Sunday, December 28, 2014

More Workers Seek to Dump SEIU-UHW

Workers at a Southern California hospital have formally requested an NLRB election so they can dump SEIU-UHW and join NUHW, according to workers and NLRB records.

The request -- reportedly signed by 80% of the workers at 140-bed Garden Grove Hospital & Medical Center -- comes after SEIU-UHW has been completely “MIA” at the hospital, according to workers.

Workers say SEIU-UHW provides zero support to its members… and fails to enforce even basic workplace standards. And under Dave Regan's regime, workers have had a wage freeze for more than 4 years.

Soon after workers submitted their recent request for an NLRB election, Regan instructed the union's attorneys to stall the vote by filing bogus charges with the NLRB. 

Regan's stalling strategy comes after two earlier, but unsuccessful, attempts to prevent the workers from even filing their request with the NLRB... which Tasty will describe in another post.

Readers may recall Garden Grove Hospital as the site where SEIU-UHW staffer Liz Castillo became a YouTube star (more than 85,000 views and counting) after she was captured on film in the hospital's cafeteria while insulting workers and then physically attacking one person.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Chaos Erupts as SEIU-UHW Staffer Suffers Severe Case of Foot-in-Mouth Disease

Tasty hears that SEIU-UHW’s recent Executive Board meeting ended in chaos after board members caught SEIU-UHW officials in a multi-million dollar lie.

Apparently, Dave Regan has been hounding Executive Board members to sign up their co-workers to make monthly financial contributions to SEIU-UHW’s COPE fund. These contributions -- which are used for politics -- are voluntary.

In response to Regan's persistent pressure, board members have been saying: ‘We’re already paying as much as $134 a month in union dues. Why do we need to make more contributions to SEIU-UHW? Can’t you use some of our dues money for politics?’

SEIU-UHW officials -- doing their best Pinocchio imitation -- have blatantly lied to board members by telling them that the law prohibits the union from using workers’ dues money for political purposes.

Great strategy, right? Lying to your own Board of Directors.

At SEIU-UHW’s December board meeting, Executive Board members discovered various line items in Regan’s 2015 budget that clearly demonstrate that Regan is steering millions of workers’ dues dollars into politics. This is nothing new. Tasty last month reported that Regan is attempting to quadruple the amount of money that's taken from union members' dues and funneled into a Political Action Committee (PAC) that Regan recently set up with his pal, Duane Dauner, the CEO of the California Hospital Association.
SEIU-UHW's Greg Moron

Once the truth was out of the bag at SEIU-UHW’s recent board meeting, things went from worse to worser, as George Bush would say.

SEIU-UHW staffer Greg Maron -- affectionately known by workers as "Mr. Moron" -- was forced to admit that he’d been lying to board members for months. 

And true to his well-earned reputation, Mr. Moron stood in front of the union's board and began digging himself into a deep, muddy hole:
I didn't tell you the truth because this is complicated stuff. Let me try to dumb it down for you…
At this point, the room literally erupted, according to observers.

Nothing better than having an overpaid punk of a union staffer (Moron has pocketed as much as $140,000 a year under Regan) stand up in front of the union's elected board of directors and tell them they’re "STUPID."

Way to go, Greg!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

NUHW Wins Two More Elections

During the past three weeks, workers at two more non-union California hospitals voted to join NUHW… and by overwhelming margins!

By Tasty’s count, NUHW has won six elections this year and added approximately 1,300 members.

Two weeks ago, a unit of 125 service and technical workers at Petaluma Valley Hospital in the San Francisco Bay Area voted to join NUHW. Here's the final tally of the NLRB election:

NUHW: 78
No Union: 13

And here's the tally from an NLRB election in late November at St. Joseph Hospital Eureka for a unit of 85 technical workers:

NUHW: 51
No Union: 13

In April, a separate unit of 270 workers at St. Joseph Hospital Eureka voted by a 2-to-1 margin to join NUHW.

Congrats to NUHW’s newest members!

Monday, December 15, 2014

Myriam's Charm Offensive Gets Rave Reviews

SEIU-UHW's Myriam Escamilla
Myriam Escamilla has continued to wage a specialized ‘charm offensive’ ever since Dave Regan placed her atop the union's Hospital Division earlier this year, says an SEIU-UHW staff person.

Back in June, Tasty relayed reports from UHW staffers who described how co-workers had tagged Escamilla with nicknames like "Attila the Hun" and “El Diablo” after she used tantrums and tirades to bully staff. 

In recent days, an SEIU-UHW staffer sent the following note in response to the title of Tasty’s recent post: “SEIU-UHW’s Dave Regan: "I'm Kaiser's bitch” (Part 2).”

