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.