Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Lifestyles of the Purple Plutocrats

Mitch at French chef school
Just in time for the holidays, a reader has sent along more news about the storybook lives of SEIU’s top officials.

Remember Mitch Ackerman?

In 2009, Andy Stern appointed him to be one of SEIU’s six “Executive Vice Presidents” (the highest positions inside the Purple Palace after SEIU's President and Secretary-Treasurer). Stern also awarded Ackerman a $300,000-a-year salary.

Everything was going swimmingly for Mitch until 2010, when Stern resigned as SEIU's president and Ackerman made the fatal mistake of throwing his support behind Anna Burger in the ensuing succession battle. That's when Mary Kay Henry axed Ackerman.

But don’t cry for Mitch.

Mitch relaxes in a hammock at his ranch
Since then, he’s gone to a French culinary school in New York City, where he stayed chez Andy Stern (who prolly has a phat apartment funded by his billionaire sugar daddy, Ron Perelman).

Next, when Ackerman took a vacation in Santa Fe, New Mexico, he spied a ranch for sale, which he bought and now runs as a bed-and-breakfast inn.

Here’s what Ackerman says about his ranch:

This ranch was just what the doctor ordered to pull us out of our heads and into the hands-on world of renovation, restoration, culinary experimentation, and forced relaxation for everyone who passes through our door.
Mitch in the hot tub

Mitch’s blog bubbles with quotes from chefs like Alice Waters as well as reports like this one:

Out of the kitchen flew dish after dish: lamb meatballs with homemade harrissa, tortilla EspaƱola with Romesco sauce, herbed gigante beans, pizzas with three cheese and truffle oil, one with onion and heirloom tomato, and one with prosciutto, fresh tomato sauce and kale.  The cocktails did not disappoint either.

Speaking of cocktails, Ackerman appears to be particularly fond of them. His blog features recipes for cocktails with names like “the Sazerac,” “the Ward 8,” and homemade liqueurs.

Mitch also offers really important advice:

A photo of Mitch's bar
I recommend these tasty riffs on the Manhattan to make two cocktails, for several reasons. First, it is always more fun to drink with a buddy. Second, rather than getting bombed by your first drink, you may want to enjoy several different beverages over the course of an evening. The second recipe is especially large, so don’t hog it all for yourself – share.

Hmmm. Share.

It looks like Ackerman has joined the long line of SEIU's top officials who almost inevitably make a soft landing after being ousted... even as America's workers struggle against massive unemployment, foreclosures, greedy corporations, and a plutocratic class that's increasingly out of touch with reality.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

SEIU-UHW's Dave Regan Files Third Ballot Initiative in California

On Thursday, SEIU-UHW’s Dave Regan filed a third statewide ballot initiative in California. Tasty’s sources say the initiative -- like the first two -- is driven by hidden objectives that are miles apart from Regan’s public explanations.

According to a press statement, Regan introduced the third initiative to boost wages for homecare workers in the publicly funded “In-Home Support Services” (IHSS) program.

What’s really going on?

First, Regan is trying to use the initiative to entice SEIU-UHW’s 65,000 homecare workers to help gather the 1.1 million signatures needed to place his first two initiatives on the ballot. Regan will tell homecare workers: “Do you want a wage increase? Well, start knocking on doors. Oh, by the way, we’d like you to collect signatures for these other two measures at the same time.”

Secondly, Regan plans to use the initiative to win support for himself in next year’s internal officer elections at SEIU-UHW. Regan’s numerous contract concessions and massive dues hike have made him especially unpopular among the union’s hospital and Kaiser Permanente workers, where workers have launched “Dump Dave” campaigns. As a result, Regan needs a way to recruit votes from SEIU-UHW’s 65,000 homecare workers in advance of next year's internal elections.

Does Regan intend to actually run a real campaign to pass the initiative in November of 2014?

Highly doubtful. Here’s why.

First, it would cost millions and millions of dollars.

Second, Regan’s IHSS initiative is seriously half-baked. For example, Regan hasn’t even organized support for the third initiative from other SEIU local unions… let alone non-SEIU unions and consumer organizations.

Last week’s press announcement was notable for the total and complete absence of SEIU Local 6434 and AFSCME. These unions represent far more IHSS workers in California than does SEIU-UHW -- with Local 6434 reportedly representing 140,000 IHSS workers in Los Angeles County alone.

And SEIU Local 6434 has additional importance. Its president -- Laphonza Butler -- also serves as the president of the SEIU California State Council, which manages SEIU’s statewide political resources.

Tasty hears there’s open feuding between Regan and Laphonza Butler, who played a key role in axing Dave Kieffer from his job as Executive Director of the State Council. After his ouster, Kieffer quickly took a job from Regan.  

So what's gonna happen to the IHSS initiative?

Tasty predicts that Regan will jettison the initiative if he wins re-election in next spring’s officer elections... but only after squeezing every last signature from SEIU-UHW’s 65,000 homecare workers and cynically using the fake initiative for his own personal political advantage.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

SEIU-UHW's Hal Ruddick Brings 'Retro' Partnership Message to Kaiser Permanente Workers

Hal Ruddick -- the new Executive Director of the Coalition of Kaiser Permanente Unions -- is apparently bringing a “retro” approach to the Partnership.

