Friday, May 18, 2018

Kaiser Coalition scrambles as Alliance unions begin bargaining



Here’s the latest.

Next week, the Alliance of Health Care Unions will begin bargaining with Kaiser Permanente, according to sources. The Alliance includes the Teamsters, Steelworkers, AFSCME, American Federation of Teachers, UFCW, ILWU, Operating Engineers and the KPNAA.

What about the Coalition of Kaiser Permanente Unions (SEIU, OPEIU and IFPTE)?

Coalition leaders will meet next Tuesday to discuss their response to Kaiser’s proposal to enter into a new partnership deal with the giant HMO, say sources.

What’s Kaiser’s proposal?

After the partnership unions fractured in two over Dave Regan’s effort to seize more decision-making power, Kaiser gathered representatives from nearly all its unions on May 7 at the Marriott Hotel in Oakland and told them Kaiser would like to become partners with each of the two coalitions. Kaiser handed out a draft partnership agreement -- basically a modified version of the original agreement signed in the 1990s.

The new agreement has provisions that appear to be designed specifically to deal with SEIU-UHW's Dave Regan and the problems that swirl around him like stripes on a candy cane.

For example, one new provision would bar members of the partnership from backing “harmful” ballot initiatives or legislation. It looks like Kaiser adopted the same language that Regan penned into his secret deal with the California Hospital Association in 2014. The draft agreement reads:
Members of the Partnership, including KP and all individual local unions who are members of the Partnership, shall not pursue, sponsor or support legislation or ballot initiatives, which are specifically targeted at and the primary purpose of which is to harm another member of the Partnership. A Member of the Partnership who violates this section shall be expelled from the Partnership…

Another new provision would allow unions to expel a union from the partnership by majority vote. We can call this the “Dave Regan rule.” The draft agreement says:
…there may come a time when a majority of Union Parties believe there is cause to expel an individual union party. Should this occur, the Union Parties may expel an individual union party by majority vote of the senior union leadership designated from the union parties (not counting the individual union to be expelled).

Meanwhile, Regan and the Coalition have been stung by Kaiser’s announcement that it will not negotiate a “national agreement” with the Coalition this year. The current “national agreement” expires on September 30, 2018.

Earlier this week, the Coalition filed an “unfair labor practice” charge with the NLRB alleging that Kaiser’s action is illegal. (See a copy of the Coalition’s leaflet below.) The NLRB will now conduct an investigation to determine whether there’s any substance to the Coalition’s allegations.

Also, the Coalition asked the leaders of some affiliated unions to send a letter to Kaiser CEO Bernard Tyson to ask him why Kaiser is not bargaining a national agreement with the Coalition this year. Observers describe the letter as “pathetic.” See below.

Meanwhile, NUHW has already scheduled multiple dates this summer to bargain with Kaiser over contracts covering 4,000 workers that expire September 30.

In another interesting move, Kaiser has reportedly asked NUHW to consider forming a more collaborative relationship with the HMO. Sources say NUHW ruled out the idea of joining either of the partnership groups. However, its rank-and-file leaders are reportedly discussing whether they’re open to negotiating one-on-one with Kaiser over their future relationship.






Thursday, May 10, 2018

Kaiser: "We won't bargain with Coalition unions or SEIU-UHW in 2018"



This week, Kaiser Permanente finally revealed how it’s going to deal with its now fractured “partnership” unions.

On Monday, Kaiser’s executives gathered about 100 representatives from nearly all of its unions in a ballroom at the downtown Marriott Hotel in Oakland, Calif. In attendance were leaders from both of the partnership groups including SEIU-UHW’s Dave Regan, AFSCME’s Denise Duncan, Pete diCicco, Walter Allen, and Hal Ruddick.

Kaiser’s executives -- including Greg Adams, Dennis Dabney, Jim Pruitt and Chuck Columbus -- announced they will not bargain with either the Coalition of Kaiser Permanente Unions or SEIU-UHW this year.

Kaiser, however, will begin negotiating in the weeks ahead with the newly formed Alliance of Health Care Unions for contracts covering most of the Alliance’s members. Kaiser says it’ll negotiate with the Alliance unions at a single bargaining table, although it plans to sign separate labor contracts with each Alliance union rather than a single “national agreement.”

