Thursday, March 8, 2012

Worker to SEIU: Where's the plan to fight Kaiser?

Check out this gem from an SEIU-UHW member at Kaiser Permanente. It's a two-minute excerpt from a conference call where Joe Simoes (the Director of SEIU-UHW’s Kaiser Division) tries to rally workers’ support in the run-up to the union’s disastrous “Wellness Walk” on March 1st.  

At the beginning of the call, Simoes tells workers that Kaiser wants to slash their benefits. The upcoming contract negotiations, he says, are gonna be “a fight.” He then tells workers that SEIU-UHW’s key tactic for “fighting the Boss” is… SEIU's wellness walk!

Wait a sec!... Doesn’t the Boss actually ­love wellness walks? And doesn’t Kaiser spend gobs of money promoting all kinds of wellness stuff through websites and videos like this one featuring John August and Kaiser COO Bernard Tyson?  

Luckily, one of the workers on the conference call was equally baffled by Simoes’s comment. So he asks Simoes if SEIU-UHW actually has “a plan” to fight Kaiser's cuts. Simoes’s response is so pathetic, muddle-headed and dishonest that it’s literally jaw-dropping. In fact, Simoes actually compares SEIU’s wellness walk to Rosa Parks's civil disobedience on a Montgomery bus to protest racist Jim Crow laws in 1955. Tasty is not kidding.

Here's the two-minute excerpt. The first person talking is the Kaiser worker, who's then followed by Simoes.

P.S. Simoes's comments about Rosa Parks are not only idiotic, they're historically inaccurate. Rosa Parks was the Secretary of the Montgomery chapter of the NAACP, whose local president -- E.D. Nixon -- was a union organizer and had spent years leading efforts to fight segregation in Montgomery, Alabama. Prior to Parks's refusal to give up her seat to a white man, Nixon had been designing approaches for challenging the city's segregated buses. Rosa Parks had received training at the Highlander Folk School in Tennessee. In other words, years of organizational efforts had laid the base for the year-long boycott by 50,000 Montgomery residents -- and a legal challenge -- that successfully brought the bus company to its knees.

In contrast, SEIU has made absolutely zero effort to prepare its membership for a fight with Kaiser. In fact, SEIU officials won't even take simple steps like telling its membership about the company's $6.1 billion in profits or its CEO's $1 million pay raise... even as Kaiser executives try to slash their pensions, health coverage and retiree health plan!