Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Partnership Unions Cry Crocodile Tears for Laid-Off Workers at Kaiser Permanente

Check out the latest development in California. 

Workers at Kaiser Permanente are getting increasingly angry about the HMO’s plans to lay off more than 1,000 workers. NUHW is blasting the layoffs, pointing out that Kaiser has pocketed $8.2 billion in profits since 2009 and is giving massive pay increases to Kaiser's fatcat execs.

Meanwhile... Dave Regan and his partnership pals are getting nervous about the angry Kaiser workers. 

What to do? 

Regan and Co. are beating a hasty retreat from the layoff deal that THEY secretly negotiated with Kaiser, without doing anything that would actually stop the layoffs!

Today, UNAC -- an AFSCME local that represents RNs and professionals in Southern California -- sent an email to its membership announcing that UNAC is “withdrawing from partnership activities” until the problem is resolved.

Sounds dramatic, right? So what does it actually mean? 

As far as Tasty can tell, it means that UNAC's leaders will not participate (err... for the time being) in the all-expenses-paid junkets at the Renaissance Hollywood Hotel and Spa. No more flashmobs! No more dance-offs!

Kaiser must be quaking in their boots at the partnership unions' carefully choreographed displays of fake outrage! And guess what? SEIU-UHW's fake protests are even more lame.

Here's the email that UNAC sent to its members today:

From: UNAC/UHCP <>
Date: Wed, 28 Nov 2012 16:15:57 -0500 (EST)
Subject: UNAC/UHCP Withdraws from Partnership Activities

UNAC/UHCP e-Action Network
UNAC/UHCP Withdraws from Partnership Activities
Yesterday, UNAC/UHCP President Ken Deitz informed Kaiser Southern California President Ben Chu that UNAC/UHCP will be withdrawing from Labor Management Partnership activities until our dispute regarding the gross violation of our contract is resolved. Read the letter to Ben Chu here.
Our relationship with Kaiser is based on our Collective Bargaining Agreement. On November 16, Kaiser violated the most sacred provision in our contract, seniority, when they eliminated 175 UNAC/UHCP positions. Moreover, Kaiser failed to comply with the spirit and intent of the Employment and Income Security Agreement within our contract.

Quite simply, we need to stand up for our contract.

When Kaiser gave notice to our members, they returned each member back to their “original eliminated position,” and told the member they had one year to find other employment. This is a violation of the Employment and Income Security provision in our contract.

Why the reduction in force? Kaiser expects to earn $735 million in profits this year in Southern California. Kaiser’s patient membership has grown in Southern California this year by 95,000 new patients. Kaiser expects to increase patient membership in 2013 by 80,000; in 2014 by 225,000; and in 2015 by 200,000. Does this sound like a corporation that needs to be eliminating positions? Read the Sacramento Business Journal's report about Kaiser's "huge swing into solid profitability" here.

We Need to Stand Up and Stand Together
Here's how we can all make a difference:
+ Withdraw and boycott “partnership” activities until our grievance is settled
+ Sign up for our text alerts so you are informed
+ Participate in our protest actions at your facility and other facilities
+ Support your co-workers who are affected and remember, an injury to one, is an injury to all
+ Distribute this leaflet to your coworkers

Monday, November 26, 2012

CEO: SEIU's Dave Regan is My BFF

Dave Regan: In the Boss's Pocket

What do the bosses think about SEIU’s Dave Regan?

Check out the Sacramento Business Journal’s interview with Duane Dauner, head of the Chamber of Commerce for California’s hospital industry. 

Dauner is the CEO of the California Hospital Association (CHA), whose members include multi-billion-dollar corporations like Kaiser Permanente, Sutter Health, Dignity Health, HCA, Tenet Healthcare and Prime Healthcare Services.

So what does Dauner think of Regan?  Basically, he’s head over heals for “Wall Street Dave.” 


Since 2009, Regan has given up hundreds of millions of dollars of concessions to the state’s hospital corporations, including eliminating workers’ defined-benefit pension plans, slashing their health insurance, subcontracting workers’ jobs, imposing invasive corporate wellness programs on workers, laying off thousands of caregivers, imposing wage freezes, etc.

