Monday, April 30, 2012

Daughters of Charity Workers Bust SEIU's Dave Regan for Rushed Vote on Massive Concessions

Here’s the latest development in the fast-paced story that Tasty described earlier today.

It turns out that SEIU’s Dave Regan was in such a rush to jam concessions down the throats of 3,000 workers at the Daughters of Charity Health System that he violated their rights under SEIU-UHW’s own constitution! 

Regan gave the California workers only 9 hours' advance notice before conducting a vote to ratify deep cuts to workers' health and pension benefits even though the union's constitution requires three days' advance notice before such a vote.

This afternoon, dozens of workers delivered the following letter to Regan and SEIU President Mary Kay Henry in Washington, DC to demand an immediate stop to the unconstitutional vote. Way to go, Daughters of Charity workers!

SEIU Rushes Vote on Concessions at Daughters of Charity Health System

How dirty and dishonest is SEIU? Check this out. 

On Thursday, Tasty described the status of SEIU-UHW’s bargaining with the Daughters of Charity Health System, which employs 3,000 SEIU-UHW members at five hospitals in California.

Well, on Saturday night, SEIU officials announced they had accepted the company’s “last, best and final offer,” which includes these massive cuts:
  • Terminating workers’ defined-benefit pension plan and replacing it with a cheap 401(k) plan.
  • Cutting workers’ health insurance benefits by, for example, forcing workers to pay 25% of the monthly premiums for the company’s PPO plan, which has been free for employees until now.
  • Implementing a Wellness Program that forces workers to pay 20% of their monthly health insurance premiums if they fail to meet the program’s requirements.
  • Doubling workers’ out-of-pocket costs for prescriptions, doctors visits and other healthcare procedures.
So… will workers get a fair chance to reject these massive cuts during SEIU’s ratification vote? Not if SEIU can help it. Basically, Dave Regan and Co. are trying to ram the agreement down workers’ throats before they even have a chance to get the facts. Here’s what’s happening:

At 9:35pm on Saturday night, SEIU officials sent the following email to workers announcing SEIU’s "settlement" and declaring that ratification votes would begin IN LESS THAN 12 HOURS… AND ON A SUNDAY MORNING! Here’s the email -- be sure to check out the date and time at the top of the email:
From: SEIU-UHW Daughters of Charity Bargaining Team  <>
Date: April 28, 2012 21:25:59 PDT
Subject: Locking in our raises and benefits depends on YOU
Dear Mary,
We have great news! After months of difficult bargaining and united actions by SEIU-UHW members across our hospitals, we have finally reached a tentative contract agreement with Daughters of Charity. Our agreement ensures raises and benefits for the next three years, and we urge everyone to come out on Sunday and Monday to VOTE YES to lock in these guarantees.
We're working hard this weekend to make all the details available to you, so come out on Sunday and Monday to get more information and cast your vote.
St Francis Voting
Sunday, April 29th - Cafeteria 10am-7pm
Monday, April 30th - Cafeteria 7am-7pm
Seton Voting
Seton:  Seminar Room 2
1st Session:     6:30-12:30
2nd Session:    2:30-5:30
1st Session:      6:30-1:00
2nd Session:     2:00-6:00
3rd Session:      7:00-8:30
Coastside Voting
1st Session:      6:00 -11:00
2nd Session:     2:00-5:00
1st Session:      6:00-12:30
2nd Session:     2:00-6:00 
3rd Session:      7:30-8:30
St Vincent Voting
Sunday, April 29th – Conference Room C 11am-7pm
Monday, April 30th – Conference Room B 7am-11pm
O’Connor Voting
Sunday, April 29 - Cafeteria  7am-7pm
Monday, April 30 - Cafeteria 
St Louise Voting
Sunday, April 29 - Cafeteria 7am-7pm
Monday, April 30 - Cafeteria
See you there!
Here's an excerpt from SEIU's lame "Q&A" about the proposed agreement (click on the image to enlarge it):

And SEIU officials are blatantly lying about the terms of SEIU’s concessionary agreement. For example, SEIU's “Q&A” falsely informs workers that their “pension is in really bad financial shape." Last week, SEIU delivered the same information in this leaflet, which says workers’ pension plan “is broken.”

