Monday, September 28, 2015

NLRB: Workers at Two More California Facilities Are Dumping SEIU-UHW

The workers at Alta Bates Summit Medical Center aren’t the only ones who are leaving SEIU-UHW, according to the NLRB.

Apparently, workers have become so disgusted with SEIU-UHW's backdoor deals with corporate execs that some would prefer to have no union rather than be stuck in SEIU-UHW. 

Earlier this summer, hundreds of SEIU-UHW members at San Jose Medical Group, which operates a half dozen outpatient clinics in San Jose, California requested an NLRB election so they can leave SEIU-UHW and work without the support of any union, according to NLRB records.

Since the election request was filed, SEIU-UHW’s attorneys have been working overtime to block and stall the election.

At a second Northern California facility, SEIU-UHW’s members have already voted to become non-union.

According an official "Tally of Ballots" issued by the NLRB (see below), workers at 99-bed Bay Area Healthcare Center in Oakland voted by a margin of 61% (No Union) to 39% (SEIU-UHW) to dump SEIU-UHW, which is headed by "Wall Street" Dave Regan


Since 2009, Regan has worked hand-in-glove with giant healthcare corporations to slash SEIU-UHW members' wages and benefits. He's allowed hospital corporations to eliminate pensions for more than 30,000 SEIU-UHW members while also accepting wage freezes and health insurance cuts for many more. 

After SEIU-UHW lost the election at Bay Area Healthcare Center in February, SEIU-UHW’s attorney Bruce Harland used every stalling tactic in the book to delay the implementation of the final results. However, each purple monkeywrench has eventually been tossed aside by judges and the NLRB.

Here's the NLRB's "Tally of Ballots" from the election at Bay Area Healthcare Center:

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Nearly 1,000 Hospital Workers Seek to Bolt SEIU-UHW

Last week, workers at Alta Bates Summit Medical Center in Oakland, California requested an NLRB election to decertify SEIU-UHW and join NUHW.

The 857-bed hospital is one of the largest in California and is owned by Sutter Health, the biggest hospital corporation in Northern California. NUHW already represents the workers at Sutter's largest hospital, California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco, who voted to decertify SEIU-UHW back in 2011.

The decertification filing at Alta Bates Summit Medical Center, which covers approximately 1,000 workers, comes after multiple failures, backroom deals, and dirty tricks by SEIU-UHW.

In 2012, SEIU-UHW officials allowed the hospital's CEO to eliminate 100 SEIU-UHW members’ jobs by subcontracting their jobs… even though the workers' union contract strictly prohibited the hospital from subcontracting their work.

That action followed multiple other failures and backroom deals, including SEIU-UHW’s agreement to slash workers’ health benefits and to block rank-and-file union members from attending contract negotiations between the union and management.

And then there's the case of Dominic Mitchell, the SEIU-UHW union representative who was assigned to help Alta Bates Summit workers defend themselves against the hospital's aggressive HR officials. That is, until Dominic Mitchell announced that he’d taken a job as an HR hack inside the Alta Bates Summit's HR Department.

Imagine workers' surprise when their former SEIU-UHW Union Rep began disciplining and terminating them. Purple partnership in action.

Stay tuned!

Friday, September 18, 2015

Top SEIU Official Jumps Ship

Kirk Adams
Here's some Purple Palace intrigue.

One of SEIU's top elected officials is jumping ship… apparently the result of tensions inside Mary Kay Henry’s leadership team.

Earlier this month, Kirk Adams -- one of SEIU’s five "Executive Vice Presidents" and the Director of SEIU's Healthcare Division -- announced he’s leaving SEIU to take a job with the "Healthcare Education Project," an organization jointly run by New York's hospital bosses and 1199 New York.

By making the move, Adams is leaving Mary Kay Henry’s team and joining up with leaders of 1199NY (including George Gresham and Gerry Hudson), who’ve reportedly been plotting to unseat Mary Kay Henry from her position atop the Purple Palace.

Adams is a longtime SEIU insider. He served as the "Chief of Staff" for both Andy Stern and Mary Kay Henry. Most recently, he’s been the Director of SEIU’s Healthcare Division, which has been failing in its efforts to organize hospital workers to join SEIU.

So what’s the "Healthcare Education Project?"

It's part of a partnership between the New York hospital industry’s Chamber of Commerce (called the "Greater New York Hospital Association" (GNYHA)) and 1199NY, a local union of SEIU. Both organizations funnel millions of dollars into the "Healthcare Education Project," which then finances political campaigns to get more taxpayer funds for the hospital industry.

A recent article in the Daily Beast describes the "Healthcare Education Project" this way:
[Former 1199NY President Dennis] Rivera and the Greater New York Hospital Association (GNYHA)… began working together almost as soon as he became president. The partnership took concrete form with the creation of the joint Healthcare Education Project, which now forms the cornerstone of New York’s “medical industrial complex”…

The article goes on to describe how Rivera built an "alliance with the state Republican Party" to pursue political deals for more money for the hospital industry.

