Sunday, July 28, 2013

SEIU-UHW’s Dave Regan Sells Out SEIU Local 1021, Pimps for Kaiser Permanente

Tasty hears that Dave Regan’s latest atrocity has many observers shaking their heads in disgust.  

Here’s what happened.

In California, SEIU Local 1021 represents thousands of public-sector employees who work for the City of San Francisco, the city’s courts, city college, etc. Most of these workers get their health insurance from Kaiser Permanente, which is trying to boost the cost of their health insurance by $15 million a year.

San Francisco’s elected officials and the city's workers are fighting back. According to an analysis by city officials that’s cited in this Los Angeles Times article, “nonprofit” Kaiser HMO made a 15% profit margin from the City employees’ business during the past two years. That’s $87 million in profits.

Meanwhile, “nonprofit” Kaiser has pocketed more than $9.5 billion in company-wide profits since 2009.

That’s why elected officials and labor unions demanded that Kaiser lower its proposed rate hike on San Francisco’s workers. The city’s unions -- including SEIU Local 1021, the International Federation of Professional and Technical Employees, Union of American Physicians and Dentists/AFSCME -- even formed a coalition to fight Kaiser’s rate hike. Check out one of their leaflets below, entitled “Kaiser: Stop Draining San Francisco Tax Dollars,” which bears SEIU Local 1021’s logo.

Here’s where SEIU-UHW’s Dave Regan enters our story.
SEIU-UHW's Dave Regan

Did “Wall Street” Dave rush to the side of workers and taxpayers in order to fight the disgusting profiteering by the nation’s largest HMO? Not by a long shot.

According to multiple sources, Regan recently appeared at San Francisco’s city hall with a team of Kaiser’s executives and conducted a round of lobbying visits to push elected officials to approve Kaiser’s full rate hike.  

According to several sources, Regan even tried to enter the office of John Avalos, one of the most progressive members of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. Last year, Regan teamed up with the Chamber of Commerce to try to unseat Avalos by fielding one of Regan’s staffers -- Leon Chow -- as a candidate against Avalos. That is… until Chow crashed and burned in spectacular fashion after evidence surfaced that he violated multiple election laws!

SEIU-UHW's Leon Chow
So… when Regan recently walked into Avalos’s office, Avalos reportedly told Regan to get out. At which point Regan began jabbing his finger at Avalos’s chest in “old school” fashion before “Wall Street” Dave and the Kaiser suits beat a hasty retreat.

Regan and his business-suited buddies then continued to lobby other elected officials to approve Kaiser’s multi-million-dollar rate hikes.

Quite a story, right?

Remember that famous labor song that says, “Which side are you on?”

Well… what does it mean when a top SEIU official shows more solidarity for a multi-billion-dollar HMO than for SEIU’s own members -- not to mention workers in general?

At a time when lots of people are asking well-deserved questions about the future of the U.S. labor movement, this recent episode speaks volumes.

Notably, Regan’s vision of company-dominated unionism is shared by the top leaders of SEIU, one of the nation’s largest unions. In fact, Tasty’s sources say SEIU President Mary Kay Henry hasn’t voiced the slightest opposition to Regan selling out San Francisco’s workers in favor of a giant HMO. 

Here's SEIU Local 1021's leaflet on Kaiser's price-gouging:

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Dave Regan's Show Trial against Election Rival Shines Light on SEIU-Styled "Democracy"

Remember the email from an SEIU-UHW Executive Board member describing Dave Regan's plan to launch “witch hunts” against “disloyal” union members?

Well, Regan has conveniently decided to launch a witch hunt against his main challenger in SEIU-UHW’s upcoming internal officer elections. His goal? He apparently wants to knock his challenger off the ballot before the campaign begins!

Here's what's happening.

Ten days ago, Sophia Sims received a letter from SEIU-UHW announcing that she’s been charged with “gross disloyalty or conduct unbecoming a member” and “aiding a rival labor organization.” Sims is a rank-and-file member at Kaiser Permanente who came within several thousand votes of defeating Regan during SEIU-UHW's officer elections in 2011.

According to the letter (see below), SEIU-UHW officials have appointed a “Trial Body” to conduct a hearing against Sims.

So WTF is an “SEIU Trial Body?” Good question. As far as Tasty can tell, it’s totally mysterious. Interestingly, SEIU’s rules prohibit Sims from being represented by an attorney.

What “crimes” did Sims commit?

Well… remember the NLRB’s recent re-run election between NUHW and SEIU-UHW for 45,000 workers at Kaiser Permanente? SEIU-UHW says that during the election, Sims “publicly campaigned for NUHW” by wearing NUHW buttons and t-shirts, handing out leaflets in support of NUHW, and even appearing in flyers in support of NUHW.

That’s it?  Yup.

Apparently, the geniuses over at SEIU haven’t realized that the whole purpose of the federal government’s election was to allow Kaiser workers like Sims to freely choose -- and advocate for -- whichever union they want to represent them. In fact, federal law protects workers' right to do exactly this!

Tasty bets the Feds will be none too pleased when they learn that Dave Regan is punishing SEIU’s own members for simply exercising their democratic rights during government-administered elections. Way to go Dave!

Plus, if Sims is guilty of “gross disloyalty” for wearing an NUHW t-shirt or button, then there are more than 10,000 other SEIU-UHW members who did the same thing!

