Monday, December 17, 2012

SEIU's Dave Regan Faces Rebellion from Executive Board

SEIU-UHW's Dave Regan

Sources report that SEIU-UHW’s Dave Regan is facing a rebellion from a substantial part of the union’s Executive Board.

Here’s the latest from this fast-moving story:

Last month, SEIU-UHW’s Executive Board formally rejected Regan’s proposed union-wide budget for 2013. The proposed budget details Regan’s spending priorities, along with the salaries and benefits of SEIU-UHW’s staffers, which total approximately $110 million.

Why did the Executive Board members reject the proposed budget? Sources say several issues are at play.

First, many of the Board’s members simply don’t trust Regan. Last year, Regan spent $5 million of workers’ dues money on two harebrained (and totally deceptive) statewide ballot measures that Regan was later forced to abandon… but only after he’d flushed millions of the union’s money down the toilet. This article in the Los Angeles Times offers more coverage of this debacle.

Secondly, Board members are upset at SEIU-UHW’s failure to provide basic representation to the union’s members. At a recent meeting, Board members reportedly stood up and said their co-workers get zero assistance from the union… and can’t even get a phone call returned. This is partly due to the new “culture” that Regan has created inside the union, where staffers have widely adopted and replicated the disrespect and arrogance that Regan shows towards the union’s members.

Thirdly, Board members complained that Regan is negotiating one concessionary contract after the next... which are stripping workers of their hard-earned pensions and health benefits. In fact, by Tasty’s count, Regan has already eliminated the defined-benefit pension plans for more than 20,000 of SEIU-UHW’s members.

Hal Ruddick
In perhaps the most infamous episode, Regan and staffer Hal Ruddick blatantly lied to SEIU-UHW’s 14,000 members at Dignity Health/Catholic Healthcare West in order to get them to switch into a cheap 401(k)-style plan that stripped hundreds of millions of dollars from workers' pockets.  

Sources describe a dramatic exchange at a recent Board meeting. In reference to Regan's concessionary contracts, Board members asked:  Why are Regan and SEIU-UHW’s staffers still getting their defined-benefit pensions and fully employer-paid family health coverage when tens of thousands of the union’s rank-and-file members are losing these precise benefits?

Fair question, right? In fact, Regan has a particularly fat pension plan that will pay him more than $17,000 PER MONTH along with full health benefits, for the rest of his life!

So what was Regan’s response? The middle finger! Regan arrogantly threatened to do an end run around the Executive Board by “bringing the budget to the members for their approval,” say sources.

Can Regan carry out his threat? Only if we wants a constitutional crisis and lawsuits. SEIU-UHW’s constitution clearly gives the budgeting powers to the Board. Specifically, Article XI, Section 2(C) says:  

The Board is responsible to make final decisions in adopting the budget and on other key financial issues.

Meanwhile, as the crisis deepens, the clock is ticking. Only 14 days are left to complete the budget before January 1. Stay tuned!