Like… way retro!

Check out a recent announcement given to Kaiser’s workers in California. (A full copy is below.)

It looks like Ruddick and Kaiser simply borrowed the following graphic image and ideological message from a 1950s corporate propaganda campaign.

Incredibly pathetic... and super condescending, right?

(In case you’re wondering, the 1950s-looking Boss who’s pictured next to “Happy Business” is Robert Pearl, the CEO of The Permanente Medical Group. He earns beaucoup bucks. That's why he's smiling.)

So what’s the purpose of the leaflet?

Kaiser, SEIU-UHW and the Partnership unions are pushing workers to attend 1 ½ hour presentations where Kaiser’s executives plan to discuss workers' “role in ensuring Kaiser’s continued success.” During the presentations, Kaiser’s fatcat execs deliver a gloom-and-doom message aimed at preparing workers to swallow massive benefit cuts accepted by SEIU-UHW and the Partnership unions.  

The timing of this propaganda offensive is quite comical. Just two weeks ago, Kaiser announced third-quarter profits of more than a half billion dollars!

In fact, Kaiser has pocketed $2.2 billion in profits during the first nine months of 2013, according to its recent press release. And since 2009, Kaiser piled more than $10.9 billion of profits into its bank accounts!

Hmm… sounds like a perfect time for Kaiser’s workers to make painful sacrifices so that Robert Pearl, Bernard Tyson and the rest of Kaiser’s Bosses can keep on grinnin' from ear to ear!

Monday, November 18, 2013

SEIU-UHW's Dave Regan Waged Election Scheme in Ohio... Ending in Defeat

SEIU-UHW's Dave Regan
As Dave Regan tries to use ballot initiatives to wrangle a sweetheart deal from California’s hospital bosses, a reader has sent along an interesting article about Regan’s prior ballot adventures in Ohio. (See the article below.)

In 2003, Regan launched a ballot scheme while he was president of SEIU 1199 Ohio... and suffered defeat. In fact, the Ohio Elections Commission reprimanded Regan for lying to voters. (Shocking!)

Here’s what happened.

At the time, Cuyahoga County officials were trying to renew a county tax that funds health and human services for the poor. Ohioans were suffering under a terrible economy as well as budget cuts from state and federal governments. The county’s health and human services tax was critically important, according to press accounts, because it raised $80 million a year for safety-net services like foster care for abused children, health care and meals for low-income seniors, and mental health services for the poor.

During the run-up to the election, Regan decided to try to capitalize on the county’s desperate situation.  How?

Regan threatened county officials that unless they permitted SEIU to unionize their workforce, he would submarine the tax by waging an aggressive campaign to defeat it at the ballot box.

Genius move, right? What better way to improve the union's public support than to campaign for the elimination of safety-net services for foster children, working-class seniors, and mental health patients!  

After county officials refused to bite on Regan's deal, Regan reportedly spent a half million dollars of SEIU members’ dues money on TV ads, glossy mailers and newspaper ads to attack the tax and those no-good foster kids. Regan peppered SEIU's "voter education” materials with blatant lies, which got his ass reprimanded by the Ohio Elections Commission, according to a May 6, 2003 article in the Cleveland Plain Dealer.

Regan also succeeded in alienating the rest of the labor movement, which unanimously opposed SEIU’s position.

On election day, the County's voters approved the tax... and Regan officially became the town idiot.

Here's an editorial -- entitled "Bald-Faced Lies" -- from the editorial board of the Cleveland Plain Dealer. It includes language like this:
The SEIU is purposefully trying to rip an $80 million hole in Cuyahoga County's safety net by denying basic human services for needy children, the working poor and those in desperate need of mental health treatment. For that, those involved in this campaign to defeat Issue 15 have forever earned this community's enmity…

...the SEIU and the out-of-towners campaigning to inflict further suffering upon the people of this community who can least bear it… bald-faced lie… falsehoods and fabrications…

Friday, November 15, 2013

More California Workers Bolt SEIU-UHW, Join NUHW

This just in.

Today, a group of 160 workers at Corizon Health in the San Francisco Bay Area voted 107 to 5 in a landslide NLRB victory for NUHW!

The workers care for thousands of inmates at Alameda County’s jail -- apparently it's the fifth largest jail in the U.S. The workers include RNs, LVNs, Medical Assistants, Physician Assistants, LCSWs, Nurse Practitioners and Medical Records Clerks, according to NUHW.

In August of this year, 80 percent of the workers signed a petition to decertify SEIU-UHW so they could join NUHW. Their move to dump SEIU-UHW came after purple officials negotiated cuts to workers’ benefits and were basically AWOL when workers needed help.

Once the NLRB scheduled the election, SEIU-UHW ran for cover by withdrawing from the election because it had zero support from workers.

Congrats to the Corizon workers!