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...