Thursday, October 4, 2012

2,600 Ambulance Workers Bolt SEIU

Last week, a total of 2,300 paramedics and emergency medical technicians voted by overwhelming margins to leave SEIU and join AFSCME. The EMS ("emergency medical services") workers’ exodus took place in just two days.

First, in an NLRB election held on September 27, approximately 1,800 workers employed by American Medical Response in more than a dozen counties in California voted by a margin of 77% to 23% to leave SEIU and join AFSCME Local 4911.

Then, on September 28, roughly 500 EMS workers in New England voted by a 90%-to-10% margin to bolt SEIU and join AFSCME.

Last week’s developments followed an election from earlier this year. In February, approximately 300 EMS workers employed by Rural/Metro in Santa Clara County, California also voted to leave SEIU and join AFSCME.

So why are SEIU’s EMS workers running for the exit signs?  Well, it sounds like a story that’s all too familiar to California’s healthcare workers. Here’s what AFSCME’s website says:

Having faced layoffs, attacks on their health benefits, short staffing, and even AMR’s attempt to block their election, workers set out to build their own democratic and accountable AFSCME local union to better engage on professional matters with their employer.

Tasty also hears that SEIU’s EMS workers are tired of all the corruption by SEIU's top leaders. Until last week, the EMS workers were members of SEIU’s “NAGE” chapter, which is headed by a notoriously corrupt member of SEIU’s International Executive Board named David Holway.

In 2011, SEIU paid Holway $264,267 to serve as the president of NAGE’s 43,000 members.

Holway -- who's apparently dissatisfied with his quarter-million-dollar salary -- is infamous for finding “innovative” ways to supplement his SEIU paycheck. So... in addition to holding a full-time job as the president of NAGE and serving on SEIU’s International Executive Board, Holway somehow managed to simultaneously hold down another high-paying job as the Executive Director of the Massachusetts Thoroughbred Breeders Association

Readers may be asking, "WTF is the Massachusetts Thoroughbred Breeders Association?" It's devoted to encouraging more horse racing in Massachusetts! 

This article in the Boston Globe describes how Holway pulled down more than $100,000 per year from his horse-racing executive directorship, including pocketing 7.5% of the revenues from a racetrack called Suffolk Downs. (Talk about "dues units"!)

SEIU's Tyrone Freeman and David Holway
And check out this photo of Holway and Tyrone Freeman as they made a joint presentation from the podium of the SEIU International Convention. A portrait of purple integrity! (Perhaps they made a presentation about setting up cigar bars at horse tracks.)

Or, as Dave Regan and John August would say, “SEIU has some of the most innovative and transformational leaders in the U.S. labor movement!”

Tasty hears that Holway is also infamous for his affair with Susana Segat, a Purple Palace official who was appointed by Andy Stern to serve as the trustee of SEIU Local 888 in Massachusetts. (Now... Tasty bets that she spent a few sunny afternoons at the track with her favorite purple pony!)

PS. Btw, Tasty enjoyed this message from a rank-and-file NAGE member to “Prez Holway.” It’s posted on this reform website:

Dear Prez Holway:
Considering we are paying you a quarter million $ per year for doing next to nothing.... we'd like you to reassure us that Next Years budget will include full year of funding for our stinking 1% raise ....that is, without any underhanded having to wait for some sleight of hand "reserve" to be separately appropriated....(or never appropriated.)

Can't you dopes just come clean and play it straight with the members for once?