Sunday, October 28, 2012

Sources: "Partnership Unions" Inked Secret Layoff Deal with Kaiser Permanente in California

Sources report that SEIU-UHW and the “partnership unions" have secretly inked a deal with Kaiser Permanente to lay off more than 1,000 workers in California. 

Tasty's sources provided a copy of an internal email that was sent last week by Kaiser's top executives to managers. The email announces plans for 550 layoffs in Southern California and apparently will be followed by a similar email to announce layoffs in Northern California.

The email -- dated October 23 and authored by Arlene Peasnall (Senior VP of Human Resources) and Judy White (Chief Operating Officer of the Southern California Permanente Medial Group) -- is entitled "Workforce Reduction Announcement and Manager Communication Tools." It gives the following information to Kaiser’s managers (the complete email is posted below):

As you are aware, Kaiser Permanente Southern California has undertaken a series of cost-reduction initiatives... Examples include operational efficiency changes and work approaches to reduce medical center and administrative operating expenses…

These reductions will be announced in two stages, with unrepresented employees being informed between October 24 and 26, and represented employees scheduled to be notified within the next few weeks… The estimated total number of affected employees is 550, of which 466 are represented employees and 84 are unrepresented staff.

Attached are talking points, FAQs and communications guidelines to help you honestly and accurately discuss our workforce reduction actions and reasons behind them…
Please contact your local Human Resource director or consultant if you have any questions or need additional support.

Sources say that during the summer, SEIU-UHW and the “partnership unions" began secretly discussing the layoffs with Kaiser execs. In addition, they report that SEIU-UHW's Dave Regan voiced no opposition to the job cuts... even though Kaiser has pocketed $7.4 billion in profits and has steadily signed up more and more members in California.

This report is corroborated by an internal email from officials at UNAC, an affiliate of AFSCME that represents many of Kaiser's registered nurses in Southern California. Ken Dietz, the president of UNAC, says that UNAC has been discussing the layoffs with Kaiser since August. 

Deitz tells UNAC’s members that he and others opposed Kaiser’s layoffs and offered alternatives to the job cuts… but that Kaiser simply ignored them. Here’s an excerpt from Deitz’s email, which is dated October 26:

To UNAC/UHCP Health Care Professionals:

…Kaiser approached the Coalition of KP Unions in August to discuss “affordability” issues. Kaiser’s definition of affordability is different than the dictionary’s. Affordability to them does not mean they are actually losing money; it does not mean they are not making money; it simply means they are not making “enough” money.

We held multiple meetings using Interest Based Problem Solving, where we generated a multitude of ideas for ways to save money. From KP’s perspective, the ideas were not enough to “close the gap.”

Here’s the full email from UNAC. The email from Kaiser’s execs is below:

Subject: Important Information from UNAC/UHCP President Ken Deitz

UNAC/UHCP e-Action Network

To UNAC/UHCP Health Care Professionals:

Upon my return from our 40th Anniversary Convention, I was shocked at the number of calls and emails waiting for me regarding “layoffs” at Kaiser. Let me take a moment to address some of the rumors.

Kaiser approached the Coalition of KP Unions in August to discuss “affordability” issues. Kaiser’s definition of affordability is different than the dictionary’s. Affordability to them does not mean they are actually losing money; it does not mean they are not making money; it simply means they are not making “enough” money.

We held multiple meetings using Interest Based Problem Solving, where we generated a multitude of ideas for  ways to save money. From KP’s perspective, the ideas were not enough to “close the gap.” An amazing statement given the fact that Bill Rouse developed a plan for them to save hundreds of millions of dollars over a 3-5 year period. Since it was our plan, KP did what most employers do: they tried to pick it apart. It became quite clear why they believed the plan would not work:

1.    The plan was our idea
2.    The plan required critical thinking
3.    The plan required work
4.    The plan required a level of competency that management is not capable of

As of today, our union, UNAC/UHCP, has received no formal notice of layoffs affecting our members.

Nevertheless, due to email communication directed at managers, we have filed charges at the National Labor Relations Board for Kaiser’s direct dealing with the members and failure to bargain to impasse any changes.

I will keep you posted,

Ken Deitz
President, UNAC/UHCP


Thursday, October 25, 2012

SEIU-UHW Shop Steward: "Give Me Your Vacation... or Else!"

Remember the post about the three SEIU-UHW shop stewards who were recently sued for violating civil rights laws?

A source tells Tasty that at least one of these SEIU-UHW stewards is now facing a second investigation for allegedly using her union position to extort vacation benefits from her co-workers.

Here’s what workers say:

Tina Anderson is an SEIU-UHW shop steward in the Environmental Services Department at Kaiser Permanente’s Vallejo Medical Center. Apparently, Tina used up all of her accrued vacation… so she devised the following scheme to replenish her vacation time.

She reportedly went from worker to worker in her department and demanded that they “donate” a portion of their vacation time to her… or else she would get one of the department’s supervisors to make their lives hell. Apparently, she also added a little “carrot” to her “stick” by telling her co-workers that if they complied with her demands, she’d instruct the department’s managers to leave them alone.

Incredible, right? Although… nothing shocks Tasty after witnessing the countless transgressions of Dave Regan’s storm troopers.

In fact, perhaps Tina Anderson is simply taking SEIU’s partnership with Kaiser to a whole new “21st century” level. Or perhaps she’s modeling her career after John August, who’s reportedly been using his powerful position within the Coalition of Kaiser Permanente Unions to prey on others. 

As they say, role models abound over at the Purple Palace!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Kaiser Workers: "Dave Regan's Secret Plot Got Me Banned from Canada"

A source sent Tasty this incredible story involving Dave Regan and the Canadian border police.

Here’s what happened.

Recently, the International Association of Machinist (IAM) held its once-every-four-years convention in Toronto, Canada. Prior to the convention, SEIU’s Dave Regan hatched a scheme to monkey-wrench the machinists’ convention because of the machinists' support for NUHW

Regan instructed his staff to recruit some unsuspecting SEIU-UHW members from Kaiser Permanente’s hospitals in California and then send them to Canada to carry out his secret plot. Regan instructed his staffers to deliberately keep the rank-and-file workers in the dark about the purpose of their trip. Instead, workers were told they were going on an all-expenses-paid trip to Canada on behalf of SEIU.

After arriving at Toronto’s airport, the workers were asked by Canadian customs officials: “What's the purpose of your trip to Canada?” The SEIU-UHW members responded that, uhh, they weren’t really sure, but their union had sent them there for some kind of union business. The gracious Canadians kindly allowed their neighbors from the south to enter the country.

Hours later, SEIU officials broke the news to the Kaiser workers that they’d been sent there to disrupt the IAM’s convention. The handful of Kaiser workers -- along with a few staffers from an SEIU local in Toronto -- were instructed to carry out a hare-brained scheme that has the familiar fingerprints of SEIU staffers Amado David, Greg Maron and Steve Trossman.

So what happened?

The group of approximately 10 SEIUers valiantly attempted to assault the convention of more than 2,000 machinists. Apparently, one SEIUer entered the convention center and made a beeline for the bathroom, where he courageously tried to hang pro-SEIU leaflets in toilet stalls. Another SEIUer donned a gorilla mask and unsuccessfully attempted to rush the stage where IAM officials were addressing the 2,000 delegates.

Not the smartest move.

Soon, the purple foot soldiers were surrounded by machinists and Canadian police officers on a street corner outside the convention. There, they were questioned by police about multiple violations of Canada’s penal code, including trespassing and disrupting a private event.

When it finally came time for the Kaiser workers to head back to sunny California, they breathed a sigh of relief and made their way to Toronto’s airport. That’s where they got the biggest shock of their trip. 

At the airport, the Kaiser workers were confronted by Canadian immigration authorities -- the same ones who’d accepted their not-so-believable story when they first entered the country.

It turns out that the immigration officials had already been contacted by the police about SEIU's multiple criminal acts at the convention center, and that the immigration authorities were none too pleased that SEIU had taken advantage of Canada’s friendly approach.

So what did they do?

The immigration authorities announced they were banning the Kaiser workers from ever returning to Canada. Ouch!

Tasty hears that by the time they touched down in California, these SEIU-UHW members were none too pleased with Dave Regan and his deceitful ways. Their “all-expenses trip to Canada” had become "a lifetime ban" facilitated by healthy doses of lies from Regan and SEIU. 

SEIU storms Labor Notes conference.
Not surprisingly, this isn't the first time Regan has pulled this trick on SEIU’s members. In 2008, he instructed his staff to recruit busloads of SEIU members to travel to Dearborn, Michigan... also under false pretenses.

Once there, SEIU officials told the workers to storm a Labor Notes conference attended by 1,000 union activists and pro-democracy reformers.

Tragically, one of SEIU’s rank-and-file members -- a homecare worker named David Smith -- died of a heart attack during Regan’s violent assault on the convention. SEIU also sent a 67-year-old conference-goer to the hospital after pushing her to the floor and cutting open her head.

So, for all you SEIU members out there: If SEIU ever asks you to get on a bus or join them for an all-expenses-paid trip, you know what to say.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Workers in Rhode Island Bolt SEIU

Last week, food service workers at Brown University became the latest group to abandon the purple ship.

In Providence, Rhode Island, approximately 200 workers voted to decertify SEIU Local 615 and to join an independent union called the United Service and Allied Workers of Rhode Island (USAW-RI). During previous NLRB elections at the university, a super-majority of the workers voted to leave SEIU. 

So why are Rhode Island's workers leaving SEIU?

It's a story that’ll be very familiar to California's healthcare workers. Here’s what a food service worker told the Brown Daily Herald after the recent NLRB election:

Gloria Fraielli, a first cook who works in Dining Services, approached McAninch with a series of complaints about the SEIU during the summer. Fraielli told The Herald that many of the workers were dissatisfied with the lack of SEIU representatives present on campus to hear their concerns.

“They have a local office here, but there is never anybody there in the office. So if you place a call there, you would be lucky to get a call back,” she said. “We sort of got forgotten about.”

Meanwhile, workers say USAW-RI is far more effective at the bargaining table and is far more democratic and responsive to its members. Interestingly, a blogsite called “Union Librarian” describes historical parallels between USAW-RI and NUHW.  

For instance, here's how USAW-RI was formed:  In 2002, Andy Stern told the Rhode Island workers -- who were then members of SEIU Local 134 -- that the Purple Palace was going to transfer them to another SEIU local. A super-majority of the workers signed a petition opposing SEIU's heavy-handed move. SEIU's top officials, however, simply ignored the workers and imposed a trusteeship. 

Next, workers decided to form their own independent union. The Purple Palace responded by targeting the new union’s leaders with a harassing lawsuit that accused them of “breaching their fiduciary duty” to SEIU International. Sound familiar? 

So... what’s the status of workers' efforts to create their own democratic, effective union? The Rhode Island workers first established their new union in 2002-03. Today, virtually all of the former members of SEIU Local 134 have decertified SEIU and joined USAW-RI!  Plus, workers from other worksites have also voted to join USAW-RI.

It's quite a story.. and it deserves attention from California's healthcare workers!