And Regan has done all of this even though hospital corporations are making mega-profits. For example, since 2009, Kaiser Permanente has pocketed $8.2 billion in profits. And Sutter Health has taken home $1.6 billion in profits in just the past two years.

Last summer, Regan even teamed up with the CHA in a disgraceful, back-door attempt to reverse California’s safe-staffing laws -- a top priority for the industry’s bosses.

No wonder Daune is happy as a pig in sh*t ever since Andy Stern appointed Regan to take over SEIU-UHW!  

Here’s an excerpt from the Business Journal article where Dauner attacks NUHW and CNA for drawing a “line in the sand” and praises SEIU for “working with us." Check out the CNA's response at the end!

No more lines in the sand, says Duane Dauner, president and CEO of the California Hospital Association. If unions are going to make a comeback in America, they’ll have to work with business owners to solve problems together…

Dauner distinguishes between friends and foes. The California Nurses Association and the National Union of Healthcare Workers are in one camp.

Duane Dauner, CEO of CHA
"They look at management and employers as the enemy, Dauner said. "They draw a line in the sand. Anything management does, they are against. It's just 'Give us more and more.'"

Service Employees International Union-United Healthcare Workers West and Dave Regan, the local union's president, are in another camp.

"With SEIU, their leadership understands we can’t continue down the track we are on," Dauner said. "They are working with us and we are trying to work with them on health care policy and high-road labor relations."

This includes a joint effort to improve the health status of employees while addressing the cost drivers in health care through a multifaceted "Let's Get Healthy California" campaign.

"We have to look at this much more globally," Dauner said. "That's what we are trying to do with SEIU, while CNA has its own agenda."

No lie, countered CNA spokesman Chuck Idelson, dismissing SEIU's Regan as "effectively, an employee of CHA."


Saturday, November 24, 2012

More California Workers to Bolt SEIU

This just in: a unit of 272 county workers has filed for an election to decertify SEIU Local 221 in San Diego, California so they can join an independent union called the Association of San Diego County Employees (ASDCE). The independent union was founded last year by another breakaway group of SEIU members.

Below, Tasty has posted the county’s official notice about the decert filing, dated November 21.

So what’s causing workers to rush for the exit signs? Here’s what one member of Local 221 says about SEIU’s leaders:
They treat us like "mushrooms." You know, keep us in the dark and feed us sh*t.
He goes on to describe the sell-out contracts negotiated by SEIU that “have left us with less money in our pockets and less respect from our employers.” And then there are “the bloated paychecks of the local president” …not to mention the six-figure severance packages and consulting gigs that allow SEIU's departing officials to line their pockets.

In recent years, at least six bargaining units have decertified SEIU Local 221. A member of Local 221 describes some of these departures by county workers:
In 2009 the Probation Officers (PO) Unit did it, and voted to form their own new union, the San Diego County Probation Officers Association (SDCPOA). That was about 900 members that SEIU lost then. In 2011 the Crafts (CR) Unit did it, and voted to form their own new union, the Association of San Diego County Employees (ASDCE)… This time, it's the CM Unit (Construction, Maintenance and Repair)…
 This is a huge vote of "NO CONFIDENCE" in the way SEIU Local 221 is being run, no matter how this all turns out! And for that, we can all thank SEIU Local 221 President David Garcias and his mentor, former President Eric Banks, and his former boss, former President Sharon-Frances Moore and former SEIU International President Andy Stern (who appointed her to run our union in 2007). SEIU Local 221, since it was chartered in 2007, has not had a single president that had even a clue about how to empower the union members to democratically run our own union.
And that’s not all. As Tasty recently reported, the US Department of Labor is conducting its second investigation in just three years over alleged vote fraud during the Local 221's recent internal officer elections. Stay tuned!
Notice of Decertification Petition by members of SEIU Local 221 in San Diego, California 11-21-12

Monday, November 19, 2012

Partnership Unions Push Doublespeak as Kaiser Permanente Implements Layoffs

Check out this leaflet. It’s from UNAC, one of the “partnership unions” that represents RNs and professionals at Kaiser Permanente facilities in Southern California.

