Monday, March 4, 2013

SEIU-UHW's Officials Run for Cover as Boss Opens Fire on Workers

Here’s another shocker of a story that features courageous SEIU-UHW officials scurrying for cover while two of the union’s members are left to take incoming fire from their Boss.

Here’s what happened, according to an article in the Mountain View Voice.

Last year, SEIU-UHW’s members gathered signatures and placed a measure on the local ballot to cap the salaries of the high-paid execs at a public hospital in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Why a salary cap? Well, check out how much the CEO at this public hospital actually earns: a base salary of $695,000 per year, with the possibility of a 30% bonus for good performance; a $175,000 relocation fee; $147,380 to reimburse the CEO for the loss of bonuses at her prior job; and a $400,000 interest-free loan to buy a new house.

Kary Lynch, one of the hospital’s workers, told the newspaper: "I just can't see why anybody should be paid that amount of money.”

So, last November, Mountain View’s voters approved the measure, thereby capping each exec’s salary at no more than twice that of the governor of California.

Soon after the ballot count, the hospital’s execs filed a lawsuit to block the measure. That’s when SEIU-UHW’s high-paid officials went into hiding… and then refused to give legal assistance to two union members who were targeted by the lawsuit because their names were on the paperwork when the ballot initiative was first filed.  

Here’s what Kary Lynch (a psychiatric technician and an SEIU-UHW shop steward) told the Mountain View Voice:

Lynch said he'd like to stand up to the hospital, but that no one he reached out to -- including the SEIU and the ACLU -- would represent him pro bono. With no one contesting the hospital's legal action, he said it is his understanding that the Measure M case will be set aside by a judge, which will effectively kill it…
Lynch said he was disappointed about the way Measure M played out. After the initiative was approved by voters in November, the hospital sued Lynch and Laura Huston, another hospital employee who co-sponsored the initiative with Lynch.
Lynch suspects that he and his colleague were targeted because the hospital's lawyers knew neither of them had the means to mount a legal defense.
Officials from the SEIU-UHW said they said they could not represent Lynch as they were not named in the suit. Two lawyers who work for the SEIU-UHW-- Bruce A. Harland and Emily P. Rich, both of Weinberg, Roger & Rosenfeld -- did meet with Lynch, making sure to say they were not speaking as union lawyers.

The newspaper article finishes this way:

Harland and Rich could not be reached for comment, but Lynch believes that Measure M has been extinguished for good. Unless the judge decides not to set the case aside, even if someone came forward now and offered free legal assistance, they would not be able to revive the case, he said.

Quite a story of principled determination and solidarity, right? In the end, the officials at SEIU-UHW not only hung the workers out to dry, but they also took a disgraceful dive on the whole issue of limiting the public hospital execs’ fat-cat salaries.

So what’s behind this story? Undoubtedly, another one of Dave Regan’s backroom deals.