Thursday, December 30, 2010

At The Very End of 2010!

Santa Rosa Memorial hospital workers are FINALLY certified as members of NUHW!

Congrats to those workers and bargain a great contract!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Legal Happs

Last week, two separate judges delivered a pair of legal body-blows to Kaiser Permanente and SEIU.

On Monday, an Administrative Law Judge issued this 23-page decision that rules that Kaiser executives broke the law when they withheld as much as $2 million in pay and benefits from 2,300 RNs and professionals who voted overwhelmingly to (87% to 13%) join NUHW in January. The judge orders Kaiser to "cease and desist" from violating federal law and tells it to immediately "restore and maintain" workers' wages and benefits by awarding back pay, plus accumulated interest, to the workers.

The judge has few kind words for Kaiser. He calls Kaiser's actions "inherently destructive" of employees' basic labor rights and discusses "the massive damage done" by Kaiser's execs. The judge dismisses Kaiser's legal arguments with words like these: "indefensible," "lacks merit," "is without any legal foundation," "even worse..." Tasty especially likes this one: "It is on this point that this contention by Respondent [Kaiser Permanente] collapses completely." Ouch!

Then, on Friday, a second judge issued this federal injunction against Kaiser's law-breaking execs. Kaiser's actions were so severe that the NLRB went to the the extra length of seeking a 10(j) injunction in federal court to stop Kaiser from using endless NLRB appeals as part of an SEIU-styled stalling tactic. In his ruling, the federal judge continued the trampling of Kaiser and its attorneys: "This... fallacious argument amounts to nothing more than sophistry intended to conceal an unwillingness to bargain." Here's the NLRB's press release on the injunction. much for the millions of dollars that Kaiser must have paid to Nixon Peabody, the union-busting law firm Kaiser hired to defend itself. Nixon Peabody is one of the world's largest law firms with offices in Paris, London and Shanghai. According to the firm's website, the two attorneys hired by Kaiser -- Michael Lindsay and Seth Neulight-- specialize in "advising employers on union avoidance related issues." In fact, Neulight's personal profile brags about how he helped a distribution company fight a Teamsters organizing drive.

So why are these legal rulings also a blow against SEIU? Well, after Kaiser illegally withheld millions of dollars in pay and benefits from the 2,300 RNs and professionals, Kaiser and SEIU (or "KaiSEIU") then launched a massive campaign to threaten thousands more Kaiser workers with the same cuts if they voted to join NUHW in the next round of elections.

In fact, SEIU spent millions on mail, email, robocalls, push-polls, videos, and out-of-state organizers to make threats like these to the 43,000 workers waiting for their election. The two judges' rulings show how KaiSEIU's entire campaign was built on massive violations of federal law that were "inherently destructive" to workers' rights and did "massive damage" to workers, according to the judges.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Dave Kieffer (aka "Mr. Top-Down") Is Headed to California.

Remember Dave Kieffer?

Former SEIU Long Term Care Director inside the Purple Palace in DC.

Tyrone Freeman Supporter.

Architect of SEIU's widely-criticized, top-down deals with nursing home bosses called the "Nursing Home Alliance."

Husband of SEIU consultant Pam Kieffer.

Architect of "buy to grow" where SEIU tried to get its pension funds to loan companies money to buy non-union employers--assuming that those employers would then be more union friendly.

Well, he's headed to California to run the SEIU California State Council. That means he'll be key in setting the legislative agenda for SEIU in California.

Bad news for California's progressive community and it seems like a demotion for Dave, don't it?

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Happy Birthday, Special Fact Checker!

Who is Eli Kasargod-Staub? He is Andy Stern's fact checker for Tasty's favorite book "A Country the Works."

Tasty has gotten A LOT of feedback after mentioning Eli last week...seems Eli was a Stern Favorite but an example of "totally over-promoted," according to one source.

Eli was brought on to fact check the book, per Anna's memo, but was kept on staff and worked on field research on failed retirement care and nursing home campaigns. While Eli had a fancy (read: made-up Senior Field Coordinator) title, he was a researcher who needed "significant help" getting his work done. When that didn't work out, he was sent to "teach" unions in Australia how to be more strategic. Seems like an excellent use of dues dollars. (Speaking of dues dollars--Eli got a 45% raise this year.)

Apparently, Eli, was a favorite of Nursing Home Alliance architect and Tyrone Freeman Defender Dave Kieffer--who clearly has great taste in people.

...which is all to say: Happy Birthday, Eli!
Tasty hopes Andy Stern doesn't ruin your birthday by making you talk to the Feds on his behalf!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Feds Investigate Stern's Book Deal, Still.

Andy Baby has got to really wondering why he wrote this stupid book anyway. It's causing him quite the problem, and the only time someone sees it is stacked in a pile in the dusty corner of a local union office.

In yet another breaking article, the LA Times (led by Tasty's favorite investigative reporter, Paul Pringle) reveals that federal investigators are questioning people about a controversial 2006 book deal that allowed Andy Stern to personally pocket $175,000 in "advance" payments from the book's publisher even though SEIU officials spent hundreds of thousands of dollars of SEIU dues money to research, write, publicize and even purchase "A Country that Works."

The investigation comes as a kind of vindication for many people. Back in 2006, UHW's former leaders opposed Stern's book deal because they called it unethical, which reportedly was one of the reasons why Stern launched his aggressive attack against UHW.

