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: