Wednesday, December 30, 2015

SEIU-UHW Cuts Budget by $34 Million after Membership Transfer

This year's decision by SEIU to transfer 70,000 long-term care workers out of SEIU-UHW is sparking continuing anger -- and budget cuts -- at SEIU-UHW.

On December 12, SEIU-UHW's Dave Regan and the union’s Executive Board approved a budget for 2016 that includes $34 million in cuts compared to last year’s budget, according to Tasty's sources, board documents and records from the US Department of Labor.

Altogether, SEIU-UHW’s budget has dropped from $112 million in 2014 to $78 million in 2016 – a 30% reduction.  

An SEIU-UHW board resolution approving the union’s 2016 budget shimmers with faintly concealed anger:
Whereas, SEIU’s implementation of its decision to divide hospital workers and long term care workers forces changes to our budget...

Meanwhile... meeting minutes attempt to put the best face on the budget cuts. Here's how the minutes describe a presentation to the board about the "budgetary adjustments" caused by SEIU’s membership transfer:
They described budgetary adjustments made for the last six months of the year due to the jurisdictional decision to remove home care and nursing home workers from UHW. They reported that despite these changes, UHW has sufficient funds and staffing to continue forward with all of our campaigns and work.

Earlier this year, Regan raged against the decision of SEIU President Mary Kay Henry and the SEIU International Executive Board in a leaked letter calling the action a "massive betrayal." Later, Regan penned an "Open Letter to Leaders in SEIU" entitled "What Has Become of Us? The Shame of SEIU."

Here's a copy of the SEIU-UHW board resolution adopting the sharply reduced budget. (FYI, the resolution appears to understate the size of the budget cuts, according to figures that SEIU-UHW submitted to the US Department of Labor).

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

SEIU-UHW's Dave Regan channels Donald Trump after slashing workers' benefits and pay

In his latest "groundbreaking" move, SEIU-UHW’s Dave Regan has borrowed a page from Republican Donald Trump’s playbook -- namely, lying through his frickin’ teeth.

Last month, Regan forced giant benefit cuts and a multi-year wage freeze down the throats of 2,000 SEIU-UHW members at four California hospitals run by the Daughters of Charity Healthcare System.

Altogether, Regan accepted more than a dozen benefit cuts -- including stripping hundreds of workers of their health insurance, vacation, holidays, sick pay, retirement, etc. -- which workers exposed by leaking copies of Regan’s agreement to Tasty.

After SEIU-UHW conducted ramrod ratification votes to implement the cuts, workers filed complaints with federal authorities alleging that SEIU-UHW officials withheld vital information from its members, blocked workers from attending negotiations, and committed irregularities during the vote count.

Which is why workers were a bit, umm, shocked to read SEIU-UHW's Dec. 14 press release describing its sell-out contract as "innovative" and "groundbreaking." Here's an excerpt from the press release, which is posted on SEIU-UHW's website (full copy is below):
As BlueMountain accepts the groundbreaking deal, it also assumes an innovative new contract that was recently ratified between 1,900 SEIU-UHW healthcare workers and the Daughters of Charity Health System. The three-year agreement protects benefits and… (emphasis added)

Of course, this is just the latest example of SEIU-UHW lying to its members.

Workers were also a tad surprised to see SEIU-UHW "welcoming" BlueMountain Capital as their hospitals' new owner. 

Headquartered on New York’s Park Avenue, BlueMountain is a $22 billion venture capital firm that makes enormous profits by buying and flipping companies after loading them with debt and exorbitant management fees.
Andrew Feldstein, CEO of BlueMountain Capital
Over the weekend, the New York Times described BlueMountain’s role in a scandal brewing in Puerto Rico. It turns out that BlueMountain and other hedge funds are working to keep Puerto Rico mired in debt so they can reap billions of dollars in profits for their wealthy investors. (See "Inside the Billion-Dollar Battle for Puerto Rico’s Future," New York Times, December 19, 2015)

Given SEIU's love of billionaires and venture capital titans, perhaps we’ll soon see "Wall Street Dave" and "The Donald" on the campaign trail together.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

SEIU Joins Hands with Uber CEO and Tech Titans as "Gig" Workers Suffer

SEIU's Andy Stern with Honeywell CEO David Cote
We’ve seen it again and again: SEIU officials leaping into bed with CEOs to proclaim "maverick" partnerships that (you guessed it) toss workers under the bus.

