Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Michigan Workers Reject Another SEIU Contract Deal; Marge Launches New Vote-Rigging Scheme

Today, technical workers at MHP’s Hackley Hospital voted down a contract settlement that Marge “Cadillac” Faville, the president of SEIU Healthcare Michigan, had secretly negotiated with management.

And get this… workers won despite some serious hookin’ and crookin’ by SEIU. Tasty hears that SEIU staffers denied about 20 workers the right to cast ballots in the ratification vote. And then, at the end of the vote, SEIU banned workers who opposed the sell-out deal from simply watching the vote count.

Today’s vote comes just days after workers rejected a similar contract deal at Luther Manor Nursing Home in Saginaw.

So what’s Marge gonna do now? Well, it looks like she’s steppin’ up her game from “Hookin’ & Crookin’” to outright “Vote Rigging & Fraud.” Here’s what’s going on:

In most unions, when workers reject a contract settlement, the union’s bargaining committee goes back to the negotiating table to push for a better deal with the boss. But not Marge...

At Luther Manor, Marge just announced a re-vote on the same exact contract that workers rejected last week. But this time, Marge is rigging the rules. She’s moved the site of the voting from the nursing home to an offsite location that’s 10 minutes away by car. And Marge is only gonna let workers vote during a two-hour block of time during the middle of the day shift. Here’s the leaflet announcing the re-vote:

Do you think SEIU President Mary Kay Henry is upset that SEIU members' rights are getting crushed under Marge's thick heel?  Think again, my friends. History shows that Mary Kay is no fan of democracy. After all, she was personally involved in this episode… and this one too. In fact, it sounds like Marge has simply taken a page from Mary Kay’s playbook of dirty tricks.

Monday, August 29, 2011

SEIU Michigan: “United We Beg!”

What’s the latest from Michigan? Well, SEIU put out a leaflet telling workers at MHP’s Hackley Hospital to ratify the bad contract deal negotiated by SEIU Healthcare Michigan’s president Marge Faville. The only problem is… the leaflet doesn’t really inspire lots of confidence in SEIU. Here’s how the leaflet ends:

“United We Beg”???  Hmm… Was this an inadvertent mistake by Marge’s children, who hold down several positions on the union staff? Or is Marge finally coming clean about her strategy for contract negotiations?

Tasty can’t wait to see Marge’s next leaflet!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

SEIU: Hookin’ & Crookin’ in Michigan

Many readers will be familiar with the dirty tricks that SEIU is using in Michigan. Here’s what’s going on:

Workers report that SEIU just cut a backroom deal with Mercy Health Partners’ Hackley Hospital in Muskegon, Michigan. The tentative contract settlement would apparently hit workers with a wage cut of 6%-11% over the life of the contract by letting management push more health insurance costs and other benefits costs onto the backs of workers.

So how’s SEIU trying to sell this bad deal to union members?

First, SEIU waged a fake fight against the hospital to try to rally workers’ support for the deal. SEIU staged an informational picket at the hospital, and then hours later SEIU Healthcare Michigan president Marge Faville announced she had miraculously reached a wonderful deal for workers (…that’s the bad deal that Faville cut before the picket).

Next, SEIU pushed workers to ratify the deal while conveniently refusing to provide them with copies of the tentative agreements (TAs). Here’s one worker’s report:
After many phone calls and messages to the SEIU union hall, I finally spoke with Norma Kersting on Friday, who referred me to Matt Carpenter. I asked him to fax me the tentative agreements so I could review them over the weekend. He said they didn't want them to “proliferate through the department” and he didn't have time to fax them. SEIU must have a very difficult procedure to fax, because our way is very quick and easy. He told me to come to the “informational” meetings on Monday and gave me the times. When I told him that I couldn't make any of those times, he said I could come to the union hall any time, staff would be there all day, and that because of the "really complicated language" he would need to sit down and "explain it all" to me. No Matt, all I need you to explain to me is why I can't see the TAs that will have a major effect on my life.
Here’s what another worker wrote:
They act like people are stupid and they need their wisdom to figure things out. It's insulting. We can read and use a calculator. And if this is a good contract like they claim, then why are they scared of people seeing it?
Hmm… Marge?? Tasty realizes you have a lot on your mind. There’s your $160,000-a-year salary, your union-paid SUV (price: $47,242) and your union-paid corporate apartment for those weekend trips to the big city ($17,600 per year). And then, of course, there are the union staff jobs you gave to your daughter, son and niece.

Despite the many pressures of your job, Tasty humbly suggests that you tell your salaried children to photocopy the TAs. Then, you should hop in your fancy SUV and deliver those TAs to the workers, who're the ones who actually pay your salary (umm, and the kids' salaries, too). Tasty hears the workers kinda really wanna see what you agreed to with their boss.

Oh, and by the way, Marge. No need to swing by Luther Manor Nursing Home in Saginaw. The workers there saw through SEIU’s bag of tricks. Last week, they voted down a separate sell-out contract settlement that you were trying to push down their throats, by hook or crook, SEIU-style.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Latest… San Diego County Workers Vote to Leave SEIU!

