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…

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

SEIU-UHW's Dave Regan Launches New Attacks against SEIU Leaders: "The Shame of SEIU"

A source has leaked two letters penned by SEIU-UHW's Dave Regan that describe his deepening war with SEIU leaders. (The letters are viewable below.) 

In June, Regan leaked an earlier attack memo to the press that targeted SEIU President Mary Kay Henry ("Who’s Gonna Bell the Cat?").

In his latest letters, Regan says he is "repulsed and disgusted" by SEIU’s leaders who are selfishly pursuing "control, internal power and organizational dominance."

And that's just the beginning of Regan's rant.

In an "Open Letter to Leaders in SEIU" entitled "What Has Become of Us? The Shame of SEIU," Regan accuses SEIU’s leaders of being "consumed with power and domination in the service of nothing but appetite."

In case Regan's phrasing seems a bit whacky ("in the service of nothing but appetite"), Dave's letter also includes a quote from William Shakespeare.

So, uh… what prompted Dave's latest poison pen attack against SEIU President Mary Kay Henry and SEIU officials?
SEIU-UHW's Dave Regan
It appears that Purple Palace officials have stepped up their war against Regan following their earlier successful effort to slash SEIU-UHW’s membership by 60,000 members.

In recent weeks, SEIU officials outmaneuvered Regan by inking their own secret deal with the California Hospital Association (CHA), thereby driving another nail into the coffin of Regan's secret pact with the CHA… which, by the way, has been languishing on its deathbed for months.

How did the SEIU officials do it?

According to the terms of Regan's CHA deal, Dave is required to secure billions of dollars of new government revenues for California hospital companies in order to win the right to unionize 100,000 hospital workers. In recent weeks, however, Purple Palace officials teamed up with the California Teachers Association, California Governor Jerry Brown, and the CHA to sponsor an initiative that undercuts Regan's scheme for delivering billions of dollars to the hospital bosses.

This "chess move" has Regan spitting mad.

SEIU's Henry and Butler
In his two letters, Dave personally attacks Gov. Jerry Brown, the California Teachers Association, the Hospital Association, Laphonza Butler (President of the SEIU California State Council), Jon Youngdahl (Executive Director of the SEIU California State Council), and other SEIU leaders.

Oh, and Regan also attacks his former bunkmate, Duane Dauner (the CEO of the California Hospital Association), for inking a backroom deal with his SEIU rivals. 

Regan is so angry that he sent a letter to the CHA's membership trashing Dauner for being weak and ineffective, for selling out his members' interests, committing "monumental failures," and (more generally) for "the failure of Duane Dauner." 


Talk about burning bridges. Regan's hate mail appears to signal that his "visionary," 21st century deal with the CHA is as dead as a doornail.

In SEIU's second attack on Regan, SEIU recently announced it’s sponsoring a statewide ballot initiative in California that competes directly with one that SEIU-UHW has been pursuing for months. Essentially, the SEIU California State Council and various SEIU local unions across the state are waging a head-to-head ballot fight against SEIU-UHW, which the Los Angeles Times describes this way in a recent article:
The fractious internal politics of one of California’s most powerful unions spilled into the movement to raise the statewide minimum wage Tuesday, as one wing of the Service Employees International Union announced a proposed ballot initiative that would compete with a measure backed by another branch of the labor group.

In his recently leaked letters, Regan attacks SEIU officials for conducting secret talks with the CHA:
SEIU's Jon Youngdahl
"These meetings with the Association representing all of UHW's hospital employers were never disclosed by either Butler or Youngdahl to UHW and clearly were intended to undermine and destabilize the hospital organizing work UHW was told to 'focus' on."

He goes on to attack SEIU's national leadership for being "insecure and weak" and also accuses them of "sabotage," "threats," "retaliation," and "impunity."

Here's more from Dave:
What are the implications for SEIU as a whole when the elected leader of the State Council takes it upon herself to secretly communicate with another local's employers and the employer Association for the sole purpose of sabotaging both the organizing and political work of that local?
What are the implications for the health and future of SEIU when UHW is forced to pay $2.5 million per year -- or be threatened with all manner of retaliation -- to a State Council that has license from the national leadership of SEIU to sabotage with impunity the legitimate work of UHW?
What does it mean when the national leadership of our union, and the state leadership of our Council, is so insecure and weak that they could even contemplate, let alone act upon, the sort of destructive behavior have recently been subjected to?
CHA's Duane Dauner

Cry me a river, right? 

It's always quite entertaining to see Backroom Dave -- whose snake-like qualities have never been mistaken for moral righteousness -- try to portray himself as the innocent victim of unscrupulous evildoers. 

Yo Dave, what goes around comes around. Ain't karma a b*tch.

Stay tuned for the next act of Dave’s Shakespearean drama.

Meanwhile, here are Regan's two letters.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

It official: 700 Workers at Two California Hospitals Dump SEIU-UHW, Join NUHW

Last week, the NLRB officially certified the results of an election in which approximately 700 workers at Seton Medical Center and Seton Coastside Hospital voted to leave SEIU-UHW and join NUHW. The two hospitals are located just south of San Francisco, California.

In March of 2014, the workers -- who’d been members of SEIU-UHW for many years -- voted to join NUHW after SEIU-UHW's Dave Reagan teamed up with hospital's bosses to eliminate workers’ defined-benefit pension plan, slash their health benefits, and implement other cuts to workers' wages, benefits and working conditions.

Regan jammed the unpopular cuts down workers’ throats by orchestrating a ramrod ratification vote that violated SEIU-UHW's own Constitution.

In March of 2014, workers voted to ditch SEIU-UHW and join NUHW. Next, SEIU-UHW filed multiple legal appeals in an attempt to overturn the workers' decision.

On November 2, 2015 -- nearly 20 months after workers voted to dump SEIU-UHW -- the NLRB's highest body tossed out all of SEIU-UHW's challenges after noting that SEIU-UHW failed to present any credible evidence in support of its claims.

Why did it take the NLRB nearly 20 months to reach a decision, especially when SEIU-UHW couldn't even back up its allegations? Observers say it's a reflection of SEIU's inappropriate influence inside the NLRB.

Congratulations to Seton workers for their persistence and determination! 

More to follow.