Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Source Leaks Secret Political Deal between SEIU-UHW and SEIU Local 1021 in California

Dave Regan and Roxanne Sanchez
Tasty has learned that Dave Regan, Josie Mooney, Mary Kay Henry and Roxanne Sanchez have drafted a secret deal to forge “political unity” between SEIU-UHW and SEIU Local 1021. The latter union represents 42,000 public-sector workers in Northern California -- including workers in San Francisco -- and Sanchez is the union's president.

Here’s what’s going on.

Since SEIU’s disastrous trusteeship of SEIU-UHW in 2009, Local 1021 and SEIU-UHW have repeatedly clashed. Regan, who was parachuted in from Ohio, has steered SEIU-UHW far to the right. For example, “Wall Street” Dave has eliminated workers’ pension plans at the bargaining table even as Local 1021 fights to maintain them. 

And in politics, Regan has teamed up with San Francisco’s Chamber of Commerce to fund business-friendly politicians against progressive candidates backed by Local 1021 and the San Francisco labor council.

And that’s just the beginning. 

Regan and Leon Chow (an SEIU-UHW staffer) undermined San Francisco’s universal healthcare legislation, which was a key legislative priority of Local 1021. The cutting-edge law is designed to force businesses to provide health insurance to their employees.

And Regan opposed a community-based coalition -- which includes Local 1021 -- that’s been working to hold the giant Sutter Health corporation accountable on jobs, housing and services for the poor. The two unions have even locked horns at San Francisco’s labor council, where Regan has won few friends by threatening the city’s labor leaders, including UNITE HERE's Mike Casey.

And here’s a crystallizing contrast:  While Local 1021 pushes for progressive tax legislation in San Francisco, Regan cavorts with the 1% at the Chamber of Commerce… which is waging economic warfare against the city’s workers.

So what’s inside the secret deal between the two unions? (See the full agreement below). Well, it basically would force the two unions to make joint endorsements of political candidates and ballot initiatives. Previously, rank-and-file union members voted to endorse candidates and ballot propositions. But under SEIU's “political unity” deal, each union would get one vote in determining an endorsement. If the two unions can’t agree, then SEIU’s Mary Kay Henry would control a third, tie-breaking vote.

So what does this mean? Sources say it represents a giant giveaway by Roxanne Sanchez. One person put it this way: 
If you’re Local 1021, why would you sign this deal? Local 1021 is a big political player in San Francisco with lots of members, money and foot soldiers. Regan has shown again and again that he’s hostile to the priorities of Local 1021’s members. Basically, he’s bedded down with the business community. So, if you’re Sanchez, why would you agree to this so-called "unity" deal? It hands over control of Local 1021's political destiny to Regan and some SEIU bureaucrat in DC. Plus, when push comes to shove, everyone knows that Mary Kay Henry is going to back Regan over Sanchez. If Local 1021 accepts this deal, they're basically declaring unilateral disarmament as far as their political future.
So why would Sanchez accept such a bad deal? Tasty guesses the agreement comes with unpublished side deals that will allow Sanchez to pocket unspecified benefits in exchange for trading away her union’s political independence.

Another interesting detail:  The deal mentions former San Francisco Supervisor Chris Daly. Daly was termed out of political office and now serves as Local 1021’s Political Director. Sources says it’s especially ironic that Daly, who helped lead the progressive wing of San Francisco politics, will now be responsible for implementing a deal that’s gonna destroy the city’s progressives.

What’s next? According to paragraph 15 (see below), the deal will be presented to Local 1021’s COPE Committee on June 7.