Sunday, June 30, 2013

Kaiser Coalition Hires Headhunter to Find Replacement for John August

In a sign that candidates are not exactly beating down the doors, the Coalition of Kaiser Permanente Unions has hired a “headhunter” to find someone to fill John August’s vacant desk as the Coalition's Executive Director. 

Here’s an email sent by Ken Margolies, who describes himself as an "Executive Recruiter" at a firm called Margolies and Potterton:

From: Ken Margolies
Date: June 26, 2013, 8:08:44 AM EDT
To: Ken Margolies
Subject: Please help me find a new Exec Dir for the Coalition of Kaiser Unions, based in Oakland CA,

Do you have any ideas of candidates for this?  They are especially looking for someone with experience uniting coalition partners and coordinated bargaining.



And here’s an earlier post by the headhunter.

Ken Margolies
Executive Recruiter at Margolies and Potterton

Coalition of Kaiser Permanente Unions, Executive Director

The Coalition is 10 International Unions, 30 locals representing 100,000. Coalition & KP believe caregiver involvement in decision-making creates superior outcomes. Coalition funded through joint labor/management trust.

Ideal candidate: experienced principal officer or director with success leading high level negotiations and coalitions, managing staff and budgets, strategic planning, building good relationships with management, patience, presence and confidence.

Oakland, CA. regular travel. comp includes base salary generous benefits

confidential inquiries: Ken Margolies

So why aren’t trade unionists flocking to this job posting?

Well, it’s common knowledge that SEIU-UHW’s Dave Regan and John August have already inked a deal with Kaiser to slash the health benefits and eliminate the defined-benefit pension plans for all 100,000 of the Coalition’s members during the next round of bargaining in 2015. 

As a result, these massive givebacks will become the crowning accomplishment of the next Executive Director! Not exactly the sort of career-building material you’d want on your resume… unless you plan to work for Kaiser’s H.R. Department.

Furthermore, August’s replacement will have to handle many other messes left behind by August, including multiple legal disputes connected to August's sexual harassment and bullying against multiple members of the Coalition's staff. 

Lastly, a replacement will have to swallow August’s and Regan’s brand of company unionism, which they try to peddle to workers as "21st Century unionism.” If candidates possess even a shred of integrity, they'll pass up the chance to run a “union” that’s simply an appendage of Kaiser's corporate headquarters.

So… who can possibly fill this job? Here are Tasty's ideas.

George Halvorson
(1) George Halvorson. Halvorson will soon be retiring as the CEO of Kaiser Permanente. He won't have much to do except count all the money he'll be collecting from his nine pension plans. Of course, having Kaiser's ex-CEO as the head of Kaiser workers' union might be a bit unseemly to some. But that's basically been the reality ever since Dave Regan parachuted into California.

(2) Jeffrey Skilling. Let's face it. The Coalition needs a candidate who has zero integrity and would have no hesitation cutting backroom deals to screw the Coalition's 100,000 members. Corporate America is filled with assholes like this. The only downside with Jeffrey Skilling, the former CEO of the Enron Corporation, is he's still serving jail time at the Federal Correctional Institution in Littleton, CO for insider trading, securities fraud and conspiracy. Oh well. 

(3) Goofy.  It was a stroke of luck that the Partnership Unions’ most recent shindig was at Disneyland.
It gave Coalition officials a chance to interview promising candidates like Goofy, who reportedly attended the interview wearing a cape and crown.

He's perfect to replace John August! 

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

NUHW Wins $4 Million Fine against Kaiser Permanente for Denying Care to Mental Health Patients

Check out this news! 

Today, the California Department of Managed Health Care announced it's fining Kaiser Permanente $4 million for serious violations uncovered by NUHW. 

The $4 million fine is the second largest in the agency's history!

Here's what happened:

NUHW represents 2,500 clinicians who care for mental health patients in dozens of Kaiser's clinics, hospitals and emergency rooms across California. In 2011, NUHW filed this complaint with state officials alleging that Kaiser systematically understaffs its clinics and forces mental health patients to wait for weeks to get care.

Kaiser's fat-cat executives, of course, denied the allegations. And SEIU-UHW's Dave Regan reacted to the complaint by cozying up even closer to its law-breaking corporate "partner."

Then, in March, the state issued a 23-page report that blasted Kaiser for serious violations of state law -- including forcing patients to wait weeks and weeks for treatment. The state even found that Kaiser uses duplicate paper lists to hide patients' lengthy wait times for appointments.

Finally, today, the state announced a $4 million fine against Kaiser! The agency also filed a "Cease and Desist Order" to force Kaiser to provide its patients with the care they need, deserve and pay for.

Tasty's sources say NUHW's victory is a huge win for mental health patients and healthcare workers in California... especially because Kaiser is the state’s largest HMO with 7 million members.

Quite impressive what a real union can actually do, right?

Here's NUHW’s press release about today's $4 million fine against Kaiser. More info and press coverage is posted on NUHW’s website here.

Monday, June 24, 2013

More California Healthcare Workers Are Bolting SEIU-UHW

Last week, workers at a nursing home in Northern California requested an NLRB election to join NUHW. Recently, workers discovered that their current union, SEIU-UHW, inked a secret deal with their Boss to slash workers' wages, benefits and even their working hours.