So what’s the truth about the pension plan? Last week, the pension plan’s administrator issued an “annual funding notice” (see below), which reports that the plan is 92.5% funded. Underfunded? Hardly.

What's sorely “underfunded” is the basic honesty and integrity of SEIU's corrupt officials who first of all accepted a sell-out agreement and now are doing their damnedest to ram it down workers’ throats. 

Thursday, April 26, 2012

ANOTHER California Hospital Chain Seeks Concessions from SEIU-UHW

Kaiser Permanente and Dignity Health are not the only hospital chains seeking massive concessions from SEIU-UHW.

Tasty has learned that the Daughters of Charity Health System -- which employs 3,000 of the union's members and is the fourth largest hospital chain that bargains with SEIU-UHW -- is seeking devastating cuts that are virtually identical to the ones that Dave Regan has given up to other hospital companies.

SEIU-UHW officials have been in bargaining with the company for months and the current contract is set to expire on Monday (April 30). The Daughters of Charity is the fourth largest hospital chain that bargains with SEIU-UHW.

According to an SEIU leaflet that’s pasted below, here are some of the major cuts on the bargaining table:
  • Freeze workers’ wages and “step increases.”
  • Eliminate workers’ defined-benefit pension plan and force them into a cheap 401(k) plan.
  • Cut workers’ health insurance benefits. Workers would have to pay 25-40% of the monthly premiums for a PPO plan. And they'd have to pay 20% of the monthly premiums for an HMO plan if they don’t meet the requirements of the company’s Wellness Program.
  • Eliminate protections against subcontracting workers’ jobs.
  • Eliminate “successorship” protections that require a buyer to employ the current workforce if a hospital is sold.
These devastating cuts were absolutely unthinkable until Dave Regan and his East Coast trustees parachuted into California about 36 months ago. In fact, the cuts are so severe that they'd roll back hospital workers’ benefits to levels not seen since the 1960s in the San Francisco Bay Area.

So how are SEIU's officials responding? Check out this stunning leaflet that SEIU is handing out to workers (see below). The first line says: “We won’t let Daughters go broke, but we won’t go broke either.” Wait a sec! The company isn't even talking about "going broke." But SEIU is trying to plant fear in workers' minds so they'll accept the devastating concessions they plan to give to the company.

Meanwhile, SEIU is staging fake “rallies” against the cuts at the Daughters of Charity's hospitals. The purpose? In the future, when workers complain about the harsh impact of the cuts, SEIU officials will simply shrug their shoulders and say, “See? We tried. But we just couldn't stop the cuts…”

Check out this video of SEIU’s fake “rally” at St. Louise Regional Hospital in Gilroy on April 19.

And speaking of St. Louise Hospital, check this out. The hospital is only 25 miles down the road from Salinas Valley Memorial Hospital... but soon the two hospitals will be light-years apart as far as workers’ pay and benefits.

At Salinas Valley Memorial, NUHW's 800 members waged an aggressive, year-long fight for a good contract. After impressive strike activity and the threat of an additional strike, the hospital settled a deal that preserves workers' defined-benefit pension plan, fully employer-paid family health coverage and no-subcontracting protections, and also provides wage increases that'll keep their wages higher than Kaiser’s. Quite 'A Tale of Two Hospitals.' Or better yet... "A Tale of Two Unions!"

Here's the SEIU leaflet that Tasty referred to earlier:

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Recording Reveals Massive SEIU Concessions at CA Hospital Chain

SEIU's Hal Ruddick
How bad is SEIU's concessionary bargaining in California?   

Check out this recording from a ‘report-back’ that SEIU-UHW officials recently gave to workers about their bargaining with Dignity Health (formerly Catholic Healthcare West). SEIU-UHW is currently negotiating a new contract for 14,000 SEIU-UHW members at more than 30 of Dignity's hospitals in California.

Last year, the company made $917 million in profits. And this year, it changed its name as it prepares to buy hospitals across the United States. Dignity is already one of California's largest hospital companies and competes directly with Kaiser Permanente.

Despite Dignity's profits, the company's executives are asking for deep concessions from SEIU-UHW's weak, inexperienced and corrupt negotiators. Here are just some of the cuts on the bargaining table:
  • Freeze workers’ wages and “step increases."
  • Cut workers' health benefits.
  • Eliminate all benefits for part-time employees... even for those employees regularly working 35 hours per week.
  • Eliminate a defined-benefit pension plan that covers 1,000 workers, and force these employees into SEIU's cheap 401(k)-like retirement plan that's called the “VPP” (Value Protection Plan).
  • Eliminate protections against subcontracting workers’ jobs.
  • Eliminate "successorship" protections, which require a new buyer to continue employing the current workforce when a hospital is sold.
  • Freeze Dignity's contributions to an educational fund (“ed fund”) that provides career-ladder training to SEIU members.
Here’s the recording, which features SEIU-UHW staffers Lisa Gude and Hal Ruddick (SEIU-UHW’s “Chief Negotiator”).

So what's going on? 

It’s simple. SEIU's Dave Regan and Co. have become the bosses’ biggest friend for slashing workers’ wages and benefits. In 2009, SEIU’s Hal Ruddick allowed Dignity to eliminate a defined-benefit pension plan covering 13,000 workers, thereby saving the company more than $217 million in the first year alone. And Ruddick shamelessly lied to workers in order to implement the giant cut.

SEIU's massive concession simply whetted Dignity's appetite for even more cuts. In December, Dignity’s top officials told investors they were “in discussions with our partners at SEIU" to "right-size our workforce” and cut workers' benefits. Now, as details emerge about Dignity's efforts, SEIU officials are hardly lifting a finger to fight the company.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Did SEIU’s “Dishonest Dave” Flush $5.5 Million down the Toilet?

Remember Dave Regan’s scheme to put two propositions on California’s statewide ballot in November? As Tasty reported in this earlier post, Regan claimed the measures -- which are part of his “Let’s Get Health California” campaign -- would rein in healthcare costs and improve access to “charity care.”

In December, Regan announced he would begin spending $5.5 million of SEIU-UHW members’ dues money to gather signatures to qualify the measures for the ballot. He also called on union members to volunteer their time to collect signatures. 

Unfortunately, Dishonest Dave forgot to mention that the measures contain hidden loopholes designed to exempt one-quarter of California’s hospitals from the so-called reforms. Last month, the Los Angeles Times busted Regan when it published this article about his deceptive efforts to sell the measures to the public.

Now, after spending millions of members’ dues dollars to qualify the flawed measures for the ballot, Regan is preparing to pull the plug on the doomed initiatives, which are headed to certain defeat. In fact, last week, Regan asked SEIU-UHW’s Executive Board to authorize him to NOT file the initiatives with election officials.

So how will Dave explain this multi-million-dollar fiasco to the union’s membership? Well, Tasty hears he’s been desperately searching for a face-saving maneuver to hide his massive failure.   

And it looks like he’s settled on a scheme. According to a resolution that was sent to SEIU-UHW’s Executive Board last week (see below), Regan says he wants to abandon the ballot measures because he negotiated a “groundbreaking” and "strategic" agreement with the California Hospital Association that will "transform California healthcare." (The California Hospital Association is the “Chamber of Commerce” for the state’s hospital corporations.)

What will Regan’s “groundbreaking” agreement actually do? According to the vaguely worded resolution, it will allow the California Hospital Association and SEIU-UHW “to work together to fight chronic disease, lower healthcare costs, improve healthcare quality and improve the livelihoods of California healthcare workers.”

Hmm… super vague, right? Tasty has a hunch that the agreement is all about Wellness Programs… and that SEIU-UHW will soon be working hand-in-hand with the Hospital Association to promote Wellness Programs across California. 

Hardly a victory for workers. After all, aside from Regan and John August, the biggest promoters of Wellness Programs are corporations like WalMart, Safeway and Kaiser Permanente that hope to use Wellness Programs to shift more healthcare costs onto workers’ backs.  

So… turn on your Bullshit Meters and get ready for Dishonest Dave’s inevitable announcement about his “groundbreaking” agreement with the California Hospital Association! This should be an interesting one.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

SEIU's Electric Slide towards Failure

"Mission failure."  That's what Kaiser Permanente workers are calling it. Check out this video, taken earlier today, of SEIU-UHW's so-called "rally" at Kaiser Walnut Creek Medical Center. How many workers actually attended the lunchtime rally? Here's a hint:  more than 1,500 SEIU-UHW members actually work at this Northern California hospital.

Well... errr... see if you can count more than 15 people in this video, taken during the middle of workers' lunch break. (You can see the video better if you enlarge it by clicking on the rectangular symbol in the bottom right-hand corner of the screen below. When you're done, click the symbol in the same right-hand corner to return to the blog.) 

And it gets worse. It turns out that Regan and Co. carefully scheduled the rally for the same day as the daylong meeting of SEIU's steward council at the hospital. Even though SEIU's shop stewards were released from their jobs and were paid by Kaiser to attend the rally, only a handful of them actually showed up. Ouch.
In related news, a reader from Southern California sent along this photo from today's SEIU rally at Kaiser Anaheim Medical Center. Check it out. As far as Tasty can see, the rally had fewer attendees than a hot tub party hosted by Steve Matthews and Dave Regan!

Meanwhile, workers from Kaiser Baldwin Park Medical Center sent along news from yesterday's SEIU rally in front of their hospital. Workers who support NUHW decided to attend the rally... and they far outnumbered SEIU's staffers and supporters. In fact, Tasty hears that NUHW supporters got their purple co-workers to join them in chants against Kaiser like, "No cuts, no two tier."

Tasty bets that Dave Regan and John August were squirming in their seats at this display of 19th-century unionism!

Way to go, Kaiser workers!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Regan and August Schedule Ratification Vote for Kaiser Deal

So what’s the latest on the Coalition’s bargaining with Kaiser Permanente?  Well, SEIU-UHW continues to hold lame “rallies”-- like this Electric Slide wellness rally -- in front of various Kaiser hospitals. Meanwhile, Tasty has learned that Dave Regan and John August have already reserved a hotel where they plan to have the Coalition of Kaiser Permanente Unions ratify a new contract with Kaiser.

“What new contract?,” you’re probably asking. Well, that’d be the one that Regan and August are supposedly still negotiating with Kaiser. 

Readers may recall that at the very beginning of negotiations, SEIU and Kaiser pinpointed the precise day (May 10) when they would finish negotiations. Now, Regan and August have scheduled May 18 for a “ratification conference” at the Sheraton Gateway Hotel Los Angeles near the Los Angeles International Airport. 

Who’ll attend the Coalition’s ratification vote? The same “delegates” who last month enjoyed the Coalition’s all-expenses-paid junket at “the ultra-stylish” Renaissance Hollywood Hotel and Spa.

It seemslike Regan’s backroom deal with Kaiser is so cooked... it’s crispy.

But even as Regan rushes to ink his sell-out deal, Tasty hears he’s facing increasing pressure from rank-and-file workers. Very few SEIU-UHW members are turning out for Regan’s “rallies” at Kaiser hospitals, but thousands are signing NUHW’s “no takeaways” petitions, which are circulating inside Kaiser’s hospitals and online. Meanwhile, Kaiser’s workforce has been watching as 20,000 members of NUHW and the California Nurses Association hold statewide strikes against the exact cuts that Regan wants to accept.

Tasty hears that Regan is looking for some kind of face-saving maneuver to try to reduce workers' opposition to his deal. One possibility: Two-tiered benefits that would impose the deepest cuts on newly hired workers …but would have the predictable effect of incentivizing Kaiser managers to get rid of more senior workers and replace them with new "cheaper" workers. This is the approach that the Ford Motor Company adopted when Chuck Columbus (Kaiser’s Vice President of Human Resources) worked there.

Stay tuned.