If you wanna get more details on the book deal, check out this 2006 memo from Anna Burger. It includes descriptions of SEIU's plan to spend $80,000 to hire "PR Solutions" and "EchoDitto" to create a website called "" and do "blogosphere promotion" of Stern's book. SEIU officials also assembled a team of SEIU staff including Steve Trossman, TJ Michaels, Gina Glantz, and Bandele McQueen to do communications work and "help in planning the book events, book arrangements, press contacts and publicity." Burger's memo also notes: "A current employee on the Union's staff may accompany President Stern on occasion." (I guess Andy needed someone to carry around all of the books that he couldn't sell--a most pathetic assignment for some chump).

The LA Times makes special mention of SEIU Special Agent Don Stillman. Don, who is married to SEIU's top attorney Judy Scott, has strangely enuf been super successful at winning multiple consulting gigs from SEIU that have paid him hundreds of thousands of dollars over recent years (Wouldn't you think this should raise a few red flags for the union's attorneys?? Whoops...).

Observers say that one of Don's high-paying gigs was to help Stern with the book, which earned Don special mention in the book's "Acknowledgments." In a more recent contracting gig, Don produced an SEIU "coffee table" book that got totally panned in this review. (That reminds Tasty of that super expensive, but super lame, SEIU movie that the Village Voice called "A Crappy Infomercial Partly Funded by Its Subject")

Anyway, Tasty digresses. Back to the LA Times. The unnamed SEIU researcher in the LA Times article is Eli Staub, who assembled the facts for Stern's book while on SEIU's payroll.
Finally, for those interested in Anna's memo about Andy's book, Tasty personally loves this line on page 6: "We believe the book can be a very effective communication tool to advance our seven strengths program." Not sure what "seven strengths" she's referring to? Well, whatever they were, these "seven strengths" appear to have been pushed far off the stage by SEIU's most recent "seven scandals:" Andy Stern, Annelle Grajeda, Alejandro Stephens, Tyrone Freeman, Rickman Jackson, Byron Hobbs and Sharon-Frances Moore.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Prison Time.


Check out this article in the Los Angeles Times about former SEIU IEB member Alejandro Stephens heading off to jail for his guilty plea on corruption charges. The article mentions no fewer than 4 SEIU officials involved in recent corruption scandals (Alejandro Stephens, Tyrone Freeman, Anelle Grajeda and Janett Humphries) and provides new details about Andy Stern's role in awarding more than $300,000 in severance payments and consulting fees to Stephens in an effort to ease Stephens out of his role as president of Local 660.

The article says: "Federal investigators also have questioned people with ties to the union about whether Andy Stern, former national head of the SEIU who now sits on President Obama's deficit reduction commission, may have approved a no-show position for Stephens."

The article also offers new details about former SEIU Executive Vice President Annelle Grajeda's role in the Stephens' corruption scandal. In court filings, the FBI named Grajeda and her son as "co-schemers" in the crime. B/t/w, is Annelle still working in the Secretary-Treasurer's office in SEIU's purple palace in DC?

And most intriguing for Tasty is this excerpt. Can anyone name these SEIU officials?

The genesis of the case, according to Stephens, was a phone call he received in early 2004 from an SEIU official, whom he declined to name. The official, Stephens said, told him Contreras wanted to help Stephens be reelected as president of Local 660, where he faced opposition amid criticism that he was autocratic and ineffective.

Stephens said he was then summoned to Sacramento. There, he said, he met with the SEIU official and others, who advised him to find people willing to accept the nonprofit's money and then turn it over to him.

"All I had to do was identify someone or persons who will be able to pass the checks, and then pay for the campaign," Stephens said.

Stephens admitted recruiting friends and relatives to serve as what prosecutors called "phony consultants," who received $52,000 in VIP funds and were directed to "hand the money over to Stephens," federal authorities said in a statement.

Here's a link to the full article.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Remember this?

May 2009 300 workers joined NUHW at Doctor's San Pablo--the first election!

Well SEIU's final round of objections were denied and the workers are certified as NUHW members. Justice does not happen too fast in the labor movement, but it does happen!

Go get that contract, NUHW!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

HCA Negotiations: Going Nowhere, Fast.

Tasty hears that SEIU's trustees are having some problems at HCA hospitals in California. Earlier this week, SEIU-UHW sent out a press release announcing that its members at three HCA hospitals in Southern California would conduct a one-day strike on Dec. 3 after more than a year of unsuccessful contract negotiations.

Registered Nurses at the three hospitals, who are represented by SEIU Local 121, have also been in unsuccessful negotiations at the same hospitals but, strangely enuf, Local 121 didn't issue a strike notice for Dec. 3.

According to the San Fernando Business Journal, the SEIU RNs planned to cross the picket line: "...members of SEIU Local 121RN will not be holding a strike on Friday. They still have five days left of bargaining with the hospitals’ management from Dec. 6 through Dec. 10, said Aimee Barajas, spokeswoman for the local union."

On Dec. 1, SEIU's trustees announced they were calling off the Dec. 3 strike and would instead sit down with HCA -- like they've been doing for more than a year.

So what's going on? As far as Tasty can tell, there are some serious coordination problems between SEIU's trustees and Local 121's leaders. How's it possible that these two SEIU locals are not coordinating their negotiations and strike plans against HCA, the largest hospital corporation in the US??

Tasty suspects these problems may have something to do with Ragin' Dave Regan's bull-in-a-china-shop style. During his short tenure in CA, Regan has already threatened the entire San Francisco Labor Council, the North Bay Labor Council, the Chair of the California Democratic Party, etc. Or it could be a simple case of incompetence by SEIU's out-of-state staff, like the failures that led to the firing of 38 UHW members at Piedmont Gardens in Oakland.

And this may be another hint: as far as incompetence, Tasty hears that Alex "Krooked" Espinoza is playing a lead staff role in the trustees' HCA campaign.