Thursday, June 26, 2014

Partnership Pals Discuss Cost-Cutting in Hotel Ballrooms

Kaiser workers who are members of SEIU and the other “partnership unions” might be interested to know what their union leaders and bosses are saying inside hotel conference rooms.

Earlier this month, the Labor and Employment Relations Association held its annual conference at the Hilton Portland and Executive Towers in Portland, Oregon.

During the conference, John August gave a speech titled “Examples from the Labor-Management Partnership at Kaiser Permanente: Cost Reduction in Health Care,” according to the conference schedule.  

Until recently, August served as the head of the “Coalition of Kaiser Permanente Unions” (CKPU) -- aka, the partnership unions -- where he teamed up with SEIU-UHW’s Dave Regan to push a "21st century" style of unionism that involves slashing workers' benefits to boost Kaiser's bottom line.

Meanwhile, Kaiser’s Dennis Dabney gave a speech about “Navigating the Workforce of the Future in Partnership.” Tasty only wishes that Dabney had discussed the topic of “How Corporations Give Forgivable Tax-Free Loans to Fatcat Execs While Simultaneously Attempting to Slash Workers' Benefits."

It turns out that when Dabney quit his job as the V.P. of Human Resources at First Energy Corp. and then took his new position as the Senior V.P. for Labor Relations at Kaiser, the nonprofit HMO gave him a tax-free forgivable loan of $300,000 to help poor Dennis relocate to Kaiser's HQ in Oakland, California, according to Kaiser's tax returns.

And here's a speech that'll no doubt show up on Netflix sometime soon.

Conference-goers were graced by the presence of none other than SEIU’s David Rolf (aka “Clueless in Seattle”), who discoursed about new telephone apps and online petitions in a spellbinding speech entitled “Innovative Strategies for Organized Labor.”  


Monday, June 23, 2014

Clueless in Seattle II

SEIU's David Rolf
Remember SEIU’s “21st century” strategy for rebuilding the U.S. labor movement?

In April, Tasty posted an e-mail from SEIU’s David Rolf in which he detailed the Purple Palace's latest visionary idea:  establishing a business incubator funded by “venture-funders” and “investment/business partners” to dream up “innovative” ideas that’ll transform the labor movement.

Last week, Rolf began actively pimping this harebrained idea in the pages of “The Nation.”

In a piece titled "What if We Treated Labor Like a Startup?," Rolf begins dialing for dollars for the purple incubator. 
The labor movement should stop investing the bulk of its funds in an infrastructure that has failed us and take a cue from an unlikely place: Silicon Valley. Allocating even a small portion of labor’s assets to experimental initiatives could produce massive results. Silicon Valley venture capitalists know that to find the next Google, they need to invest in a range of start-ups. If even a tiny fraction of their investments make it big, they will reap enormous rewards.
Rolf, who apparently spends far more time playing with his iPhone than talking to workers, exhibits an unrivaled capacity for cluelessness. He continues:
Progressives should take a cue from business and enter an era of innovation… Technology like WhatsApp could be parlayed into applications that enable workers to anonymously rate their employers… When combined with savvy public-awareness campaigns, [online] petitions to support worksite actions can draw national participation and change working conditions.
 By striking out into complexity instead of retreating back to what is familiar, progressives can seize this moment of crisis and win enormous victories for workers.
Totally pathetic, right?

Check out some of the comments from readers, who give Rolf a serious smackdown.
I can't believe I've been such at idiot. I've been blaming the decline of labor on corporate attacks on unions, institutional corruption and the disengagement of the rank-and-file...when the answer to class struggle has been in a global text messaging app. Workers of the world--text!
It's worse than I thought: online petitions, apps to share info.....
How about abandoning class collaboration?
 SEIU is the perfect organization for a moron like David Rolf. As a reward for his blind loyalty, he was appointed head of the Los Angeles home care local by Andy Stern and quietly moved aside to make room for another Stern gigolo, Tyrone Freeman - now sitting in federal prison for his crimes while head of the now statewide local. Rolf was the appointed to his current lucrative gig as head of the Seattle long term care workers union where he proposed a 10-year contract during which the workers could never strike.
 This article is a symptom of the total colonization of the labor mind by tech bullshit.
 The lack of vision and imagination, the aggressive use of business jargon, the desperate, pathetic desire to be seen as important, to be some type of boss: it's like The Nation asked this guy to channel everything that's wrong with organized labor's leadership and he jumped at the chance.
 Leverage, scalable across geographies, incubator, the next Google - it's all here.
 Maybe Mr. Rolf should spend less time hanging with his buddies in the 1% and more time organizing alongside his own members.
 SEIU 775 bought a new headquarters building a few years ago, moving into what had been the headquarters for the Chamber of Commerce?  No comment necessary.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Rank-and-File Pharmacists Deliver Overwhelming Rejection Vote to Kaiser's Execs

Check this out!