What about Myriam Escamilla? She's the New Head Bitch in charge of the Hospital Division.
She has caused such divisions in UHW staff by terminating and harassing staff. Many staff are out on stress or in line for termination. In 2012 we had a staff person who shot and killed himself due to the pressure of Eric Kizziee, Hal Ruddick, Greg Pullman and Dave Regan. The things that were never made known was the phone message that he left regarding why he was ending his life due to the people listed above. He left this on all their phone lines including Cedars-Sinai [Medical Center].
Eric Kizziee has done so many negative things that now he kisses Myriam's, Greg Pullman’s and Dave Regan’s ass in order to keep his job.
Lots of Hospital Division facilities are looking to decertify UHW because there's no representation anymore. Myriam claims she’s so knowledgeable, but she can't even answer basic questions from staff. And she can't ask Greg Maron, because he has no knowledge of representation.

Sounds like a great place to work, right?

That's not all. 

In addition to abusing her staff, Escamilla is super adept at screwing workers.

In 2012, she signed a secret deal with a nursing home company called Brius Healthcare that slashed workers' wages, benefits, hours, and working conditions. When workers confronted her, Escamilla denied that she had made any back-room deals with their Boss… until workers presented a copy of the secret deal with her signature on it!

Now, SEIU-UHW’s own staffers are getting a chance to enjoy Myriam’s abundant talents!

Sunday, December 7, 2014

SEIU-UHW’s Dave Regan: "I'm Kaiser's bitch” (Part 2)

Dave Regan's latest act of pimpery shows us he'll pretty much do anything that Kaiser Permanente’s execs ask of him.

Here's what happened:

Kaiser's execs are under fire for the HMO's deepening mental health crisis.

In September, Kaiser agreed to pay a $4 million government fine for short-staffing its mental health clinics and forcing patients to wait weeks and even months for basic care. Among multiple violations of patient care laws, Kaiser admitted to maintaining a parallel set of paper waiting lists that hid patients' massive appointment wait times -- just like at the VA hospitals. Today, Kaiser is operating under a government-issued "Cease and Desist Order."

Also in September, a U.S. Congressperson held a community forum where Kaiser was blasted by patients for its mental health failures. One of the forum's sponsors was an elected county official whose husband, a Kaiser patient, tragically took his own life while waiting 42 days for a mental health appointment despite his serious condition.

In October, Kaiser’s patients filed a fourth class action lawsuit against the giant HMO, this one alleging that Kaiser is illegally dumping patients with severe mental illness onto counties. Three other lawsuits allege that Kaiser’s appointment delays are directly connected to suicides by Kaiser patients.

And just two weeks ago, Kaiser's 2,500 mental health clinicians -- who are members of NUHW -- announced they’ve authorized a statewide strike to protest Kaiser's short staffing and its undertreatment of patients.

It's no surprise, then, that Kaiser's PR officials are sweating bullets as they stare at their computer screens and try to dream up ways to escape this PR nightmare. Then one day, however, one of them had a brilliant idea. “Let's call Dave Regan. He'll say anything."

That's how Dave Regan ended up being quoted, alongside Kaiser's chief PR hack John Nelson, in a Modern Healthcare article published last week (see below). In the article, Regan announces that there's no staffing problem at Kaiser's mental health clinics! Way to go, Dave!

Regan, of course, forgot to tell the journalist that his union doesn't represent any of Kaiser's mental health workers. Whoops!

Here's an excerpt from a comment below the Modern Healthcare article:
Neither Regan nor Nelson are as qualified to comment on the limitations of Kaiser’s mental health services as its clinicians who must wait as long as three months to see their patients for treatment appointments.
Question: What sort of labor leader shills for management? Answer: the Dave Regan sort. Regan does not represent Kaiser's mental health professionals. In 2010, fed up with his betrayal of our benefits, I and 2500 of my colleagues voted overwhelmingly to quit SEIU and join NUHW. Compromised and unqualified, he has no standing to speak comment on the deficiencies plaguing Kaiser mental health.
And here's a cartoon created in response to Regan's quote:

Dave Regan:  "for sale to the highest bidder" ...and willing to throw patients under the bus to advance his personal interest.

Modern Healthcare

Kaiser mental-health staffing under fire again

By Adam Rubenfire   December 4, 2014

Members of the National Union of Healthcare Workers are accusing healthcare giant Kaiser Permanente of understaffing its mental-health services, and they're threatening to strike if their issues aren't resolved. Kaiser has responded that patients with urgent needs can be seen immediately, and it accuses the union in turn of sullying the system's reputation for its own organizing purposes.

The NUHW, founded in 2009 when it split from the Service Employees International Union-United Healthcare Workers West, says patients are waiting too long for appointments because there aren't enough mental-health staffers to meet demand. NUHW members, who represent about 2,500 of Kaiser's mental-health workers in California, voted in November to strike if the system doesn't make improvements.

But Dave Regan, president of the SEIU-UHW, which represents 45,000 Kaiser employees across the state, dismissed NUHW's concerns, saying that the staffing problem “was a limited one and is completely solved.”

However, this isn't the first time Kaiser has been accused of poor psychiatric care. The provider was fined $4 million by the California Department of Managed Health Care in 2013 for failing to provide timely care for its mental-health patients.

The agency also said that Kaiser's marketing materials detailing its mental-health services were confusing and unlawful, including an FAQ sheet informing patients that long-term psychotherapy was unavailable at Kaiser facilities, and would not be covered by Kaiser insurance. This statement and others were found to be in violation of the state's mental-health parity law, which requires mental illnesses to be covered and treated in the same manner as physical illnesses.

Kaiser contested the penalty but ultimately agreed to pay it... (full article)

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Partnership Unions' Bargaining Survey Speaks Volumes

Here's the latest from Kaiser.

The Coalition of Kaiser Permanente Unions (a.k.a. "the partnership unions") has begun circulating a bargaining survey in advance of upcoming national negotiations covering 90,000 workers at Kaiser facilities across the U.S.  The negotiations are scheduled to begin April 14, 2015.

So… Are top officials at the partnership unions planning to fight Kaiser's effort to cut workers' pensions and health benefits?

It sure doesn't look like it.

Check out the Coalition's bargaining survey (see below). It doesn't even mention the idea of preserving the defined-benefit pension plan that Kaiser is trying to replace with a 401(k) plan. And it fails to mention the health benefit cuts that Kaiser has already proposed to the Coalition.

Instead, here’s how the survey attempts to re-frame the Coalition’s dumbed-down bargaining goals:

Completely lame and dishonest, right?

Also absent from the survey? Any mention of Kaiser's record $14.5 billion in profits and its skyrocketing executive pay.

So who's responsible for the survey?

SEIU-UHW, with half of the Coalition's total membership of 90,000 workers, is by far the largest union inside the Coalition and consequently calls all the shots inside the Coalition. In fact, one of Dave Regan's staffers -- Hal Ruddick – is the Executive Director of the Coalition and will be its lead negotiator at the bargaining table.

Meanwhile, the non-partnership unions are intensifying their fight against Kaiser even as partnership union officials prepare to jam cuts down their members’ throats.

Earlier this month, the California Nurses Association’s 18,000 RNs conducted a two-day strike at Kaiser. Also this month, NUHW’s members -- who’ve waged a four-year battle against the cuts and scored a $4 million fine against the HMO -- announced the results of a membership vote to authorize another statewide strike against Kaiser. And in Hawaii, UNITE HERE Local 5 has staged multiple strikes and job actions to oppose cuts to workers' benefits.

Stay tuned.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Cash-Strapped SEIU-UHW to Sell $5M Office as Hospital Association Debt Comes Due

New developments point to serious financial problems at Dave Regan's SEIU-UHW -- including Regan's decision to sell the union's San Francisco office to generate $5 million of needed cash.

Observers say the crisis is due to Regan's secret deal with the California Hospital Association (CHA), which requires SEIU-UHW to fork over $20 million of SEIU-UHW members' money -- equivalent to one-fifth of the union's annual budget -- to a political fund that hospital owners will use to try to boost their bottom lines by $6 billion a year..

The rushed sale of the office building -- a four-story structure with 12,880 square feet of office space in downtown San Francisco -- underscores the urgency of the Regan's financial problems. According to a four-page real estate listing (see below), Regan doesn't even have a new office to house the soon-to-be displaced union staffers. Instead, the union will have to pay rent to the new owner while Regan looks for somewhere to put them.

Good luck with that. Due to San Francisco's red-hot real estate market, it will be impossible to find affordable office space anywhere near the city -- meaning Regan’s sale of its office building will permanently eliminate the union's footprint from a city where approximately 20,000 of its members work.

And that's not all.

Sources say Regan is attempting to quadruple the amount of money that's taken from union member's dues each month and placed into a political action fund (PAC). This money, too, will be used to back hospital companies' political campaign to boost their bottom line.

If Regan is successful at pushing through this political tax, which would begin in 2015, it would mean less money to hire staff to provide representation and workplace support to union members. Regan's scheme -- which will be considered at an upcoming meeting of the union's Executive Board -- would steer $2.9 million a year into politics and away from representational support for union members.

Lastly, sources say Regan is also trying to cut SEIU-UHW staffers' medical benefits in another scheme to free up money to pour into the CHA’s coffers.

What's next?

Stay tuned for Regan’s next scheme to cannibalize the union. 

Friday, November 21, 2014

“What happens in Vegas…”

It turns out that Dave Regan’s reported effort to snatch 9,000 members from "SEIU Nevada" isn't his first attempt to rig events inside this local union.

In 2007, when Regan was the president of SEIU 1199 Ohio, he illegally funneled thousands of dollars to Andy Stern’s favored candidate in internal union elections taking place inside the same Nevada union.

In fact, Regan was cited by the U.S. Department of Labor for making illegal contributions to Stern’s candidate, Jane McAlevey, who was competing against rank-and-file members for control of the union.

In April 2008, the Department of Labor issued a two-page letter (see below) detailing Regan's illegal contributions, among other “investigative findings.” 

At the time, sources reported that McAlevey used Regan's illegal funding "to unseat officers who were on McAlevey’s enemy lists in the local because [they] questioned her pushing the Andy Stern agenda."

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Source: SEIU-UHW’s Dave Regan Is Pursuing Backroom Deal to Snatch 9,000 Members from SEIU Nevada

SEIU-UHW's Dave Regan
SEIU-UHW’s Dave Regan is attempting to snatch 9,000 members from “SEIU Nevada” through a backroom deal with the local's president, according to inside sources.

Here's what's happening:

SEIU Nevada’s 18,000 members are roughly divided between public-sector workers (mainly Clark County employees) and private-sector workers in the healthcare industry.

In July of 2013, Martin Bassick, a county employee, was elected president of SEIU Nevada. 

Regan apparently approached Bassick about splitting SEIU Nevada’s membership in half and "giving" the union’s 9,000 healthcare workers to Regan. It's not clear what Bassick would get in return. According to Tasty’s sources, these discussions have taken place completely "behind the members' backs."

If Nevada’s healthcare workers were handed over to Regan, observers say it would be disastrous.

Regan is notorious for making backroom deals with employers and would likely use Nevada's 9,000 workers as bargaining chips to get better deals from HCA and Dignity Health for Regan’s 150,000 members in California. In 2008, Regan famously backed a deal to trade away the pensions of SEIU workers in one state in order to advance SEIU officials’ personal agendas in other states.

Observers also point to Regan's track record at SEIU-UHW, where he has…
  • Slashed workers’ health insurance, retirement plans and other benefits -- including the elimination of 20,000 workers’ pensions at Dignity Health and Daughters of Charity Health System.
  • Aggressively boosted monthly union dues, including a 50% increase in the maximum dues rate to $124 per month -- with an ongoing $10 increase each year, which means the top rate is now $134 per month!
  • Dramatically increased Regan's own salary to $300,000 a year and also transformed SEIU-UHW into a profit-making machine, with the union ending last year with $38 million in cash
  • Made countless backroom deals with bosses including a recent deal with the California Hospital Association that would lower workers’ pay and benefits, prohibit workers from criticizing hospitals' poor patient-care practices, and ban workers from striking.

It sounds like SEIU Nevada's members ought to give Bassick a jingle over at the Lacquered Up Nail Salon on Rainbow Blvd.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Press: Andy Stern’s Venture Capitalist GF Faces Possible Punishment at Polls

Remember when SEIU’s Andy Stern rushed to the defense of Gina Raimondo, a former venture capitalist who slashed the pensions of Rhode Island workers and then funneled a billion dollars of workers’ retirement money to her buddies at Wall Street hedge funds?

Well, Raimondo is now trying to become the Governor of Rhode Island… but is facing blowback from voters due to her pension-slashing extravaganza, according to the New York Times.

Raimondo, a Democrat, should have an easy time getting elected in Rhode Island, where Dems outnumber Republicans by 4 to 1.

But here's what the New York Times reported in an article over the weekend (“In Rhode Island Governor’s Race, Pension Issue Could Hurt Raimondo,” Nov. 1, 2014):
In this Democratic state, Ms. Raimondo could be expected to be doing well, but a Brown University poll released on Tuesday showed her and Mr. Fung running neck and neck. The nonpartisan Cook Political Report now calls the race a tossup. One big reason is the pension issue, which alienated the public-sector unions, an important ally in any traditional Democratic coalition.
If Raimondo loses tomorrow's election, let’s hope she’s consigned to the political dustbin for, uh, maybe an eon or two. 

Raimondo -- who critics describe as "a tool of Wall Street” who “trumped up the pension problem to enrich her Wall Street friends, in part through increased state payments in hedge fund fees” -- seems to symbolize everything that's wrong in a society where billionaires and hedge-fund fatcats enjoy unprecedented wealth at the expense of the rest of us. 

And Andy Stern, of course, represents everything that's wrong with corrupt union leaders who rush to the side of the Perelmans, Raimondos, and David Cotes instead of workers.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

SEIU’s Election-Year Flip Flop Reveals Terms of Secret Deal with California Hospital Industry

In California, SEIU has achieved a new level of notoriety by committing an election-year flip-flop that’d make even the most cynical politician blush.

The flip-flop is discussed in an op-ed published yesterday in the state capital’s largest newspaper (Sacramento Bee: “SEIU Sells Out on Prop. 45”). (Also in the San Francisco Examiner).

Here's the story.

Just months ago, SEIU was waging a highly publicized statewide campaign to control runaway healthcare costs that are hurting millions of families across the state. Sounds good, right?

Well… it turns out SEIU’s support for consumers is as deep as piss on a flat rock.

In the run-up to this Tuesday’s elections, SEIU unceremoniously tossed California’s consumers under the bus and instead threw all of SEIU’s political support behind the state’s multibillion-dollar insurance industry in a battle over a key measure on the ballot.

The measure -- Proposition 45 -- would give California’s elected insurance commissioner the power to limit exorbitant rate hikes imposed by HMOs on consumers. Thirty-five other states already have such a system in place.  

Prop. 45 is sponsored by a statewide nonprofit consumer organization called "Consumer Watchdog" and is backed by a coalition of consumer groups, community organizations, unions and others.

Who opposes Prop. 45?

California's HMOs and hospital corporations. They've already spent more than $57 million to try to defeat Proposition 45 -- and have outspent the measure's supporters by 14 to 1.

And then, of course, there's SEIU-UHW and the SEIU California State Council (SEIU’s statewide political arm)… which have joined industry CEOs in aggressively opposing Prop. 45. For example, SEIU-UHW sent this "Official Election Endorsement" to its 145,000 members. And here's a link to the SEIU State Council's election materials.

So why did SEIU commit such a massive act of betrayal against California's consumers?

SEIU's Regan and the CHA's Duane Dauner
It’s reportedly due to a "gag" clause in the "partnership agreement" that SEIU-UHW’s Dave Regan inked with the California Hospital Association several months ago. 

The clause specifically prohibits SEIU from either sponsoring or supporting any legislation or ballot measures that are opposed by the insurance and hospital industries. 

Incredible, right? 

And that's reportedly just a small fraction of what SEIU traded away to industry CEOs... including a long list of other worker and consumer rights. 

Here are the details provided by NUHW’s Sal Rosselli in the Sacramento Bee:
So why has the Service Employees International Union – the nation’s largest health care workers union – joined health insurance corporations in opposition to Prop. 45?
The answer: A few months ago, SEIU signed a corrupt deal with those companies in which it promised that in return for the opportunity to unionize 60,000 California health care workers, SEIU would not criticize these corporations or support legislation they oppose. SEIU explicitly agreed to prohibit its 150,000 California members from participating in “communications that degrade or attack a signatory hospital or health system or the hospital industry” or that raise “concerns about hospital pricing and executive compensation in health care.”
In other words, SEIU has formally abdicated its watchdog role. In exchange for the chance to collect dues from 60,000 new members, SEIU has officially sold out their workers and is actively campaigning in support of their employers’ political goals. This is the very definition of a company union.
SEIU and California Hospital Association officials tout their deal as “revolutionary.” And perhaps they’re right. A defining principle of the labor movement is that unions represent workers. With a few strokes of the pen, SEIU has effectively silenced its members and put their dues dollars at the disposal of wealthy and powerful corporations.
Meanwhile, consumers lose, health care workers lose and democracy loses.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Andy Stern Tried to Silence Huffington Post's Article Detailing SEIU's Deal with Billionaire Ron Perelman

Ron Perelman and Andy Stern
In its recent article, the Huffington Post unearthed a previously unknown chapter in Andy Stern’s corporate career at SIGA Technologies, a bio-warfare pharmaceutical company.

It turns out that soon after journalist Ryan Grim published a 2010 article outing Stern for an allegedly corrupt backroom deal with billionaire Ron Perelman (“Andy Stern's Bizarre Alliance With Private Equity and Biowarfare,” October 7, 2010), Stern and SIGA hired a fancy corporate law firm to try to bully the Huffington Post into silence.

In their recent article, Grim and fellow journalist Jeffrey Young describe how SIGA’s lawyers threatened to sue the Huffington Post unless the news outlet deleted Grim’s article discussing Stern's allegedly corrupt deal with Perelman… in which Stern and SEIU abandoned 10,000 security guards who work for AlliedBarton. Just weeks after Stern resigned as SEIU's president, Perelman appointed him to SIGA Technologies board of directors where Stern pocketed tens of thousands of stock options and buckets of cash. 

Below, Tasty has posted a copy of the lawyers' bullyboy letter sent to the Huffington Post… which appears to have been taken from Chapter 1 of a scare-tactic handbook.

Here's how the scare tactic works. 

After a fatcat is stung by the truth, he hires lawyers with super scary-looking letterhead and tells them to send an “I'm going to sue the f*ck out of you” letter to the journalist. The fatcat hopes the journalist will tremble in his boots… and quickly agree to delete the article rather than risk an expensive battle with testosterone-filled attorneys.

In this case, the Huffington Post called Stern on his bluff and forced SEIU’s President Emeritus to slink back to his padded chair in SIGA’s corporate boardroom. Stern’s about-face, of course, had the effect of proving the truthfulness all of the things that Stern and SIGA claimed were untrue. 
Arianna Huffington
Check out these excerpts from Stern/SIGA’s “I'm going to sue the f*ck out of you” letter, which was delivered to Arianna Huffington, the Editor-in-Chief of Huffington Post in 2010. "BARDA" is a federal agency that gave a half-billion dollar sole-source contract to Stern's company, SIGA.
For the reasons set forth below, the Companies insist that you withdraw this article from your website and from your archive and that you post in its place a one-line statement that the article was withdrawn because of errors. The Companies further demand that you take all additional steps to have the article removed from computer search engines and deleted by any licensees of The Huffington Post…
First, a major thrust of the article is the implication that SIGA improperly has been using Andy Stern's influence to obtain a BARDA contract and to prevent the funds for that contract from being lost to budget-cutting. That implication is false… [SIGA’s half-billion-dollar federal contract] procurement is not some kind of government boondoggle…
Second, the article falsely implies that Mr. Stern did not have the best interests of SEIU members in mind when negotiating labor agreements with AlliedBarton. And it suggests that Mr. Stern's allegedly improper activities were at the behest of MacAndrews & Forbes, which owned a majority of AlliedBarton at the time, and its senior management, including Ronald Perelman. Those implications are false…
The article should not remain posted on your website, and the Companies hereby demand that you promptly remove it from the site and from archives, and that you take all additional steps to have the article removed from computer search engines and deleted by any licensees. In its place, the Companies hereby demand that you place a single-line note explaining that the article was removed because it contained errors. Thus, people who may try to return to the article will know that it was removed for a reason. If you take these actions promptly, my clients will consider the matter closed, but, if not, they reserve all of their options and remedies. If you do not plan to comply, my clients hereby also demand that you preserve all of Mr. Grim’s and The Huffington Post's documents relating to this story, including all electronic documents, e-mails, voicemails, and similar materials.
Ronald L. Marmer

Thursday, October 23, 2014

SEIU’s Andy Stern and Pharma Company Faulted in Ebola Drug Shortage

Why hasn't the U.S. developed a more effective drug to combat Ebola?

According to an article by the Huffington Post’s Ryan Grim and Jeffrey Young, a "politically connected drug company" waged "a high-stakes battle for federal funding" several years ago and snatched up government money that otherwise would have gone to developing an “experimental drug now being used by the U.S. government to treat Ebola patients.”

What's the name of this "politically connected drug company"?

You guessed it. SIGA Technologies.

Here's what happened:

In 2010, the federal government awarded a nearly half-billion-dollar contract to SIGA (which was developing a drug “in case terrorists weaponized smallpox, a disease that was considered fully eradicated by the 1970s”) rather than awarding the money to Chimerix, which was developing "a broad-spectrum antiviral” medicine that the U.S. government is now using on an emergency basis during the Ebola outbreak.

The Chimerix drug “was given in the late stages to Thomas Eric Duncan, the Dallas patient who succumbed to Ebola in early October,” according to the Huffington Post.

The HuffPo article discusses the role of Andy Stern, SEIU’s President Emeritus, and his billionaire benefactor, Ron Perelman, in this tale of money, political deals and a lethal viral epidemic.
The bid for the potentially multi-billion dollar government contract was ultimately won by Siga Technologies Inc. in fall 2010. Just before the contract award, The Huffington Post reported that Siga had brought on board Andy Stern, who had recently departed as head of the Service Employees International Union. Having been the lead labor negotiator on the Affordable Care Act, Stern knew his way around the Department of Health and Human Services, which was to award the contract. Stern and Ron Perelman, whose holding company had a potentially controlling ownership stake in Siga, had long been on friendly terms, having become close after negotiating union contracts when Stern was a labor leader.
After the story, Siga threatened to sue HuffPost for reporting Perelman's ownership, which the company said did not amount to a controlling stake. It was a critical distinction, because Siga had bid for the contract as a small business. Chimerix Inc., the rival bidder, challenged the awarding of a $2.8 billion contract, arguing that Siga was not a small business, as the contract required, because it was controlled by MacAndrews & Forbes Holdings, the massive company solely owned by major Democratic donor Perelman.
In November 2010, the Small Business Administration ruled that Siga was in fact controlled by Perelman's company and voided the contract. (Siga did not sue HuffPost and declined to comment for this story; the law firm that wrote the letter threatening the suit is now listed as an unsecured Siga creditor.)…
Instead of reopening the bidding, the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, or BARDA, asked Siga simply to submit a sole-source bid -- one that no other company could apply for, arguing that Siga was the only company capable of meeting the criteria.
SEIU's Andy Stern
Of course, SEIU’s Stern has a long and storied connection to Perelman.

When Stern was the President of SEIU, he abandoned thousands of low-waged security guards at AlliedBarton after he allegedly cut a backroom deal with their boss, Ron Perelman, according to an earlier article by Ryan Grim in the Huffington Post. (“Andy Stern’s Bizarre Alliance with Private Equity and Biowarfare,” October 7, 2010)

Then, just weeks after resigning as president of SEIU, Stern was placed on SIGA’s Board of Directors where he apparently was enlisted to use his SEIU rolodex and Washington, DC political connections to "dial for dollars" on behalf of SIGA. 

SIGA’s CEO said the following about Stern in a press release:
Andy is a strong leader and a great addition to our Board of Directors. His insight, experience, and leadership, particularly his understanding of how our federal government works, will complement the skill sets of our existing board members.
SIGA then rewarded Stern with tens of thousands of shares of stock and hundreds of thousands of dollars of cash. SIGA reportedly mounted a full-court press for the half-billion-dollar federal contract, which later prompted investigations into illegal bid rigging by U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.).

And those aren't the only questionable connections between Stern and his sugar daddy, Perelman. 

SIGA’s majority owner also created and funded a custom-made job for Stern – the Ronald O. Perelman Senior Fellow at Colombia University's Business School in NYC where Stern pulls down a handsome paycheck.

Last month, SIGA filed for bankruptcy after a Delaware court ordered it to pay damages of $232 million for ripping off another company.

Check out the HuffPo story here

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

SEIU-UHW’s “Gag Clause” Turns Heads at Football Stadium

Dave Regan’s cozy relationship with the hospital industry is turning heads -- this time inside a football stadium.

In a recent article ("Dignity Health Spends Big at Levi's Stadium," September 14, 2014), the San Francisco Chronicle describes the public outrage after Dignity Health shelled out $2.5 million for a luxury skybox at the San Francisco 49ers’ new football stadium. 

Inside the air-conditioned suite, Dignity’s overpaid execs are gorging themselves on trays of food and bottles of liquor as athletes battle it out on the gridiron below.

Consumer Watchdog, a leading consumer rights organization, told the Chronicle it’s “scandalous” that Dignity Health -- a nonprofit hospital corporation -- is "wasting millions of dollars on luxury skyboxes rather than putting those charitable dollars towards patient care..."

Damn right!

Dignity’s skybox scandal appeared to offer a perfect opportunity for SEIU-UHW to attack Dignity's pinstriped priorities. To use a baseball metaphor, Dignity had served up a proverbial "softball" that SEIU-UHW could hit out of the park. After all, Dignity recently demanded -- and Dave Regan accepted -- a wage freeze for all of SEIU-UHW’s 14,000 members at Dignity.

Why, then, has SEIU-UHW been quiet as a church mouse about Dignity's skybox scandal?

Sources say it’s typical of Regan, who has implanted himself firmly in the Boss's pocket instead of at the side of workers. During recent contract negotiations, Regan helped Dignity eliminate workers’ defined-benefit pension and impose a wage freeze on 14,000 SEIU-UHW members.

Sources also point to a second interesting explanation for SEIU-UHW’s deafening silence:  the gag clause in Regan's new “partnership” deal with the California Hospital Association, signed in May of 2014.

In an internal SEIU conference call leaked to Tasty, Regan said the gag clause bans SEIU-UHW from expressing any criticism or doing any "negative campaigning" against hospital corporations. Here's what Regan said:
The Code of Conduct requires that in all of our interactions -- whether they're in the public realm, in the realm of advocacy, in the realm of media relations or press relations or political work as well as in the realm of non-union workers deciding whether or not to join our union -- we will eliminate and prohibit all negative campaigning.
To reinforce the deal, Regan brought a top Dignity exec -- Wade Rose -- to speak about the terms of the "partnership" agreement at one of SEIU-UHW’s recent Executive Board meetings.

Hmmm… So how, exactly, are Dignity's workers supposed to get any kind of justice from their
Skybox at the 49ers new stadium
multibillion-dollar employer if they can't utter a single criticism about sky-high executive salaries, wasteful spending, off-the-hook profits, and short-staffing?

Good question! It's like fighting a 300-lb. bully with both hands tied behind your back.

And that's the bottom line. Regan has fixed the fight in the Boss's favor. Which helps explain why Dignity workers' wages and benefits are suffering while their company's profits are booming. 

Several weeks ago, Dignity reported $913 million in profits for the year ended June of 2014… with one economist criticizing nonprofit Dignity's sky-high profit margin of 8.3%. (Sacramento Business Journal, "Dignity Health Sees Healthy Growth in Profit Margin," September 25, 2014).

So... for all you 49er fans out there -- keep your eyes out for SEIU’s Dave Regan. Tasty bets dollars to doughnuts he’ll soon be partying with Dignity's execs inside their $2.5 million skybox!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Dave Regan's Secret Deal Brings More Cuts to SEIU Workers in Ohio

What's in store for workers under Dave Regan's secret partnership deal with the California Hospital Association?

