragically this is a symptom of what happens when union leadership becomes thoroughly and utterly disengaged from the day to day workplace realities of those they get the privilege to serve.

Sharp language, right? “A union leadership that’s thoroughly and utterly disengaged from the day to day workplace realities of those they get the privilege to serve.”

Why is Borwegen -- who worked at SEIU for 30 years and was a well-known staffer there -- so critical?

It turns out that SEIU’s members work in industries, like health care, with skyhigh injury rates. In fact, injury rates among healthcare workers are higher than in the manufacturing industry. According to OSHA,
More workers are injured in the healthcare and social assistance industry sector than any other. This industry has one of the highest rates of work related injuries and illnesses. In 2010, the healthcare and social assistance industry reported more injury and illness cases than any other private industry sector -- 653,900 cases. That is 152,000 more cases than the next industry sector: manufacturing… Nursing aides, orderlies, and attendants had the highest rates of musculoskeletal disorders of all occupations in 2010.

Musculoskeletal disorders refer, for example, to the back and shoulder injuries that nursing home workers suffer from having to lift and turn bed-bound patients.

OSHA goes on to describe other workplace dangers confronting healthcare workers:
Healthcare workers face a number of serious safety and health hazards. They include bloodborne pathogens and biological hazards, potential chemical and drug exposures, waste anesthetic gas exposures, respiratory hazards, ergonomic hazards from lifting and repetitive tasks, laser hazards, workplace violence, hazards associated with laboratories, and radioactive material and x-ray hazards.

SEIU’s elimination of its Health and Safety Program is even more troubling given the rivers of money that Andy Stern and Mary Kay Henry diverted away from local unions and poured into SEIU’s DC-headquarters over many years.

As part of their effort to centralize control and power in SEIU’s DC headquarters, Stern and Henry pushed through changes that required local SEIU affiliates to send more and more of their dues money to the national headquarters. In one episode, they even passed a measure to divert millions of dollars from SEIU’s national industry strike fund into SEIU International’s annual budget.

With all that money, why are SEIU officials shutting down a program that should be a core job of unions?

Like Borwegen said: it’s because of officials who are thoroughly and utterly disengaged from the day-to-day lives of their members.

Friday, August 3, 2018

Dave Regan Confronts Hurdles in Ohio Ballot Initiative Effort

SEIU-UHW's Dave Regan recently submitted signatures to try to put an initiative targeting kidney dialysis companies on Ohio's November ballot... but he came up 10,000 short of the 306,000 needed to qualify the initiative for the ballot.

That left Regan with just 10 days to collect 10,000 valid signatures before a state election deadline. (Jo Ingles, “Dialysis Clinic Regulation Ballot Issue Faces More Hurdles,” WKSU, July 27, 2018.)

Yesterday, an SEIU spokesperson announced that the campaign had submitted additional signatures that should qualify the measure for the ballot. The signatures must now be validated by state officials.

How much is Regan’s Ohio ballot-initiative project costing?

Beaucoup dinero.

As of July 31, Regan’s campaign had spent more than $4.1 million, according to records posted by the Ohio Secretary of State. (SEIU-UHW’s Political Action Committee is called “Ohioans for Kidney Dialysis Patient Protection”).

In an interesting development, campaign finance disclosure reports indicate that SEIU International gave $2.5 million to the campaign. Meanwhile, SEIU-UHW has “loaned” the campaign more than $1.7 million. It’s unclear if SEIU-UHW will ever be repaid.

Why is DC-based SEIU International contributing to the campaign?

After all, Regan has warred with SEIU International President Mary Kay Henry. It’s unclear what sort of internal politics lie behind this support.

Where has Regan spent the $4.1 million?

Most of the money has gone to a California signature-gathering firm that hires temporary workers to collect voters’ signatures. “In recent weeks we have seen hundreds of paid circulators,” said opponents of the measure, “many of them from out of state, gathering signatures on petitions.”

Meanwhile, Regan spent another chunk of change on polling and public-relations firms. Still other money has gone to the law firm of Regan’s personal attorney, Michael Hunter.

In June, campaign spending leaped skywards when the campaign paid more than $3.1 million to the signature-gathering firm headed by Angelo Paparella, according to disclosure records.

In yet another hurdle, Regan now faces a lawsuit over the ballot measure, which is designed to amend Ohio’s Constitution. 

The lawsuit was filed by the Ohio Renal Association, which represents the state’s 326 dialysis clinics. It seeks to block the measure from appearing on the November ballot. Of course, Regan will now have to spend gobs more money on lawyers to try to beat back the legal challenge.

So… the price tag for Regan’s ballot-initiative strategy keeps growing by the minute.

These new reports help us understand just how much money Regan is pouring into his 2018 ballot-initiative gamble, even though it doesn’t appear to be headed towards any resolution that would produce an organizing agreement between the dialysis industry and SEIU-UHW.

Stay tuned.

Monday, July 23, 2018

SEIU-UHW's Dave Regan: 'I can't get to the table with Kaiser'

The Coalition of Kaiser Permanente Unions (“the Coalition”) doesn’t appear to be getting any closer to sitting down with Kaiser Permanente at the bargaining table.

Last week, the Coalition sent out an update to workers entitled, “Kaiser Permanente Continues Its Aggressive Behavior toward Coalition Unions.” Here’s how it begins:
Kaiser continues to demand a new Partnership Agreement and is requiring Coalition Unions to sign a new Partnership agreement as a condition of resuming negotiations of a new National Agreement… We have met three times with Kaiser leaders over the last few months to reach an agreement.  The Coalition has offered a counter proposal that was balanced—offering new rights and responsibilities within the Partnership for both our unions and Kaiser. We also have offered a ‘temporary cease fire’ that would get us back to the table for negotiations while addressing Kaiser’s concerns.  Both of these offers have been rejected by Kaiser.

The Coalition appears to be especially upset about Kaiser’s demand to insert a “Dave Regan rule” into a new partnership agreement. That’s the rule that would allow the Coalition unions to kick out one of its member unions for “egregious non-partnering behavior upon a vote of 70%” of the partnering unions.

Earlier this year, more than half of the partnership unions quit the Coalition after repeated problems with SEIU-UHW’s Dave Regan and his attempt to snatch more and more decision-making power from the other unions. Under their partnership agreement, there was no way for the unions to kick Regan out, so they had to quit the Coalition and form an entirely new partnership group. That’s the problem that the “Dave Reagan rule” tries to solve.

In its recent message, the Coalition took some back-handed shots at the Alliance of Health Care Unions, which negotiated and signed a new “partnership agreement” with Kaiser in May and has been in bargaining since then for a new contract. (BTW, the Alliance’s agreement with Kaiser includes the so-called “Dave Regan rule.”)

Here’s what the Coalition says about the Alliance:
They have not reached an agreement as of July 11, 2018 and are not expected to resume negotiations until late August. As those negotiations have progressed, significant concerns have emerged that impact ALL union members at Kaiser. Specifically, Kaiser is demanding:
  • Higher co-pays on our medical benefits
  • “Market based” wages based on where people work
  • Eroding RN staffing ratios

Meanwhile, other unions are also beginning their negotiations with Kaiser. Just last week, several thousand members of the National Union of Healthcare Workers (NUHW) began bargaining with Kaiser over three contracts that expire later this fall.

So… when will the Coalition finally get to the bargaining table?

It may take a while. So far, the Coalition’s “Plan to Win” has been downright underwhelming.

Stay tuned.

Saturday, July 14, 2018

SEIU-UHW’s Dave Regan Drops Ballot Initiative in Arizona

Dave Regan has dropped his effort to place an initiative targeting the kidney dialysis industry on Arizona’s statewide ballot, according to a press outlet. (Howard Fischer, “Union Gives up on Dialysis Initiative,” The Daily Courier, July 4, 2018)

Here’s the background.

After Regan first filed an initiative against the kidney dialysis industry in California, he then filed copycat initiatives in both Arizona and Ohio in an apparent attempt to "up the ante" on industry leaders. Regan apparently hoped the pressure would prompt industry leaders to sign a special unionization deal with him in exchange for his commitment to withdraw the initiatives from the ballots, as he did in a secret deal with executives at the California Hospital Association (CHA).

The secret deal with the CHA, which later came to light through litigation, sold out the workers that Regan claimed to be advocating for – including banning them from striking and even criticizing their employers’ multi-million dollar salaries.

To date, Regan has spent upwards of $6 million of SEIU-UHW’s funds on his California kidney-dialysis initiative. Nonetheless, dialysis industry officials have failed to bite on Regan’s bait. So… Regan and SEIU-UHW are now heading towards a multi-million dollar election battle in November.

Regan has plowed millions of dollars of the union’s resources into his high-stakes (and high-cost) game of chicken with dialysis industry officials. Regan once touted his ballot initiative strategy as an “audacious new proposal to save the labor movement,” even though it has drained tens of millions of dollars from SEIU-UHW’s coffers without leading to the unionization of a single healthcare worker.

Here are some excerpts from the article about Regan’s initiative in Arizona:
A California union has given up on its plan to ask Arizona voters to impose new service and cost restrictions on companies that perform dialysis.
Sean Wherley, spokesman for Service Employees International Union, said on Monday his organization has decided to focus its efforts elsewhere.
Wherley conceded the measure was aimed specifically at two firms: Fresenius Kidney Care and DaVita Kidney care. He said the two control more than 80 percent of the licensed dialysis centers in the state. Potentially more significant, Wherley acknowledged that both operate here without SEIU employees.
This isn’t the first time SEIU had started petition drives in its fights with employers.
Two years ago it crafted an initiative drive to cap the pay of hospital executives at no more than what the president of the United States is paid, or $450,000 a year. But after gathering what it said was more than 281,000 signatures — far more than needed — the union decided to scrap the effort in the face of challenges to the validity of many of those signatures.
But Wherley sidestepped questions Monday about whether the SEIU was simply using the Arizona initiative process for political purposes in the union’s ongoing battles with hospitals and health care employers.
“There’s only so many states that have ballot initiatives,’’ he said.
“So we look at them, where does SEIU have a presence, where can health care workers be benefited, where can patients be benefited,’’ Wherley said. “That’s kind of the calculus that decides where we introduce an initiative and where we submit signatures to qualify.’’
In the end, Wherley said, the union decided to not even try to collect signatures on the Arizona proposal.

Friday, July 6, 2018

Former SEIU-UHW Staffer Names Dave Regan in Lawsuit over Sexual Harassment, Discrimination

A former SEIU-UHW staffer has filed a civil lawsuit against SEIU-UHW alleging discrimination, battery, harassment, defamation, and gender violence. The suit, filed in Alameda County Superior Court in May 2018, names both the union and Marcus Hatcher, a former top union official, as defendants.

Among other allegations, the lawsuit claims that SEIU-UHW President Dave Regan and other top officials made inappropriate comments about women staffers’ looks, their bodies, and their availability/interest in relationships and also engaged in “offensive touching,"

Readers may remember Hatcher.

Last November, he was fired from his job after reportedly having romantic affairs with multiple members of the union’s Executive Board. At the time, he was the Director of SEIU-UHW’s Kaiser Division and a member of the union’s Executive Board and Executive Committee

During the same week, a second SEIU-UHW staffer, Mindy Sturge, also lost her job. Sturge had worked at the union for ten years, was a “Coordinator 3,” and was supervised by Hatcher, according to the lawsuit.

Sturge, who filed the lawsuit, alleges that SEIU-UHW and its top managers violated California law by “fostering a discriminatory workplace” that subjected women staffers and union members to sexual harassment.

Here’s an excerpt from the lawsuit:
“SEIU-UHW fostered a discriminatory workplace… Specifically, Sturge, other women employees, and union members were the subject of inappropriate remarks that address their looks, their bodies, and their availability/interest in relationships. Sturge was also subject to offensive touching, and she and others were discussed in inappropriate texts and comments heard by or related to Sturge. This conduct was engaged in by senior SEIU-UHW managers and directors, including but expressly not limited to Hatcher and [Dave] Regan. This conduct, which was unwelcome, regular, and pervasive, continued throughout Sturge’s employment and was personally experienced or witnessed by Sturge and directly affected her work environment. Sturge (and others) reported some of this inappropriate conduct to SEIU-UHW management when it occurred, but SEIU-UHW took no action to prevent or address this conduct until after Sturge was assaulted by Hatcher in September 2017.”

Why might SEIU-UHW have failed to hold staffers accountable for sexual misconduct?
Dave in his office
The lawsuit seems to offer an answer. Under SEIU-UHW’s policies, all harassment complaints are delivered to Regan.

What about the allegation of battery?

According to the lawsuit, Sturge was allegedly battered by Hatcher during a work meeting on September 28, 2017. “As a direct and proximate result of Hatcher’s actions,” says the lawsuit, “Sturge suffered a head injury and bruising for which she sought medical attention.”
“Sturge was subjected to a hostile work environment created by Hatcher’s inappropriate behavior toward women, as well as other inappropriate behavior by co-workers, including other managers with whom Sturge worked. This behavior included unwanted flirting, pressure to engage in personal relationships, and remarks that were demeaning toward Sturge and other women…
“Despite her reports of this behavior (and other reports of prior unethical behavior by Hatcher and other SEIU-UHW employees), SEIU-UHW took no action to discipline Hatcher or others who created a hostile work environment, nor did SEIU-UHW undertake an investigation of Hatcher’s behavior until Sturge had been assaulted by him. SEIU-UHW had a pattern of accepting such behavior and even went so far as to hire male staff members who had previously been fired from other unions for assaulting and/or harassing women, all of which SEIU-UHW knew or should have known at the time of hiring. One such member was hired to work directly with Sturge and engaged in unwanted and inappropriate behavior with Sturge and women co-workers.”

After Hatcher’s firing, Regan and other SEIU-UHW officials reportedly held a meeting of top union staffers and members of the Executive Committee to discuss sexual misconduct and “the overall culture” inside SEIU-UHW.

The lawsuit alleges that Regan verbally abused and then shunned Sturge following such a meeting. The lawsuit alleges:
“Most recently, Regan verbally abused Sturge in front of co-workers (including other managers) after Sturge expressed concern about Regan’s comments during a meeting that addressed inappropriate workplace conduct. Regan also shunned Sturge after she reported Hatcher’s assault.”

At some point after this incident, Sturge was fired.

Next, Sturge claims, both Hatcher and SEIU-UHW made false and defamatory statements “that impugned her integrity and her morals.” She alleges that Hatcher mounted a campaign of false statements -- some posted on Facebook -- attacking Sturge by saying, for example, she had lied about the assault by Hatcher.

Sturge also alleges SEIU-UHW lied to other staff by saying she’d violated the union’s non-fraternization policy by “engaging in a relationship with another union manager.” According to the lawsuit, “The unprivileged statements made about Sturge were false and defamatory, and were made without any reasonable belief in their truth.”

After she was fired, Sturge filed a complaint with the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing, which issued a right-to-sue letter in April 2018.

Here’s a copy of the lawsuit.