So why is Regan going to such great lengths to try to knock Sims out of SEIU-UHW’s upcoming officer elections? Sources tell Tasty he’s genuinely concerned about the outcome.

In 2011, Sims campaigned on a platform of making SEIU-UHW more transparent and democratic, and giving better representation to the union’s members. During that election, Regan got only 7,000 votes from the union’s entire membership of 140,000 workers. Meanwhile, in the recently concluded NLRB election, 13,100 Kaiser workers voted for NUHW, which campaigned on similar themes.

Finally… in case Regan’s action against Sims isn’t ridiculous enough, Dave added a flourish of idiocy that’s icing on the cake. Did you happen to notice which SEIU official sent the letter to Sims announcing her trial for “disloyalty” and “aiding a rival labor union”? 

Lyles is currently the Vice President of SEIU-UHW. But in the run-up to SEIU’s disastrous trusteeship of SEIU-UHW in 2009, Lyles was a rank-and-file California hospital worker who attacked SEIU for being undemocratic, cutting backroom deals with Bosses, and selling out the union’s members.

In fact, Lyles said these and many other “disloyal” things during videotaped speeches to Teamsters for a Democratic Union, Labor Notes and others. After the trusteeship, SEIU offered him a big paycheck to switch sides, so Lyles pocketed the cash and teamed up with Regan.

Sophia Sims might wanna bring a projector to her “disloyalty” trial so she can show a few clips from speeches by SEIU-UHW’s Vice President like this one! These are some of Stan's "disloyal" quotes from the video:

We have an International union that’s trying to take our voice away. They’re trying to do whatever they can to stop the members from having a say in their local.

We refuse to let the International Union come in and make backdoor deals with the corporation to undermine our membership.

[At Tenet hospitals,] the International Union came in and tried to make a deal to outsource over 10 percent of our membership.

[At Catholic Healthcare West,] the International Union dissolved our Unity Council. The International tried to take over our bargaining. [CHW executives] were hoping that SEIU International would have us in trusteeship so they could make a backdoor deal.

Monday, July 15, 2013

SEIU's Dave Regan Has a New Buddy at Kaiser Permanente

SEIU’s Dave Regan has a new backroom buddy over at Kaiser Permanente.

Last week, Kaiser’s more than 100,000 workers received postcards at their homes announcing that Bernard Tyson has seized the reins of power as Kaiser’s new CEO.

The postcard (see below) begins this way: “A message for you from Bernard J. Tyson, our new Chief Executive Officer.” Of course, Tyson makes an obligatory show of respect for Kaiser’s workers.

I want you to know how honored I am to lead – with you – our respected organization into the future. I appreciate the great work you do every day…

Blah, blah, blah.
Next, Tyson lays down a crystal clear marker about Kaiser’s plan to cut staffing levels and slash workers’ pay and benefits. Here’s what he says:

Now, I would like to share what I believe is Kaiser Permanente’s next call to action -- advancing our mission on affordability… Our next frontier is to tackle affordability with the same passion as we have demonstrated in advancing our mission on quality.

So… Tyson -- with the undying assistance of Dave Regan and the “partnership unions” -- wants to be “Mr. Affordability.”

Hmmm… perhaps Tyson should take a look at his own multi-millionaire paycheck. Kaiser’s current CEO, George Halvorson, pulls down $9 million a year.

Then there are the nine separate pension plans that Tyson currently receives (even as he and Regan are trying to eliminate workers' only pension plan).

And the chauffeur-driven car that now carries Tyson to work every day.

And the $9.5 billion in profits that Kaiser has pocketed since 2009.

And before Tyson and Regan try to cut staffing levels, they might want to take a look at the $4 million fine that Kaiser just got for illegally understaffing its mental health services and depriving patients of needed care.

Tasty can’t wait to see how Mr. Affordability explains this paycheck... which gave Tyson $805,422 for just 14 days of work. They paycheck is from 2008, when Tyson served as Kaiser’s Chief Operating Officer.

Hey Mr. Affordability, take a look in the f*cking mirror!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

More California Workers Dump SEIU

A group of approximately 270 county workers in San Diego has voted to decertify SEIU Local 221 and join an independent union called the Association of San Diego County Employees (ASCDE).

The workers -- who make up the County of San Diego’s “Construction, Maintenance, Operations and Repair Unit” -- voted by a margin of 131 to 102 to switch unions, according to a local blogsite called “Loco 221.” The ASCDE was formed by a breakaway group of SEIU members in 2011.

In an earlier post, Tasty reported on these workers’ effort to bolt from SEIU, including one worker’s  comment about SEIU’s leaders:

They treat us like mushrooms. You know, keep us in the dark and feed us sh*t.

Workers' recent vote is just the latest in string of decertifications by Local 221’s members.. which apparently has Eliseo Medina nervously consulting his PR people.

Medina, who currently serves as SEIU’s Secretary-Treasurer, famously served as the Trustee of the San Diego union, where he claims to have singlehandedly rebuilt the union and steered it onto a path of glorious and unending success. Later, in 2010, SEIU’s Andy Stern appointed Medina to serve as Stern’s “personal representative” “to assist Local 221 in meeting its internal needs.” 

By all accounts, Medina has done a helluva job in San Diego! In recent years, SEIU Local 221 has lost more than 20% of its membership… and its revenues have plunged by 35%.

Way to go, Eliseo!

More info is available here and here