Thursday, January 5, 2012

SEIU-UHW Plans More Cuts at Catholic Healthcare West

Remember the $217 million in pension cuts that SEIU accepted at Catholic Healthcare West (CHW) in California? SEIU-UHW officials eliminated workers’ defined-benefit pension plan and replaced it with a 401(k)-style plan… and then lied to workers so they could implement the changes.

Well… guess what? SEIU-UHW officials have returned to the bargaining table with CHW, and they’re planning to make even more cuts to 13,000 workers’ health and retirement benefits.

Where did Tasty get the info about the cuts?   From the BOSS!

Check out a recording of a December 2nd conference call between CHW’s executives and corporate bond investors. During this “investor relations webcast,” Michael Blaszyk (CHW’s Senior Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer) describes how CHW executives are "in discussions with our partners at SEIU" to address the company’s "workforce cost structure" and “right-size our workforce.” He also brags about the $50 million in savings that CHW has already enjoyed as a result of the pension cuts that SEIU's Hal Ruddick and Dave Regan accepted last year.

Here’s a 1 ½-minute excerpt from CHW’s webcast along with a rough transcript of Blaszyk’s statements (the excerpt includes the beginning of the webcast plus a section from later on). Readers can go here to see the full webcast, which is about 40 minutes long.

Blaszyk: "As you would expect, a key element to addressing our cost structure is workforce management... Given the declining rate of increase in revenue anticipation, we are responding by right-sizing our workforce ... As part of this effort, we are addressing cost structure in discussions with our partners at SEIU, and ultimately at the CNA. These partners have exhibited a keen understanding of the complexity of healthcare delivery and reimbursement today, and we expect to have further productive discussion over the next many months. We have already moved to adjust our pension plan design to reduce our liability and pension costs. We have been successful in reducing pension expense by $50 million."
So what kind of cuts is SEIU making? Well, CHW’s webcast includes graphics like this one:

CHW's webcast lays out a plan for cutting SEIU-UHW members’ pay and benefits in 2012, and then trying to impose the same cuts on the California Nurses Association’s members in 2013. Unlike SEIU (which loves selling out workers in back-room deals with the Boss), the CNA has teamed up with NUHW to fight pension and health insurance cuts at Kaiser Permanente. In fact, last September, 21,000 members of NUHW and CNA held the largest strike in Kaiser’s history. Meanwhile, SEIU worked side-by-side with Kaiser management to try to break the strike.

Why is CHW making the cuts? Because SEIU is weak and in bed with the Boss. So is CHW hurting for money? Hardly. Last year, CHW made $917 million in profits last year, nearly doubling its profits from the prior year.

Stay tuned. Tasty plans to give more details on the benefits cuts that SEIU's already discussed with CHW officials.