Sunday, March 31, 2013

SEIU Reports $42 Million in Red Ink to U.S. Department of Labor

SEIU is facing serious financial problems, according to an annual report it just submitted to the U.S. Department of Labor.

First, SEIU reports that it lost 45,000 members last year -- apparently one of the biggest losses of any union in the country. SEIU is expected to report additional membership losses in 2013, which could reduce its membership by an additional 100,000 workers.  

What about SEIU-UHW? Its membership has dropped by more than 3,000 since 2008.

Secondly, SEIU reports it’s bleeding money like a pig in a wood chipper. How much red ink? Last year, SEIU lost $41.9 million.  

And that’s not all. SEIU has slashed the amount of money it's spending on “representation” by $12.6 million -- a 15 percent cut.

But don’t worry. Even though workers are getting less representation, SEIU’s staffers are pocketing massive pay increases.   

At SEIU-UHW, Stan Lyles saw his paycheck increase from $105,758 in 2011 to $145,600 in 2012 -- a 37% pay increase! Meanwhile, Steve Trossman -- who’s linked to the Tyrone Freeman corruption scandal -- got a $10,000 pay increase that boosted his 2012 annual pay to $166,098.

And here’s a story that speaks volumes about the priorities of SEIU’s staffers. Workers at Kaiser Oakland Medical Center report that SEIU-UHW organizer Fola Afariogun is begging Kaiser workers to vote for SEIU-UHW so he won’t lose his cushy job. Like other SEIU staffers, Afariogun is apparently super nervous about the giant election.

How much does Fola earn? During the past two years, SEIU-UHW paid him more than $205,000, according to records from the Department of Labor.

Last week, Fola even paraded his teenage son through the hospital and told workers that if SEIU-UHW loses the election, he’ll have a hard time sending his son to college. Pathetic, right?

So what is Fola doing with the $200,000 he pocketed during the past two years? Well, here’s a hint. Fola drives a Mercedes Benz to work every day! And he’s regularly spotted in Brooks Brothers buying all the fancy clothes and hip caps that he wears to work every day.

Looks like SEIU has more than a financial deficit! 

Here’s an excerpt from the DOL report that details SEIU’s $41.9 million in red ink. (Click on image to enlarge.)

Friday, March 29, 2013

SEIU-UHW's Dave Regan and 'Contract Buddy' Serve Up Special Treats for Kaiser Election!

With just one week to go until the NLRB mails out ballots to 45,000 workers at Kaiser Permanente, SEIU-UHW is parachuting more organizers and truckloads of free pizzas into Kaiser's hospitals.

According to workers, SEIU is using the pizzas to try to lure workers towards SEIU organizers and their tables of purple propaganda.

During the run-up to the last election in 2010, SEIU-UHW officials reportedly spent more than $100,000 of workers' union dues to hand out 10,000 free pizzas to Kaiser workers across California.

Here's a picture from one Kaiser hospital where SEIU-UHW tried to hand out 50 pizzas from tables inside the cafeteria, but walked away with 30 uneaten pies at the end of the day! (Hmm... are pepperoni pizzas actually considered, uhh, "wellness" food?).

Also, check out one worker’s response to SEIU's pizza ploy, which features a cameo appearance by SEIU's 'Contract Buddy.'

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Appeals Court Ruling on 2010 Lawsuit between SEIU and NUHW Details Differences between Bottom-Up and Top-Down Unionism

Ever heard the phrase “perversion of justice”?

Well, a few ‘perverters of justice’ just released a terrible court decision in California that undermines union democracy.

The whole thing dates back to SEIU’s trusteeship of SEIU-UHW in 2009. Soon after SEIU parachuted into California and imposed martial law on healthcare workers, SEIU sued Sal Rosselli and the local’s other former leaders, who by that time had joined NUHW.

What was the basis of SEIU’s lawsuit?

SEIU claimed these former leaders “breached their fiduciary duty” to SEIU by resisting Andy Stern’s orders on two pivotal issues. First, Stern had ordered the local’s leaders to give Purple Palace officials in Washington, D.C. the authority to bargain directly with Kaiser Permanente and other California companies in order to change workers’ contracts -- even without allowing workers to sit at the bargaining table!

Secondly, Stern ordered the local’s leaders to transfer 65,000 nursing home and homecare members to Tyrone Freeman’s union in Los Angeles… where Freeman was busy stealing suitcases of money from the union’s low-wage members.  
SEIU's Andy Stern

Rosselli and the union’s entire 100-member Executive Board insisted on workers’ right to control their bargaining and to determine their future through democratic votes. They challenged Stern to let the 65,000 workers vote on whether they wanted to switch unions. In fact, they even invited Stern to put his sorry ass on a plane and fly out to California so he could make his best arguments to workers before they voted.

SEIU’s response? “NO.” And next… SEIU imposed its trusteeship.

Here’s where this week’s court decision comes into play. During the original court case in 2010, SEIU argued that Rosselli and Co. had a primary “duty of loyalty” to SEIU’s Purple Palace in DC… meaning they had no right to resist orders from Washington, DC. Meanwhile, Rosselli and others told the court that their biggest responsibility was to the rank-and-file workers who elected them to office and who paid their salaries. In fact, this duty was written into the local union’s constitution.

During the original court case, the judge sided with SEIU and told the jury that a local union is like a branch office of Wells Fargo and that local leaders have to follow whatever the corporate headquarters says.

In another controversial decision, the judge refused to allow Rosselli or anyone else to even speak about Tyrone Freeman, his massive corruption, and the endless reasons why workers weren’t too thrilled about being transferred like so many cattle. The judge’s wrong-headed rulings on these issues were the reasons why NUHW’s leaders appealed the results of the original court case.

This week, a panel of three judges ruled on their appeal, and decided to rubberstamp the court’s original decision.

Obviously, it’s a horrible decision… but it comes as no surprise in this era of “Citizens United,” where the courts protect corporations over people.  

SEIU's Tyrone Freeman and David Holway
But if ever there was a compelling case about union democracy, it was this one! After all, SEIU ordered the transfer of 65,000 workers to Tyrone Freeman, who was convicted on 14 criminal counts of stealing more than a million dollars from the union’s low-wage members. Freeman is now facing a possible maximum sentence of 200 years in jail.

Also, SEIU never ever transferred the 65,000 workers -- the precise order that’s the basis of SEIU’s lawsuit against Rosselli and others. To be clear: more than four years have passed since SEIU’s trusteeship, but SEIU has still not transferred the 65,000 workers.  

You can see why Tasty says this is a terrible decision.

A word of caution to Kaiser workers. Tasty hears that SEIU is trying to use this week’s appeals decision as an opportunity to tell more purple lies in the run-up to next month’s election -- like that NUHW’s leaders somehow “stole” money, which is totally untrue.

So why did the court's 2010 decision come with a dollar judgment against the local’s former leaders? The court ordered 16 former leaders to pay back the salaries of the union’s entire staff for a period of several weeks when the staff were educating the union’s 150,000 members about their Executive Board’s unanimous decision to resist King Andy’s undemocratic order. That’s where the dollar judgment comes from.

Although this week’s ruling is disappointing, it makes even clearer the sharp differences between SEIU and NUHW… and their competing philosophies of “corporate unionism” vs. “bottom-up, democratic unionism.”

SEIU, even in front of a jury and judge, fully embraces a style of corporate unionism that treats local unions like branches of Wells Fargo and that handle workers like so many cattle.

NUHW’s approach is the opposite, as made clear by its leaders’ principled stand against SEIU’s ridiculously undemocratic orders (even at leaders' own personal risk) and NUHW’s constitution -- which ensures workers’ control over every aspect of their union and prohibits union officers from earning more than the union’s members.

Finally, here’s a short video of NUHW’s Sal Rosselli discussing the original court case. 

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

News: "NUHW Restores Concessions Agreed to by SEIU-UHW"

Check out this article in the BNA’s “Daily Labor Report.” 

It gives more details about the contract that NUHW recently negotiated at California’s second largest hospital, California Pacific Medical Center… and how NUHW’s contract is far superior to the one that SEIU-UHW negotiated with the same exact hospital chain.

It’s an interesting tale of two unions.
  • NUHW successfully reversed the cutbacks that SEIU officials accepted soon after the trusteeship in 2009, including SEIU’s agreement to weaken seniority and shrink the opportunity for per diem workers to get benefitted positions.
  • SEIU-UHW’s contract forces workers to pay 21 percent of their monthly health insurance premiums -- totaling hundreds of dollars per month for each worker. NUHW’s members don’t have to pay a cent for their health coverage.
  • SEIU-UHW has acknowledged that NUHW is more effective at winning for its members at the bargaining table. SEIU inserted a “me too” clause in its contract with Sutter Health that allows SEIU-UHW members to enjoy the better wages and benefits that NUHW wins for its members. The news article actually quotes the language from SEIU’s “me too” clause.
Here are some excerpts from the article (the full text of the article is below):
NUHW’s contract restores concessions the former union representative [SEIU-UHW] agreed to accept. These concessions weakened seniority and made it more difficult for per diem workers to convert to positions with benefits…

Under the NUHW agreement, employees will continue to receive fully employer-paid health insurance, Borsos said. He said [SEIU-UHW’s] contract at St. Luke’s called for employees to pay 21 percent in premium contributions…

The contract SEIU-UHW negotiated with St. Luke’s [Hospital] late last year included a ‘‘me too’’ provision stating that if CPMC agreed ‘‘with another union at any of the locations of CPMC to an economic term more favorable to the employees than that contained within this agreement, the employer shall immediately notify the union and extend that more favorable economic term to the members of this bargaining unit.’’

The contract language listed examples of economic terms that included: raises; bonuses; terms of paid time off and extended sick leave usage and accrual; health insurance premium shares, copays, and deductibles; differentials; and premium pay. Borsos said the NUHW contract is more favorable in a number of areas including health care premiums, time off, and reporting pay, which will benefit the St. Luke’s employees.

The NUHW agreement provides employees who report to work but are sent home through no fault of their own 8 hours of reporting pay. UHW had agreed to cut reporting pay to 4 hours in the St. Luke’s contract.

NUHW also did not agree to any changes in paid time off and extended leave, which SEIU-UHW did. While both the NUHW and the SEIU-UHW contracts lowered the cap on the number of PTO hours that could be cashed out from 400 to 320, employees would stop accruing hours after 320 under the SEIU-UHW contract, which NUHW did not agree to, he said.

Also, SEIU-UHW agreed to cap the accrual of extended sick leave to 720 hours, while NUHW did not agree to any cap, he said.