Monday, January 2, 2012

Top Stories of 2011

Here's a look at some of the top stories of 2011:

Crookin' at Kaiser:  In early 2011, two federal judges forced Kaiser Permanente to pay millions of dollars of wages it illegally withheld from 2,500 Southern California workers after they voted to leave SEIU and join NUHW. And in July, an Administrative Law Judge found SEIU guilty of violating federal labor law during the giant election covering 43,000 Kaiser workers. The NLRB ordered a re-run election that hasn’t been scheduled because it's investigating even more violations, including allegations that Kaiser illegally funded dozens of SEIU's election campaign staffers during the election. So, while 2010 was the year of massive law-breaking by Kaiser and SEIU, the year of 2011 will be remembered as pay-back time. As 2011 drew to a close, Kaiser and SEIU were so nervous about the re-run election that they launched a super defensive Wizard-of-Oz themed PR campaign!

Jumping off the Purple Bus:  In 2011, thousands of workers from California, Michigan and Canada voted to leave SEIU and join independent unions. In California, workers at a half-dozen hospitals and nursing homes voted to join NUHW, including workers at San Francisco's largest hospital. SEIU also suffered losses in San Diego and Los Angeles… and is facing a home-grown decertification effort by 1,200 unhappy members of SEIU-UHW in Northern California. In Canada, an independent union has won five elections against SEIU since July. Next? In early January, workers at a Michigan hospital will be voting on whether to leave SEIU and join NUHW.

Crookin’ at SEIU-UHW:  After denying Kaiser workers a fair election in 2010, Dave Regan continued to show his true colors in 2011. Federal records revealed how "Wall Street" Dave nearly tripled his salary to $300,000 after taking over SEIU-UHW… and how he handed out salaries of $150,000-$200,000 to Steve Trossman, Hal Ruddick and other SEIU staffers. Last summer, the U.S. Department of Labor released records revealing how Regan liquidated members' $4.1 million pension fund in March of 2011. And last fall, SEIU-UHW’s internal financial records showed how Regan has turned SEIU-UHW into a profit-making machine, apparently by hiking union dues and cutting representation for SEIU-UHW members.

Concessionary Caravan: SEIU’s concessionary bargaining was another big story in 2011 -- from Children’s Hospital in Oakland, Providence Tarzana Medical Center, University Medical Center (Las Vegas) and Washington Hospital Center (D.C.) to Santa Clara, San Diego and San Joaquin Counties. Perhaps the biggest story was the $217 million pension cut that SEIU-UHW negotiated for 13,000 workers at Catholic Healthcare West (CHW)... along with the campaign of lies that SEIU's Hal Ruddick engineered to implement the cuts.

Ballot Stuffing, Rigged Elections and Un-Representation: Another big story in 2011 was SEIU’s endless effort to rig elections and deny support for its own members – from Walnut Creek, San Francisco and Los Angeles to Saginaw and Muskegon in Michigan. One of the saddest stories involved SEIU staffers sitting on their hands while Kaiser officials fired a worker with 33 years on the job…
Ass-Kicking & Numbers-Taking:  Finally, NUHW members made headlines by launching aggressive bargaining campaigns and strikes at hospitals across California, including Salinas Valley Memorial Hospital and USC University Hospital. At Providence Tarzana Medical Center, NUHW members bargained a contract that’s far superior to SEIU’s contract for 600 RNs at the same facility. And at Kaiser Permanente, NUHW members have sparked a growing multi-union fight against Kaiser Permanente – including the largest strike in the U.S. healthcare industry of 2011 by 21,000 workers!   
P.S. Of course, the year wouldn’t have been complete without the cast of pathetic SEIU officials who added a certain comic relief to 2011:  Josie Mooney, Steve Matthews, Andy Stern, Tyrone Freeman, Michelle Ringuette, Bill Lloyd, Brandi Madewell, Dave Kieffer and JonPaul McClellan.