Well, workers in California might wanna chat with their Ohio counterparts who’ve been reaping the bitter fruits of Regan's earlier sellout "partnership" with Catholic Health Partners (CHP), a $6 billion hospital chain in Ohio.

In 2008, Regan inked an infamous back-room deal with CHP’s execs. At the time, Regan was president of SEIU 1199 Ohio

Under the deal, the company’s execs -- not the workers -- asked the NLRB to hold unionization elections for 8,000 workers. And get this: the Boss asked for only one union to be on the ballot: SEIU!

The backroom deal -- negotiated by SEIU’s Dave Regan, Scott Courtney and Mary Kay Henry -- ultimately led to SEIU's violent attack on a Labor Notes conference in 2008 that sent some conference-goers to the emergency room and left David Smith, an SEIU homecare worker, dead of a heart attack.

So why was CHP willing to ink a secret unionization deal with SEIU? Here's a clue.

In the first contract, SEIU negotiated ZERO improvements to workers’ wages, benefits and working conditions. A company official described it this way:
There are no separate standards giving Union employees more money or rights and privileges than non-union employees have in the workplace.
Then, in 2012, SEIU let the company eliminate workers’ seniority rights and their defined-benefit pension plan.

Fast-forward to 2014. 

Last week, The Morning Journal (Lorain, Ohio) reported that CHP is now demanding even more cuts from SEIU’s members at Mercy Regional Medical Center in Lorain, OH, including:
  • the elimination of step increases in the wage scale.
  • the elimination of paid sick time.
  • the elimination of overtime pay.
  • cuts to workers' health insurance that would force them to pay $5,000 more in out-of-pocket expenses per year.


So… is CHP going bankrupt? Hardly! Profits are up over last year -- $113 million in profits during the first six months of 2014, according to the financial statements on CHP’s website.

The moral of the story? 

You can trust Regan and his Purple Palace pals as far as you can throw them. They're happy to toss workers under the bus to keep their business buddies happy and the union dues flowing.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

SEIU's Six-Figure Purple Parachute for Anna Burger

As SEIU’s Andy Stern anxiously awaits a response from his billionaire benefactor, Stern’s partner Anna Burger has enjoyed a soft landing courtesy of a six-figure purple parachute.

According to federal records, SEIU paid Burger a total of $551,145 in consulting fees during the two years following her resignation from SEIU after she lost an election to succeed Andy Stern.

More than $100,000 of this total was funneled to Burger through a for-profit corporation that she set up at her home -- a company that appears to have been designed specifically for that purpose (see below).

Here's what happened:

In April of 2010, Stern announced his resignation from SEIU, thereby sparking a power struggle between Burger and Mary Kay Henry to succeed him. The following month, Henry won a vote of SEIU’s International Executive Board and took over Stern's corner office at the Purple Palace.

In August of 2010, Burger -- who had continued to serve as SEIU’s Secretary-Treasurer --announced her resignation from SEIU.
Stern and Burger
Days later, the purple gravy train began to flow -- not directly to Burger, but instead to a company called “AB Action Now LLC,” which Burger registered at her home soon after her resignation, according to incorporation documents from the District of Columbia. 

Federal records show that SEIU delivered monthly checks of $24,162 to Burger for nearly two years, which basically allowed her to duplicate the quarter-million-dollar annual salary that she received before resigning her job as SEIU’s second-highest officer.

The first $116,569 of SEIU's payouts came through "AB Action Now LLC."  Later, SEIU made “consulting” payments directly in Burger’s name and also sent them to Burger's home.

The payments raise interesting questions.

After the hotly contested 2010 election, Mary Kay Henry marginalized and fired a number of Burger's supporters in a post-election purge, including one of SEIU’s Executive Vice Presidents, Mitch Ackerman.

So why did Henry pay more than a half million dollars to her main rival for SEIU's top spot?

One possibility: the payouts were a kind of “hush money” to keep Burger from challenging Mary Kay Henry in SEIU’s 2012 officer elections. In fact, Burger’s monthly $24,162 checks arrived like clockwork in her mailbox until 2012. However, in June of 2012 -- when SEIU’s internal elections had been completed and Henry had been elected to a full four-year term of office -- Burger’s checks suddenly stopped, according to federal records.

And, like so many episodes inside the Purple Palace, the payments raise obvious questions about SEIU’s top officials... who appear to be far more comfortable hanging out with billionaires and funneling wads of cash to dummy for-profit companies than actually fighting corporations. 

Incorporation Record for AB Action Now LLC

Excerpt from SEIU's DOL Form LM-2 for 2010

Excerpt from SEIU's DOL Form LM-2 for 2011