A day after 350 healthcare workers in Canada bolted SEIU, approximately 220 county government workers in San Diego, California voted to leave SEIU Local 221 and join the independent Association of San Diego County Employees (ASDCE).

According to this official tally of votes posted on ASDCE’s website, the margin was roughly 60% to 40%. This vote by workers in the Craft Bargaining Unit is the latest in a string of decertifications by dissatisfied SEIU members in San Diego, where SEIU's Eliseo Medina once served as the appointed head of the local union.

Why are workers bolting SEIU? Here’s what ASDCE’s website says. Sound familiar?

The complaints that are voiced are the same over and over again:

No response from SEIU Local 221 to calls

Poor representation

Continual worksite organizer changes

A general feeling that SEIU Local 221 doesn’t care about the members

The Craft employees want more control over their work life, want to feel that their problems and concerns are important and that they deserve to be helped and listened to. With the formation of the Association of San Diego County Employees this will happen. The members will decide how the Association is run, they will have help with problems and their concerns will be addressed. The Association will focus solely on its members and their needs and the members will not be put second to other priorities.

Congratulations, Craft workers!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Four in a Row for Canadian Healthcare Workers!

On Wednesday, 350 more workers at Humber River Regional Hospital in Ontario, Canada voted by a two-to-one margin to leave SEIU and join the Ontario Workers’ Union! Tasty hears that SEIU bombarded workers with lies during the run-up to the vote. On Wednesday morning, SEIU’s organizers showed up at the hospital at 6:30am to leaflet workers, and apparently were surprised to see 25 staffers from the Laborers Union leafleting in support of the Ontario Workers Union. (Tasty hears the Laborers are not too keen about SEIU these days.) Congratulations to our sisters and brothers in Canada!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

SEIU's Concessionary Caravan

After Tasty posted this story about SEIU pushing concessions on San Diego County workers, readers sent in other stories about cuts that SEIU is negotiating.

In Santa Cruz County, California, SEIU just accepted a two-year contract for 1,500 county workers that includes a two-tiered pension system and furloughs that translate into “a nearly 7 percent pay cut,” according to the San Jose Mercury News.

In Las Vegas, Nevada, 3,000 SEIU members at University Medical Center took a 2% wage cut that’s retroactive back to May. A retroactive pay cut?? Tasty was puzzled, too. It means that workers not only have their wage rates cut by 2% going into the future, but each worker also has to pay back hundreds of dollars to the hospital that they got in their paychecks during the past 3 months. Tasty kinda had the same reaction as this SEIU member, who was quoted in the Las Vegas Sun as saying: “I don’t know if there’s a union in America that’s had to give back what they already had.”

In the San Francisco Bay Area, 1,300 members at SEIU-UHW are facing a whole slew of cuts at El Camino Hospital, according to this bargaining bulletin posted on the hospital’s website. Proposed cuts include eliminating fully employer-paid health and dental coverage (workers would pay 10% of premiums), freezing wages in the first year of the contract, cutting retirement pay, eliminating education & training benefits, cutting shift differentials, etc. The hospital is asking SEIU-UHW to eat the cuts even though the hospital posted $70 million in profits during the past two years.

One of the hospital’s top execs, who recently moved to a nearby hospital, reported that Dave Regan has already accepted the cuts… but kinda forgot to let the workers know. Apparently, Regan signed off on the cuts in exchange for a deal with management that let SEIU add hundreds more of the hospital’s workers to SEIU’s membership rolls. "Scratch my back, I'll scratch yours..."

According to workers, SEIU is putting up a fake fight against the hospital's cuts… even going so far as to "organize" an informational picket that involved only 7 or 8 workers. Tasty can hear Regan explaining it to the workers… “We tried… but we had to accept the cuts… There was nothing else we could do…”

Monday, August 22, 2011

Andy Update

So what’s Andy Stern up to these days? That is… what else besides pitching tax cuts for the plutocrats and dialing for dollars at SIGA Technologies?

Well, an SEIU homecare worker was surprised the other day when he found SEIU’s President Emeritus on the other end of the phone line. Here’s his report:

Yesterday there was a phone conference for CA Homecare Workers to talk about how we were for jobs, collective bargaining, etc. Our guest speaker was -- Andy Stern! I sat there with my mouth open. They conducted a poll: asking if we voted for Obama last time and whether we would vote for him in 2012. You could push a button for Yes, No, or Unsure. We got no report of the vote numbers.

Hmm… Tasty wonders what kind of inspiring words SEIU’s President Emeritless served up to SEIU’s homecare workers, who in Los Angeles earn just $1 an hour more than the minimum wage. Did King Andy happen to mention that he’s pocketing fistfuls of cash over at SIGA Technologies?

According to SIGA’s latest Proxy Report, Andy took home $116,094 during his first six months on SIGA’s board. (See p. 28 of the Proxy Report) And that’s on top of Andy’s $227,000-a-year pension from SEIU. Throw in Andy’s other side gigs, and Andy is prolly pocketing $350,000 or $450,000 a year. No wonder that SIGA likes to publicize “Mr. Stern’s reputation as a business leader…” in its materials (p. 5).

P.S. For those who’re concerned about Andy’s social life, he’s surrounded himself with some super bitchin’ people over at SIGA. Take Frances Fragos Townsend, who joined SIGA’s board in March.

Townsend is the former Assistant to President George W. Bush for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism; chair of the Homeland Security Council; Deputy Assistant to the President and Deputy National Security Advisor for Combating Terrorism; first Assistant Commandant for Intelligence for the U.S. Coast Guard; chair of the Board of the Intelligence and National Security Alliance; and member of the Trilateral Commission. Wow, Frances! Tasty wants to party with you! ...as long as you promise to not nuke my neighborhood with one of your drones.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

In Memory of Jason

Earlier, Tasty reported the sad news that NUHW organizer Jason Campbell died in an accident in Abuja, Nigeria, where he was working with the AFL-CIO’s Solidarity Center. This past weekend, Jason’s family and friends gathered in Minnesota to celebrate his life. Rank-and-file NUHW leaders travelled to Minnesota to participate in the services, and also made this video in celebration of Jason. Tasty wanted to share the video and an obituary with all of the people who worked with Jason over the years. Tasty’s heart goes out to Jason’s family, his fiancĂ©, and all of his union comrades and friends.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Michael Moore: Bowling for Kaiser!

Remember Michael Moore, the Academy-award winning filmmaker of “Bowling for Columbine,” “Sicko,” “Roger & Me” and other famous films?

Well, check out his website! It’s got a front-page piece from Lisa Engles, a rank-and-file NUHW leader at Kaiser Permanente, called: “What do Kaiser Permanente and Verizon have in Common?"

Lisa calls Kaiser Permanente onto the carpet for pocketing billions of profits while jacking up prices on teachers and trying to cut the benefits of Kaiser's own frontline staff.

Oh… and check out this interesting detail: Kaiser CEO George Halvorson has eight pensions from Kaiser but is trying to eliminate Kaiser workers’ only pension plan. Hmm... sounds like George bunks with Verizon CEO Lowell McAdams when they attend those fancy CEO seminars in Monte Carlo.

Tasty especially likes this part of Lisa's piece:

Why am I telling you this? It’s simple. We need to stand together. Teachers, Healthcare workers. Verizon workers. All of us. Our greatest strength is our solidarity. When we stand together, we can accomplish great things.

Don’t expect to hear much from SEIU on this front… Tasty hears that Dave Regan is so deep in bed with Kaiser’s execs that his head rarely pops up from underneath the comforter. In fact, Regan and SEIU are actively trying to break the strikes conducted by Kaiser’s workers. Why? Because workers are striking to fight the benefit cuts that Regan and SEIU have already secretly accepted.

Go to Michael Moore’s website to take an action in support of Kaiser workers and California's teachers. Way to go, Lisa!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

"President Henry, Impound this Ballot!"

Remember how SEIU Local 221 was pressuring county workers to accept sharp cuts to their health and retirement benefits even though San Diego County has budget surpluses and a well-funded pension plan? Well, here’s the latest development.

This week, a county worker arrived at SEIU’s contract-ratification vote and discovered that union officials had printed ballots in such a way as to practically guarantee that workers will vote to cut their own benefits. The employee snapped a photo of the ballot with his cellphone, which Tasty has posted here for readers.

At the top of the ballot, SEIU officials prominently positioned their preferred option: a “Yes” vote on a deal that would cut workers’ pay by 7-17%. The second option – a “No” vote – is presented to voters in starkly different terms with this text: “NO – And I am prepared to be imposed on and face up to one year 7% offset reduction.”

Wait a sec. Usually, if workers vote down a tentative agreement, it simply means the union goes back to the bargaining table and tries to negotiate a better deal.

And what the f*ck does this mean: “I am prepared to be imposed on”? Sounds a bit ominous...

And in case the ballot wasn’t unfair enough, the worker says that SEIU staffers armed with SEIU-scripted flip-chart presentations stood several feet from the ballot box and pressured workers to vote “Yes.”

After experiencing firsthand SEIU's cutting-edge efforts to expand the frontiers of workplace democracy, the worker penned a letter titled “President Henry, Impound this Ballot!," which Tasty has excerpted below:
Dear SEIU International President Mary Kay Henry,
I am writing you to urge that you immediately stop this election at SEIU Local 221's County of San Diego Chapter. The conduct of this election is a grotesque violation of all ethical and moral standards, and a violation of our SEIU Constitution. It is an insult to American values…
If you do not act, you will be putting your own stamp of approval on this outrage against fair elections. These attached photos are about a union contract election on contracts involving thousands of people and millions of dollars.
I took these photos on my cell phone today at SEIU 221. Note the "sign here in blood" language for a "no" vote and all the "bonus" talk for the "yes" vote RIGHT ON THE BALLOT.
Note the layout of the room. Voting booths are a few feet from the presentation board… A union official stands in front of the presentation board and reads off what's on each sheet… These "informational" presentations are transparent campaigning at the polls. If the Registrar of Voters conducted an election this way, what would happen?