Tasty hears that the pharmacists at Kaiser’s hospitals and clinics in Southern California have overwhelmingly rejected a tentative deal for a three-year labor contract favored by Kaiser Permanente’s fatcat execs.

According to Tasty’s sources, the vote was 72% (“No”) to 28% ("Yes").

The rejection is significant because both Kaiser and the pharmacists’ union leaders were pushing pharmacists to accept the deal.

What union represents the pharmacists?

The “Guild for Professional Pharmacists” is a “non-partnership” union that’s historically been weak at the bargaining table. On May 29th, the Guild announced that it had reached a "tentative agreement" for a deal that would’ve cemented in place a variety of deep cuts to pharmacists’ benefits.

SEIU-UHW and the other "partnership" unions have already accepted one of these cuts (a cut to retiree health benefits). And Dave Regan has reportedly promised to push through the remaining cuts (pension and health benefits) during the Coalition for Kaiser Permanente Union’s next round of bargaining.

Meanwhile, the 23,000 members of NUHW and the CNA are actively fighting these same cuts… by, for example, waging several successful statewide strikes during which SEIU-UHW officials worked hand-in-hand with Kaiser’s execs to try to defeat the strikes.

That's what makes the pharmacists’ vote so interesting. 

Plus, observers say the “no” vote is especially
Kaiser's Ed Ellison
surprising because the Guild's membership has historically been very disengaged and easily swayed by Kaiser.

In recent days, Kaiser's execs made a special push to get pharmacists to vote "yes" on the deal. On June 10th, Kaiser’s Ben Chu (President of Kaiser's Southern California Region) and Ed Ellison (CEO of the Southern California Permanente Medical Group) sent out personalized letters to each and every Guild member that said the following:
…we thank you for your flexibility and responsiveness to help continue meeting the care needs of our members and patients throughout this period. Because of your role as an integral member of our care delivery team, we believe the entire region was very pleased when it was learned that Kaiser Permanente and the Guild for Professional Pharmacists had reached a tentative labor agreement… We hope that you and other Guild-represented Kaiser Permanente pharmacist ratify this offer. Its acceptance will ensure our organization's ability to sustainably meet our mission to provide our members and patients with high-quality, affordable healthcare, as well as make us a best place to work in healthcare.
Kaiser's request for "flexibility" is especially outrageous given that Kaiser is pocketing mega-wads of cash -- it made an unprecedented $1.1 billion in profits during the first three months of 2014 alone. 

Now... both Kaiser's execs and the Guild's leaders have pie in the face as pharmacists celebrate their rank-and-file rebellion. 

What's next? Stay tuned. 

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Dave Regan’s Job-Cutting Proposal Sparks Divisions inside SEIU’s IEB Meeting in Canada

Tasty hears that Dave Regan's latest conjugal adventure with the hospital industry is sparking divisions even inside SEIU.

The divisions, say sources, emerged during last week's meeting of the SEIU International Executive Board in Ontario, Canada. 

(Interestingly, at the time of the meeting, Regan was supposed to be getting questioned in front of an NLRB judge in California, but instead skipped town in violation of the judge's orders and a subpoena.)

The divisions at the IEB meeting were provoked by news that Regan -- in an effort to curry favor with his pinstriped pals at the California Hospital Association -- has hired a team of hospital industry consultants to steer healthcare services out of hospitals and into outpatient clinics. Many SEIU officials fear that Regan's efforts will lead to huge job losses among SEIU’s members across the U.S. 

In California, Regan has presided over the elimination of large numbers of SEIU-UHW members’ jobs, including hundreds at Sutter Health's Alta Bates Summit Medical Center in Oakland, California and thousands at Kaiser Permanente.

Apparently, the top dogs at SEIU’s California locals were especially critical of Regan, including Luisa Blue of Local 521, LaPhonza Butler of United Long Term Care Workers, and Bob Schoonover of Local 721.

How deep are the divisions inside SEIU’s International Executive Board?

Tasty's source describes them as "deeper than ever."

Thursday, June 12, 2014

NUHW Takes Fight to SEIU's Corporate Bunkmates

As SEIU-UHW dives deeper under the covers with its pinstriped patrons, the folks over at NUHW are waging an interesting battle against SEIU’s favorite bedmate, Kaiser Permanente.

Two of the members of Kaiser’s Board of Directors -- Christine Cassel and Jenny Ming -- resigned their positions after NUHW exposed their six-figure conflicts of interest. Today, only 13 people remain on the corruption-tainted board, including Phil “Brazil Butt” Marineau.

Meanwhile, Cynthia Telles -- another board member -- is under fire for ignoring Kaiser’s mental health crisis and for her connection to the ongoing scandal at General Motors, where she also serves on the Board of Directors.

Apparently, “Six-Figure Cynthia” is none too popular these days after turning a blind eye to Kaiser’s suicides and GM’s fatal ignition switches… while all the while pocketing a half-million dollars a year from the two mega-corporations.

Check out this website -- -- which features letters to Telles from Kaiser’s patients and mental health clinicians. The letters are jaw-dropping. Here's an excerpt from one by a Kaiser clinician:
Most of the patients I see have life-altering diagnoses such as Schizophrenia, Schizoaffective Disorder, Bipolar Disorder, Borderline Personality Disorder, and Major Depression. They struggle with suicidality, medication compliance, substance abuse, daily hallucinations, hopelessness, and lack of social or familial support… Most clinics are significantly understaffed, forcing patients to wait on average 4 to 8 weeks for their follow-up appointments. Can you imagine sitting with a patient who is in emotional pain, has finally come to you for support, perhaps disclosing a history of traumatic sexual abuse for the first time, doing your best to build an alliance with them and give them hope, only to then tell them, “I’ll see you in 6 weeks?”
And here's a letter from one of Kaiser's patients:
I have been a patient of KP Psychiatry Department at three KP locations… For many of us, initially asking for mental health treatment is an incredible hurdle. Often the choice to leap or die is made by the glimmer of hope that someone will be on the other side ready to help. I chose to leap. Two years later I thought I made the wrong decision. I was not alone… It was obvious the therapists were overloaded… My condition worsened and I switched medications. Nothing seemed to work. After three years, I gave up.
Meanwhile, NUHW’s mental health clinicians continue to take Kaiser to task by launching departmental strikes, filing lawsuits, and winning a $4 million fine from government investigators for Kaiser’s severe mental health violations, which appear to be identical to the scandal rocking the VA hospitals. 

NUHW’s efforts have been joined by patients, who've filed a class-action lawsuit against Kaiser for illegally depriving patients of mental health care. 

Stay tuned!

Monday, June 9, 2014

CEO Did SEIU's Bidding in Dave Regan's Secret Unionization Scheme in Ohio

How badly is SEIU-UHW’s Dave Regan trying to sell out workers in his secret deal with the California Hospital Association (CHA)?

Tasty already posted details about pre-negotiated contracts, gag clauses, and bans on strikes... which will handcuff tens of thousands of workers if Regan is successful. Additional details are hidden from public view because Regan refuses to disclose a copy of the secret agreement.

However… an earlier episode offers evidence of just how much Regan is willing to give away to hospital CEOs so he can wrap his hands around millions of dollars of union dues from workers.

In 2008, Regan inked an infamous back-room deal with Catholic Healthcare Partners, a $6 billion hospital chain in Ohio. At the time, Regan was president of SEIU 1199 Ohio.

How bad was the deal?

Here's a hint.

The Boss -- not the workers -- asked the NLRB to conduct union elections for 8,000 workers! And get this:  the Boss asked for only one union to be on the ballot: SEIU!

Normally, the NLRB requires at least 30% of the workers at a hospital to sign a petition for a specific union in order to trigger an NLRB election.

But at Catholic Healthcare Partners, not a single worker signed a petition.  

Why would a CEO actually request a union election?

Because Regan had already agreed to handcuff the workers into terrible contracts that wouldn't cost the Boss an extra penny… and would prevent more aggressive unions from representing the Boss’s workers.

How did SEIU and Catholic Healthcare Partners pull off this crazy maneuver?

Apparently, SEIU’s lawyers dug up a little-known section of federal labor law that allows Bosses to file Boss-initiated unionization elections, called “RM” petitions in NLRB lingo.

Here's how a 2008 article in “Monthly Review" describes what happened in Ohio:
In late February, Catholic Healthcare Partners (CHP) filed petitions for Board elections to be held in all bargaining units at nine of its Ohio hospitals… The employer-initiated RM does not require any proof of union membership or election interest.  Although some 8,000 healthcare workers were affected by the RM petition, none were involved in calling for the elections.  However, accompanying the employer's petitions was a consent agreement drawn up by CHP and a union -- the SEIU.  All the elections, it was agreed, will be held within a few weeks, on two selected days, March 12 and 14, a Wednesday and a Friday.  The company and union would jointly mail out an election packet and provide a hot line phone number…  The Board, in a remarkable display of speed, accepted the consent agreement, closed the ballot, and found enough Board agents to run some 40 to 50 separate elections, all in the matter of a few days.
The article goes on to describe how 60 years ago, conservative unions conspired with General Electric and Westinghouse to use “RM” petitions to oust militant unions and replace them with partnership-style unions acceptable to the Boss.

Here’s a link to the full article

Thursday, June 5, 2014

“Get me outa here!”

Myriam Escamilla
Some SEIU staffers call her a “Primo Backstabber.”

