Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Fighting for the Big Boss: Dave Regan and Leon Chow

As Andy Stern pushes for tax cuts for the Fortune 500, SEIU’s trustees in California have teamed up with the Chamber of Commerce to block important health reform efforts in San Francisco. Check this out.

In 2006, San Francisco passed a landmark universal healthcare law that requires the city’s business owners to give health coverage to their workers. What a concept!

The cutting-edge law then survived a multi-million legal assault by the Chamber of Commerce, which sued all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court in an effort to block the law. After the Chamber lost its last appeal, the law was finally put into effect. Hooray!

This year, however, city officials discovered that businesses have been exploiting a giant loophole in the law. You see… even though many businesses are setting aside money in special accounts to pay for their workers’ healthcare needs, the businesses are conveniently forgetting to tell workers that the money is there for them to use! And if workers don’t use the money, then all the unspent funds go back into businesses owners’ pockets at the end of each year.

A recent city report found that 80 percent of the $50 million San Francisco businesses paid last year into city-required health care reimbursement accounts for their uninsured workers was never used and instead went back to employers.
Fortunately, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors came to the rescue by introducing a measure to close what the SF Chronicle dubbed the “business-friendly loophole.”

So… wouldn’t you expect the city’s largest union of healthcare workers (SEIU-UHW) to back the Supervisors’ efforts? After all, SEIU supposedly supports universal health coverage, right? Well, gentle readers, welcome to another trip down SEIU’s highway of hypocrisy…

As Supervisors prepared for a vote on a measure to close the loophole, SEIU-UHW and the President of the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce co-signed this letter (see below) calling on the Supervisors to suspend the vote. Who signed the letter on behalf of SEIU? None other than scab extraordinaire Leon Chow, who last year appeared on mailers backing the Chamber’s candidates in city elections.

What about the other unions on the letterhead? Well, Tasty hears that SEIU sent the letter without giving the unions a heads-up. And, as you might guess, the unions are now plenty angry at SEIU.

That’s why the San Francisco Central Labor Council, which represents dozens of unions across the city, sent this letter reaffirming labor’s support for closing the loophole. Check out the subtle dig at SEIU (aka ‘the Chamber’s ill-informed ally’) at the end of the labor council’s letter:
Please pass Supervisor Campos’ legislation without watered-down amendments promoted by the Chamber of Commerce and their ill-informed allies. Restore the promise of this watershed legislation that promotes healthcare coverage for all San Francisco workers.
So how’d it all end up? Tasty hears that SEIU-UHW’s sell-out maneuver caused the Supervisors to feel uncertain about labor’s support for the measure, so they pulled the item before it could be voted on, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

Bottom line?…Thanks to SEIU, San Francisco’s business owners will continue pocketing $40 million a year that’s supposed to pay for workers’ health care. Way to go, SEIU. Integrity in action.

Wonder how SEIU’s low-wage members and frontline healthcare workers feel about their union’s top officials teaming up with big business to sabotage workers’ health coverage.

Is SEIU Fighting for a Fair Economy??? Seems more like it's Fighting for the Big Boss.