Wednesday, December 30, 2015

SEIU-UHW Cuts Budget by $34 Million after Membership Transfer

This year's decision by SEIU to transfer 70,000 long-term care workers out of SEIU-UHW is sparking continuing anger -- and budget cuts -- at SEIU-UHW.

On December 12, SEIU-UHW's Dave Regan and the union’s Executive Board approved a budget for 2016 that includes $34 million in cuts compared to last year’s budget, according to Tasty's sources, board documents and records from the US Department of Labor.

Altogether, SEIU-UHW’s budget has dropped from $112 million in 2014 to $78 million in 2016 – a 30% reduction.  

An SEIU-UHW board resolution approving the union’s 2016 budget shimmers with faintly concealed anger:
Whereas, SEIU’s implementation of its decision to divide hospital workers and long term care workers forces changes to our budget...

Meanwhile... meeting minutes attempt to put the best face on the budget cuts. Here's how the minutes describe a presentation to the board about the "budgetary adjustments" caused by SEIU’s membership transfer:
They described budgetary adjustments made for the last six months of the year due to the jurisdictional decision to remove home care and nursing home workers from UHW. They reported that despite these changes, UHW has sufficient funds and staffing to continue forward with all of our campaigns and work.

Earlier this year, Regan raged against the decision of SEIU President Mary Kay Henry and the SEIU International Executive Board in a leaked letter calling the action a "massive betrayal." Later, Regan penned an "Open Letter to Leaders in SEIU" entitled "What Has Become of Us? The Shame of SEIU."

Here's a copy of the SEIU-UHW board resolution adopting the sharply reduced budget. (FYI, the resolution appears to understate the size of the budget cuts, according to figures that SEIU-UHW submitted to the US Department of Labor).

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

SEIU-UHW's Dave Regan channels Donald Trump after slashing workers' benefits and pay

In his latest "groundbreaking" move, SEIU-UHW’s Dave Regan has borrowed a page from Republican Donald Trump’s playbook -- namely, lying through his frickin’ teeth.

Last month, Regan forced giant benefit cuts and a multi-year wage freeze down the throats of 2,000 SEIU-UHW members at four California hospitals run by the Daughters of Charity Healthcare System.

Altogether, Regan accepted more than a dozen benefit cuts -- including stripping hundreds of workers of their health insurance, vacation, holidays, sick pay, retirement, etc. -- which workers exposed by leaking copies of Regan’s agreement to Tasty.

After SEIU-UHW conducted ramrod ratification votes to implement the cuts, workers filed complaints with federal authorities alleging that SEIU-UHW officials withheld vital information from its members, blocked workers from attending negotiations, and committed irregularities during the vote count.

Which is why workers were a bit, umm, shocked to read SEIU-UHW's Dec. 14 press release describing its sell-out contract as "innovative" and "groundbreaking." Here's an excerpt from the press release, which is posted on SEIU-UHW's website (full copy is below):
As BlueMountain accepts the groundbreaking deal, it also assumes an innovative new contract that was recently ratified between 1,900 SEIU-UHW healthcare workers and the Daughters of Charity Health System. The three-year agreement protects benefits and… (emphasis added)

Of course, this is just the latest example of SEIU-UHW lying to its members.

Workers were also a tad surprised to see SEIU-UHW "welcoming" BlueMountain Capital as their hospitals' new owner. 

Headquartered on New York’s Park Avenue, BlueMountain is a $22 billion venture capital firm that makes enormous profits by buying and flipping companies after loading them with debt and exorbitant management fees.
Andrew Feldstein, CEO of BlueMountain Capital
Over the weekend, the New York Times described BlueMountain’s role in a scandal brewing in Puerto Rico. It turns out that BlueMountain and other hedge funds are working to keep Puerto Rico mired in debt so they can reap billions of dollars in profits for their wealthy investors. (See "Inside the Billion-Dollar Battle for Puerto Rico’s Future," New York Times, December 19, 2015)

Given SEIU's love of billionaires and venture capital titans, perhaps we’ll soon see "Wall Street Dave" and "The Donald" on the campaign trail together.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

SEIU Joins Hands with Uber CEO and Tech Titans as "Gig" Workers Suffer

SEIU's Andy Stern with Honeywell CEO David Cote
We’ve seen it again and again: SEIU officials leaping into bed with CEOs to proclaim "maverick" partnerships that (you guessed it) toss workers under the bus.

Here's the latest.

SEIU’s Andy Stern, David Rolf, and Laphonza Butler are drawing fire from worker advocates for their recent deal with the CEOs of Uber, Lyft, Handy and other so-called "gig economy" companies.

The tech titans are using a classic scheme to boost their profits by ripping off workers.  How?

They misclassify their workers -- including Uber drivers and Handy maids -- as "independent contractors" rather than employees.  As such, the workers have no access to health insurance, vacation, holidays, retirement, and other benefits; no access to unemployment insurance and workers compensation; and no company contribution to Social Security and Medicare. And the workers are unprotected by most federal, state and local minimum wage laws and other labor protections. And they can’t form unions.

It's the same scam used by FedEx, trucking companies at ports, and other greedy companies.

In California, Uber drivers are suing their $62 billion company to be reclassified as employees and to collect millions of dollars in mileage reimbursement and tips, which the company has never paid to drivers. The suit could affect 160,000 workers.

SEIU officials -- rather than backing the workers -- decided to become BFFs with the CEOs of Uber, Lyft, Handy and other such corporations. Earlier this month, they co-signed a lame, milk-toast letter that fails to take these corporations to task for ripping off their workforces.

Instead, SEIU’s joint letter offers hollow platitudes and vague proclamations -- with no concrete commitments or funding from the corporations -- that are summed up in the following excerpt from the joint letter:
Everyone, regardless of employment classification, should have access to the option of an affordable safety net that supports them when they’re injured, sick, in need of professional growth, or when it’s time to retire.

Worse yet, SEIU's joint letter pointedly criticizes workers for suing their billion-dollar bosses for ripping them off. The letter states: "We believe these issues are best pursued through policy development, not litigation…" (emphasis added)

SEIU is the only union to sign the letter… which was also signed by Eli Lehrer, the President of "The R Street Institute," a right-wing think tank inspired by Milton Friedman and Frederick Hayek.  By the way, the R Street Institute is reportedly pushing for legislation to make it easier for companies to classify what their workers as "independent contractors."
SEIU's David Rolf

SEIU’s lame-ass sell-out of precarious workers is what prompted worker advocates to publish a recent critique entitled "When Labor Groups and Silicon Valley Capitalists Join Forces to ‘Disrupt’ Protections for Employees" (In These Times, December 4, 2015).

The authors -- Jay Youngdahl and Darwin Bondgraham -- include a quote from Shannon Liss-Riordan, a labor attorney who represents 160,000 Uber drivers in their class-action lawsuit against the company:  
I’m concerned seeing labor groups on there. … I’m wondering whether they’re fully informed as to what they’re putting their names on.

Unfortunately, cozying up to the boss is par for the course at SEIU. 

Readers will recall similar episodes such as Andy Stern’s dirty deals with Wal-Mart CEO Lee Scott; pension-slashing venture capitalist Gina Raimondo; Honeywell CEO David Cote; Andy’s billionaire patron Ron Perelman; and the anti-teacher Broad Foundation.

Monday, December 7, 2015

Lawsuit Spotlights $10 Million of SEIU-UHW Funds Given to Industry Execs

Dave Regan’s lawsuit against Duane Dauner (California Hospital Association) and Greg Adams (Kaiser Permanente) contains interesting details about just how closely SEIU-UHW was working with the CEOs atop California's hospital industry.

According to the lawsuit, Regan funneled $10 million of SEIU-UHW members' union dues into a bank account controlled by fatcat CEOs.

That is... until Regan's secret deal with the hospital bosses exploded in flames.

Now, Regan is suing the CEOs in hopes of recovering $7 million of the $10 million. Here's what SEIU-UHW says in its lawsuit filed Nov. 24 in Sacramento County Superior Court:
CHA and UHW committed to each other to fund CFC. In accordance with this commitment, CHA agreed to provide $80 million in funding to CFC, and UHW agreed to provide $20 million in funding. To date, CHA and UHW have contributed half of their funding obligations to CFC. CFC currently holds more than $7 million dollars of UHW contributions…   (p. 6)

What happened to the other $3 million?

Apparently, it’s already been spent. 

Regan and his CEO pals have reportedly been writing fat checks for consultants, lawyers, offices, trips, fancy meetings, and staff -- including the hiring of Peter Ragone as the Executive Director of Regan's now-defunct "partnership" organization. 
Peter Ragone: Exec Dir. of imploded partnership orgz'n

In total, $3 million of SEIU-UHW members' money has disappeared down the sewer like a prodigious purple bowel movement.

As far as the remaining $7 million, it’s currently frozen beyond SEIU-UHW's reach because, according to the terms of Regan's secret deal with the California Hospital Association, it can only be transferred with the consent of Duane Dauner, says the lawsuit.
CFC owns, possesses, and has a right to possess the funds within its bank account, including those lent to it by UHW. Defendants intentionally and in a gross abuse of their authority as Directors of CFC substantially interfered with CFC's property by terminating all operations of CFC by vetoing any proposed expenditures. (p. 18)

In other words, the $7 million is sequestered beyond SEIU-UHW's reach. "UHW has suffered and will continue to suffer substantial and irreparable harm," says the suit (p. 22).

Will SEIU-UHW members ever recover their $7 million? Good question.

And here's an even bigger question posed by observers: 

Why did SEIU-UHW's Executive Board ever authorize Regan to gamble upwards of $25 million of union members' dues on a hare-brained scheme that has exploded in flames and has landed SEIU-UHW in a desperate and expensive court battle?

Stay tuned!

Thursday, December 3, 2015

SEIU-UHW Officials Accepted Wage Freeze and Deep Benefit Cuts for 2,000 Workers at Daughters of Charity Health System

Here's the latest on SEIU-UHW's ramrod ratification votes at the Daughters of Charity Health System, where SEIU-UHW officials have once again forced massive wage and benefit cuts down the throats of 2,000 workers employed at four California hospitals.

As expected, a closer reading of the agreement negotiated by SEIU-UHW's Dave Regan has revealed a lengthy list of cuts in addition to Regan's blockbuster concession that strips hundreds of workers of health insurance, sick leave, retirement, and other benefits.

Here's a fuller list of the cuts. Below, Tasty has posted a copy of the full agreement as well as a two-page summary that SEIU-UHW staffers handed out to workers. 
  • Wage scales are frozen. SEIU-UHW members will no longer receive "step increases" according to their years of service on the job.
  • Part-time employees who work between 20-30 hours per week are no longer eligible for any benefits, including health insurance, vacation, holidays, sick pay, retirement, etc.
  • "Education Leave" and "Jury Duty Leave" are eliminated.
  • Retiree Health Benefits are eliminated for workers at St. Louise Regional Hospital and O'Connor Hospital.  In the prior contract ("Article 23: Retirement" on page 112-113), the company was required to pay up to 75% of the cost of monthly health premiums for employees who leave their jobs after attaining age 55 and completing at least 10 years of service.
SEIU-UHW's Dave Regan
  • Short Call Pay is eliminated.
  • "Float Differentials" are eliminated.
  • Paid Time Off (PTO) accruals will be reduced by 16 hours every year of the agreement.
  • "Extended Sick Leave accruals will be reduced by 1/2 of the amount in year 1 and 2 of the agreement."
  • SEIU-UHW accepted a new management rights clause.
  • Contract provisions on Holidays, Call Offs, Daily Cancellation, Seniority, Job Vacancies, PTO, and Union Membership were reduced to the lowest standard across the four SEIU-UHW hospitals, meaning that workers at three of the four hospitals will experience reductions.
Despite these cuts and reports of overwhelming "no" votes at the ramrod ratification votes, SEIU-UHW says its sellout agreement was somehow approved by the membership. As reported earlier, SEIU-UHW's lengthy delay in reporting the outcome of the votes has led to widespread discussion of ballot staffing and vote fraud.

For Dave Regan, however, the sellout contract is a "Victory!" Here's a post from SEIU-UHW's twitter page:

Meanwhile, here's a report from an SEIU-UHW member at one hospital:
I work at O’Connor Hospital and am an SEIU member.  The dealings re. this “tentative agreement” of two weeks ago were so secretive that many of us didn’t even know about the vote until  after it had taken place.    My own shop steward (who was a member of the negotiating team) failed to tell me about the vote, nor the fact that they had agreed to the clause “all past practices will be eliminated with the exception of prior arbitration decisions,” which is a loophole wide enough to drive a truck through.   Apparently that would supersede previous agreements not to outsource work, which would majorly impact my job security due to the nature of my job.  
Apparently the new “buyer” of the hospital, Blue Mountain, has learned from some of the mistakes of their predecessor of last year, Prime Healthcare, and instead of trying to fight the SEIU management they have made some sort of quid pro quo with them, thus the alacrity with which SEIU reps have soiled their credibility for all eternity, caught with both hands in the cookie jar and their pants down simultaneously.
People need to go to jail here.  This is a clear conspiracy to commit major fraud.

And here's a report from a second worker:
It kinda feels like battered wife syndrome here. Some are angry and lots are in some sort of a state of denial. SEIU has announced a "membership" meeting where I guess they will try to convince us what a great deal they got us. It's funny but here SEIU said we neeed these cuts because off the shape the Daughters were in. Forget that the new Boss has a war chest of $20 Billion at hand. The funny part is the Boss has referred to what got taken away as "waste". Our pay is "waste" but the 4 clowns who make up Verity Health have no waste whatsoever in their collective $58 million dollars a year in pay. I wonder what logic SEIU used in previous takeaways from Kaiser and Dignity who both were making record profits at the time of the cuts.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Kablam! SEIU-UHW Dave Regan’s "Partnership" with the California Hospital Association Crashes and Burns

Plaintiff Regan and Defendant Dauner
In case there was any doubt about the implosion of Dave Regan's partnership with the California Hospital Association (CHA), check out the latest news...

On November 24, SEIU-UHW sued the CHA’s CEO Duane Dauner in Sacramento County (Calif.) Superior Court for ditching Regan in favor of his new pals Mary Kay Henry, Laphonza Butler, Jon Youngdahl, the SEIU California State Council, the California Teachers Association, and the California Medical Association.

The full lawsuit is available below. Also, here’s a link to a Dec. 1 article in "Courthouse News."

Regan’s lawsuit -- which reads like a jilted lover’s divorce case -- revolves around Mary Kay Henry’s recent success in outmaneuvering Regan by inking her own secret deal with the CHA.

Under Henry’s deal, the CHA agreed to team up with the SEIU California State Council, the California Teachers Association and the California Medical Association to introduce a statewide ballot initiative that competes head-to-head with Regan’s initiative. Regan's ballot initiative was supposed to be the "centerpiece" of SEIU-UHW’s ongoing partnership and organizing deal with the CHA.

Not anymore. The CHA has pulled its support from Regan's initiative, which is now "certain to fail," according to the lawsuit.
Mary Kay Henry and Laphonza Butler
Basically, the CHA has declared an end to its "partnership" with SEIU-UHW, thereby jettisoning Wall Street Dave like a pair of old shoes. That means an end to Regan's plans to unionize 60,000 hospital workers under a sweetheart deal that gags healthcare workers, bans them from striking, and forces them into contracts with substandard wages and benefits… which Regan famously called an "audacious new proposal to save the labor movement."

This ain't good news for Regan.

He’s poured $15-20 million of SEIU-UHW members' dues into his failed partnership with the CHA. And he’s staked SEIU-UHW's entire future -- including its membership growth and labor relations strategies -- on a partnership that's been relegated to the trash bin.

No wonder Dave is coming unhinged.

Last month, he penned an angry letter ("The Shame of SEIU") in response to SEIU's secret deal with the CHA, in which he wrote he's "repulsed and disgusted" by SEIU officials who are selfishly pursuing "control, internal power and organizational dominance."

He also sent a ranting letter to CHA's members in which he personally attacked his former bedmate, CHA CEO Duane Dauner.

In Dave’s latest act of vengeance, he filed a 23-page lawsuit against Dauner and three other CHA officials… including Greg Adams, a top Kaiser Permanente executive who also serves as the chair of the CHA's Board of Directors. Mark Laret, the CEO of UCSF Medical Center, is another defendant.

Regan's attack on Kaiser's Greg Adams is intriguing and may signal the unraveling of SEIU-UHW’s partnership with Kaiser. According to Regan's suit, Greg Adams "accepted and enabled" the CHA's decision to throw SEIU-UHW under the bus. In addition, Adams "agreed to shut down" the CHA's labor-management cooperation committee with SEIU-UHW, according to the suit, effectively putting the kibosh on Regan's partnership with the CHA.
Defendant Greg Adams, Kaiser Permanente

Here are some excerpts from Regan's suit, which predictably contains plenty of ranting and raving. For example, the lawsuit calls Dauner "corrupt" in its opening line.

The suit also makes interesting claims about secret meetings and clandestine maneuvers carried out by Purple Palace officials in their plot against Regan, as well as the impact of SEIU’s recent decision to strip 80,000 members from SEIU-UHW and transfer them to "SEIU Local 2015."

The following excerpts refer to the two groups that have introduced competing ballot initiatives: the "ABC Coalition" (i.e., the CHA, SEIU California State Council, the California Teachers Association, and the California Medical Association) and the "CFC" (SEIU-UHW).
At or around the same time CFC was developing its idea of a ballot initiative to fix and fully fund the Medi-Cal program, a separate coalition that includes the California Teachers Association ("CTA"), the California Medical Association ("CMA"), and the SEIU State Council ("State Council) (collectively known as the "ABC Coalition"), began to develop a competing ballot initiative…
Defendant Dauner intentionally opposed the filing of CFC's initiative prior to the filing of the ABC Coalition's initiative for a nefarious purpose -- that is, in order to put CFC's initiative at a disadvantage, while providing both a strategic and procedural advantage to the ABC Coalition. Defendant Dauner, however, kept to himself the fact that he had been secretly working with the ABC Coalition to undermine CFC's initiative…
In or around March 2015, Defendant Dauner had been secretly meeting with members of the ABC Coalition, although the ABC Coalition had not yet been formally organized…
During this same period, Defendant Dauner also met with representatives of the SEIU State Council in order to keep them informed of the business of CFC, including but not limited to CFC's confidential "Strategic Plan." The SEIU State Council is led by Jon Youngdahl ("Youngdahl"), who is the Executive Director of the State Council, and Laphonza Butler ("Butler"), who is the President of the State Council.
In addition, Butler is the President of the SEIU, United Long-Term Care Workers ("ULTCW") as well as the provisional President of SEIU, Local 2015. Local 2015 represents approximately 285,000 home-care and nursing home workers m California… Local 2015 is the result of a merger of home care and nursing home members from three SEIU-affiliated Unions: SEIU Local 521, ULTCW, and UHW. As a result of the merger, UHW lost half its membership to Local 2015.
Prior to the merger, representatives of the SEIU State Council informed Defendant Dauner that Regan would soon lose half of UHW's membership and that Defendant Dauner needed to deal with Butler and the State Council – not Regan and UHW – if he wanted to accomplish any legislative and policy goals that were important to CHA's members.
Beginning in or around March 2015, Defendant Dauner decided to work covertly with CMA, the SEIU State Council, and CTA, while duplicitously pretending to carry out his duties as a Director and Officer in the interest of CFC.
Defendant Dauner chose to work with the ABC Coalition for several reasons. First, he feared CTA's political reach in Sacramento. Second, he no longer wanted to be involved in a "strategic partnership" with UHW because the partnership was threatening his power within CHA, and members of CHA were calling for an end to the partnership for ideological reasons. Third, he believed that he could take advantage of an internal SEIU disagreement between Butler and Regan regarding the transfer of UHW members into Local 2015…
On November 2, 2015, Defendant Dauner requested a conference call with Regan and multiple other persons, including other Directors of CFC to discuss CFC's initiative and his agreement with the ABC Coalition.
On the call, Defendant Dauner revealed that he had been secretly meeting and negotiating with the ABC Coalition regarding its competing initiative…
Defendant Dauner explained that he had engaged in these covert actions because the CHA Board of Directors had instructed him to do so and that a "substantial number of hospitals," affiliated with CHA did not want CHA to participate in CFC or to continue its partnership with UHW. The reason that a substantial number of hospitals wanted to end the strategic partnership between CHA and UHW is because these hospitals are philosophically opposed to the unionization of the hospital industry and seek to remain non-union so that they may continue, without interference, to provide their employees substandard working conditions, pay, and benefits. Because the ABC Coalition does not consist of any labor organization that seeks to organize hospital workers in California, working with the ABC Coalition is preferred over working with UHW.
During the call, Defendant Dauner revealed that his discussions with the ABC Coalition had led to a written agreement, executed by and between CTA, CMA, and the SEIU State Council and Defendant Dauner and CHA.
According to Dauner, the agreement with the ABC Coalition provides that Defendants and CHA will jointly sponsor, and contribute financially to the ABC Coalition's The School Funding and Stability Act of 2016 that is in direct competition with CFC's initiative, Invest in California's Children Act.
Defendant Dauner further agreed to "to veto any expenditure" to support CFC's initiative, and [Kaiser’s Greg] Adams, [UCSF’s Mark] Laret and Holmes agreed to support Dauner in this cessation of CFC's activities. Thus, the CHA Directors agreed to terminate all of CFC's operations by using Defendant Dauner's veto power.
Put otherwise, Defendant Dauner agreed to use his position of power to quash CFC's initiative and to support the ABC Coalition's competing initiative, and the other CHA Directors accepted and enabled this decision. As a result, lacking any financial support, CFC's initiative is certain to fail and the ABC Coalition's initiative will have no effective opposition…
Adams, Laret and Holmes approved this sale after the fact and have since agreed to shut down CFC as part of the deal with the ABC Coalition…
On November 18, 2015, Defendants spoke with Regan regarding the ABC Coalition's initiative. Defendants pleaded with Regan to dissolve CFC. Regan, however, refused to agree to dissolution. In accordance with his agreement with the ABC Coalition, Defendant Dauner stated that he would exercise his veto power, as Co-Chair, on any and all decisions that came before CFC regarding expenditures related to CFC's initiative, which CFC had unanimously voted to file and fund.

The lawsuit alleges that Dauner, Kaiser's Greg Adams, and CHA officials have committed fraud, concealment, breach of fiduciary duty, "conversion," "trespass to chattel," and other "fraudulent or dishonest acts or gross abuse of authority or discretion." It seeks to force the CHA to pay financial damages to SEIU-UHW and also seeks the removal of the CHA's Dauner from his position as a co-chair of the joint labor-management committee set up by the CHA and SEIU-UHW. Regan is the other co-chair.

More details are available in the full lawsuit below.

Stay tuned for more analysis and commentary!

Monday, November 30, 2015

SEIU's Attacks on Dave Regan Make Headlines

Tasty recently described how SEIU’s Mary Kay Henry and her allies in California have intensified their fight against Dave Regan by introducing two statewide ballot initiatives that are competing head-to-head with ones introduced by Regan’s SEIU-UHW.

The spectacle of purple-on-purple warfare is drawing increasing attention from the press. Check out the following article by David Dayen entitled "California Duplicate Minimum Wage Ballot Battle Pits SEIU vs. SEIU" published in "In These Times." 

Here are a few excerpts:
The strange turn of events reflects a long-simmering feud between the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) state council, made up of SEIU locals throughout California and encompassing over 700,000 members, and one of its affiliates, SEIU-United Healthcare Workers West (UHW). SEIU-UHW already has their minimum wage initiative in the field, but the state council announced theirs anyway. Both sides believe the dispute will eventually reach some resolution. But the ugly legacy of distrust and backbiting threatens to put low-wage workers in the middle of a squabble they had nothing to do with.
Regan, who has been criticized by some labor and consumer advocates for putting together a favorable deal with the California Hospital Association that included de facto gag orders on workers over quality and safety issues, clashed with new SEIU President Mary Kay Henry. In a move first attempted back in 2009 when Rosselli was at the controls, Henry’s SEIU split the UHW local, taking 70,000 members away. In a leaked memo, Regan called the move a “massive betrayal of our stated principles and values,” although he favored such a carve-up in 2009. UHW has been labeled hypocritical corporate sellouts on one side, and SEIU International an unfeeling autocracy on the other.

 Here's more:
On the other hand, SEIU-UHW has a history of announcing ballot measures without much follow-through. In 2014, they used the threat of initiatives to cap CEO pay at hospitals and prices for medical treatment to make their deal with the California Hospital Association. While the local has gathered signatures before, they’ve never organized to win their own ballot measure, a costly proposition estimated at between $20-$30 million.
While declining to give specific figures, Trossman said “we’re going to spend millions of dollars to pass this thing,” and that he was confident UHW “will be able to attract money from big and small donors,” suggesting a strategy of qualifying for the ballot first and fundraising later. Kristin Lynch, spokeswoman for SEIU 1021, said they and their coalition partners are prepared to spend the $20-$30 million necessary. “We’re confident that this speaks to the will of the people,” Lynch said.
Obviously, whatever faction responsible for a living wage victory will carry clout in California and a leg up on organizing grateful low-wage workers. And with UHW needing to prove their worth as the international SEIU pulls them apart, they are unlikely to give up that opportunity, especially if they are already eligible for the ballot. “I can’t imagine that [the state council] would spend millions of dollars on something that for all intents and purposes has qualified,” said UHW’s Steve Trossman.
Jamie Court of the veteran state progressive organization Consumer Watchdog believes that SEIU-UHW’s Regan could be using leverage from the ballot measure to get his members back. “You never know what’s on a desperate man’s mind,” Court said. “It’s his way of shaking down the labor movement.”

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

SEIU-UHW Deploys More Dirty Tricks against Daughters of Charity Workers

Here's the latest from SEIU-UHW's ramrod ratification vote for approximately 2,000 workers at the Daughters of Charity Health System in California.

Early last week, SEIU-UHW officials held rushed votes in an effort to "ratify" a tentative agreement for a three-year contract that’s filled with cuts to workers’ benefits.

For example, SEIU-UHW’s Dave Regan agreed to eliminate benefits for hundreds of workers by gutting the "benefit-eligibility standards" for part-time workers. This concession alone will save the company millions of dollars a year and will leave hundreds of workers without health insurance for themselves and their children... not to mention sick leave, vacation pay, retirement benefits, etc.

Regan also agreed to eliminate retiree health benefits for all employees at St. Louise Regional Hospital and O'Connor Hospital, according to a copy of the deal.

