Friday, February 7, 2020

SEIU-UHW’s Dave Regan Inks Secret Deal to Settle Sexual Harassment Lawsuit Just Days before Trial

Only days before a jury trial was set to begin in Alameda County (Calif.) Superior Court, Dave Regan and SEIU-UHW reached a secret deal to settle a lawsuit by a former SEIU-UHW staffer alleging sexual harassment, discrimination, battery, defamation and gender violence, according to court records.

The tentative deal, reached last month, appears to have been finalized in recent days. On February 5, the plaintiff’s attorney submitted a formal “Request for Dismissal” of the lawsuit known as Sturge vs. SEIU-UHW, according to court records.

The lawsuit, filed in 2018, exposed jaw-dropping allegations about Regan, SEIU-UHW Vice President Stan Lyles, Chokri Bensaid, Marcus Hatcher, Greg Pullman and other SEIU-UHW officials, according to court records.

Seven current and former SEIU-UHW members and staffers gave sworn testimony alleging that Regan was drunk on the job and repeatedly engaged in sexually inappropriate behavior towards women staffers and union members. More details are below.

How much did SEIU-UHW pay to settle the suit?

At this point, the terms of the settlement are secret. However, the settlement likely carries a hefty price tag.

SEIU-UHW likely agreed to pay for all of Sturge’s legal expenses and attorney’s fees for the past two years. Plus, Regan likely authorized payment for compensatory and punitive damages, which were demanded in the lawsuit

Who’s footing the bill?

Even though violations were allegedly carried out by officers of SEIU-UHW, the union’s members ultimately pay the bills. Regan is reportedly telling SEIU-UHW staffers that the union’s insurance policy will cover at least some of the settlement. But just as your auto insurance premiums go up if you’re a bad driver, Tasty believes that SEIU-UHW will now likely face higher insurance costs – which are paid by the union’s members.

On top of that, SEIU-UHW must pay all of the costs associated with its legal defense during the past two years. SEIU-UHW’s General Counsel Bruce Harland and two other attorneys have been involved in trying to defend SEIU-UHW against the allegations. Given that the attorneys probably charge $300-$500 per hour, the total bill is likely very large.

What kind of allegations have emerged from the lawsuit?

Dave Regan
Seven current and former SEIU-UHW members and staffers gave sworn testimony to the court alleging shocking behavior by Regan, Stan Lyles, Chokri Bensaid and Marcus Hatcher. Hatcher and Bensaid served on SEIU-UHW’s Executive Committee and Executive Board when the alleged violations took place. Regan, in addition to being the president of SEIU-UHW, also serves as a Vice President of SEIU in Washington DC.

Here are some of the details from the sworn testimony:

One SEIU-UHW member alleges she was fired from her job at Kaiser Permanente after she refused Marcus Hatcher’s “repeated” requests to go out with him. Hatcher allegedly told her he would retaliate against her if she refused his romantic overtures. During her official termination hearing at Kaiser, Hatcher allegedly told her, “You are paying for turning me down.”  

When she got a new job at another hospital, she says she tried to “lay low and not be noticed by anyone at UHW.” Eventually, she ran into Hatcher on the job, according to her testimony. She alleges: “The very next day, I was told I was being investigated. Mr. Hatcher told me, ‘It’s following you.’” She says she made a written report of these incidents to Greg Pullman, Dave Regan’s Chief of Staff, who allegedly never responded.

Another woman, also an employee of Kaiser Permanente, attended a multi-day SEIU-UHW training for Kaiser employees in 2017. She alleges that Regan, who “was very intoxicated – and not for the first time,” attended a gathering of women union members during the meeting and “went around asking the women if he could sniff their panties.” Later that year, she attended another SEIU-UHW event where Regan allegedly “had his face in the breasts of a steward and was clearly drunk,” according to her sworn testimony.

A third woman, also a union member, testified that Stan Lyles allegedly sent photos of his penis to her, and later cornered her in a hotel room in a scene that is eerliy like the ones described in Harvey Weinstein’s criminal trial. She testified: “He closed the hotel room door and stood in front of it and started taking off his belt. He said something like, ‘I know you want it.’ I was so scared – I thought I wouldn’t get out alive.” Lyles allegedly told her: “I like big assess.”

According to a fourth woman who served on SEIU-UHW’s Executive Board, Lyles allegedly “stuck his hand under my shirt and groped my breast” on an elevator inside SEIU-UHW’s office in Commerce, California.