When will Kaiser bargain with SEIU-UHW?

Not until next year, when SEIU-UHW’s local union contract expires.

So why is Kaiser bargaining first with the Alliance unions?

According to Kaiser, it’s scheduling bargaining according to the expiration dates of each union’s so-called “local agreement.” (Note: In addition to a single “national agreement,” each partnership union also bargains a “local agreement” that covers issues specific to that particular part of Kaiser’s workforce.)

It turns out that most of the Alliance unions’ “local agreements” expire in 2018. Meanwhile, virtually all of the Coalition unions’ local agreements don’t expire until 2019.
 
Dave Regan
Kaiser’s announcement on Monday represents a big setback for Regan, who attended the Marriott meeting with Greg Pullman (Regan's Chief of Staff)Bruce Harland (Regan’s hack attorney), and several others.

Why?

The Alliance unions will go to the bargaining table first… before Regan and the other Coalition unions. This will allow the Alliance to set a pattern as far as wages, benefits and working conditions that Kaiser will undoubtedly ask SEIU-UHW to follow.

That’s precisely the opposite outcome from what Regan has been trying to achieve.

Since at least 2017, he made multiple attempts to seize control of the Coalition so he’d have greater power over this year’s national bargaining.

Now, as a result of overplaying his hand and expertly exploding the partnership unions into pieces, national bargaining has been canceled and Regan -- along with SEIU-UHW’s members -- have been relegated to the back seat.

In addition, Regan has successfully destroyed the unity among Kaiser’s 29 partnership unions. This will likely allow Kaiser to drive further wedges between them.

How did Reagan react to Kaiser’s announcement on Monday?

One hint comes from the red-hot rhetoric that SEIU-UHW used in an update to its members after the meeting. Here’s an excerpt:
Kaiser said they will refuse to negotiate a new National Agreement, leaving each union to bargain their own local agreement… The level of arrogance and contempt from Kaiser leadership in the meeting was palpable. There is no Partnership in Kaiser’s mind… Kaiser’s idea of “Partnership” is more like a Dictatorship. SEIU-UHW and our Coalition allies will not stand for this.

Friday, May 4, 2018

Source: Kaiser Coalition Staffers Are “jumping ship”



Staffers at the Coalition of Kaiser Permanente Unions are “jumping ship” following the decision by eight international unions to quit the coalition and form a new alliance of “partnership” unions, say sources.

Who’s leaving?

Maureen Anderson, a “Program Coordinator” and one of the Coalition’s top staffers for more than a decade, is one of them. And 4 to 5 other staffers also quit, say Tasty’s sources.

Why are they jumping ship?

Apparently, they’re leaving for the same reason that the eight international union recently quit the Coalition:

“They want out because no one can stand Dave [Regan],” says a source.

After the exodus of the unions in March, SEIU-UHW’s Dave Regan became the “Chairman” of the now-smaller Coalition and has been playing a bigger role in its daily operations.

Here’s another interesting development.

Hal Ruddick, the Coalition’s Executive Director who was recently fired by Regan, has reportedly taken a job at the newly formed rival alliance of partnership unions. Tasty doesn’t yet know what role he’ll be playing there.

The new alliance of unions -- called the “Alliance of Health Care Unions” -- hired Pete diCicco as its Executive Director, according to a March 30 press release.

In other news, the Coalition confirmed Tasty’s earlier report about Ruddick’s exit and the appointment of Walter Allen as the Coalition’s interim Executive Director.

Two days after Tasty’s April 17 post about Ruddick’s firing, the Coalition publicly confirmed his departure -- calling it instead a resignation. Here’s a link to the post: “Leadership Changes in Union Coalition.” It begins:
Hal Ruddick, who has served as executive director of the Coalition of Kaiser Permanente Unions for four years, is stepping down, and Walter Allen, OPEIU Local 30 executive director, will be serving as the coalition’s acting executive director.

With Regan at the helm, it sounds like there’ll be more rough sledding in the days ahead for the Coalition.

Stay tuned.