As Tasty reported, Kaiser’s execs are implementing an estimated 1,000 layoffs on members of SEIU-UHW, UNAC/AFSCME and other “partnership” unions in California -- even though the giant HMO has pocketed $2.1 billion in profits during the first nine months of 2012.

Talk about laying down for the boss!

Now, as workers voice their anger about the layoffs, the leaders of the partnership unions are pretending they’re angry too… even though they’ve been secretly meeting with Kaiser’s execs about the layoffs since last summer!

Think about it… If Dave Regan and the other bought-and-sold partnership officials are really “outraged” about the layoffs, why didn’t they say something about it when they first learned about Kaiser's plans last summer?

Here are some excerpts from the partnership unions’ suddenly outraged leaders (full copy is below):
Kaiser Permanente has taken a wrong turn. Despite our attempts to work in partnership and to protect our members’ rights under our contract, Kaiser issued notices on Friday, November 16 to 175 UNAC/UHCP members that their positions were being “eliminated.”

Our Union has been persistent in stating the obvious to top KP leadership: under our local contract, seniority is the governing factor in position elimination. At this time, Kaiser has blatantly chosen to ignore our agreement. UNAC/UHCP is filing both a grievance under the local contract and at the national level…

We will be moving forward with a comprehensive campaign to stop this madness. If you receive a notice, or are notified to meet with HR and/or your manager, please contact your staff representative immediately.
UNAC Leaflet on Kaiser Permanente's Layoffs of Healthcare Workers in California 11-16-12

Sunday, November 18, 2012

California Hospital Workers Vote to Join NUHW!

This just in. On Friday, a group of 300 hospital workers in Central California voted to join NUHW. The workers at Mee Memorial Hospital in King City were previously “non-union” and voted 129 (NUHW) to 126 (No Union) in Friday’s NLRB election. The outcome won’t be final until four challenged ballots are resolved.

Tasty hears there's an interesting 'back story' to the election. Apparently, the hospital’s workers have been watching NUHW’s successful bargaining campaigns at nearby hospitals, including Salinas Valley Memorial Hospital, and decided they wanted to join NUHW. SEIU was not on the ballot and has never represented the hospital’s workers. More on that later.

John De Groot, Buster
Sources say the outcome of the vote was close because the hospital's execs waged a nasty anti-union campaign headed by a union-busting consulting firm called De Groot and Associates. The head of the firm -- John De Groot -- formerly worked for Modern Management, a notorious union-busting firm based in Chicago. That’s the same firm where Martin Levitt, the famous author of “Confessions of a Union Buster,” worked. (For those unfamiliar with Levitt, here’s a five-minute video where he talks about the tactics he used during his 19 years on “the dark side.”)

Interestingly, De Groot is also a member of the board of directors at Sutter Medical Center of Santa Rosa, one of the companies that SEIU-UHW's Dave Regan has climbed into bed with.

At Mee Memorial Hospital, De Groot unleashed an onslaught of union busting. During the weeks leading up to Friday’s election, De Groot personally conducted one-on-one “captive audience” meetings to pressure workers to vote “no.” He also oversaw an illegal strategy whereby the hospital awarded pay increases to workers -- of as much as $3 an hour -- just days before the election in an effort to dissuade them from joining NUHW.

Observers tell Tasty that the election is significant because it shows workers’ attraction to NUHW’s aggressive approach to fighting for its members. Meanwhile, Dave Regan’s SEIU-UHW is systematically giving away the store to the bosses -- destroying workers’ pensions and health insurance benefits, and allowing mega-profitable companies like Kaiser Permanente to lay off large numbers of the union’s members.

That helps explain why SEIU-UHW has had virtually zero success in attracting non-union workers to join the Purple Team. In fact, Regan and Co. couldn’t even convince a majority of the workers at Chapman Medical Center to join SEIU even though SEIU-UHW enjoyed a card-check agreement and neutrality from the employer. 

So, when workers refused to support SEIU-UHW, Regan colluded with the boss to falsify the card-check results and then lied to the hospital's workers. When workers later complained to the NLRB, the agency subpoenaed the card-check results and discovered SEIU’s illegal vote-rigging scheme. Here’s an article from the BNA that describes this notorious episode.  

Once again, congrats to the workers at Mee Memorial Hospital!