Others say she’s a modern day "Attila the Hun" who uses tantrums and tirades to bully “her” staff.

Now… in the latest chapter of this purple drama, SEIU-UHW’s staffers have reportedly tagged Myriam Escamilla with a brand new nickname: “El Diablo.”

Escamilla is reportedly so disliked by Union Reps that they’re literally rushing for the exit signs.

Here's what's happening.

Escamilla was recently appointed as the director of SEIU-UHW’s Hospital Division after Dave Regan transferred the former director, Hal Ruddick, to fill John August’s sticky seat over at the Coalition of Kaiser Permanente Unions.  

Since then, SEIU-UHW’s Union Reps have been subjected to Myriam’s “charm offensives” (aka, screaming fits)… which are producing a wave of requests to transfer out of Escamilla’s control.

Meanwhile, the rank-and-file workers in SEIU-UHW’s “Nursing Home Division” are offering some serious words of advice for SEIU-UHW’s hospital workers. They say Escamilla is incompetent and a liar.

In 2012, Escamilla signed a secret deal with a Los Angeles-based company called “Brius” that slashed nursing home workers’ wages, benefits, hours, and working conditions.

And that's not all.

Escamilla blatantly lied to workers. She told them she was not making back-room deals with their Boss… until workers showed her a copy of the secret deal with her signature on it! 

Soon thereafter, workers voted unanimously to decertify SEIU-UHW.

Despite her rap sheet that’s almost as long as John August’s, there's virtually zero chance that either Regan or his "Chief of Staff" Greg Pullman will take any action against Escamilla.
Dave Regan


Escamilla has raised lots of cold hard cash for Regan's reelection campaigns. In return, Regan rewarded Escamilla with a fat salary ($143,129 in 2013) and a position on Regan’s “Executive Committee.”

In one memorable episode, an SEIU-UHW staffer filed an NLRB "Unfair Labor Practice Charge" against Escamilla after Myriam tried to shake the staffer down for a cash contribution to Regan’s reelection fund during the staffer's first week on the job!

And... it’s just as unlikely that Pullman will take any action against her. Why? Escamilla is Pullman’s “ex-wife.”

It’s a perfect purple storm of nepotism, incompetence, and corruption.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Leaked Recording: Dave Regan Discusses SEIU-UHW's Secret Deal with California Hospital Association

Here it is.

It's a recording of an internal conference call that took place just hours after Dave Regan and Duane Dauner (the CEO of the California Hospital Association) publicly announced their "visionary" partnership deal… while famously refusing to disclose any details to journalists or the public.

During the conference call -- which took place on May 6, 2014 and lasts 50 minutes -- Regan works hard to sell the deal to SEIU-UHW's staffers.

He makes only passing reference to the undemocratic terms of his dirty deal -- such as pre-negotiated contracts with cheap wages and benefits, a gag clause that blocks workers from criticizing hospital corporations, a ban on strikes, etc. In fact, Regan has refused to provide a copy of the deal to SEIU-UHW’s own Executive Board, say Tasty's sources.

However, enough details emerge from the leaked recording to allow us to comprehend the raw terms of Regan’s “money-for-workers” deal with hospital CEOs.

The deal works as follows:

Regan will use SEIU’s political influence -- along with $20 million of workers’ dues money -- to try to boost taxpayer-funded Medicaid payments to hospitals by $6 billion a year. In exchange, the hospitals will let SEIU "unionize" up to 60,000 workers without opposition as long as Regan keeps workers' wages and benefits artificially low and bans workers from striking.

Furthermore, Regan has signed a "Code of Conduct" that gags SEIU-UHW’s members from criticizing hospital corporations and bans workers from reporting patient-care violations to government agencies. 

On the recording, here’s how Regan describes the long reach of the "Code of Conduct" between SEIU-UHW and the hospital industry:
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.
Meanwhile, here's how Regan describes his deal to trade billions of dollars of Medicaid money for workers:
If we are successful in solving the Medi-Cal Program's shortfall by November of 2016, we will then have an agreement with the industry whereby we will get physical access to another set of institutions employing at least 30,000 non-union workers…
Regan calls the Medicaid money “a big prize” (Medicaid is called “Medi-Cal” in California):
There is a big prize on the horizon called "reforming Medi-Cal” that's worth $6 billion. (at 26:35 minutes on the tape)
Elsewhere, he describes the terms of the deal this way:
...organizing rights premised on success in fixing the political problem.
So what's driving this pay-to-play deal?

The Democrats control both houses of California’s legislature as well as the governor's office. So... hospital CEOs have hired SEIU to serve as a Trojan Horse or political errand boy that will attempt to snatch billions of taxpayer-funded dollars to fatten the bosses’ bottom lines... while screwing workers along the way.

It's classic SEIU.

Here’s the full tape: