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!