Here's the latest.

SEIU’s Andy Stern, David Rolf, and Laphonza Butler are drawing fire from worker advocates for their recent deal with the CEOs of Uber, Lyft, Handy and other so-called "gig economy" companies.

The tech titans are using a classic scheme to boost their profits by ripping off workers.  How?

They misclassify their workers -- including Uber drivers and Handy maids -- as "independent contractors" rather than employees.  As such, the workers have no access to health insurance, vacation, holidays, retirement, and other benefits; no access to unemployment insurance and workers compensation; and no company contribution to Social Security and Medicare. And the workers are unprotected by most federal, state and local minimum wage laws and other labor protections. And they can’t form unions.

It's the same scam used by FedEx, trucking companies at ports, and other greedy companies.

In California, Uber drivers are suing their $62 billion company to be reclassified as employees and to collect millions of dollars in mileage reimbursement and tips, which the company has never paid to drivers. The suit could affect 160,000 workers.

SEIU officials -- rather than backing the workers -- decided to become BFFs with the CEOs of Uber, Lyft, Handy and other such corporations. Earlier this month, they co-signed a lame, milk-toast letter that fails to take these corporations to task for ripping off their workforces.

Instead, SEIU’s joint letter offers hollow platitudes and vague proclamations -- with no concrete commitments or funding from the corporations -- that are summed up in the following excerpt from the joint letter:
Everyone, regardless of employment classification, should have access to the option of an affordable safety net that supports them when they’re injured, sick, in need of professional growth, or when it’s time to retire.

Worse yet, SEIU's joint letter pointedly criticizes workers for suing their billion-dollar bosses for ripping them off. The letter states: "We believe these issues are best pursued through policy development, not litigation…" (emphasis added)

SEIU is the only union to sign the letter… which was also signed by Eli Lehrer, the President of "The R Street Institute," a right-wing think tank inspired by Milton Friedman and Frederick Hayek.  By the way, the R Street Institute is reportedly pushing for legislation to make it easier for companies to classify what their workers as "independent contractors."
SEIU's David Rolf

SEIU’s lame-ass sell-out of precarious workers is what prompted worker advocates to publish a recent critique entitled "When Labor Groups and Silicon Valley Capitalists Join Forces to ‘Disrupt’ Protections for Employees" (In These Times, December 4, 2015).

The authors -- Jay Youngdahl and Darwin Bondgraham -- include a quote from Shannon Liss-Riordan, a labor attorney who represents 160,000 Uber drivers in their class-action lawsuit against the company:  
I’m concerned seeing labor groups on there. … I’m wondering whether they’re fully informed as to what they’re putting their names on.

Unfortunately, cozying up to the boss is par for the course at SEIU. 

Readers will recall similar episodes such as Andy Stern’s dirty deals with Wal-Mart CEO Lee Scott; pension-slashing venture capitalist Gina Raimondo; Honeywell CEO David Cote; Andy’s billionaire patron Ron Perelman; and the anti-teacher Broad Foundation.

Monday, December 7, 2015

Lawsuit Spotlights $10 Million of SEIU-UHW Funds Given to Industry Execs

Dave Regan’s lawsuit against Duane Dauner (California Hospital Association) and Greg Adams (Kaiser Permanente) contains interesting details about just how closely SEIU-UHW was working with the CEOs atop California's hospital industry.

According to the lawsuit, Regan funneled $10 million of SEIU-UHW members' union dues into a bank account controlled by fatcat CEOs.

