Thursday, May 29, 2014

Mike Garcia Is Out as Head of SEIU Union in California

SEIU's Mike Garcia is on left
Insiders report that Mike Garcia has resigned as the President of SEIU United Service Workers West/Local 1877, a union that represents 35,000 janitors, security guards, and airport workers in California. 

Garcia reportedly made the announcement last week during a meeting of the union’s Executive Board and cited his health as the reason.

During his tenure, Garcia oversaw one of SEIU’s mega-mergers which fused together SEIU Local 1877 and several other SEIU locals into “SEIU United Service Workers West.” The move prompted the resignation of at least one SEIU official and was sharply criticized by advocates of union democracy, who described the move as a "new stage in the super bureaucratization of labor” due to the new-fangled structures of control that SEIU erected atop the union.

In 2012, Garcia famously teamed up with SEIU-UHW’s Dave Regan in a failed effort to roll back California's nurse-to-patient staffing ratio law in an underhanded favor to the California Hospital Association, which is the hospital industry's Chamber of Commerce. 

Earlier, Garcia raised eyebrows when his secretary -- who just happened to be married to Garcia's right-hand man, David Stilwell -- received a giant pay increase that boosted her salary from $28,000 to nearly $200,000 a year.

With Garcia headed out the door, David Huerta -- the second-in-charge at United Service Workers West -- has been fingered to take over Garcia's position atop the union.

It's unclear whether Garcia also resigned from SEIU’s International Executive Board.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Press: Internal Recording Offers Hidden Details about SEIU-UHW’s Sweetheart Deal with the California Hospital Association

It appears that some of the details of Dave Regan’s secret agreement with the California Hospital Association (CHA) are beginning to see the light of day.

Last week, an industry publication reported it obtained a recording of a 50-minute meeting that features SEIU-UHW’s Regan detailing some of the terms of the secret deal.

On May 6th, when Regan and the CHA’s Duane Dauner announced their partnership pact, they slathered press releases with words like "breakthrough" and "historic" … but then they bluntly refused to offer any information about what’s actually in the deal!

Now, with a 50-minute recording in the hands of journalists, we’ll hopefully get some answers.

Here's how the publication, Payers and Providers, describes the recording it obtained:
The terms of the agreement were discussed in detail by SEIU-UHW President Dave Regan with his management staff during a May 6 conference call that took place not long after he and CHA President C. Duane Dauner told members of the media that all but the rough outlines of the pact were confidential. Payers & Providers was furnished with a recording of the 50-minute call.

So… how about it, readers? 

Does someone have a copy of the tape?

Thursday, May 22, 2014

"I needed a shower..." says a Journalist Who Attended Press Conference by SEIU-UHW's Dave Regan and California Hospital Association

So just how dirty is the "back-room deal” between SEIU-UHW’s Dave Regan and the California Hospital Association (CHA)?

According to a news editor, the recent press conference between Regan and the CHA’s Duane Dauner was enough to send journalists running for the shower.

Here are some excerpts from an article by Ron Shinkman, the Editor of Fierce Health Finance.

I've spent a long time--perhaps too long--as a journalist, so I have the diminished expectations department pretty well covered. Until last week.
 That was when I attended by telephone a press conference held by the heads of California's largest hospital lobby and healthcare employees union. So much world-weary cynicism oozed through the receiver that if my phone could actually speak, it probably would have asked me if it could take a shower….
 Regan's union recently pulled the plug on [two ballot initiatives.] The union worked out some sort of backroom deal instead. The two parties spent the entire press conference trying not to discuss it. Dauner, at times sounding imperiously irritated, declared the details should remain confidential. An exhausted and defeated-sounding Regan sounded like he could use a nap…

How “defeated” is Regan?

According to Shinkman, “Wall Street” Dave has given up on the idea that SEIU will ever fight for workers' interests or “butt heads” with corporations. Instead, Regan and the Purple Palace are pursuing a strategy that Regan calls "21st century unionism” …in which SEIU does the Boss’s bidding for him.

Here’s what Regan told journalists during the press conference, according to Shinkman’s article:
Regan said this deal, whatever it might be, was the only way to protect jobs. He added that the traditional job of unions--which when they were a force to reckon with included butting heads with management and occasionally striking-- was a "zero-sum game."

So all of you SEIU members out there... the next time SEIU gives away your pension and slashes your benefits… or refuses to defend you against a raging maniac of a supervisor, you know why... 

Monday, May 19, 2014

SEIU-UHW's Dave Regan Services Kaiser's Bosses on top of Beds of Cash

According to Tasty’s sources, Dave Regan’s name is increasingly met with cries of "Rat!” by workers inside Kaiser Permanente's hospitals.

