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.