That is... until Regan's secret deal with the hospital bosses exploded in flames.

Now, Regan is suing the CEOs in hopes of recovering $7 million of the $10 million. Here's what SEIU-UHW says in its lawsuit filed Nov. 24 in Sacramento County Superior Court:
CHA and UHW committed to each other to fund CFC. In accordance with this commitment, CHA agreed to provide $80 million in funding to CFC, and UHW agreed to provide $20 million in funding. To date, CHA and UHW have contributed half of their funding obligations to CFC. CFC currently holds more than $7 million dollars of UHW contributions…   (p. 6)

What happened to the other $3 million?

Apparently, it’s already been spent. 

Regan and his CEO pals have reportedly been writing fat checks for consultants, lawyers, offices, trips, fancy meetings, and staff -- including the hiring of Peter Ragone as the Executive Director of Regan's now-defunct "partnership" organization. 
Peter Ragone: Exec Dir. of imploded partnership orgz'n

In total, $3 million of SEIU-UHW members' money has disappeared down the sewer like a prodigious purple bowel movement.

As far as the remaining $7 million, it’s currently frozen beyond SEIU-UHW's reach because, according to the terms of Regan's secret deal with the California Hospital Association, it can only be transferred with the consent of Duane Dauner, says the lawsuit.
CFC owns, possesses, and has a right to possess the funds within its bank account, including those lent to it by UHW. Defendants intentionally and in a gross abuse of their authority as Directors of CFC substantially interfered with CFC's property by terminating all operations of CFC by vetoing any proposed expenditures. (p. 18)

In other words, the $7 million is sequestered beyond SEIU-UHW's reach. "UHW has suffered and will continue to suffer substantial and irreparable harm," says the suit (p. 22).

Will SEIU-UHW members ever recover their $7 million? Good question.

And here's an even bigger question posed by observers: 

Why did SEIU-UHW's Executive Board ever authorize Regan to gamble upwards of $25 million of union members' dues on a hare-brained scheme that has exploded in flames and has landed SEIU-UHW in a desperate and expensive court battle?

Stay tuned!

Thursday, December 3, 2015

SEIU-UHW Officials Accepted Wage Freeze and Deep Benefit Cuts for 2,000 Workers at Daughters of Charity Health System

Here's the latest on SEIU-UHW's ramrod ratification votes at the Daughters of Charity Health System, where SEIU-UHW officials have once again forced massive wage and benefit cuts down the throats of 2,000 workers employed at four California hospitals.

As expected, a closer reading of the agreement negotiated by SEIU-UHW's Dave Regan has revealed a lengthy list of cuts in addition to Regan's blockbuster concession that strips hundreds of workers of health insurance, sick leave, retirement, and other benefits.

Here's a fuller list of the cuts. Below, Tasty has posted a copy of the full agreement as well as a two-page summary that SEIU-UHW staffers handed out to workers. 
  • Wage scales are frozen. SEIU-UHW members will no longer receive "step increases" according to their years of service on the job.
  • Part-time employees who work between 20-30 hours per week are no longer eligible for any benefits, including health insurance, vacation, holidays, sick pay, retirement, etc.
  • "Education Leave" and "Jury Duty Leave" are eliminated.
  • Retiree Health Benefits are eliminated for workers at St. Louise Regional Hospital and O'Connor Hospital.  In the prior contract ("Article 23: Retirement" on page 112-113), the company was required to pay up to 75% of the cost of monthly health premiums for employees who leave their jobs after attaining age 55 and completing at least 10 years of service.
SEIU-UHW's Dave Regan
  • Short Call Pay is eliminated.
  • "Float Differentials" are eliminated.
  • Paid Time Off (PTO) accruals will be reduced by 16 hours every year of the agreement.
  • "Extended Sick Leave accruals will be reduced by 1/2 of the amount in year 1 and 2 of the agreement."
  • SEIU-UHW accepted a new management rights clause.
  • Contract provisions on Holidays, Call Offs, Daily Cancellation, Seniority, Job Vacancies, PTO, and Union Membership were reduced to the lowest standard across the four SEIU-UHW hospitals, meaning that workers at three of the four hospitals will experience reductions.
Despite these cuts and reports of overwhelming "no" votes at the ramrod ratification votes, SEIU-UHW says its sellout agreement was somehow approved by the membership. As reported earlier, SEIU-UHW's lengthy delay in reporting the outcome of the votes has led to widespread discussion of ballot staffing and vote fraud.

For Dave Regan, however, the sellout contract is a "Victory!" Here's a post from SEIU-UHW's twitter page:

Meanwhile, here's a report from an SEIU-UHW member at one hospital:
I work at O’Connor Hospital and am an SEIU member.  The dealings re. this “tentative agreement” of two weeks ago were so secretive that many of us didn’t even know about the vote until  after it had taken place.    My own shop steward (who was a member of the negotiating team) failed to tell me about the vote, nor the fact that they had agreed to the clause “all past practices will be eliminated with the exception of prior arbitration decisions,” which is a loophole wide enough to drive a truck through.   Apparently that would supersede previous agreements not to outsource work, which would majorly impact my job security due to the nature of my job.  
Apparently the new “buyer” of the hospital, Blue Mountain, has learned from some of the mistakes of their predecessor of last year, Prime Healthcare, and instead of trying to fight the SEIU management they have made some sort of quid pro quo with them, thus the alacrity with which SEIU reps have soiled their credibility for all eternity, caught with both hands in the cookie jar and their pants down simultaneously.
People need to go to jail here.  This is a clear conspiracy to commit major fraud.

And here's a report from a second worker:
It kinda feels like battered wife syndrome here. Some are angry and lots are in some sort of a state of denial. SEIU has announced a "membership" meeting where I guess they will try to convince us what a great deal they got us. It's funny but here SEIU said we neeed these cuts because off the shape the Daughters were in. Forget that the new Boss has a war chest of $20 Billion at hand. The funny part is the Boss has referred to what got taken away as "waste". Our pay is "waste" but the 4 clowns who make up Verity Health have no waste whatsoever in their collective $58 million dollars a year in pay. I wonder what logic SEIU used in previous takeaways from Kaiser and Dignity who both were making record profits at the time of the cuts.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Kablam! SEIU-UHW Dave Regan’s "Partnership" with the California Hospital Association Crashes and Burns

Plaintiff Regan and Defendant Dauner
In case there was any doubt about the implosion of Dave Regan's partnership with the California Hospital Association (CHA), check out the latest news...

On November 24, SEIU-UHW sued the CHA’s CEO Duane Dauner in Sacramento County (Calif.) Superior Court for ditching Regan in favor of his new pals Mary Kay Henry, Laphonza Butler, Jon Youngdahl, the SEIU California State Council, the California Teachers Association, and the California Medical Association.

The full lawsuit is available below. Also, here’s a link to a Dec. 1 article in "Courthouse News."

Regan’s lawsuit -- which reads like a jilted lover’s divorce case -- revolves around Mary Kay Henry’s recent success in outmaneuvering Regan by inking her own secret deal with the CHA.

Under Henry’s deal, the CHA agreed to team up with the SEIU California State Council, the California Teachers Association and the California Medical Association to introduce a statewide ballot initiative that competes head-to-head with Regan’s initiative. Regan's ballot initiative was supposed to be the "centerpiece" of SEIU-UHW’s ongoing partnership and organizing deal with the CHA.

Not anymore. The CHA has pulled its support from Regan's initiative, which is now "certain to fail," according to the lawsuit.
Mary Kay Henry and Laphonza Butler
Basically, the CHA has declared an end to its "partnership" with SEIU-UHW, thereby jettisoning Wall Street Dave like a pair of old shoes. That means an end to Regan's plans to unionize 60,000 hospital workers under a sweetheart deal that gags healthcare workers, bans them from striking, and forces them into contracts with substandard wages and benefits… which Regan famously called an "audacious new proposal to save the labor movement."

This ain't good news for Regan.

He’s poured $15-20 million of SEIU-UHW members' dues into his failed partnership with the CHA. And he’s staked SEIU-UHW's entire future -- including its membership growth and labor relations strategies -- on a partnership that's been relegated to the trash bin.

No wonder Dave is coming unhinged.

Last month, he penned an angry letter ("The Shame of SEIU") in response to SEIU's secret deal with the CHA, in which he wrote he's "repulsed and disgusted" by SEIU officials who are selfishly pursuing "control, internal power and organizational dominance."

He also sent a ranting letter to CHA's members in which he personally attacked his former bedmate, CHA CEO Duane Dauner.

In Dave’s latest act of vengeance, he filed a 23-page lawsuit against Dauner and three other CHA officials… including Greg Adams, a top Kaiser Permanente executive who also serves as the chair of the CHA's Board of Directors. Mark Laret, the CEO of UCSF Medical Center, is another defendant.

Regan's attack on Kaiser's Greg Adams is intriguing and may signal the unraveling of SEIU-UHW’s partnership with Kaiser. According to Regan's suit, Greg Adams "accepted and enabled" the CHA's decision to throw SEIU-UHW under the bus. In addition, Adams "agreed to shut down" the CHA's labor-management cooperation committee with SEIU-UHW, according to the suit, effectively putting the kibosh on Regan's partnership with the CHA.
Defendant Greg Adams, Kaiser Permanente

Here are some excerpts from Regan's suit, which predictably contains plenty of ranting and raving. For example, the lawsuit calls Dauner "corrupt" in its opening line.

The suit also makes interesting claims about secret meetings and clandestine maneuvers carried out by Purple Palace officials in their plot against Regan, as well as the impact of SEIU’s recent decision to strip 80,000 members from SEIU-UHW and transfer them to "SEIU Local 2015."