What’s going on?


It has to do with the tsunami of greenbacks that are pouring into Kaiser’s bank account courtesy of Regan, SEIU-UHW and the Coalition of Kaiser Permanente Unions.

In early 2012, Regan famously told “Partnership” workers that they’re overpaid and need to give up their pensions and cut their benefits.

In 2012, Regan negotiated massive cuts to SEIU-UHW members’ retiree health benefits that gave Kaiser a $1.9 billion windfall to its bottom line.

In the meantime, Regan and SEIU-UHW have allowed Kaiser to slash and chop workers' jobs at the same time that workers were forced to attend "Turbulent Times" meetings.

Now… Regan and his pals at Kaiser are swimming in record profits.

Ten days ago, Kaiser reported that it pocketed $1.1 billion in profits during the first three months of 2014 -- a 44% increase compared to last year!

To put that into perspective… Kaiser is making more than $12 million a DAY in profits.

And SEIU-UHW's members are now paying millions of dollars in new "partnership taxes" to Kaiser thanks to Regan.

Rats in purple suits!

For more details, here’s an article in the San Francisco Business Times: “Kaiser Permanente's Q1 Profits Soar 44 percent, to $1.1 Billion.”

And here’s Kaiser's press release on its profits: “Kaiser Foundation Hospitals and Health Plan Report First Quarter 2014 Financial Results.”

Thursday, May 15, 2014

SEIU-UHW's Dave Regan Hunkers Down with Secret Hospital Deal

How bad is Dave Regan’s sell-out deal with the California Hospital Association?

Here's a small hint.

Regan and other SEIU-UHW staffers have refused to show a copy of the deal to the members of SEIU-UHW’s own Executive Board, according to readers.

So… what other details are hidden in Regan's secret deal with the Boss?

A reader forwarded the outline from an earlier draft of the deal. Here are some excerpts along with a few hyperlinked comments from Tasty in brackets.

Articulation of Shared Principles
●  Commitment to reducing cost
 Team Care is Great Care
●  Joint commitment to flexibility at work so as to maximize coordinated and team care
●  Care Team: core unit of organization
 Total Health
●  Total Health Agreement to improve workforce health  [THIS IS Dave Regan’s infamous Wellness Program]
●  Establishment of the Let’s Get Healthy California Education Fund as a 510(c)(4) or 501(c)6)
●  Employee contribution of 5¢/hour on all hours worked [THAT MEANS SEIU will tax its members 5 cents an hour in addition to their union duesjust like SEIU’s Partnership Tax.]
Transform the political economy of healthcare in the State of California
●  Provide stable, predictable, adequate industry funding
●  Provide stable, predictable, appropriate regulatory environment [THAT MEANS… SEIU will team up with corporations to slash safe-staffing laws, patient safety standards, etc. Scary.] 
 Hospital Jobs are Great Jobs
●   Substantially reduce, by agreement, the number of job classifications
●   Achieve flexibility and maximize scope of practice
●   Modest annual pay raise
●   Additional annual bonuses tied to: [NOTE THAT IT SAYS “bonuses,” not “wages.”]
      a.      Quality improvement
      b.      HCAHPS scores
      c.      Overall financial performance of facility and system
      d.      Alignment of incentives between unionized workforce and management.
      e.      Encourage mutual success
      f.      Shared savings model 
●  No Strike

Sunday, May 11, 2014

SEIU-UHW’s Deal with the CHA: “It's a con game. And the workers are the mark.”

Check out the following op-ed by NUHW’s Sal Rosselli regarding Dave Regan’s recently announced "partnership deal" with the California Hospital Association. Rosselli hits the nail on the head!

Payers and Providers

The SEIU-UHW Sold Out To Hospitals

Its New Pact with the CHA Undermines Trade Unionism

By Sal Rosselli

May 8, 2014   

Earlier this week, SEIU-UHW and the California Hospital Association announced a three-year "partnership" — a sweetheart deal in which the union has sold out its members to curry favor with employers. The employers, in turn, will allow SEIU to unionize more workers, but under terms favorable to the employers. It's a vicious cycle of corruption that undermines healthcare workers' livelihoods, compromises their ability to advocate for their patients, and dispenses with the core principles upon which trade unionism is based.

In a vague summary of the deal and in an evasive performance during a conference call with journalists, SEIU-UHW President Dave Regan and CHA President C. Duane Dauner tried to convince the public that SEIU scuttled two threatened ballot initiatives — one that would have capped CEO compensation and another that would have limited how much hospitals can charge consumers — merely for the opportunity to work with CHA to increase Medicaid payments to hospitals.

