Wednesday, June 30, 2010

The Proverbial Flagpole on Trial.

Tom Balanoff, the president of SEIU Local 1, was on the witness stand today in the Blago corruption trial and delivered some testimony that, in Tasty's view, is total BS.

Blago called Balanoff after the 2008 presidential election and pitched a scheme for trading Obama's senate seat for money. Blago would set up his own organization and then wealthy Democratic allies would donate $15-$20 million to the organization. In exchange, Blago would appoint Valerie Jarrett to the senate seat. All this is captured in an FBI recording of Balanoff's phone call with Blago. At the end of the call, Balanoff tells Blago that he'll run the proposal "up the flagpole."

So, today, an attorney asks Balanoff, "Who was the flagpole?" Tasty can just imagine the jurors and the audience in the courtroom thinking, 'Yeah, who is the flagpole? Could it be Andy Stern? A politician? Also, why does this guy talk like a 90 year old man?'

And so, who was the flagpole? Balanoff says that HE (Balanoff) was the flagpole. "I never had any intention of taking this anywhere."

Hold the phone--Does this sound credible? Have you ever run something up your own internal flagpole? If you have, do you have borderline personality disorder?

Balanoff's story became even less credible by his answer to a question about what he did right after hanging up with Blago. According to the Chicago Sun-Times, "Balanoff then said he immediately called Jarrett and left her a message saying: 'call me, I have a quick question for you.'"

For more on Balanoff's testimony, check out the Chicago Sun-Times

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Game On.

NUHW has now filed on ALL the Kaiser units, including on the big unit of FORTY FOUR THOUSAND WORKERS.

Bring in the Zombies!

Share your stories, KP workers:

Monday, June 28, 2010

Forms are Hard!

Patrick Gaspard, former 1199NY political director and now White House staffer, just plain forgot to declare $40g in severance from 1199! His bad, says White House.

It really isn't his fault, he just isn't used to a strong ethics code-his old job didn't really have one.

Friday, June 25, 2010

You know how everyone is way over SEIU and Andy Stern?

Judy Scott's husband doesn't!

He is busy peddling his new book on SEIU and Stern, called "Stronger Together." (SRSLY.)

As you may recall, Stillman has received hundreds of thousands of dollars from SEIU as a contractor and helped Andy write and edit "A Country that Works." See below the description of the book:

Stronger Together
The Story of SEIU

by Don Stillman

Stronger Together: The Story of SEIU describes how the Service Employees International Union grew to 2.2 million members in an era when most unions suffered major declines.

SEIU, founded by a small group of Chicago janitors in 1921, is a bargaining and political powerhouse today and has won big economic gains for janitors, healthcare workers, and public employees—many of whom are women, immigrants, and people of color. The book details the huge role SEIU played in helping to elect Barack Obama as President in 2008 and in passing healthcare reform legislation in early 2010.
Andy Stern, SEIU president from 1996 to 2010, is a major focus of the book. As Business Week noted upon Stern’s retirement: “It will be a long time before the labor movement produces another leader quite as far-seeing as Andrew L. Stern…or one quite so controversial.”

Stronger Together details how Stern and SEIU tried to force the American labor movement to restructure and energize itself to deal with the new global economy with its declining manufacturing sector lowering the percentage of workers belonging to unions. SEIU’s split with the AFL-CIO focused new attention on the need for more innovative approaches by labor. An inspiring account of a union that changed the face of the labor movement.

Seems like it would have sold better if it had come out 2 years ago, before every labor leader called Stern things like "deplorable."

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Blago Trial Update: Andy is a Star!

Although Andy must be busy counting his stock options, SEIU's President Emeritus is getting some special attention at the Chicago courthouse where the federal corruption trial against former Governor Rod Blagojevich is underway. Just as Tasty predicted, the unnamed "union president" and "union official" described in U.S. prosecutors' case are, in fact, Andy and SEIU Local 1 President Tom Balanoff.

At the trial, the testimony has been very entertaining since Blago's former chief of staff John Harris (who struck a plea deal with the feds) took the witness stand on Monday. Prosecutors have played phone calls secretly recorded by the FBI that discuss Blago's meetings with Andy, Balanoff and SEIU. The SEIU bigwigs appear to have played a special role in enmeshing Pres. Obama in the whole scandal, which must make SEIU very popular over at the White House, right about now.

Here are a few highlights describing SEIU's role in Blago's "allegedly illegal" plot to sell Obama's Senate seat:

Andy and Balanoff met with Blago on Nov. 3, 2008 (the day before the presidential election) to talk about Blago's appointment to fill Obama's soon-to-be vacant senate seat. According to trial testimony, Blago's Chief of Staff understood that Stern and Balanoff were acting on behalf of the White House. Testimony includes classics like this one: "Tom and Andy urged the governor not to consider Jesse Jackson Jr."

On the night that Obama was elected president, Blago was walking in Chicago's Grant Park to Obama's victory rally when he ran into Balanoff, who allegedly relayed a message from the White House about the vacant senate seat. "The exchange happened after Blagojevich had met with Balanoff and Andy Stern the week before, Harris testified."

(This is how deals are done? Just run into each other at a rally?)

In today's testimony, Harris discussed a telephone call from November 6, 2008 that was also secretly recorded by the FBI. In the call, Blago talks about a big meeting with Balanoff, scheduled for later that day, where Blago and Balanoff would continue their discussion about Obama's senate seat.

(Are you still reading this? I know it's long, but there was a lot to discuss!)

Later in the telephone call, Blago talks about taking a job at Change to Win, headed by Anna Burger. According to the Chicago Sun-Times, "Harris is heard explaining to Blago that it would give him a good salary and could provide potential to go back into politics later, if he wanted. Furthermore, Tom Balanoff and Andy Stern, the union leaders advocating for Barack Obama's pick for the Senate, could hook him up with the job, he said." Blago also talks about getting his wife, Patti, a job running the Illinois branch of Change To Win.

Looking forward to more crazy? Check out the Chicago Sun-Times and the "Blago Blog" for up-to-the-minute reports on the trial.

Competent Much, UHW?

Got this tip from a reader today:

I was just walking the state capitol grounds at lunch time. There is a UHW march planned today and they were all trying to find any available shade. Serving pizza to the members who showed. Overheard a conversation. One member was walking over to a small group of others and was saying: "The march has been canceled. Our great union did not get the proper permits. We are only allowed right over here". They were just sitting under a tree on the west lawn. Some were on the south lawn. Those members are "cooking". It has to be 90 degrees out there.

From UHW's website: "More than 1,000 seniors, disabled people, and their caregivers from across the state blanketed the State Capitol for a day of action..."

LOL, blanketed! Sounds about right for a bust of a rally that turns into a sweltering picnic where hot pizza is served.

And again, we must ask, who was the genius staffer who was supposed to get the permit?

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Mo' Stock Options, Mo' Problems.

So how much did Andy get for signing onto SIGA's board of directors? According to a filing the SIGA made yesterday with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, Andy got 25,000 shares of stock options. And he'll get another 10,000 stock options during the year. Plus cash. You can see the details here.

And if you want to see some of the growing controversy surrounding Andy's newest gig, check out this HILARIOUS piece on Beyond Chron.

And then there are comments on multiple blogs like this one from a former SEIU staffer in Milwaukee:

"It's actually not surprising, for anyone who's paid close attention to Andy Stern's actions over the past few years. As a former SEIU staffer, I can attest that he's engaged in toxic chemical warfare against his own members throughout the US & Canada, but most notably in California. Andy Stern has bent over backwards to sell out workers & cozy up to corporate America, so it makes no sense he now wants to join corporate boardrooms. I'd look for more of this to come."

Monday, June 21, 2010

Andy Stern-Big Baller in Big Pharma!

What's Andy "I am ready to fall in love" Stern up to these days? First, there was that $227,000-year pension he got from SEIU. Next was the contract with Leading Authorities, Inc that pays Andy a cool $30,000 per speech.

So, what's next for a retired labor leader? Corporate Boards of Directors, duh!

According to a press release issued today, Andy has decided to continue his tireless efforts to rebuild the global labor movement by getting his own seat on the board of directors of a pharmaceutical corporation. The company, Siga Technologies, Inc., is headquartered in NY and calls itself "a leading drug development company in the biodefense arena."

So why is a pharmaceutical company that's involved in national defense and biological warfare interested in Andy? Looks like they want him to parlay his relationships with White House officials, which Andy developed as the president of SEIU, into big dollars for SIGA. (The federal government is SIGA's biggest targeted customer.)

SIGA's CEO says about Andy: "Andy is a strong leader and a great addition to our Board of Directors. His insight, experience, and leadership, particularly his understanding of how our federal government works, will complement the skill sets of our existing board members."

Um, isn't this the sort of Washington-insider, revolving-door politics that Andy used to criticize? Is it appropriate for SEIU's President Emeritus to use his SEIU connections to make big money for big pharma? Unfortunately, SEIU's "Code of Ethics" is about as flimsy as the paychecks that Mary Kay Henry hands to Rickman Jackson and Anelle Grajeda every couple of weeks.

So how much will Andy get paid for his new corporate gig? Well, Andy's new board buddies are pulling down $50,000 a year in stock options and cash for attending a few board meetings a year. If Andy successfully uses his SEIU Rolodex to dial for dollars, Tasty is confident that SIGA will kick him even bigger money.

Plus, Andy will have lots of time to pal around with his new buddies on SIGA's board of directors. They include Michael Bayer, the CEO of Dumbarton Strategies LLC, a national security consulting firm. According to SIGA's website, "Bayer is also the Chairman of the U.S. Department of Defense's Business Board and a member of the Sandia National Laboratory's National Security Advisory Panel, the U.S. Department of Defense's Science Board and the Chief of Naval Operations' Executive Panel. Mr. Bayer serves as a director of Dyncorp International, Inc., Stratos Global Corporation and Willbros Group, Inc." Then there's Bruce Slovin, President of 1 Eleven Associates, LLC, a private investment firm. And Paul G. Savas, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer at MacAndrews & Forbes Holdings, Inc. Sounds like a very progressive group!

Andy Stern once said, "You can work with Big Pharma and still criticize Big Pharma."

But can you get paid by Big Pharma and still critcize them?

Tasty thinks not, and shudders to think what is next in the Stern bag of tricks.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Neutrality ≠ Victory for SEIU.

The HCA campaign continues in Texas, with another loss:

Valley Regional vote count:

SEIU 102

This puts SEIU at 3 wins out of 5 elections. Now who runs Texas and why are they losing these elections?

Oh, right, Norm Yen. Continued awesome job, Norm!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Going Rogue: The Envelope, Please.

So, who was the "rogue bargainer" that MK was referencing in yesterday's article in The Nation?

The Nominees are:

A. Mary Joyce Carlson- Mary Joyce was the lawyer for the SEIU in Tenet negotiations, according to some she signed the sellout TAs with the employers.

B. Jim Philliou-Jim was, according to some, at the table for these negotiations, and was maybe the person who signed the TA (can't really get a straight answer on this fact.) Jim also, according to some, worked on a lot of sell out nursing home deals, so maybe this is where he cut his teeth!

C. Mary Kay her self!--MK was, in fact, in charge of these negotiations. Tasty can't imagine a world where Mary Kay just doesn't notice a "rogue bargainer" in her midst, working on her campaign.

D. All of the above-It takes a Village to ruin a union.

And the rogue bargainer is... D. All of the Above!

P.S. For those of you who didn't remember what the selling out on Tenet was about...It goes more or less like this: Tenet was bargaining nationally with SEIU for Cali, Florida and Nevada-as well as over organizing rights for other states.

In Cali, Tenet was nervous that UHW would bargain a contract that reached the same standards as other UHW contracts, including retiree health and a defined benefit pension plan. Since Tenet had massive financial and corporate issues they proposed to SEIU that they would give everything to UHW, except retiree health and the pension, in return for SEIU to have organizing rights in TX, et al.

The members of UHW mulled this over and voted to do accept that deal-thus working for less benefits as other UHW members, for the greater benefit of workers in other states. Generous, no?

But then some "rogue bargainer" kept bargaining away those standards that Tenet swore they would grant the Cali workers, in exchange for the workers conceding on some standards. And any time the Cali workers objected to the way that the national bargaining was undermining what the workers had agreed to--SEIU via Mary Kay accused UHW members of being into "just us" instead of "justice," as they love to say.

Eventually, SEIU and Tenet agreed to let California bargain with Tenet at a Cali only table. At that time the workers held to their agreement: achieved all of the standards, except retiree health and pension-and workers in other state got the right to join SEIU.

P.P.S. That WAS the short version.

Get out your phone lists! NLRB calls for dismissal of SEIU's blocking charges!

Tasty hears that the NLRB in DC has issued a memo calling for the dismissal of all of SEIU's bogus blocking charges, which have been blocking dozens of elections for almost a year and a half. (Hey NLRB - what took so long - aside from SEIU's attorneys with their BS stalling tactics?)

Apparently, when the NLRB was just about to dismiss the blocking charges, SEIU made a Hail Mary attempt to keep on blocking the elections. But failed.

Finally... the elections we've been waiting for for so long. Keep your eye out for more out-of-state SEIU staffers in your hospital or nursing home as the elections approach. And keep the stories coming.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Wasn't Me! Mary Kay channels Shaggy...

Tasty thinks you are going to enjoy The Nation's new article about SEIU--it's called "The SEIU Andy Stern Leaves Behind."

It describes Andy's bravado about organizing, the truth behind the claims of "largest and fastest growing," and the fights with NUHW and Unite Here.

The article also touches on new President Mary Kay:

They note that Henry has been part of Stern's inner circle for many years, as a union vice president, executive committee member and director of the union's healthcare division, and signed off on the more controversial decisions of Stern's presidency. NUHW's Rosselli spent thirty years working with Henry in SEIU's healthcare division, during which "there were times of absolute collaboration and then times of absolute betrayal," he says. In one case, a national bargaining team Henry oversaw during negotiations with the Tenet hospital chain in 2007 agreed to concessionary contract terms without clearing them with members in California, in what would become a critical point of contention in the ensuing battle between Rosselli's local and the national union. Henry disputes Rosselli's claim about the role she played in the Tenet bargaining, describing it as a temporary misunderstanding caused by a "rogue bargainer," which she quickly corrected.

Who, then, was the "Rogue Bargainer?"

...the suspect list will be posted tomorrow.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Election News Round-up

-NUHW was certified by the Regional NLRB as the union for Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital! Congrats!

-Oh, not so fast, we're gonna drag this out, says the hospital--SRMH appeals to DC.

-St Louise workers choose SEIU 96 - NUHW 72. NUHW files charges about management interference in support of SEIU.

-Seems like NUHW might be on to something, because at O'Connor, another Daughter of Charities hospital down the street, the boss's behavior was so bad that the ballots were impounded (not counted) so that the board could investigate. But anyway, Tasty thought SEIU released these particular hospitals because they were going to annihilate NUHW at them....seems a little closer than they are hoping for. Maybe that is a reflection of their genius staff's ability to assess workers?

-Kaiser optical workers petitioned to decertify SEIU and join NUHW. Only 2 more units to go until all Kaiser workers are actively splitting from SEIU! Up next: the big 45,000 unit! How many Zombies will SEIU send in for that election?

-Maybe this charming anecdote, that a tipster sent in, gives us an idea of how things are going to be for Kaiser workers and patients during the Zombie invasion:

"Workers are reporting another of SEIU's "WWIII" incident that took place Thursday at Kaiser Modesto Medical Center, where SEIU recently sent a busload of 70 staff and lost-timers who literally swarmed through the hospital and caused staff to lock themselves inside offices and rooms. Today, SEIU sent 15 people who marched through the hallways chanting "God damned union territory." According to workers, the SEIU staffers almost knocked over a Kaiser patient in a wheelchair and sent other patients scrambling."

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Oriana Moves on to Public Radio? (We'll totally miss you, Oriana! Byeeee)

Apparently KPFA isn't overstocked on crazy, they seem to have hired (former?) UHW scab-staffer Oriana Saportas as the "Local Election Supervisor" for the annual Pacifica Foundation board election.

Oriana was last seen being confused and hostile at Convalescent Center Mission Street, but reportedly vanished several days before workers there voted to dump SEIU and join NUHW. What possessed them to hire somebody as an election supervisor whose job for the last year and a half has been to thwart and subvert health care workers' right to vote for the union of their choice and also finds time to drink on the job?

...Maybe someone should ask her boss, National Election Supervisor Renee Asteria (

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Barney comes to St Louise. Literally.

Today at St. Louise Regional Hospital in Gilroy the NLRB election began. This afternoon, SEIU busted out their latest (and lamest) tactic to try to win workers' votes: some dude dressed in a purple Barney suit handing out purple weeple things to workers. This is insane, in Tasty's opinion. Do they think SLRH workers are 5 year olds?

What is the SEIU Barney's likely song?

I love the boss. The boss loves me. We're a happy family.
With a weak contract and lots of dues to me from you.
Won't you risk your future in SEIU?

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Spot of Tea, Tyrone?

Where is that pesky Tyrone Freeman now that he is no longer a sports agent or stealing our dues money?

According to his facebook page, he is living in Manchester, England! Please accept my friendship Tyrone!

Why flee the country? tasty would only flee a country if Tasty had done something very bad. Not that I am inferring anything, I'm just saying.

Here's hoping that we have an extradition agreement with the UK!

Rod Roddy Blagojevich's Trial Begins. Andy Crosses all his Fingers and all his Toes.

Today, jury selection begins in former Illinois Governor Rod "The Hair" Blagojevich's federal corruption trial. By all accounts, SEIU's name will be splashed around the court room like dues money during Tyrone's wedding. And who knows, SEIU's own Andy Stern (we've been missing you, boo!) and Tom Balanoff may make appearances on the witness stand!

A article seems to captures the nervous mood of people caught up in the corruption scandal: "Rod Blagojevich Trial Rattles Insiders... The corruption trial of former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich has some of D.C.'s biggest names bracing for fallout."

From what Tasty can see, Andy, Anna and Tom Balanoff must be getting clammy palms these days, (which con not be helping Andy in his quest to fall in love!) According to Politico, "Defense attorneys say that a union official — SEIU Illinois Council President Tom Balanoff, according to reports — told [Valerie] Jarrett that, at the president’s request, he was going to press the case for Blagojevich to appoint her. Blagojevich and the labor official met on Nov. 6, 2008..."

Politico says that testimony by Balanoff could have huge repercussions for others: "Balanoff's interactions with Obama, Jarrett and Blagojevich could reveal more about how involved the White House was in the talks about the Senate seat."

Whatever the case, Tasty knows one thing for sure--SEIU's DC officials are undoubtedly blowing huge wads of members' dues money on an army of attorneys.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Guess Who's Back? Back Again! Shady Rickman is Back!

Tasty hears that Rickman Jackson was recently sighted with SEIU Executive Vice President Gerry Hudson at the annual conference of the Coalition of Black Trade Unions, which runs from May 26-31 in Detroit.

Rickman has been pretty "radioactive" ever since the LA Times revealed that he'd stolen tens of thousands of dollars from SEIU members and then was forced to resign his appointed position as president of 57,000-member SEIU Healthcare Michigan. Oopsie!

Of course, SEIU's Top Zombies in DC never seemed very concerned with all those pesky stolen dues dollars. After Rickman resigned his position in disgrace, Mary Kay Henry quickly hired Rickman into a $130,000-a-year job in SEIU's DC headquarters. When some SEIU staff refused to work with Rickman, Mary Kay decided it'd be better to send Rickman to Canada until people's memories faded away a bit. And then Rickman showed back up in SEIU's DC headquarters.

So what does it mean that Gerry Hudson is palling around with Rickman south of the Canadian border? Has the geiger counter stopped clicking?

Nah, Mary Kay, Gerry and co. are simply continuing the same bottom-of-the-barrel ethical standards that they set up during the Stern years, which brought us Tyrone Freeman, Annelle Grajeda, Byron Hobbs, Alejandro Stephens, Sharon-Frances Moore, so on and so on and so on.

He stole dues money. And if the LA Times hadn't busted Tyrone, he might never have gotten caught. Super face for the union, Tasty is sure that the Coalition of Black Trade Union were honored to have his presence.

Members: watch out for Rickman! He might come to your local!