A former male staffer at SEIU-UHW alleges that he saw “Dave Regan drunk in meetings, including brainstorming meetings relating to the Get Healthy California Campaign that UHW was involved in. I saw Mr. Regan reach under or into his desk for a liquor bottle. He used to keep a liquor bottle in his desk.”

He also alleges that Regan “is a notorious ‘boob gazer,’ meaning he would stare at women’s breasts. One member, [name deleted], told me that she had to tell Mr. Regan, ‘Dave, my eyes are up here’ when he would be staring at her breasts.”  

More details to come. 

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Article: Dave Regan’s sexual harassment was constant; SEIU-UHW’s president made drunken requests to sniff women’s panties at union events

SEIU-UHW's Dave Regan

Today, a journalist published a jaw-dropping article detailing the alleged sexual harassment and assaults carried out by multiple top SEIU officials.

Half of the alleged offenders are top officers at SEIU-UHW, including President Dave Regan and Vice President Stan Lyles.

In preparing the article, Mike Elk at PayDay Report reportedly conducted exclusive interviews with dozens of union staffers and reviewed hundreds of pages of court documents. (Mike Elk, “SEIU Prez Knew of Sexual Misconduct and Personally Promoted Staffer Anyhow,” PayDay Report, December 11, 2019)

What did he find?

The term “jaw-dropping” doesn’t do it justice. 

Check out the following excerpts from Elk’s reporting on just one of the six officials, SEIU-UHW President Dave Regan. (Regan also serves as a Vice President of DC-based SEIU and is a member of SEIU’s International Executive Board). More to follow in Tasty’s next posts.

Regan… stands accused by multiple women of sexual misconduct. Indeed, SEIU has even permitted Regan to use his union’s funds to defend himself against sexual misconduct allegations.

…Interviews with scores of SEIU staffers, past and present, and sworn testimony obtained by Payday Report, accused Regan of making it clear that he would promote women from the rank-and-file of the union who were willing to engage in sexual relationships with him.

Veronica Lowery, a contract specialist at UHW, said she once was at a conference when she overheard Regan and others talk about the physical appearance of a rank-and-file member walking by them.

“‘The only way she is getting a job [with SEIU-UHW] is if she sucks my dick,’” Lowery recalls Regan said in an affidavit obtained by Payday Report.

At a training in October of 2017, Regan is reported to have shown up drunk to a meeting and asked women if he could smell their panties.

“I was at a gathering of some of the other women contract specialists, and Mr. Regan went around asking the women if he could sniff their panties,” said contract specialist Carla Grossman in an affidavit obtained by Payday Report. “At one point, another woman’s cell phone rang, and it was that woman’s husband. Mr. Regan took the phone from her and said, ‘I’II smell your panties, too,’ or words to that effect into the cell phone.”

Women like Mindy Sturge say that the sexual harassment from Regan was constant. In one meeting, Sturge says that Regan asked her if “Does the carpet match the drapes?”  in reference to her pubic hair.

In another meeting with others present, Sturge says that Regan asked her, “What would you do for some jewelry?”; an advance that she took as a sexual proposition. Sturge says it appeared that Regan was drunk.

Scores of SEIU-UHW staffers interviewed by Payday Report say that Regan was frequently seen drunk in the office and at union events. Regan was known for getting drunk at union conferences or outings where there was dancing and “grinding” on a woman’s backside on the dance floor. At one union conference, he “grinded” on Sturge in a way that she felt was sexually inappropriate.

“It was embarrassing,” said Sturge.

With so many men at the top of SEIU-UHW creating a workplace of sexual misconduct, some men, who had gotten in trouble at other SEIU locals, found ease in getting employment with SEIU-UHW.

 More to follow.

Friday, November 22, 2019

Lawyers Drop Bombshell in Suit against SEIU-UHW and Dave Regan

Dave Regan

Here’s the latest from the lawsuit filed by a former staffer who alleges that SEIU-UHW president Dave Regan and other top officials created a culture of sexual harassment and discrimination that led to an assault against a women staffer.  

The case, known as Sturge vs. SEIU-UHW, is being heard in Alameda County Superior Court.

In a recent court filing, Sturge’s lawyers dropped a bombshell.

Remember Chokri BenSaid?

He’s Regan’s right-hand man and at one point was rumored to be Regan’s heir apparent. Regan placed him on SEIU-UHW’s Executive Board and Executive Committee, and also appointed him to direct the union’s Hospital Division.  

Well, witnesses testified in sworn depositions that he’s a vicious stalker and harasser of women, according to records filed by Sturge's attorneys.

And it gets worse.