Regan and Dauner proclaimed their agreement as "visionary" — but we're not allowed to see it. They claim it embraces "transparency" — but the details will be kept secret.

Fortunately, the secret is out. According to a May 2 story in the Wall Street Journal, which obtained documents pertaining to the deal during the negotiation process, CHA will let SEIU immediately begin organizing as many as 60,000 California healthcare workers without interference from the employers and with full access to to workplaces. In return, SEIU would force those workers into pre-negotiated contracts that ban strikes, keep wages low and benefits to a minimum, and restrict the workers' right to criticize the employer or report healthcare violations that endanger patients.

Finally, SEIU agreed to drop as much as $40 million of worker dues into an "advocacy fund" that hospital CEOs will use to promote a state ballot initiative to increase by $6 billion the payments Medicaid makes to hospitals. SEIU says this money will eventually trickle down to workers, but don't count on it. The initiative is two years away at best, and any funds it brings in will surely get funneled to the already fat profit margins enjoyed by healthcare corporations and the obscene executive compensation packages that have become commonplace in the industry.

And once that process is complete, CHA will then allow SEIU to organize thousands more workers and force them, too, into pre-negotiated contracts.

It's a racket. It's a con game. And the workers are the mark. If it wasn't clear before, it's perfectly clear now: SEIU is a company union. In exchange for adding more members to its rolls and more member dues to its coffers, SEIU is betraying its own members by undermining the livelihoods, health benefits, and working conditions of hundreds of thousands of California healthcare workers.

This deal is just the latest evidence that SEIU has abandoned the fundamental principles of trade unionism — principles that we at the National Union of Healthcare Workers hold dear: democracy, patient advocacy, and commitment to worker representation.

SEIU has drastically reduced its worker representation, curtailed members' participation in their own affairs, and eliminated the union's watchdog role on behalf of patients by embracing a "code of conduct."

Moving forward, SEIU will quietly collect dues, but will do little to raise questions. Regan says he wants to keep everything "positive." But it's important to have checks and balances in a quality healthcare system — workers need a voice, and patients need an advocate. The unfortunate reality of the SEIU-CHA deal is that the union has gone to bed with the employer, leaving workers with nothing more than a false positive.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

SEIU-UHW's Dave Regan and California Hospital Association Announce Secret Partnership Deal

Earlier this week, Dave Regan and Duane Dauner had an emotional reunion to end their months-long lovers’ squabble.

On Tuesday, they triumphantly announced that SEIU-UHW and the California Hospital Association (CHA) had reached a “visionary” deal to reshape U.S. labor relations and solve the nation’s healthcare problems. Here’s some of the gushing language from their joint press release:
a breakthrough agreement to form a strategic relationship that will change the face of healthcare in California and serve as new national model for how employers and unions interact.

So what are the details behind this “breakthrough, visionary and transformative” deal?

Well, that’s what Regan and Dauner were supposed to talk about at a press conference they held on Tuesday. However, they refused to disclose any details about the secret deal. 

When reporters asked for a copy of the deal, they refused to cough it up. And when reporters asked one question after the next to get some inkling of the basic terms of the deal, Regan and Dauner refused... and instead emitted mealy-mouthed talking points that left reporters frustrated and angry.

It was like a scene from “The Matrix” …with Regan and Dauner trying to dodge reporters’ questions as if their lives depended on it.

Fortunately, Tasty has his own inside sources. They say the deal is basically a do-over of SEIU’s infamous sell-out deals with the nursing home industry.

In SEIU's newly announced deal with CHA, hospital CEOs reportedly agreed to allow Regan to unionize 30,000 California hospital workers, without any employer opposition, in exchange for Regan’s agreement to force the workers into cheap, pre-negotiated “template” contracts with low wages and benefits along with a lengthy ban on strikes.

In addition, Regan agreed to put $20 million of SEIU-UHW members’ dues money into the bosses’ pocket in order to fund political campaigns aimed at winning billions of dollars of additional Medicaid payments for California’s hospitals.

The deal also contains a ‘trigger mechanism’ that will allow SEIU-UHW to organize more of the bosses’ workers… but only if SEIU is successful in delivering the billions of dollars of additional Medicaid revenues for the bosses.

The deal also contains a broad ‘gag clause’ that blocks SEIU and its members from criticizing the hospitals in any way during the 3 1/2 year deal, including in the media, the courts, the legislature and with regulatory watchdog agencies.

The deal has Dave Kieffer’s fingerprints all over it. 

Kieffer -- known as “Top-Down” Dave -- was the architect of similar deals between SEIU and the nursing home industry during the past decade (aka, "the nursing home alliance"). In those deals, SEIU infamously committed to team up with nursing home corporations to win “tort reform” designed to dramatically undermine the rights of patients to sue nursing homes that kill or injure them as a result of substandard care.

Kieffer’s earlier deals contained an identical ‘quid pro quo’ that made SEIU’s opportunity to organize workers contingent upon carrying out the industry's legislative dirty work and winning billions of dollars of additional Medicaid revenues for the corporations. 

It's a deal with the devil that throws workers and patients under the bus.

So how are observers reacting? Check out this quote from NUHW’s Sal Rosselli in the Los Angeles Times:

"In World War II, being labeled a collaborator was comparable to an act of treason," Sal Rosselli, president of the National Union of Healthcare Workers, said in a statement. "This agreement will undermine the rights of workers and will eliminate the union's watchdog role on behalf of patients.”

Stay tuned for more details as details of the secret deal inevitably leak out. Here's the full statement issued by NUHW on Tuesday.

Monday, May 5, 2014

SEIU-UHW's Dave Regan Commits $40M to Sweeten the Boss's Pot in Negotiations for Sweetheart Deal with the California Hospital Association

Dave Regan and Duane Dauner
Here's the latest news -- including a new article in the Wall Street Journal -- about Dave Regan’s ongoing attempt to cut a sweetheart "partnership" deal with the California Hospital Association (CHA).

During recent days, SEIU-UHW’s Regan has been in active discussions with the CHA, headed by CEO Duane Dauner, about a possible partnership deal. According to the WSJ and Tasty's sources, the following are some of the specifics under discussion:

Hospital CEOs would allow Regan to unionize 50,000 California hospital workers, without any employer opposition, in exchange for Regan’s agreement to force the workers into cheap, pre-negotiated contracts with low wages and benefits along with a lengthy ban on strikes.

Furthermore, Regan has agreed to sweeten the bosses’ pot by depositing $40 million of SEIU-UHW members’ dues money into an “advocacy fund” that the CEOs would use to promote a California ballot initiative to boost taxpayer-funded Medicaid payments to hospitals by billions of dollars a year.

Regan’s goal, of course, is to cement SEIU-UHW’s role as nothing less than the boss’s union. Here’s how Regan describes it to the WSJ:

Dave Regan, president of the SEIU's United Healthcare Workers West,… said Friday that the union has been talking with the hospital association for more than two years to… "create a totally different paradigm for the way unions and employers deal with each other."

If implemented, Regan’s cheap, pre-negotiated contracts for the 50,000 workers would sharply undercut the standards of already-unionized workers -- including SEIU-UHW’s own members -- and would accelerate the downward spiral of concessionary bargaining that Regan launched after the Purple Palace seized control of SEIU-UHW in 2009.

Since parachuting into the Golden State, Regan has slashed health benefits and eliminated the defined-benefit pensions for tens of thousands of workers at Dignity Health, the Daughters of Charity Health System, and other companies

At Kaiser Permanente, Regan has slashed the retiree health benefits for 43,000 SEIU-UHW members and has reportedly signed a secret side letter to eliminate workers' pensions and cut their health benefits.

If Regan succeeds in banning 50,000 newly organized workers from striking, he’ll handcuff them into cheap contracts that’ll cut the legs out from underneath from already-unionized workers. Only an idiot -- or someone who's completely sold out to the CEOs -- would commit such a blunder.

Here’s the full article from the Wall Street Journal.

Wall Street Journal

SEIU, California Hospitals in Talks on Cooperative Deal
Health-Care Union Could Boost Its Ranks, Support Medicaid-Payment Ballot Initiative


May 2, 2014 8:40 p.m. ET

The nation's biggest health-care union and the California hospital industry are in talks on a deal that could allow the union to boost its ranks by thousands with the cooperation of management, according to documents reviewed by The Wall Street Journal.

As part of the continuing negotiations, the Service Employees International Union and the California Hospital Association also would jointly support a ballot initiative to increase Medicaid payments to hospitals by as much as $6 billion a year, the documents show.

The latest talks came after the SEIU threatened late last year to push ballot measures far less palatable to hospitals ?including capping executive pay and limiting how much hospitals could charge consumers. Under a union proposal made to the association last week, the labor giant would withdraw support for those initiatives in exchange for hospitals providing SEIU access to employees during an organizing drive of tens of thousands of workers, the documents show.

The SEIU has been trying to negotiate an agreement for several years in which California hospitals agree to cooperate in part with an organization drive. So-called neutrality agreements are a common tactic in labor. In many such agreements, employers allow access to employees and stand aside during organizing. In turn, unions halt negative public campaigns or back political issues favored by employers.

Business groups say the deals violate labor laws, which prohibit employers from giving a "thing of value" to a union, and courts have been divided on the issue. The U.S. Supreme Court recently heard a challenge to the legality of such deals but dismissed it in December.

The 1.9 million-member SEIU is one of the few unions to increase its ranks amid years of declining union membership nationwide. The SEIU represents about 90,000 of California's 400,000 hospital workers, in about a quarter of the state's 430 hospitals, according to the union.

The documents reviewed by the Journal show that on April 25, the SEIU's United Healthcare Workers West local in California proposed a three-year deal that would give the union access to as many as 60,000 nonunion employees. The union also proposed a $100 million joint "advocacy fund" with the hospital association that would be used in part to support a 2016 ballot initiative. The measure would direct the state to cover what the hospital association says are shortfalls in payments to hospitals from Medi-Cal, the state Medicaid system.

In a counteroffer authorized by the hospital association board on April 28, the industry offered a five-year deal providing access to as many as 50,000 workers and offered to pay $60 million to the advocacy fund. The union would contribute $40 million under that proposal.

Jan Emerson-Shea, a spokeswoman for the hospital association, said the documents generally outlined what has been discussed but declined to comment on specifics. She said talks were likely to continue through the weekend.

"SEIU is looking for some kind of access to nonunion workers," she said. "As of today, the hospitals' ability to provide the scale that SEIU is seeking—we're not there."

The hospital association said California hospitals lose nearly $6 billion a year treating Medi-Cal patients.

Dave Regan, president of the SEIU's United Healthcare Workers West, which says it has 150,000 health-care workers as members, said Friday that the union has been talking with the hospital association for more than two years to find strategies to reduce health-care costs, improve the state's Medicaid system and "create a totally different paradigm for the way unions and employers deal with each other."

"We have been exchanging proposals," he said Friday. "We continue in discussions and we expect to continue talking today and perhaps over the weekend," he added.

Mr. Regan said finding a smoother-than-typical path to union organizing is part of the union's agenda, though he said the union isn't seeking a deal that would forbid the association from "respectfully" suggesting to workers that they shouldn't join the union. "We're not going to disparage each other," he said. "We never said to the hospitals that you can't give your point of view, and they've never said to us that they're beyond criticism." Mr. Regan said the agreement being sought is something other than a so-called "neutrality" deal.

"We're talking about working together on a scale that is unprecedented for unions and employers," he said.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

SEIU-UHW's Dave Regan Funnels Millions to Lobbyists

Here’s an interesting item.

The "Capitol Weekly," a newspaper that covers the political scene in California’s state capitol, offers yet another glimpse at the ass-backwards changes brought by Dave Regan to SEIU-UHW.

Earlier, Tasty posted internal documents that show how Regan is systematically slashing the union's day-to-day representation of its own members while SEIU-UHW pockets multi-million dollar profits.

At the same time, Regan has been busy funneling millions of dollars to business-suited lobbyists in the state capitol, according to the "Capitol Weekly."

In fact, during 2013 SEIU-UHW became one of the top ten biggest lobbyists in California... along with Chevron, the California Chamber of Commerce, ATT, Southern California Edison and the California Hospital Association.

Regan funneled $1.88 million to a variety of lobbying firms in 2013, causing SEIU-UHW to join the top-ten list for presumably the first time ever.

What kinds of policies did Regan lobby for/against during 2013?

Regan assigned an estimated ten lobbyists to fight a bill backed by UNITE HERE, the UFCW, the Teamsters, Teachers, Longshore Workers… and even SEIU Locals 521, 721 and 1021! The bill would've required Kaiser Permanente to share more information with unions and other purchasers when Kaiser demands premium hikes for its health insurance policies.

The bill's demands were milk-toast modest, basically saying: "Hey Kaiser, show us the numbers before you jack up our premiums."

But instead of supporting workers' demands for more transparency, Regan pimped for Kaiser and the California Hospital Association by hiring lobbyists to kill the worker-backed bill.

Regan also teamed up with the California Hospital Association to lobby against Assembly Bill 975, which would’ve required nonprofit hospitals to spend more money on "charity care" for low-income, uninsured patients.

It's no wonder “Wall Street” Dave is on the short-list for the Chamber of Commerce’s ‘Employee of the Year' award.

Here's the full article from the Capitol Weekly entitled "Top 10 Lobbying Firms Bill More than $40 Million.”