Monday, January 26, 2015

Video: SEIU-UHW’s Dave Regan Defends Backroom Deals with Hospital Corporations

SEIU-UHW President Dave Regan
Here's a remarkable video that offers new insight into SEIU-UHW’s secret deals with hospital corporations.

It's also a dramatic warning to workers at St. Joseph Health System and other companies where SEIU-UHW is now trying to unionize workers under a sweetheart deal with the California Hospital Association.

Elsewhere on this blogsite, Tasty has documented SEIU-UHW’s multiple backroom deals with hospital corporations including Dignity Health, Daughters of Charity Health System, Kaiser Permanente, and Sutter Health.

These deals have allowed the companies to pocket billions of dollars in profits by eliminating hospital workers' pensions, slashing health benefits, cutting staffing levels, freezing wages, and undermining patient care. For example, SEIU-UHW’s cuts have already allowed Kaiser and Dignity to save more than $2 billion, according to corporate financial statements. SEIU-UHW has even violated its own constitution and blatantly lied to its members in its rush to force benefit cuts down workers' throats.

The deals show that SEIU-UHW and its president, Dave Regan, are firmly in the bosses’ pocket.

And here's the latest:  Regan has now admitted as much on TV!

Check out the following excerpt from Regan’s five-minute TV interview with Los Angeles’s KNBC TV in September 2014.

During the interview, Regan admits that SEIU-UHW is not interested in fighting employers on behalf of workers and their patients. According to Regan, SEIU-UHW only pursues "collaboration" and "teamwork" with corporations. The era of "adversarial relationships" between workers and corporations is gone, says Regan.

During the interview, Regan presents a stump speech he regularly uses to try to convince workers to accept cuts to their wages and benefits. It's the same speech that bosses routinely deliver during "employee forums" inside hospital auditoriums.

Below is an excerpt from the interview along with Tasty's analysis (the full interview is available here).

The excerpt opens with the beginning of the interview and then cuts to a section where Regan introduces his stump speech by declaring that the labor movement is dying and will not survive unless it "does things very differently."

Quite incredible, right? 

First, Regan says there’s no longer a need for "adversarial relationships" between workers and companies because we no longer live in a society where "we have employers and we have workers." Hmmm.

Did Tasty miss something? 

Last time Tasty checked, giant employers are not only running our economy, they’ve gotten richer than at any time since the 1930s. And they’re waging an aggressive war to take more money from workers' pockets so they can deposit it in their bulging bank accounts. 

This doesn't quite sound like a new "team-based" and "collaborative" economy where bosses are sharing their billions with workers. You gotta wonder what the low-waged workers at Wal-Mart, McDonald's and the Fight for Fifteen companies would say about Regan’s statement that "employers" and "workers" no longer exist.

Next, Regan rolls out an age-old corporate scare tactic... and even spices it up with an extra dose of xenophobia. According to Regan, healthcare workers must accept lower wages and benefits because “the industries we work inside of have to be healthy. Because if they're not, workers' jobs will be moved to India, to China, to Latin America…”

Gimme a break.

The only way that U.S. hospital workers' jobs can be moved overseas is if hospital patients themselves are exported to India, China, and Latin America.

In addition, Regan falsely implies that hospital corporations are hurting for monty -- that hospitals will soon be padlocking their doors and relocating to distant continents.

What's the truth?

Hospitals are making giant profits. At Kaiser, profits are up 40% compared to the prior year and the company has pocketed $14.5 billion in profits since 2009. In 2014, Dignity Health reported an 8.5% profit margin (far higher than the previous year) thanks to a multi-year wage freeze for 15,000 workers negotiated by Regan.

Regan's speech is so lame, it's laughable.

Check out this excerpt. Take special note of Regan's hand motions, which seem to say "I’m spouting some serious bullsh*t and hope you don't actually notice."

The bottom line?

SEIU-UHW's Regan has climbed so far into bed with hospital executives that he's become the Boss’s chief spokesperson. The Boss pulls the puppet strings and Regan's mouth moves.

He's a snake-oil salesmen who’ll sell you out in a second, even as the Boss laughs all the way to the bank.

Here's a transcript of a portion of Regan's interview:
Regan: The culture of unionism is failing. And I think now what most people in this global economy… the economy is very different today than it was 30 years ago or 50 years ago or 70 years ago when the modern labor movement really was born. Then, it was a manufacturing society and this whole notion of “We have employers and we have workers” -- you know, that was accepted. The truth is we live in a society in a world right now where the way you succeed is through collaboration, through teamwork. And frankly, I think unions have to figure out, how do we advocate for the economic interests of our members and workers generally at the same time that we recognize that the industries we work inside of themselves have to be healthy. Because if they're not, the jobs will be moved to India, to China, to Latin America and we have to move beyond that outdated “us versus them” mentality. And I think we have to think about strategic collaboration as the way where workers will gain more through that than through the outdated mode that you describe.