Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Recording: SEIU-UHW's Dave Regan Tells Kaiser Workers -- 'Lose Weight or Lose Benefits'

SEIU's Regan and Kaiser's Columbus
Check this out.

Last week, Dave Regan sat side-by-side with the head of Kaiser Permanente’s Human Resources Department and announced that SEIU-UHW members will receive benefit cuts unless they lose weight.

It happened at a meeting of the California Public Employees Retirement System (CalPERS) in Monterey, California on January 14th. Luckily, a resourceful observer recorded Regan’s comments (see below).

So… why was Regan at the CalPERS meeting?

He and Chuck Columbus (Kaiser’s Senior VP and Chief H.R. Officer) gave a presentation to the organization’s board of directors about wellness programs.

That’s where Regan dropped his bomb:  that SEIU-UHW members will get benefit cuts unless they lose weight.

What's significant about Regan’s comments?

First, pay special attention to the “story” that Regan tells about Kaiser’s so-called need to cut costs. It's the Boss's "story." And Regan is actively pushing it on workers and the public. For example, Regan never mentions Kaiser's unprecedented $10.9 billion in profits. Or the CEO’s $10 million salary. Or the 8 pension plans for Kaiser’s top execs.

Instead, Regan says fat workers are the problem.

Secondly, by making his comments in front of Kaiser's chief negotiator (Chuck Columbus), Regan has laid down a brand-new bargaining position that directly links workers’ benefits to their weight. Hard to walk this one back. And it’s a stunning position, especially when you consider that Regan is talking about eliminating benefits that have been in Kaiser workers’ contract for more than 50 years.

So why did Reagan do this?

In Tasty’s mind, there are two possible explanations.

(1) Regan is an idiotic fool in addition to being in the Boss's pocket. Anyone who has attended "Bargaining 101" would know that a negotiator never concedes ground like this -- especially in front of your adversary (Columbus), who was specifically recruited to Kaiser to slash workers' benefits like he did at Ford Motor Co.

(2) Regan has already secretly agreed to cut workers benefits during the next round of negotiations, and he’s simply looking for a way to blame workers for the cuts by setting them up to fail.

Here's the clip.