Tuesday, November 29, 2011

SEIU-UHW: “The fact that the insurance has gone up alone, it's not a violation.”

Here’s the latest of the seemingly endless contract concessions that SEIU has handed over to healthcare corporations since it imposed its disastrous trusteeship on California’s healthcare workers.

Several thousand SEIU-UHW members at the Daughters of Charity Health System are now paying thousands of dollars for health insurance that used to be virtually free. Why? Because in 2009, SEIU’s DC trustees negotiated a sell-out labor contract that leaves workers on the hook for ever-increasing health insurance costs.

Check out this email that a worker at  Daughters of Charity sent to SEIU-UHW Field Rep Carlos Urrutia about the ballooning insurance payments that are draining workers’ paychecks. (Tasty has removed the worker’s name).

On Nov 29, 2011, at 12:17 PM, "________" <_____________ > wrote:

Hey Carlos,

I received a letter on Saturday that says there was an error about our payroll deductions for our health ins[urance] costs and we have until Dec 1 to go in and make changes. I am a part time employee and for just my health coverage (PPO plan) my deduction is $198 every two weeks! This does not include dental and etc!? This is absolutely absurd! Seiu needs to get on this because the rates went thru the roof! No one knew about this until I went around with my letter!
$198 every two weeks? That’s almost $5,000 a year! So what did Urrutia have to say? 

On Nov 29, 2011, at 1:20 PM, Carlos Urrutia <currutia@seiu-uhw.org> wrote:

I am sorry to hear. Uhw members are facing this challenge in at every facility, profitable hospitals ask the employees to pay more to stay competitive, others do it because they are losing money and say they have to do it to stay afloat. Regardless, we don't think is the employees that have to fix this major healthcare crisis by paying more, instead by working together,union members , community and hospitals in promoting wellness

We have identified six major chronic conditions that are raising health insurance premiums in the US: heart condition, diabetics, obesity, asthma, hypertension and depression. We strongly believe that if we gain control of these conditions, insurance cost will drop. As you know costs more to react to this conditions then to work on prevention.  Our union urges you to get involved and asks this things from you and your coworkers:
1) Join the contract action team

Carlos Urrutia
Union Representative/Organizer
510 735-6171
WTF!! Are you joking? So let’s see if Tasty got this right…  workers are supposed to wait until each of California’s 39 million residents loses 25 lbs before they’ll see any relief from SEIU’s crappy deal on their health insurance costs?  WTF is the union for?

Btw, Tasty especially enjoys Urrutia’s second suggestion for “getting involved.” It’s about as cogent and persuasive as the rest of his email, including his lame-ass excuse for why SEIU gave away workers’ long-time health insurance standards.

So what happened after Urrutia delivered his email?  Well, the worker wrote a one-line response to Urrutia that shows far more initiative than SEIU-UHW’s entire collective-bargaining program: “The employees want this fixed ASAP! We need a facility wide grievance.

Here's how SEIU-UHW’s capable Field Rep responded: 

From: Carlos Urrutia <currutia@seiu-uhw.org>
Date: November 29, 2011 3:59:44 PM PST
To: ______ <__________________>
Subject: Re: Slrh ins problem
I will suggest that you talk with Chief Steward Marc Quarles and Rep Chair Greg Gaboni. I also think that you need to identify the grievance and actual article violated in the CBA [collective bargaining agreement]….

Please follow the guide lines in the CBA to Identify possible violation. The fact that the insurance has gone up alone, it's not a violation.

I have also copied the stewards.

In solidarity,

Carlos Urrutia
Union Representative/Organizer
510 735-6171
So there’s the bottom-line, readers!  The greedy boss didn’t violate the contract because SEIU’s sell-out contract actually lets the company push more and more of its insurance costs onto the backs of workers. Way to go, SEIU!