Top SEIU-UHW officials hired him just weeks after he was fired by SEIU for sexual harassment, according to court records.

Which SEIU-UHW officials knew about BenSaid's history of sexual harassment?  

General Counsel (Bruce Harland) and Regan’s Deputy Chief of Staff (Triana Silton), according to court records.

Why is this bad for Regan and SEIU-UHW?

Sturge’s lawyers allege that Regan and Co. fostered a workplace culture of sexual harassment and discrimination against women. Obviously, it doesn’t look too good if Regan and Co. hired, and then promoted to one of the union's highest positions, a person with a known track record of sexually harassing women.

What did BenSaid allegedly do to women at SEIU-UHW?

According to sworn testimony, he propositioned them, stalked them, retaliated against them, harassed them…

For example, one person testified he referred to a woman co-worker as a “whore” and a “bitch,” stalked her, and caused her to resign her job. He allegedly exchanged texts with a co-worker like:  “I think I might want to f*ck Georgette first.” “Just like to spin her on my d*ck lol.” Another testified that he propositioned an SEIU-UHW organizer and when she turned him down, he called her a bitch and told her to “f*ck off.” And he allegedly had inappropriate photos of women on his cell phone.

Given the broader social awareness brought by the MeToo movement, it's hard to imagine that SEIU-UHW's hiring, promotion and treatment of BenSaid will not look devastatingly bad to a jury.

What’s next in the case?

It’s heading to a trial. Last Friday, the judge scheduled the start of the trial for January 27, 2020.  Stay tuned.

Friday, October 25, 2019

Lawsuit Testimony: SEIU-UHW’s Dave Regan and Stan Lyles Propositioned, Groped and Demeaned Women

More shocking news is emerging from legal proceedings surrounding allegations of sexual harassment by SEIU-UHW officials (Sturge vs. SEIU-UHW).

Recently, the lawyers representing a former SEIU-UHW staffer filed documents in Alameda County Superior Court containing excerpts from sworn testimony delivered by a variety of SEIU-UHW staffers during court depositions. The staffers include Regan’s Deputy Chief of Staff Triana Silton and former Kaiser Director Marcus Hatcher.

The details are stomach-churningly revolting. Regan has apparently decided to model himself after Donald Trump. Here are some details from staffers’ sworn testimony:
One staffer testified that, “Regan asked a group of women if he could sniff their panties.”
SEIU-UHW Vice President Stan Lyles “sent photos of his penis to a UHW member, cornered and propositioned her in a hotel room.”
“Lyles groped a member’s breast.”
“Regan and Lyles discussed picking up ho’s while on business in Arizona, and commented that the ho’s in UHW’s office ‘were ugly.’”
“Regan is a notorious ‘boob gazer’ who would comment to attractive women (‘you’re lucky I’m a married man’).”
"Directors Bensaid and Hatcher texted lewd remarks about women coworkers ('I think I might want to f*ck Georgette first'; 'Just like to spin her on my d*ck lol.')"
More details are below in a two-page excerpt from the court filing. Tasty blanked out the names of some of those who testified in order to protect their identities.

The lawsuit is about to get more interesting. Trial is set to begin on November 25. And Regan reportedly has been deposed by the plaintiff’s attorneys.

Friday, October 11, 2019

Controversy Brews over Allegations of a Stealth “Partnership Tax” by SEIU-UHW

Controversy is still brewing over SEIU-UHW’s tentative agreement with Kaiser Permanente. Membership votes to ratify the agreement are underway and will continue next week.

What’s the controversy?

As Tasty reported earlier, SEIU-UHW president Dave Regan was pushing to impose a new 25-cents-per-hour-worked “partnership tax” on SEIU-UHW’s members at Kaiser. All of the tax revenues -- approximately $26 million per year – would have helped fund a new training academy controlled by Regan, which his internal critics called a “slush fund.”

In response to workers’ criticism of the new “partnership tax,” Regan pulled a “switcheroo” on SEIU-UHW’s members, according to internal critics.

In the final version of the tentative agreement, Regan removed the partnership tax and allegedly replaced it with a stealth funding mechanism that nonetheless requires SEIU-UHW members to foot the bill. According to critics, Regan agreed to have SEIU-UHW members forgo 2% in wage increases offered by Kaiser so those funds could instead be steered into Regan’s training fund. Tasty doesn’t have access to sufficient information to independently corroborate these allegations.

See more details in the leaflet below, which comes from John Duff, a retired Kaiser worker who formerly served on SEIU-UHW’s Executive Board.