Despite SEIU-UHW's rush-job votes, on November 17th workers at St. Louise and O'Connor voted by large margins to reject the tentative agreement, according to workers.

In the days after the votes, however, SEIU-UHW was mysteriously silent. Here's a report from one worker:
Typically, the union makes an announcement almost immediately the evening after the vote finishes. There has been a deathly silence from them since the vote. But, apparently the union feels more aligned with the Boss because an email was just sent out by Julie Hatcher (head of HR at O'Connor) to all Managers announcing that the CBA has been ratified, but, employees have heard nothing from SEIU. Despite reports from all hospitals that there was an overwheming no vote, the yes votes appeared by magic in the ballot boxes and the deed was done.

Workers say SEIU-UHW's crooked ratification vote is just one of many dirty tricks it deployed against workers during contract negotiations.

At O'Connor Hospital, workers report that the union's bargaining committee was hand-picked by SEIU-UHW staffer Val Tagawa, instead of being elected by members. 

In addition, SEIU-UHW refused to provide members with the dates and times of bargaining sessions, and it kept secret the location of negotiating sessions, say workers. A second SEIU-UHW staffer named Jackie flat out refused union members' request to attend the negotiations, according to workers. 

These actions kept workers in the dark about the deep cuts that SEIU-UHW was accepting at the bargaining table.

In recent days, workers reportedly filed legal charges against SEIU-UHW over its crooked ratification vote.

Stuffing the ballot boxes is not out of the question for Dave Regan. In 2012, the NLRB reversed the results of a fraudulent SEIU-UHW vote count at Chapman Medical Center after federal investigators concluded that SEIU-UHW falsified the vote count in collusion with the hospital management.

Stay tuned.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Kaboom! SEIU-UHW Dave Regan's Deal with California Hospital Association Implodes in Fiery Display

Dave Regan's "partnership" with the California Hospital Association (CHA) has officially imploded.

Late last week, SEIU-UHW announced it is re-filing a statewide ballot initiative that targets the CHA's members for the third time in four years, according to the Sacramento Business Journal and California Healthline.

It’s Regan’s latest attempt to pressure the CHA into an act of industrial love-making that’s been widely criticized for trading away workers' wages, benefits, working conditions, and their right to advocate for patients.

In response to the announcement, CHA’s CEO Duane Dauner issued a press release on November 20 attacking SEIU-UHW and declaring an end to CHA’s partnership with SEIU-UHW. The CHA’s press release begins this way:

Filing of Harmful Ballot Measure by SEIU-UHW is an Abuse of California’s Initiative Process
New Ballot Measure Attacking Executive Compensation Violates May 2014 Agreement
NOVEMBER 20, 2015
Today’s  decision by SEIU-UHW (UHW) to file a harmful ballot measure that will negatively impact the operations of hospitals throughout California is an abuse of the state’s initiative process and violates a May 5, 2014 agreement negotiated between the California Hospital Association (CHA) and UHW.
This is the third time UHW has attempted to use the initiative process to further its organizing agenda. As was the case in 2011-12 and 2013-14, the measure filed today does nothing to fix Medi-Cal or increase access to hospital services.
CHA is evaluating appropriate actions to pursue in light of this filing. 

Of course, Regan's deal with the CHA has been on the rocks for months.
SEIU-UHW's Dave Regan

In August, Dauner told industry executives that Regan was failing to deliver on his promise to funnel billions more dollars of tax-payer funds into industry executives' pockets, and that Regan was also failing to unionize hospital workers under the sweetheart deal, according to leaked recordings from a CHA conference call.

Also in August, Regan began to threaten to re-file ballot initiatives, which Dauner said would precipitate a "nuclear war" that would "blow up" SEIU-UHW's relationship with the CHA.

Last week, a purple mushroom cloud signaled the official end of Wall Street Dave's bromance with Duane.

The nuclear conflagration represents a massive failure for Regan.

Just a year ago, Regan crowed about his deal with the CHA, claiming it would allow SEIU-UHW to unionize 100,000 California hospital workers. Regan famously called it an "audacious new proposal to save the labor movement" …even though it violated every value held dear by the labor movement.

Last week's collapse is also a giant financial failure. Regan has already gambled upwards of $20 million of SEIU-UHW members' union dues on his CHA strategy. In return, SEIU-UHW has successfully unionized only 70 workers under the deal. Ouch!

Can Regan once again use statewide ballot measures to pressure the CHA to climb back into bed with SEIU-UHW (presumably, at an even cheaper price)?

CHA's Duane Dauner
It's unclear. 

First, Regan will need to spend another $4-5 million simply to collect enough signatures to qualify the initiative for the ballot.

Meanwhile, Regan appears to have limited cash at his disposal. He's currently spending $4 million to qualify an unrelated ballot initiative to raise the statewide minimum wage, even as Mary Kay Henry and the SEIU California State Council push a competing measure.

In June, SEIU-UHW's Executive Board authorized Regan to use $4 million from the sale of SEIU-UHW's San Francisco office to fund his minimum wage ballot initiative, according to official meeting minutes dated June 3, 2015. If SEIU-UHW actually wants to win the minimum wage measure, it will need to spend millions more.

Where will the money come from?

Earlier this year, Regan lost half of SEIU-UHW's membership in a battle with SEIU's national leaders, thereby slashing SEIU-UHW's revenues and COPE funds.

And then there's the problem of a new state law (Senate Bill 1253) authored by former Sen. Darrell Steinberg that criminalizes the misuse of California ballot initiatives to extort "any thing of value… for the purpose of withdrawing an initiative petition after filing it with the appropriate elections official."

Stay tuned as Dave grapples with his latest Shakespearean drama!

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

SEIU-UHW Resorts to More Ramrod Ratification Votes at Daughters of Charity Health System

SEIU-UHW's Dave Regan is once again trying to shove massive takeaways down the throats of several thousand workers at the Daughters of Charity Health System, according to workers at the chain's hospitals. 

As in 2012, Regan has launched a series of ramrod ratification votes aimed at pushing a sell-out contract through the union's membership.

Yesterday, SEIU-UHW staffers conducted "ratification votes" at O'Connor Hospital in San Jose, Calif. and St. Louise Regional Hospital in Gilroy, Calif. for a tentative agreement that’s "the worst contract in our history," according to a worker and SEIU-UHW member.

Among the contract's givebacks is a mega-whopper.  

According to contract language leaked to Tasty, Regan has agreed to slash and burn eligibility standards for workers' benefits (e.g., health insurance, vacation pay, sick pay, retirement, etc) so that hundreds of SEIU-UHW members would be stripped of their benefits, including the health insurance for their children.

What did Regan do?

Under the current contract, workers are eligible for benefits as long as they work half time or more – that is, at least 20 hours per week. This is a decades-old, industry-wide eligibility standard established by Local 250 and Sal Rosselli's union. Here's the actual language from the current contract between SEIU-UHW and the Daughters of Charity will (see the language for "Regular Part-time" employees):

Next, here's the NEW language that Regan inked during secret negotiations with company executives. This is the new standard that Regan is trying to ram down workers’ throats. Workers would be required to work at least three-quarters time (30 hours per week) to qualify for health insurance and other benefits. A source leaked the following excerpt from Regan’s tentative contract language:

Regan's sharp benefit cuts represent a concession of massive proportions, according to knowledgeable industry observers. 

If SEIU-UHW establishes this standard with the six-hospital Daughters of Charity chain, other large hospital chains like Kaiser Permanente, Dignity Health, and Sutter Health will inevitably demand the same concession.

Of course, Regan has already gutted healthcare workers' retirement benefits by helping one hospital chain after another to eliminate workers' decades-old defined-benefit pension plans and replace them with cheap 401(k) plans. 

"The same thing will happen here," says a knowledgeable observer whom Tasty consulted about Regan's massive concession on benefit eligibility standards.

So how are SEIU-UHW's members at the Daughters of Charity responding?

At yesterday's ratification vote at St. Louise Regional Medical Center, only 16 workers voted in favor of SEIU-UHW's sell-out contract, according to workers at the facility. SEIU-UHW reportedly provided so little advance notice to workers that only one-third of the eligible workers were able to cast ballot.

One worker reported the following:
Most members were not even aware that bargaining was happening… SEIU came in a few days ago and announced that it was a done deal! We have been unable to see the full contract, yet they are holding the vote as I write this!  When we found out last week that bargaining was going on, several members asked to attend and were told it was being held in a secret place… It turns out no representative came to the hospital to inform us there was a vote, but one rep came and said, "The contract is settled, it's a done deal."

Another Daughters of Charity worker offered this comment about SEIU-UHW:
It is obvious that we have a union that is simply an extension of the employer who we have to pay dues to for the privelidge of hearing the same arguments made by the employer against worker's best interests. It's a sad day for Labor.

Meanwhile, Tasty hears that workers at nearby Seton Medical Center -- a Daughters of Charity hospital where approximately 700 workers successfully decertified SEIU-UHW and joined NUHW -- are jumping for joy now that they’re finally out of SEIU-UHW. 

Talk about dodging the purple bullet…