Thursday, February 28, 2013

Octavio Velarde Shines as SEIU's 'Hallway Monitor' at Kaiser Hospital

Octavio Velarde

Workers report that Octavio Velarde, who was recently fired by AFSCME Local 3299, has been hired by Dave Regan and is busily performing his new role as SEIU-UHW’s official “hall monitor” at Kaiser Walnut Creek Medical Center.

Workers have sighted Velarde as he eagerly patrols the hospital’s hallways and pals around with Kaiser’s security guards. Recently, several workers walked to a nearby department so they could eat lunch with some co-workers. As they walked down a hallway, they noticed Octavio The Hallway Monitor following closely behind them while speaking in hushed tones to his iPhone -- presumably to Dave Regan or Kaiser’s security guards.

SpongeBob was a Hallway Monitor
Velarde is the latest in a long line of purple hall monitors, including Scott Silber and “Caleb the Creepy Bathroom Monitor” (aka, Caleb Jennings).  

Sources at AFSCME say they’re not surprised by Velarde’s new job. Before his firing, Velarde was widely disliked for obsessively monitoring staffers inside Local 3299’s office in Los Angeles.

They say this definition of “hall monitor” fits Velarde to a “t”:

Someone who polices the halls and rats on fellow peers for petty power, self esteem and approval from elders. Self appointed judges of anything.

Check out this recent photo of Velarde inside Kaiser Walnut Creek as he displays the tools of his trade and contemplates the heavy responsibilities of his new position. The apple? That's what Velarde hands to the Bosses to suck up to them. The tape? That's apparently associated with his spying against workers.
Octavio Velarde, SEIU Hallway Monitor at Kaiser Walnut Creek Medical Center

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Dignity Health: We Pocketed $377 Million in Profits While Dave Regan Implemented a Wage Freeze and Benefit Cuts on 14,000 SEIU-UHW Members

Twelve days ago, Dignity Health -- California’s second largest hospital company -- released a financial report that’s got 14,000 of SEIU-UHW’s members up in arms… against Dave Regan!

Here’s what’s happening:

Last June, SEIU-UHW’s Dave Regan and Hal Ruddick negotiated a new labor contract for 14,000 Dignity workers that froze workers’ wages for one year, cut their retirement benefits, implemented an intrusive “Wellness Program,” and made other reductions.

According to observers, it’s the worst contract in SEIU’s decades-long history of bargaining with the company. (Dignity was formerly called “Catholic Healthcare West.”)

Then, over the past few months, Regan allowed Dignity’s fat-cat executives to lay off hundreds of SEIU-UHW’s members… including ALL of the company’s Licensed Vocation Nurses or “LVNs.” Among Regan’s victims is an LVN with 42 years on the job at Dominican Hospital in Santa Cruz, California.

One worker put it this way: “SEIU did nothing to protect our jobs. Nada. They just let Dignity fire us.”

In fact, Regan not only agreed to Dignity's cuts, but he helped the Boss implement them by telling workers, ‘What can the union do? The company doesn’t have any money.”

Except… it wasn’t true!

Twelve days ago, Dignity released a financial report detailing how it quietly pocketed $377 million in profits during the past six months! Below, Tasty has posted excerpts from the 87-page report, dated February 15, which covers the period from July 1 to December 31, 2012.

For Kaiser Permanente’s workers, Regan’s dirty deal at Dignity is a déjà vu.

Hal Ruddick
Last June, Regan allowed Kaiser to slash workers’ retiree health benefits, which saved the giant HMO $1.8 billion, according to Kaiser’s financial records. Then, in August, SEIU-UHW officials inked a secret deal that let Kaiser lay off an estimated 1,000 workers in California even though Kaiser's execs were busy pocketing $2.6 billion in profits -- making 2012 the company's most profitable year in more than a decade. 

For the details on Dignity’s profit of $377.7 million, see page 4 of the document below.

Also, check out the second paragraph on the last page. It describes SEIU’s infamous backroom deal where Regan and Hal Ruddick eliminated Dignity workers’ defined-benefit pension plan and then replaced it with a cheap “cash balance plan” (which is like a 401(k) plan). The cut stripped hundreds of millions of dollars out of workers’ pockets. Here’s what the paragraph says:

During 2011, Dignity Health amended the pension plans resulting in lower benefit obligation as of June 30, 2011 and 2012, and also lower expense in future years. The most significant provisions include freezing certain ongoing final average pay formulas and replacing them with cash balance formulas, freezing certain past service benefits for employees already in cash balance formulas, modifying the cash balance interest crediting rate, and updating the actuarial equivalence definitions and methodology.

Kaiser workers should pay special attention to Regan’s elimination of Dignity workers' defined-benefit pension plan. It's the same cut that Regan wants to implement at Kaiser if SEIU-UHW wins the upcoming election.

Monday, February 25, 2013

After the Axe, Dave Kieffer Clings to SEIU's Dave Regan

Dave Kieffer

As Tasty predicted, Dave Kieffer -- who was recently fired from his job as the Executive Director of the SEIU California State Council -- has re-surfaced alongside Dave Regan.

Earlier this month, Regan granted Kieffer the title of “Director of Governmental Relations” at SEIU-UHW. Which is not to be confused with Rebecca Miller’s title of “Political Director” or Leon Chow’s designation as “Director of External Affairs."

So what do these people actually do... since, uhh, their jobs kinda sound like the exact same thing, right? Well, it’s all part of Regan’s scheme to hand out fat paychecks and big titles in order to purchase the loyalty of staffers.

Here's an excerpt from a page on SEIU-UHW's website identifying Kieffer's new position:

With the addition of Kieffer, SEIU-UHW now has the distinction of employing the largest collection of Purple Palace officials who are directly implicated in Tyrone Freeman’s multi-million-dollar crime spree, which last month resulted in 14 criminal convictions by a federal jury.

Kieffer and SEIU-UHW’s Steve Trossman famously engineered a cover-up that hid Freeman’s crimes from SEIU members and law enforcement for seven long years, according to the Los Angeles Times and sworn testimony by Jim Philliou.

And in 2008, Dave Regan was reportedly a key player in a scheme by which SEIU officials steered large monetary kickbacks to Tyrone Freeman even as Freeman intensified his theft of money from low-wage healthcare workers.

These ethically compromised officials -- who now pocket hundreds of thousands of dollars in salaries from their perch atop SEIU-UHW -- speak volumes about the sick values that now govern the union.  

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Internal SEIU Document Offers More Proof that Dave Regan is Kaiser’s Bitch

A leaked document indicates that Dave Regan is planning to declare “majority support” for SEIU-UHW in April's Kaiser election even though Regan and Kaiser know it isn’t true.

If anyone needed more proof that Regan is willing to lie and cheat in the face of dwindling support, here it is.

The explosive document, apparently leaked by a disgruntled Regan ally, contains SEIU’s campaign plan for the upcoming NLRB election at Kaiser Permanente. The plan -- which was prepared in December of 2012 -- lays out a week-by-week calendar that details SEIU’s staff deployments, leaflets, mailers, field activity, etc for the period from January 2 through March 24.

The document shows that back in December of 2012 -- before the NLRB had even announced a date for the Kaiser election -- Regan intended to declare “majority support,” come hell or high water, during the week of February 25th, whether it was true or not.  Apparently for Regan, it’s hell.

Other explosive details reveal that Regan thought he had a secret deal with the NLRB for the ballots to be mailed out on March 19th. 

In addition, the document reveals that Regan -- in a replay of the last election -- is actively working with Kaiser management to manipulate the company’s bargaining with NUHW’s optical workers in order to give SEIU phony issues to campaign on. It’s precisely this kind of illegal collusion between Kaiser and SEIU that led to the tossing out of the last NLRB election in 2010.

The document also reveals how SEIU is working hand in hand with Kaiser to try to undermine the California Nurses Association. Last year, the CNA's 18,000 members joined NUHW in two statewide strikes against Kaiser’s efforts to impose company-wide benefit reductions, including cuts to retiree health benefits that SEIU-UHW subsequently accepted. SEIU’s cuts -- which were also adopted by other “partnership unions” -- produced $1.8 billion in savings for Kaiser, according to Kaiser’s accountants, even as Kaiser was making record profits.

Now, the internal document reveals that Regan has instructed SEIU’s staff to lie to the CNA's membership in an effort to divide and weaken the nurses… and to assist Kaiser management.

Altogether, the explosive document reveals a level of desperation among SEIU and Kaiser. Apparently, they believe their only chance to win the upcoming election is to keep lying. But people are noticing. And the fact that this document was leaked by someone inside the Purple Palace suggests that even Regan’s allies are sick of him and his lies.

Here's the internal document. Below, Tasty has posted an NUHW leaflet about the document. 

Saturday, February 23, 2013

SEIU's Myriam Escamilla Throws Tantrum as Workers Decline to Support SEIU's Kaiser Campaign

Myriam Escamilla

Tasty hears that Myriam Escamilla -- the Director of SEIU-UHW’s Nursing Home Division – recently put on quite a show inside the union’s office in Oakland. Apparently, she began screaming at “her staff” after they failed to recruit a single nursing home worker to help with SEIU-UHW’s get-out-the-vote effort for the upcoming election at Kaiser Permanente.

Here’s what’s happening.

Dave Regan has ordered SEIU-UHW’s staff to recruit workers and shop stewards from the union’s non-Kaiser facilities in order to assist SEIU’s GOTV effort for the Kaiser election. Unfortunately, even the union’s shop stewards are decidedly unenthusiastic about helping. 

So… Regan has resorted to offering them cold hard cash: $900 for a few days of work. (Tasty hears that SEIU is now boosting the pay because too few workers are biting.) 

Even with the lure of purple cash, Myriam Escamilla has failed to recruit a single worker from the union’s nursing homes. That’s what led to her recent outburst, which was reportedly accompanied by lots of fist-pounding and teeth-gnashing in an apparent impression of Dave Regan.

So… why are the union’s shop stewards not so interested in helping SEIU-UHW? 

Hmm… maybe it has something to do with all of the sell-out contracts that SEIU officials have rammed down their throats? Or the union’s total lack of representation of workers who need help defending themselves against nasty bosses? Or the back-room deals that Regan and Escamilla have cut with greedy companies?

In fact, Tasty hears that things have gotten even worse for the union’s nursing home workers. Several months ago, Regan stripped at least half of SEIU-UHW’s Union Reps out of the union’s nursing homes, and then reassigned them to Kaiser hospitals because of SEIU's declining support. As a result, even the union’s own shop stewards are threatening to file NLRB charges -- called “Duty of Fair Representation” charges -- against Regan and Co. for failing to help the union’s dues-paying members.

Tasty would love to be a fly on the wall when Greg Pullman -- Regan’s Chief of Staff -- summons Escamilla to his office for an accountability session. At one point, Pullman actually married Escamilla. And, in a quirk that appears to afflict high-paid SEIU officials like Tyrone Freeman – it’s unclear whether they ever actually ended their marital liaison.  

Sounds like they’ll have lots to talk about!