Adams, in a recent article (Modern Healthcare: "Kirk Adams Leaving Longtime SEIU Post," September 3, 2015), describes the ‘love of partnership’ that prevails among SEIU officials:
“We actually think a partnership is the best approach in healthcare, because we think healthcare is a team concept,” Adams said.

The article notes:
During Adams' tenure at SEIU, the organization has embraced partnerships like the Healthcare Education Project and the Labor Management Partnership between Kaiser Permanente and 28 union locals. This collaborative approach has garnered SEIU a less adversarial profile than peers such as National Nurses United and the National Union of Healthcare Workers.

Of course, in California, SEIU-UHW President Dave Regan has literally given away the store through his secret partnership deal with the California Hospital Association, in which Regan agreed to gag union members from reporting patient care violations to government oversight agencies.

Stay tuned for more palace intrigue...

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

SEIU-UHW Is "MIA" as Hospital Fires Entire Department, then Subcontracts their Work

Under Dave Regan, SEIU-UHW has become notorious for failing to represent and defend its dues-paying members.

Last month, however, Regan hit a brand new low.

At Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center in Los Angeles, SEIU-UHW allowed the CEO to fire the hospital's entire Respiratory Therapy Department and to subcontract workers' jobs to an outside agency.

Approximately 20-30% of the fired workers were then hired by the subcontractor at reduced wage rates, according to an article published by "RT Focus."

The others?  "They have lost their benefits and their livelihood," says RT Focus.

Did SEIU-UHW do anything to defend the Respiratory Department's staff, who are members of SEIU-UHW?

According to RT Focus:
Despite being under the Union, there was little noise being made publicly by the Union on behalf of the respiratory therapists. If there was any resistance or opposition by the Union, it went largely unnoticed and proved unsuccessful… When it came to the termination of the respiratory department, their Union was at best, largely ineffective or at worst, terribly silent.

SEIU-UHW’s boss-friendly silence may be a direct result of Regan's secret partnership with hospital executives and the California Hospital Association. Under the deal, Regan agreed to trade away the rights of SEIU-UHW members in exchange for unspecified benefits, including Regan's cozier relationship with hospital executives.
Respiratory Therapists at work
Of course, the stories of SEIU-UHW's representational failures are legendary.

Remember, for example, when SEIU-UHW Union Reps sat on their hands and refused to provide representation to a 33-year employee at Kaiser Walnut Creek Medical Center who was being unjustly terminated by her supervisor?

And last year, an insider leaked an SEIU-UHW document that detailed Regan's plans to slash the number of Union Reps so he can divert more of the union’s resources to politicians and "external" project.

In yet another leak, insiders forwarded the results of a formal survey of SEIU-UHW staffers, who described the miserable levels of representational support that SEIU-UHW is giving its membership.

What's the next trick for Regan and Marcus Hatcher, SEIU-UHW's so-called "Director of Representational Excellence?"

Stay tuned.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

SEIU Executive Board Member Is Indicted; Faces up to 15 Years in Prison for Embezzlement

SEIU's Dana Cope: "Let's fly away."
On August 3, Dana Cope -- a member of SEIU’s International Executive Board and the Executive Director of SEIU's 55,000-member State Employees Association of North Carolina (SEANC) -- was indicted on felony charges for embezzling $570,000 from union members, according to news outlets.

A Wake County grand jury charged Cope with obtaining property by false pretenses, which carries a sentence of up to 15 years.

According to the News and Observer:
Among the improper spending with SEANC funds listed in the indictment: landscaping, clothing and jewelry, home renovations and appliances, vacations, hotel rooms, massages and plastic surgery. 
Cope also used $31,345 of union members' money to pay for private flying lessons.

SEIU officials, who resisted workers' early calls for an investigation of Cope, issued a powder-puff comment reminiscent of SEIU’s statements following the criminal indictment of another favorite son, Tyrone Freeman.

Mitch Leonard, SEANC’s new Executive Director, called Cope's indictment "an unfortunate turn of events for Mr. Cope," according to the News and Observer.
Cope (left) and his attorney (right) at bail hearing
On August 4, Cope posted a $200,000 bond and was released from the Wake County Detention Center. The bond appeared to be secured by a condominium owned by his wife.

Below is the indictment issued by the grand jury.

Here's a brief video statement from Betty Jones, a former SEANC treasurer, about how she first came to notice the unusual expenditures by Cope.

When she and a second SEANC board member, Art Anthony, raised questions about the expenditures, they were voted out of office. Jones then brought information and documents to the local newspaper. Jones and Anthony "were later vilified by the SEANC executive board," according to the News and Observer.

Here’s Jones's statement to the News and Observer: