Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Kaiser Exec: John August "is not technically a Kaiser Permanente employee"

Here’s an interesting article about John August’s sudden exit from the Coalition of Kaiser Permanente Unions (aka, “the partnership unions”).

In case it wasn’t crystal clear, the article offers more evidence that Kaiser’s execs are the puppet masters who control the partnership unions with every twist and turn of their fingers.

In the article, August’s departure is confirmed not by union officials… but by Kaiser! Ordinarily, the Boss isn’t the formal press source for internal union leadership changes, right?  But here’s how the article starts:

John August, executive director of the Coalition of Kaiser Permanente Unions, is stepping down this summer, Kaiser officials confirmed Thursday.

John Nelson, vice president for brand communication at Oakland-based Kaiser, confirmed that August is leaving his post. Nelson stressed, however, that August is not technically a Kaiser Permanente employee, but is employed by the union coalition at Kaiser.

Of course, in PartnershipLand, it’s hard to know who’s sitting on which side of the bargaining table. In fact, Kaiser funded most of August’s $200,000-a-year salary. And August worked out of a fancy office inside Kaiser’s national headquarters in Oakland.

Apparently, that’s why Kaiser’s “Vice President of Brand Communication” had to go to great lengths to make clear that “John August is not technically a Kaiser Permanente employee.” Coulda fooled Tasty!

Here’s the full article, which was penned by Chris Rauber, a not-so-competent journalist who’s apparently a half-brother of SEIU-UHW’s Steve Trossman.

San Francisco Business Times

Head of Kaiser Permanente Union Coalition to Step Down

Chris Rauber, Reporter- San Francisco Business Times

May 16, 2013, 2:53pm PDT

John August, executive director of the Coalition of Kaiser Permanente Unions, is stepping down this summer, Kaiser officials confirmed Thursday.

John Nelson, vice president for brand communication at Oakland-based Kaiser, confirmed that August is leaving his post. Nelson stressed, however, that August is not technically a Kaiser Permanente employee, but is employed by the union coalition at Kaiser.

The coalition includes unions that represent roughly 100,000 members at Kaiser.

August had headed the coalition for seven years.

Chris Rauber's beats include health care, insurance and the wine industry for the San Francisco Business Times.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Dave Regan's Latest Backroom Deal Hits 14,000 SEIU-UHW Members at Dignity Health

Details are emerging about the latest backroom deal between SEIU-UHW's Dave Regan and Dignity Health, which involves large numbers of layoffs, paltry pay increases, and plans for more cuts in the future.

Here are the details:

In June of 2012, Dave Regan and Hal Ruddick negotiated a labor contract for SEIU-UHW’s 14,000 members at Dignity that included a wage freeze and cuts to workers’ health and retirement benefits.

Since last June, Dignity has pocketed $625 million in profits, according to the company’s most recent quarterly report issued just days ago. That's on top of Dignity's $1.1 billion in profits from the preceding two years (July 2010 through June 2012).

Last month, Regan conducted unscheduled negotiations with Dignity’s executives. So... did Regan demand big pay increases to make up for workers' pay freeze?


'Wall Street' Dave Regan negotiated a whopping 2% pay increase for 2014. Here's the one-page agreement signed by Regan.
Plus, Regan apparently signed off on more layoffs of SEIU-UHW's members. This report from California’s Economic Development Department indicates that Dignity will lay off 468 workers in about three weeks (June 24).

Tasty hears even more cuts and layoffs are on the horizon. In Dignity's quarterly report (see excerpt below), the company describes a variety of cost-cutting efforts that are already underway, including...  
…workforce management initiatives, such as productivity, modification of core staffing levels, management of salary inflation, and redesign of benefit structures to align salary and benefit trends with revenue trends.(Source: p. 29, Dignity Health’s Quarterly Report for the period ended March 31, 2013)
Plus, Dignity has hired McKinsey and Company to implement a strategy to cut a half-billion dollars from the company’s expenses by the end of 2016. Ominously, Dignity’s quarterly report says this cost-cutting crusade will include “further focus on core staffing and productivity.”

It's quite a story that's unfortunately not new to California's healthcare workers. As Dignity pockets $1.7 billion in profits, Regan inked a backroom deal that allows the Boss to wipe his feet on workers' backs. 

Here's the excerpt from Dignity's quarterly report, dated May 15, 2013, about the company's "Business Strategy:"

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Dave Regan’s Latest Trick: Witch Hunts, Show Trials and a Dues Hikes for SEIU-UHW’s Members!

Check out this news from the recent meeting of SEIU-UHW’s Executive Board. 

A source at the meeting reports that Dave Regan has launched campaigns to boost SEIU-UHW members’ monthly union dues and to conduct a vast witch hunt for “disloyal” union members.

Here’s what Tasty’s source says:

I just attended an E-Board meeting and they asked us to elect people for an "SEIU Trial Body".  These people will be responsible for investigating and deciding the fates of members who were/are on the E-Board, supporting NUHW and violating the By-Laws.  We elected 2 members from each division during our break outs.  Then, after our break outs, we returned to a larger room with everyone and that is where regan informed us that SEIU won a judgement against 15 executives for $10,000-40,000 each...  I thought the timing of those meetings were interesting.  It appeared to me as though they wanted to intimidate the NUHW supporters still on the E-Board...  I am also very concerned for the E-Board members that they are accusing and what may be their fates.  Another concern I have are "witch hunts" for current and future E-board members.

Way to go, Dave!

Loyalty oaths! Witch hunts! Show trials! Dave is once again demonstrating his uncanny ability to perform perfect faceplants... and to offer a clear view of SEIU's no-so-flattering internal features… all at the same time!

Of course, we all know that Dave is an “Old School Guy.” So it’s absolutely possible that he harbors a deep hidden affection for Cambodia’s Pol Pot regime. But hey… no need to reenact your autocratic fantasies on the union’s members. Tasty wouldn’t be surprised if Regan presides over the “SEIU Trial Body” while wearing a judge’s gown and dusted wig.

But wait… that’s not all! Tasty’s source reports that Regan has also launched a campaign to boost SEIU-UHW members’ monthly union dues! Here’s what Tasty’s source says:
They also want to change our dues structures.  They had a commitee decide that we would change the dues so that everyone has to pay a percentage.  They had not decided on what exactly that percentage would be, but if everyone pays 2%, it is not enough revenue to pay the bills.  They would also like to end the refunds to people who work at more than one SEIU-UHW hospital…  It will be interesting to see how people respond who work at more than one hospital to having to now pay 2% or more at the various hospitals they work at.  Had they chosen NUHW, it would only be 1.5%.  We have another E-Board mtg in August and they want our members to vote on the change in dues structure in September… There was also talk of eliminating the $114 maximum.

Well, now that the Kaiser election is over, it appears that Regan senses an unfettered freedom to drive his purple bus wherever the f*ck he wants to. What's next?  No one knows… although it sure ain’t gonna be pretty. 

Oh, in case missed it, here's Dave practicing his speech for SEIU's upcoming show trials, which reportedly will be held in the parking lot behind the union's offices:

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Worker Sues Dignity Health over $1.2 Billion after SEIU-UHW Fails to Protect Workers' Retirement Benefits

Here’s an interesting story. At Dignity Health in California, SEIU-UHW continues to fail to protect workers’ retirement benefits. So... a worker decided to take matters into her own hands and filed a class-action lawsuit on behalf of herself and her co-workers!

The lawsuit, filed last month in federal court, seeks to force Dignity to fix the massive underfunding of workers’ retirement benefits. The plan is underfunded by $1.2 billion(!). And the suit asks the judge to force Dignity to comply with a federal law that’s designed to safeguard workers’ benefits. Below, Tasty posted a copy of the lawsuit.

There’s another interesting detail to this story. The lawsuit was filed by Starla Rollins, who worked at a Dignity hospital in Southern California for 26 years until recently… when she and hundreds of other Dignity workers lost their jobs due to a layoff deal negotiated by SEIU-UHW’s Hal Ruddick

Ruddick’s deal conveniently gave away workers’ rights to file grievances over the company’s layoffs. That’s how Starla Rollins, an employee with 26 years on the job, lost her job.

So why haven’t Dave Regan and Hal Ruddick been protecting the retirement benefits of SEIU-UHW’s 15,000 members at Dignity? No shocker here. Dave and Hal are the purple pocket puppets of the company’s top execs.

Back in 2009, Regan and Ruddick eliminated workers’ defined-benefit pension plan and replaced it with a cheap “cash-balance” plan, which allowed Dignity to save $217 million in just one year, according to its financial statements.

Last June, Regan and Ruddick negotiated more benefit cuts and a wage freeze for workers. Since then, Dignity spent an estimated $500 million to buy another company and the company has pocketed $626 million in profits, according to recently released financial reports.

Here’s the class-action lawsuit against Dignity for under-funding workers’ retirement plan:

Monday, May 13, 2013

Kaiser Coalition's John August is Ousted

It's official.

John August has been axed from his job as the Executive Director of the Coalition of Kaiser Permanente Unions. The move comes after August reportedly faced months of investigations regarding sexual harassment and abusive behavior against staffers... a story that Tasty first detailed on this blog.

Of course, August is telling the world he's simply "retiring." Tasty hears that SEIU President Mary Kay Henry stalled August's removal until the conclusion of the recent Kaiser election in California.

Here's August's goodbye email.

From: John August
Date: May 9, 2013, 4:30:02 PM PDT
Subject: Important update from John August

May 9, 2013

It's been my great honor to serve as the executive director of the Coalition of Kaiser Permanente Unions for the past seven years. Through the dedicated efforts of thousands of workers and union leaders, we've demonstrated the strength of a knowledgeable and empowered workforce - the ability to constantly improve, to create the best jobs, to build the best unions, and to provide the best possible patient care. We have accomplished a great deal together and our 100,000 union members are working  towards the transformation of health care so necessary as our nation extends care to millions of our people who for too long have not had the opportunity to have care. Our Coalition has never been bigger, stronger, or more effective than we are today.

With a strong three-year agreement in hand, and the annual Union Delegates Conference successfully completed, I've concluded that now is the right time for me to announce my retirement and allow for an orderly search and transition to new Coalition leadership. I have made personal calls to our Coalition national leadership to let them know of my plans.

The Coalition Executive Board is meeting next week to discuss the transition and succession process.  A notice to that effect will be out tomorrow.  As my predecessor did during the 2006 transition, I will of course remain available to assist the leadership in whatever way I may be called upon.

I salute every one of our 100,000 Coalition union members, and thank you sincerely for the chance to learn and serve alongside you.  It's been the most challenging and greatest opportunity I have had as a culmination to my forty years of service to the labor movement.  I am extremely confident in the ability of the Coalition's elected leadership to guide our organization to an even more successful future.

In Unity,

Of course, August's farewell email leaves out a few minor details about his tenure atop Kaiser's "partnership unions." Since 2009, John August has teamed up with SEIU's Dave Regan to cut workers' lump-sum pension benefits, slash retiree health coverage by $1.8 billion, lay off more than 1,000 workers, impose a multi-million-dollar Partnership Tax on workers, and implement an intrusive "wellness program"... all at a time when Kaiser pocketed $9.5 billion in profits.

In one famous episode, a worker secretly recorded speeches by August and Regan in which the duplicitous duo urged workers to accept concessions from Kaiser Permanente. August attempted to sell the concessions by labeling them "modern," "innovative," "transformational" and "21st Century." And he urged workers to reject "traditional" unions. After all, why would a so-called union leader ever want workers to use their collective power to challenge fatcat bosses for a piece of the pie? According to August, that is sooo 20th Century.

Even though August's speech featured more bullsh*t than a Texas feedlot, it nonetheless contained this perceptive observation: "History is harsh."

So, on behalf of all the sold-out workers and harassed women, it's time for history to deliver her judgment to August. As they say... payback is a bitch!