Monday, January 27, 2014

SEIU-UHW's Leaked Survey Reveals Divisions between Dave Regan and Workers

Here's an interesting document.  

Dave Regan recently surveyed SEIU-UHW's staffers to figure out why they’re not successfully implementing Regan’s vision of focusing the union’s time and energy on "external politics" instead of helping the union's members with worksite problems.

The leaked survey (see excerpts below) offers an interesting glimpse into Regan’s skewed priorities... as well as the brewing tensions between staffers, union members and Regan. 

For example, check out this survey question and staffers' responses below:

How motivated are the member leaders you work with to carry out the specific elements of the UHW vision?

For those who are unfamiliar with Regan’s "vision," a core part of it involves turning SEIU-UHW into “a premiere healthcare organization.”

Uhh... WTF does that mean? Who the f*ck knows... clearly not the union's members.

Here are some of the staffers’ responses:

I think they don't understand the scope of a premiere healthcare organization.
Not sure that member-leaders own these goals. 
Resolving their immediate issues is most important to them. Everything else is secondary.

Its the world they live in that affects and motivates them most.

From the conversation I have had with leaders here, we have not done enough to focus on our representational responsibilities and feel that our focus on organizing has gotten in the way of that.

Leaders are moving towards the goals of the union but need more consistent education and development to be connected to the UHW vision.

With more education they can get very motivated.

This is my second week. I'm not really sure.
Many of my buildings had either bad leaders or leaders who don't want to move program because their buildings are messy with representation.

I have 11 buildings and they are each in different places. I am still getting to know the members that I support, and some days they are on board and some days they seem to be in their own world.

The purpose of Regan’s survey is as clear as day. 

For example, one question reads: "What are the obstacles to getting members involved in the external work of the union?"

Another question asks:  

On average, what percent of your time do you spend doing the following?  (1) Talking with members about issues external to the employer (politics, funding, state budget, healthcare enrollment, etc.) (2) Connecting internal issues that get raised to external concerns. (3) Dealing with internal issues. (4) Identifying, recruiting, and/or developing member leaders.

What’s also super noticeable is the purple arrogance and nauseating condescension that seeps through the survey like stink inside a latrine.

In SEIU’s survey, workers are considered to be 'stupid' and lacking the “education” and “development” to grasp Regan’s sophisticated vision. Shockingly, it turns out that workers are more interested in fixing worksite problems, defending themselves against abusive bosses, and protecting their pay and benefits... precisely the tasks that SEIU-UHW has failed at. 

Lastly, check out these two survey questions:

How closely do you supervise your member-leaders and what impact does it have?

Huh? So... SEIU-UHW's Union Reps are supposed to "supervise" the union's rank-and-file leaders?

Talk about top-down unionism! Regan has turned the entire notion of a union on its head. It turns out that SEIU-UHW's members have two "supervisors:" their employer and SEIU! 

In fact, here's one staffer's response to the last question: 

Some call me a boss. I do not want to be that type of leader but to be able to meet the #’s (surveys cards stickers CREs etc), I turn into that type of leader.