Thursday, June 30, 2011

Truth about Tenet Contract Trips up SEIU... and Journalist

By now, readers are probably all too familiar with SEIU’s strong dislike of the truth. Check out this latest episode, which snared a gullible journalist at the San Francisco Business Times. Here’s what happened:
Recently, SEIU issued triumphant press releases announcing they’d won 18% wage increases during a contract settlement with Tenet Healthcare in California. Chris Rauber, a reporter at the San Francisco Business Times, wrote two entire articles about the contract, which appeared to be reprints of SEIU’s press releases.
Sounds good, right? Well… that is, until you actually read the contract language. It turns out that SEIU’s new agreement freezes workers’ wage scales for the first two years of the contract and increases the wage scales by only 1% increase during the third year.
Here’s what the actual contract language says, which Rauber conveniently forgot to mention in his article. [See the section labeled “Annual Hospital Wide Increase.”]
“Effective July 1, 2011, the wage scales shall remain unchanged.”
“Effective July 1, 2012, the wage scales shall remain unchanged.”
“Effective July 1, 2013, the wage scales shall increase 1%.”
So what about the 18% wage increase? Well, it turns out that it applies only to workers whose wages are far below the pay scale. Instead of immediately bringing them up to the pay scale, the contract caps their annual pay increase (including any “step” increases they’re owed) at 4.5%.
Not a great deal, especially when you consider that in 2010, Tenet made $1.1 billion in profits –its biggest profits in seven years. The for-profit company is projecting another $1.3 billion in profits during 2011.
So who negotiated the Tenet contract? SEIU’s Hal Ruddick – the same guy who bargained away the defined-benefit pension plan for 12,000 workers at Catholic Healthcare West. In that fiasco, Ruddick traded away workers’ pension plan for an infamously inferior cash-balance retirement plan, which is saving hundreds of millions of dollars for the hospital company.
As for the Tenet story, Tasty reminds readers that you can’t trust what SEIU says. And Chris Rauber… that goes for you, too. Time to do your homework!