The following excerpts refer to the two groups that have introduced competing ballot initiatives: the "ABC Coalition" (i.e., the CHA, SEIU California State Council, the California Teachers Association, and the California Medical Association) and the "CFC" (SEIU-UHW).
At or around the same time CFC was developing its idea of a ballot initiative to fix and fully fund the Medi-Cal program, a separate coalition that includes the California Teachers Association ("CTA"), the California Medical Association ("CMA"), and the SEIU State Council ("State Council) (collectively known as the "ABC Coalition"), began to develop a competing ballot initiative…
Defendant Dauner intentionally opposed the filing of CFC's initiative prior to the filing of the ABC Coalition's initiative for a nefarious purpose -- that is, in order to put CFC's initiative at a disadvantage, while providing both a strategic and procedural advantage to the ABC Coalition. Defendant Dauner, however, kept to himself the fact that he had been secretly working with the ABC Coalition to undermine CFC's initiative…
In or around March 2015, Defendant Dauner had been secretly meeting with members of the ABC Coalition, although the ABC Coalition had not yet been formally organized…
During this same period, Defendant Dauner also met with representatives of the SEIU State Council in order to keep them informed of the business of CFC, including but not limited to CFC's confidential "Strategic Plan." The SEIU State Council is led by Jon Youngdahl ("Youngdahl"), who is the Executive Director of the State Council, and Laphonza Butler ("Butler"), who is the President of the State Council.
In addition, Butler is the President of the SEIU, United Long-Term Care Workers ("ULTCW") as well as the provisional President of SEIU, Local 2015. Local 2015 represents approximately 285,000 home-care and nursing home workers m California… Local 2015 is the result of a merger of home care and nursing home members from three SEIU-affiliated Unions: SEIU Local 521, ULTCW, and UHW. As a result of the merger, UHW lost half its membership to Local 2015.
Prior to the merger, representatives of the SEIU State Council informed Defendant Dauner that Regan would soon lose half of UHW's membership and that Defendant Dauner needed to deal with Butler and the State Council – not Regan and UHW – if he wanted to accomplish any legislative and policy goals that were important to CHA's members.
Beginning in or around March 2015, Defendant Dauner decided to work covertly with CMA, the SEIU State Council, and CTA, while duplicitously pretending to carry out his duties as a Director and Officer in the interest of CFC.
Defendant Dauner chose to work with the ABC Coalition for several reasons. First, he feared CTA's political reach in Sacramento. Second, he no longer wanted to be involved in a "strategic partnership" with UHW because the partnership was threatening his power within CHA, and members of CHA were calling for an end to the partnership for ideological reasons. Third, he believed that he could take advantage of an internal SEIU disagreement between Butler and Regan regarding the transfer of UHW members into Local 2015…
On November 2, 2015, Defendant Dauner requested a conference call with Regan and multiple other persons, including other Directors of CFC to discuss CFC's initiative and his agreement with the ABC Coalition.
On the call, Defendant Dauner revealed that he had been secretly meeting and negotiating with the ABC Coalition regarding its competing initiative…
Defendant Dauner explained that he had engaged in these covert actions because the CHA Board of Directors had instructed him to do so and that a "substantial number of hospitals," affiliated with CHA did not want CHA to participate in CFC or to continue its partnership with UHW. The reason that a substantial number of hospitals wanted to end the strategic partnership between CHA and UHW is because these hospitals are philosophically opposed to the unionization of the hospital industry and seek to remain non-union so that they may continue, without interference, to provide their employees substandard working conditions, pay, and benefits. Because the ABC Coalition does not consist of any labor organization that seeks to organize hospital workers in California, working with the ABC Coalition is preferred over working with UHW.
During the call, Defendant Dauner revealed that his discussions with the ABC Coalition had led to a written agreement, executed by and between CTA, CMA, and the SEIU State Council and Defendant Dauner and CHA.
According to Dauner, the agreement with the ABC Coalition provides that Defendants and CHA will jointly sponsor, and contribute financially to the ABC Coalition's The School Funding and Stability Act of 2016 that is in direct competition with CFC's initiative, Invest in California's Children Act.
Defendant Dauner further agreed to "to veto any expenditure" to support CFC's initiative, and [Kaiser’s Greg] Adams, [UCSF’s Mark] Laret and Holmes agreed to support Dauner in this cessation of CFC's activities. Thus, the CHA Directors agreed to terminate all of CFC's operations by using Defendant Dauner's veto power.
Put otherwise, Defendant Dauner agreed to use his position of power to quash CFC's initiative and to support the ABC Coalition's competing initiative, and the other CHA Directors accepted and enabled this decision. As a result, lacking any financial support, CFC's initiative is certain to fail and the ABC Coalition's initiative will have no effective opposition…
Adams, Laret and Holmes approved this sale after the fact and have since agreed to shut down CFC as part of the deal with the ABC Coalition…
On November 18, 2015, Defendants spoke with Regan regarding the ABC Coalition's initiative. Defendants pleaded with Regan to dissolve CFC. Regan, however, refused to agree to dissolution. In accordance with his agreement with the ABC Coalition, Defendant Dauner stated that he would exercise his veto power, as Co-Chair, on any and all decisions that came before CFC regarding expenditures related to CFC's initiative, which CFC had unanimously voted to file and fund.

The lawsuit alleges that Dauner, Kaiser's Greg Adams, and CHA officials have committed fraud, concealment, breach of fiduciary duty, "conversion," "trespass to chattel," and other "fraudulent or dishonest acts or gross abuse of authority or discretion." It seeks to force the CHA to pay financial damages to SEIU-UHW and also seeks the removal of the CHA's Dauner from his position as a co-chair of the joint labor-management committee set up by the CHA and SEIU-UHW. Regan is the other co-chair.

More details are available in the full lawsuit below.

Stay tuned for more analysis and commentary!