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.