Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Internal Recording: California Hospital Association's CEO Says SEIU-UHW's Dave Regan Has Failed to Unionize Workers under Sweetheart Deal

A source sent a recording from an internal conference call held recently by the California Hospital Association about its secret deal with SEIU-UHW.

The two-minute recording (see below) highlights growing tensions inside SEIU-UHW about whether Dave Regan’s deal with the CHA is living up to his grandiose promises.

When Regan inked the deal in May of 2014, he triumphantly described it as a "breakthrough agreement" that would allow SEIU-UHW to unionize as many as 60,000 hospital workers across California.

The agreement allows SEIU-UHW to organize 30,000 hospital workers during “Phase 1” of the deal (from May 2014 to December 2016).

In Phase 2 (December 2016 to December 2017), SEIU-UHW can ‘purchase’ the right to unionize an additional 30,000 hospital workers if the union can successfully convince California legislators and Governor Jerry Brown to allocate an additional $6 billion a year of taxpayer funds to California hospital corporations. 

Regan famously secured SEIU-UHW’s so-called "organizing rights deal" by forfeiting workers' rights -- workers’ right to strike, workers’ right to report patient-careviolations to government oversight agencies, workers’ right to negotiate their own wages and benefits, etc.

Regan also agreed to prohibit SEIU-UHW from taking any positions on legislative, regulatory, and ballot issues that are "adverse to the interests" of the hospital industry. In addition, Regan's deal essentially converts SEIU into a lobbying arm for hospital corporations that's dedicated to boosting hospital profits. 

Immediately after signing his deal, Regan jetted to a meeting of SEIU's International Executive Board in Washington, DC and boasted that the deal would literally "save" the labor movement. Days later, Diamond Dave published an article trumpeting his backroom deal ("Live Better Together") and also got journalist Josh Israel to pen a puff piece entitled "The Audacious New Proposal to Save the Labor Movement."

So… now that 15 months have passed since Regan signed the deal, what's happened? Has SEIU-UHW successfully unionized tens of thousands of hospital workers?

Not quite.

As of today, Regan has unionized a grand total of zero workers under the deal. That's right, the big goose egg.

Check out the recording below.

During last month’s conference call with California hospital executives, CEO Duane Dauner reported that so far SEIU-UHW has attempted only two elections under the deal.

In February 2015, SEIU-UHW lost (by a landslide) an election at 552-bed Mission Hospital (Mission Viejo, Calif.) covering approximately 1,000 workers.

In December 2014, SEIU-UHW narrowly won an election for fewer than 100 workers at 158-bed Verdugo Hills Hospital (Glendale, Calif.). However, SEIU-UHW allegedly violated federal labor law by using threats and "acts of physical intimidation" against workers during the election, according to NLRB records.

Earlier this spring, a judge held a trial to investigate SEIU-UHW's alleged violations, but has not yet issued a final ruling. The allegations -- which were filed by the hospital despite its sweetheart deal with SEIU-UHW -- identify Cass Gualvez (an SEIU-UHW staffer and Executive Committee member) who apparently headed the campaign at the Southern California hospital.

So... what does a quick cost-benefit analysis say about Regan's "visionary" deal with the CHA?

So far, Regan has spent approximately $35 million of SEIU-UHW members' dues money on the deal. In exchange, SEIU-UHW has unionized a total of zero workers.

Where did the $35 million go?

First, Regan flushed $10-$15 million down the toilet during two rounds of statewide ballot initiatives, which SEIU-UHW never filed. Next, the CHA agreement requires SEIU-UHW to deposit $20 million into a political fund jointly controlled by the CHA that's used to lobby politicians for billions of additional taxpayer monies for hospital corporations.

Even if you accept Regan's horribly cynical "money-for-members" approach, the current results are nothing less than an unmitigated failure.

It's no wonder, then, that voices inside SEIU-UHW are saying, "$35 million of our monthly dues money for WHAT? Dave sold us a lemon!"