Here’s how one worker at San Rafael Healthcare and Wellness Center described it:

SEIU lied to our faces for months, telling us they weren’t bargaining in secret with our boss. But they were. And five months later, we finally got a copy of the deal they signed. With one secret deal, SEIU has destroyed all of the benefits and standards that we’d slowly built up over 25 years of bargaining.

Sources tell Tasty that Myriam Escamilla, the director of SEIU-UHW’s Nursing Home Division, is the official who signed the backdoor deal... and then refused to give copies to workers and refused to even disclose that she was bargaining with their Boss. Last year, Escamilla pocketed $138,756 in pay from SEIU-UHW, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

Since Escamilla’s dirty deal, the nursing home company has boosted workers’ share of health care premiums to more than $700 a month for family coverage. And the company has slashed workers’ vacations, sick pay, holidays and work hours. Sources tell Tasty that the company also cut the work hours of part-time workers to 19 hours a week so they’re no longer eligible for any benefits whatsoever.

Workers also report that SEIU-UHW reps are totally MIA when workers need help.

Last week, more than 90% of the workers signed a petition to dump SEIU-UHW and join NUHW.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Federal Judge Slams Kaiser Permanente and SEIU-UHW; Orders NUHW's Lawsuit against "Sweetheart Deal" to Proceed

In a second legal victory for NUHW in as many weeks, a federal judge has ordered a blockbuster lawsuit filed by NUHW against Kaiser Permanente to proceed in federal court.

The lawsuit alleges that Kaiser officials gave hundreds of thousands of dollars in illegal campaign contributions to SEIU-UHW as a way to fund SEIU-UHW’s two NLRB election campaigns against NUHW for 45,000 Kaiser workers.

Under federal law (Section 302 of the Labor-Management Relations Act), employers are strictly prohibited from giving money to unions or union officials. The law, passed by the U.S. Congress in 1947, is designed to prevent corporations from corrupting their unions by 'buying' union officials through financial contributions and thereby securing their loyalty and subservience.

In this case, Kaiser aided its “labor-management partner” at SEIU-UHW by allowing hundreds of SEIU-UHW’s shop stewards and supporters to take “leaves of absence” or “lost time” from their regular jobs in order to campaign for SEIU-UHW during the giant NLRB elections. And while these Purple supporters were campaigning for SEIU-UHW, Kaiser paid for all of their benefits -- including their health insurance, pension contributions, vacation pay, sick leave, etc.

In his eight-page decision (see below), the federal judge rips into both Kaiser and SEIU-UHW.

No court has ever held that employers can pay employees under a collective bargaining agreement to campaign under the control of the incumbent union against a rival union. One evil Congress wished to resist was a sweetheart cozy arrangement between the incumbent union boss and the company, for such arrangements persist at the expense of the workers. Yes, the employer likes doing business with such unions. But indirect contributions as alleged here would violate the purpose of Section 302 “to prevent bribery, extortion, shakedowns, and other corrupt practices.”

Corruption much, SEIU and Kaiser?

The judge notes that prior to SEIU’s trusteeship of SEIU-UHW in 2009, Kaiser approved “no more than a handful” of lost-time requests for workers to do traditional contract enforcement and representation work.

But things quickly changed after SEIU’s DC officials parachuted into California… and Dave Regan began whispering promises into Kaiser’s ear. Here’s how an article in the BNA’s “Daily Labor Report” describes it (see full article below):

Once the campaign against NUHW was under way, the union alleged, Kaiser approved hundreds of such requests, allowing SEIU-UHW to use the lost-time employees to campaign against the SEIU affiliate's rival union.

According to the judge, this is strictly illegal.

Kaiser is here allegedly violating the agreement by intentionally placing workers on lost-time status to campaign against a rival union and dramatically increasing the number of employees on compensated leave for such campaigning...

Under the new pleading, therefore, Kaiser exceeded the scope of the original agreement and simply gave money to SEIU-UHW. During the representation campaign, to repeat, Kaiser released “hundreds of employees” on lost-time leave to campaign against NUHW (Dkt. No. 60 at 11). The lost-timers did campaign against plaintiff NUHW and Kaiser provided benefits and other things of value to the lost-timers while they were released on lost-time leave (ibid.). This was tantamount to making cash campaign contributions to SEIU-UHW to assist SEIU-UHW in fending off the upstart rival NUHW.

Way to go, NUHW!

Here’s a little-known fact about the federal law (Section 302) that's at issue here:  violations can be prosecuted as criminal offenses! Of course, it’s unclear if Kaiser’s executives -- such as CEO George Halvorson and COO Bernard Tyson -- could be criminally prosecuted in this case… But Tasty can dream, right?

The next step in the lawsuit is “discovery,” where NUHW will be allowed to subpoena tons of information from Kaiser and will also get the right to question Kaiser’s fat-cat executives while they're under oath!

Here's the judge's eight-page ruling. The BNA's two-page article is below.

Here's the article entitled: "Court Lets NUHW Pursue Section 302 Claim Kaiser 'Lost-Time' Approvals Aided SEIU-UHW" dated June 17, 2013: