Friday, December 30, 2016

SEIU’s Mary Kay Henry Removes President of SEIU Local 99

In early December, SEIU President Mary Kay Henry removed SEIU Local 99 President Barbara Torres from office and suspended her membership in SEIU for four years, according to notices distributed to union members and also available online. Henry also removed a second officer, Executive Board member Jacqueline Brown, and appointed Eliseo Medina to serve as a “monitor” of Local 99.  

Based in Los Angeles, SEIU Local 99 represents 25,000 public school workers.

According to SEIU, the actions came after “a thorough investigation and hearing by SEIU International” that reportedly was prompted by charges against union officials.

In October, SEIU’s International Executive Board held two days of hearings in Las Vegas to investigate separate charges filed against the top leaders of SEIU Local 1107, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal. Local 1107 represents approximately 9000 workers in Nevada.

Eliseo Medina’s assignment to Local 99 is his second such gig in a handful of months. In August, Henry appointed Medina as the “trustee” of SEIU Local 73 after she imposed a trusteeship on the Chicago-based union, which represents 25,000 public-sector workers in Illinois and northwestern Indiana.
Medina addressing Local number 73 members in Chicago

Readers may recall that Local 99 has a troubled history of scandals and corruption by its top officials.

In 2004, Andy Stern appointed Bill Lloyd as the trustee of Local 99.

Lloyd, who subsequently took on the job of Local 99's Executive Director, pocketed no fewer than three separate paychecks from SEIU totaling $224,000 a year along with multiple perks including an eight-year-long, SEIU-paid hotel room at the Wilshire Grande Hotel.

Lloyd is also known for his infamous sexual affair with Local 99’s then-president, Janett Humphries, at the same time that she was embezzling tens of thousands of dollars from the union's members. In 2006, Humprhies pleaded guilty in federal court to four counts of embezzlement and one count of conspiracy.

Steve Trossman -- who reportedly covered up Tyrone Freeman’s million-dollar theft from SEIU members for years -- also did damage control for Lloyd. Trossman now works for Dave Regan as SEIU-UHW’s "Communications Director."

In 2012, Lloyd silently disappeared from his job as the Executive Director of Local 99.

Max Arias currently serves as Local 99’s Executive Director. Arias, a former staffer at SEIU Healthcare Illinois-Indiana, parachuted into California in 2009 as part of SEIU’s trusteeship of SEIU-UHW. Arias was initially assigned to nursing homes, where workers reported about his disrespectful attitude towards workers.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

SEIU Announces 30% Budget Cuts in 2017 with AFSCME Merger on the Way

According to multiple press outlets, SEIU President Mary Kay Henry issued an internal memo on December 14 announcing plans for a 30% cut to SEIU International’s budget in 2017. Tasty’s sources say the plan calls for cuts of 10% in January 2017 and another 20% in July 2017.

News of the memo was first publicly reported by Josh Eidelson at Bloomberg Businessweek (Eidelson, “Fear of Trump Triggers Deep Spending Cuts by Nation's Second-Largest Union,” Bloomberg Businessweek, December 27, 2016).

In the memo, Henry says the cuts are necessary due to the Republican Party’s imminent control of all three branches of the federal government. Here’s an excerpt from her December 14 memo, according to Bloomberg:
Because the far right will control all three branches of the federal government, we will face serious threats to the ability of working people to join together in unions. These threats require us to make tough decisions that allow us to resist these attacks and to fight forward despite dramatically reduced resources.

Tasty believes the story behind the cuts is more complex than what SEIU describes in its memo.


There’s another reason for the cuts that so far hasn’t been mentioned – namely, SEIU’s planned merger with AFSCME.

More than 18 months ago, SEIU and AFSCME began merger talks spurred by concerns about Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association, the U.S. Supreme Court case that could weaken public-sector unions by challenging their right to collect fair share fees from nonmembers to cover the costs of representation, such as negotiating contracts. In February 2016, the sudden death of Justice Antonin Scalia left the court deadlocked on the Friedrichs case and apparently slowed the two unions’ merger plans.

In May 2016, SEIU approved a resolution leaving open the possibility of a full-blown merger while immediately calling for joint planning, organizing, bargaining, and political work between the two unions. In July 2016, AFSCME approved a nearly identical resolution.

With the election of Trump in November, both unions are likely speeding up their merger plans -- which undoubtedly will require the elimination of duplicate functions, departments, etc at the two unions. Tasty guesses this helps explain SEIU’s announcement of rapid budget cuts.

It also helps explain why other unions with large public-sector memberships haven’t also announced deep budget cuts.
SEIU's Mary Kay Henry

So why doesn’t Henry’s budget-cut memo mention the AFSCME merger? It’s easier to win the staff’s support for layoffs based on Trump.

If Tasty’s theory is correct, we’ll likely see evidence of expedited merger activity in the months ahead… and perhaps budget cuts at AFSCME as well.

As far as eliminating waste, SEIU should start by axing some of its highly paid officials inhabiting the top floors of the Purple Palace. For example, over a number of years, SEIU has almost doubled the number of its full-time “Executive Vice Presidents” (from four to seven EVPs). 

The latest increase came in May of 2016 when SEIU boosted the number of EVPs from six to seven-- at the same time that it passed the AFSCME merger resolution to prepare for SEIU's declining membership. Makes total sense, right?

Each EVP earns more than $200,000 a year, according to financial records. If you eliminate four of them, that’s more than $1 million in savings a year when you factor in benefits, etc.

Stay tuned.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

AFT Trounces SEIU in Runoff Election at Washington Hospital

Last week, the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) thrashed SEIU Local 49 in a runoff election for 900 workers at 450-bed PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center in Vancouver, Washington.
Tally sheet from NLRB vote count

Here are the vote totals, according to NLRB records:
AFT:  319 votes
SEIU Local 49:  110 votes
Challenged Ballots:  1 ballot
Voided Ballots:  4 ballots             

The runoff election -- which took place December 14-15 -- followed a late-November election in which AFT's Oregon Federation of Nurses and Health Professionals was the top vote-getter yet failed to secure an outright majority as required by NLRB rules.

In last week’s runoff, workers’ support for SEIU dropped sharply. In fact, SEIU’s vote total dropped by more than one-third -- from 171 in the November election to only 110 in last week’s vote.

On December 16, the AFT issued a press release quoting President Randi Weingarten: "I'm thrilled to welcome the service and maintenance workers at PeaceHealth Southwest into the AFT family... The AFT continues to grow as a healthcare union..."

SEIU Local 49 is headed by Meg “I Love the Boss” Niemi, a close ally of SEIU-UHW’s Dave Regan. Niemi is also a member of SEIU’s International Executive Board.

For more information, see "PeaceHealth employees vote for union choice" (The Columbian, December 19, 2016) and “PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center workers vote to join AFT” (NW Labor Press, December 19, 2016).

Friday, December 16, 2016

SEIU Officials Perform Three-Ring Circus in Vegas

In Nevada, SEIU Local 1107 appears to be imploding amid intense infighting between the union’s top officials.

The union -- also known as “SEIU Nevada” -- represents approximately 9,000 workers in public and private hospitals as well as local government workers.

So what’s going on?

It’s kinda hard to track all of the grimy details of this multidimensional sh*tfest, but here are a few tidbits:
  • In August, police were called to the union’s offices when the union’s Executive Vice President (Sharon Kisling) allegedly chased and threatened one of the union’s staff directors in what he called “a two-and-a-half-hour reign of terror at our office,” according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal (“Fight within SEIU Local 1107 shows no sign of slowing down,” December 3, 2016). The staff director later reportedly got the courts to issue a temporary restraining order against Kisling.
  • In July, the union’s president, Cherie Mancini, abruptly canceled a contract-ratification vote at Las Vegas’s largest hospital (University Medical Center) so she could supposedly investigate a bunch of vague allegations against unnamed members of the rank-and-file bargaining committee.
What kind of allegations did she want to investigate?
They included such specifics as “violation of fiduciary duty,” “failing to conduct bargaining in a prudent manner,” and “behavior inconsistent with the mutually agreed upon interest-based bargaining process.” Oh, and she apparently had no named accusers.
After 400 hospital workers signed a petition against the union’s president, President Mancini reversed her decision and allowed the membership vote to take place. Nonetheless, the bargaining team was pissed that the union’s president had trashed their reputation by circulating “wildly absurd allegations” in a memo she emailed to all of their co-workers and also posted on the Internet.
  • So, on July 31, the bargaining team sent a letter to SEIU President Mary Kay Henry saying they had “lost all confidence” in the local union president. They called on Henry to put the union in trusteeship and remove their president from office. Their letter to Henry reads in part: 
It is unacceptable that SEIU President Mancini has done great and unforgivable damage to the SEIU-UMC bargaining team by publicly making false allegations without a second thought as to what it would do to the members of this union… President Mancini has shown disdain, disrespect and complete ignorance for our duly elected SEIU officers and volunteer bargaining team and for these reasons, we feel that President Mancini is either mentally unable or unwilling to carry out her sworn duties… UMC Bargaining Team is also demanding that Local 1107 be trusteed and reconstructed so that this type of situation, where a Union President publicly attacks its own Union members, will never happen again. Our team and UMC members believe that the organization of SEIU Local 1107 has lost sight of working for our members’ common good and has let personal politics and greed take control and we reject this!
  • Next, in September, the union’s President and Executive Vice President filed dueling “internal charges” against one other alleging violations of SEIU’s constitution and bylaws. The charges -- which allege “financial malpractice” and “engaging in corrupt or unethical practices” -- call on SEIU’s International Executive Board to suspend each other from office.
    SEIU's IEB on a break?
  • In October, just in case this circus-like situation wasn’t whacky enough, SEIU’s International Executive Board held two days of hearings in Las Vegas to investigate the charges. And the Purple Palace chose the perfect setting for their hearing:  the Circus Circus Casino!
  • Meanwhile, an independent union called the “UMC-Clark County Public Employees Association” is actively trying to decertify SEIU.
Oh, and that’s not all.
  • In February 2017, SEIU Local 1107’s former president, Al Martinez, is scheduled to go on trial in civil court over allegations that he misappropriated approximately $50,000 of union funds, according to a separate article in the Las Vegas Review-Journal (“Gov. Brian Sandoval cites lawsuit for PERS Board member’s removal,” October 3, 2016).

So… if any readers are headed to Vegas, keep your eye out for the next three-ring carnival act (also known as the SEIU International Executive Board) at a casino near you!

Thursday, December 8, 2016

AFT Beats SEIU in Hospital Election in Washington State

Late last month, the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) bested SEIU Local 49 in a head-to-head election for 900 non-union hospital workers in Vancouver, Washington, according to NLRB records and press reports.

Here’s the final tally of the election at PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center held November 21-22:

AFT’s Oregon Federation of Nurses and Health Professionals:  297 votes
SEIU Local 49:  176 votes
No Union:  171 votes
Challenged Ballots:  24 votes

SEIU barely got more votes than the "No Union" option on the ballot. A runoff election between AFT and SEIU is scheduled for next week on December 14 and 15.

SEIU Local 49 is headed by Meg “I Love the Boss” Niemi, a close ally of SEIU-UHW’s Dave Regan. Niemi is also a member of SEIU’s International Executive Board.

For more coverage of the election, see The Colombian (Vancouver, WA), “PeaceHealth Workers to Unionize” (December 7, 2016).

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Growing Internal Distrust of Dave Regan as SEIU-UHW's Failures Mount

SEIU-UHW's Dave Regan
Board minutes from recent meetings of SEIU-UHW’s Executive Board appear to indicate that Dave Regan is on the defensive inside his own union for his failures at the bargaining table and his wasting of more than $30 million on a ballot initiative strategy that’s produced few gains for the union’s members.

At SEIU-UHW’s recent board meetings, Regan was forced to make belabored arguments to defend his so-called “ballot-initiative strategy,” according to the minutes (see below). At the meetings, Regan seems to tell workers: “No, please, trust me. This is really going to work.”

What’s causing the growing distrust of Regan?

Since parachuting into California, Regan has sharply cut resources for worker organizing and on-the-job representation of SEIU-UHW's members. The union has conducted virtually zero strikes since Regan was appointed in 2009… even though hospital companies have imposed wage freezes and massive benefit cuts on tens of thousands of SEIU-UHW’s members and their families.

Instead, Regan has embraced a strategy of cozying up to CEOs via backroom deals that sell out workers, for example as he famously did several times with the Daughters of Charity Health System/Verity Health and Dignity Health. 

And when Regan’s business-friendly approach wasn’t successful in opening up organizing opportunities to expand the union’s membership rolls, Regan poured more than $30 million into a top-down, ballot-initiative strategy run by union technocrats aimed at pressuring the California Hospital Association to sign a secret partnership deal with him.

Under the partnership deal, corporations would have given Regan the right to unionize up to 60,000 California workers in exchange for bans on worker strikes, gag clauses, and pre-negotiated labor contracts that forced workers to accept stripped-down wages, benefits, and working conditions.

Initially, some hospital executives signed on to Regan’s partnership plan. Later, however, they kicked Regan to the curb like a two-bit punk.

So… Dollar Dave is now facing internal pressure.

In 2014, Regan famously told NBC News that worker organizing and strikes are obsolete remnants of “19th century unionism.” Instead, Dollar Dave favors “collaboration” and “teamwork” with the same corporations that have gotten richer than at any time since the 1930s by systematically cutting workers’ pay, benefits, and working conditions.

Here’s an excerpt from SEIU-UHW's board minutes (June 2016) that hint at Regan’s belabored attempts to defend his failed strategy. Although Regan speaks about "strike lines" below, the union hasn't conducted a strike in years and appears to be incapable of doing so.
Employers like Dignity [Health] are trying to cut our pay and benefits, expand non-union into clinics, and our challenge is to build enough power to stop those cuts and reverse them. We need to fight differently on the battlefield and go beyond only fighting at the bargaining table and on the strike line. One strategy is through ballot initiatives. This is a long-term strategy that puts more of the risk on the employers, instead of on us… Our strategy of using ballot initiatives has worked successfully in the past… and it is a sound strategy for the future.

Interesting, right?

The fact that Regan is forced to defend his “strategy” at SEIU-UHW 's Executive Board -- which is filled with his supporters -- is an indication of just badly he's failed. 

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Judge: SEIU-UHW's Dave Regan Must Submit to Binding Arbitration over Missing $34 Million

SEIU-UHW’s Dave Regan has lost another court battle against the California Hospital Association (CHA).  

Last Friday, a judge ordered SEIU-UHW to submit to binding arbitration over $34 million that Regan squirreled away inside a secret “partnership” organization. A copy of the judge’s order, issued November 18, 2016, is pasted below. In September, Tasty described the CHA’s lawsuit to recover the millions that Regan is sitting on.

Where does the money come from?

In 2014, Regan and CHA’s Duane Dauner signed their secret partnership deal and also agreed to create a secret new organization to carry out joint projects. 

How was the organization funded? 

Regan and Dauner diverted a combined $50 million from their respective organizations’ treasuries and steered the massive haul of cash into the secret group, named “Caring for Californians.”

In late 2015, Regan’s partnership with the CHA collapsed. Under the terms of the secret deal (detailed in the so-called “Code of Conduct”), the remaining unspent portion of the $50 million was supposed to be returned to SEIU-UHW and CHA. That was supposed to happen on January 1, 2016.

However, Regan -- in an apparent fit of vindictiveness -- refused to return the money to either organization. Instead, he has allowed the money (including SEIU-UHW’s portion, totaling $6.9 million) to be frittered away on no-show jobs, unused offices in Sacramento, an expensive Executive Director, etc. 

So, CHA sued to get its money back.

On Friday, November 18, a judge issued a five-page ruling (see below) siding with CHA and ordering SEIU-UHW and Regan to submit to binding arbitration over the $34 million. Here’s an excerpt from the judge’s decision. The term “CFC” refers to “Caring for Californians,” the secret partnership organization holding the $34 million.
In December 2015, the [Code of Conduct] Agreement terminated pursuant to its terms, and CFC has had no ongoing work. The CFC continues to spend approximately $40,000 per month on operating expenses. CHA has requested that UHW agree to redistribute the unencumbered CFC funds, but UHW has refused. As of September 2016, CFC has approximately $34 million in its accounts that is not currently encumbered, thus $27.2 million would be returned to CHA and $6.87 million would be returned to UHW.
CHA's arbitration complaint alleges that UHW breached the Agreement by refusing to agree to the return of the unencumbered funds. CHA's complaint apparently seeks an "order compelling UHW to agree to the redistribution of funds, or, in lieu of UHW's agreement, an order directing the redistribution of the funds."
…the petition to compel arbitration is GRANTED.

If Regan loses the arbitration, SEIU-UHW will be forced to return the money and pay expensive legal fees to CHA.

This latest lawsuit offers yet another window onto Regan's collusive, backroom deals with employers that represent Dollar Dave's primary mode of operation. The lawsuit once again raises questions like these: 
  • Why is SEIU-UHW, one of California's largest healthcare workers' unions, pooling $50 million with the hospital industry's Chamber of Commerce? 
  • Why is one of SEIU's main leaders signing secret deals that are hidden from SEIU's own members?
  • What other deals has SEIU-UHW signed with employers that have not yet been revealed?

Stay tuned 

Friday, November 18, 2016

NUHW Adds 500 More Members

NUHW keeps on growing. Earlier this week, nearly 500 workers at two California hospitals voted to join NUHW. By Tasty’s tally, NUHW has won ten NLRB elections this year and added almost 2,000 new members.  

This week, a unit of 420 non-union workers at Queen of the Valley Hospital in Napa, Calif. voted to join NUHW despite the company’s aggressive anti-union campaign. The hospital is owned by Providence St. Joseph Health, one of the US’s largest hospital corporations. Here are the vote totals:

202 (NUHW), 132 (No Union), 33 (Challenged Ballots), and 12 (Void Ballots)

Meanwhile, at USC Norris Cancer Center in Los Angeles, a unit of 45 workers employed by subcontracting giant Sodexo voted to decertify SEIU United Service Workers West and join NUHW. Earlier this year, NUHW’s 900 members at USC Keck Medical Center used strikes to win a break-through contract that’s apparently got the attention of other USC workers.

Here are the vote totals from this week’s election:

31 (NUHW), 10 (SEIU USWW), 0 (No Union)

Meanwhile, SEIU-UHW is flailing.

Dave Regan has spent more than $30 million on a half-baked (and extremely unsuccessful) scheme to lure the California Hospital Association into a secret partnership that, according to Regan, would add 60,000 members to SEIU-UHW’s membership rolls. Under Regan’s scheme, however, all of SEIU-UHW’s new members would have been banned from striking and forced into pre-negotiated labor contracts with stripped-down wages and benefits.

So far, Dave’s awesome scheme has produced (drumroll please) fewer than 70 new members.

Meanwhile, hundreds of Regan’s existing members are ditching SEIU-UHW, according to NLRB records. 

Last week, 250 workers at College Hospital Cerritos in Los Angeles bolted SEIU-UHW after Regan’s staff reportedly failed to provide them basic support.

Earlier, a unit of professional staff (including clinical lab scientists, social workers, radiation therapists, nuclear medicine technologists, etc.) at Dignity Health’s Northridge Hospital Medical Center in Los Angeles left SEIU-UHW.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

California Hospital Workers Dump SEIU-UHW

In Southern California, approximately 250 workers at College Hospital Cerritos have ditched SEIU-UHW after the union reportedly failed to provide basic support to its members … even failing to return workers’ phone calls.

In February of 2013, 250 workers at the 157-bed psychiatric hospital in Cerritos, Calif. voted to join SEIU-UHW. 

Three years later, however, they’d had enough.

On October 25, 2016, workers petitioned the NLRB to conduct an election so they could exit SEIU-UHW and become “non-union.” On November 7, Bruce Harland -- SEIU-UHW’s hack attorney -- submitted a one-page, handwritten letter to the NLRB announcing that SEIU-UHW was officially “disclaiming interest” in being the workers’ union. See Harland’s letter below, which reads in part:
Effective immediately, SEIU United Healthcare Workers-West hereby disclaims any interest whatsoever in representing workers in the unit…

What is “disclaiming interest”? 

Basically, it means SEIU-UHW decided to throw in the towel and let the workers leave SEIU-UHW without a vote. SEIU-UHW’s Dave Regan made the decision after his staffers determined there’s so little support for SEIU-UHW that it would get blown out in an actual vote.

The membership rebellion at College Hospital Cerritos is just the latest failure for Regan, who has systematically cut the resources and staff needed to defend workers’ on-the-job rights. Instead, Regan has funneled tens of millions of dollars of workers' dues into failed schemes with the California Hospital Association, whose million-dollar executives conspired with Regan to try to eliminate workers' right to strike or report patient-care violations.

Last year, a group of workers at a Dignity Health’s Northridge Hospital Medical Center in Los Angeles also ditched SEIU-UHW after earlier voting to join the union. SEIU-UHW is known for its cozy relationship with hospital corporations and Regan's backroom deals with hospital execs.
Dave Regan
And late last month, an appeals court ordered SEIU-UHW officials to stand trial for failing to defend one of its own members after she was improperly laid off from her job of 24 years by Dignity Health, one of California’s largest hospital corporations.

Here’s the one-page legal letter from Bruce Harland, SEIU-UHW’s General Counsel. 

Why did Harland hand-write the letter?  Good question. Perhaps a computer class is next on Harland's list after he finishes some basic legal training. 

Thursday, November 3, 2016

SEIU-UHW’s Dave Regan Misfires (AGAIN) on Ballot Initiative

Dave Regan, president of SEIU-UHW, has committed another embarrassing ballot-initiative blunder.

In February of 2016, soon after his secret partnership with the California Hospital Association (CHA) exploded in flames, Regan filed a ballot initiative in Arizona designed to cap hospital executives’ salaries. Regan hoped the initiative would pressure several large multi-state hospital companies to convince CHA's Duane Dauner to ink another deal with him.

The Arizona initiative, “The Hospital Executive Compensation Act,” is virtually identical to a ballot measure Regan has filed repeatedly and unsuccessfully in California.

Beginning early in 2016, Regan spent massive amounts of SEIU-UHW members’ dues money to hire paid circulators to collect 281,000 signatures from Arizona voters to qualify the measure for the ballot.

However, Regan apparently forgot to make sure the signature-gatherers were actually legally qualified to collect signatures. D’OH!!

Under Arizona law, paid signature-gatherers must register with the Secretary of State’s office and provide an Arizona address.

This summer, when Regan triumphantly filed his 281,000 signatures with state officials, the ballot measure’s opponents quickly noticed that many signature-gatherers had not complied with state law. They sued SEIU-UHW in Maricopa County Superior Court to disqualify the signatures and thereby invalidate the initiative.

In August, just one day before a judge was set to hear the lawsuit, Regan threw in the towel and withdrew his initiative.

In news articles, including this one in the Arizona Capitol Times (“Backers of Hospital Exec Pay Cap Initiative Dropping Effort,” August 15, 2016), opponents celebrated Regan’s formidable f*ck-up. They said SEIU-UHW’s decision to withdraw the initiative “proves that the concerns about the validity of petition signatures were valid.”
Dave "Signature Man" Regan
This, of course, is not Regan’s first multi-million dollar mistake.

In June, a Sacramento Superior Court Judge ordered Regan to withdraw a nearly identical initiative from next Tuesday’s California ballot because it violated a gag clause that Regan himself secretly signed with the California Hospital Association. 

Regan's gag clause -- which he refused to show to SEIU-UHW's Executive Board -- prohibited the union from “raising concerns about… executive compensation in health care” and blocked SEIU-UHW from supporting any legislation, initiative, or regulatory action "adverse to the California hospital industry."

In late June, Regan was forced to dump his California initiative after having spent at least $5 million of SEIU-UHW members’ dues to collect voters’ signatures.

In 2012, Regan was forced to withdraw yet another ballot initiative after the Los Angeles Times discovered that Regan had inserted hidden loopholes in the initiative’s legal language designed to exempt two giant hospital corporations -- which control 25% of California’s hospitals -- from the new requirements.

And earlier this year, Dishonest Dave snatched TV headlines by allegedly assaulting a process server trying to deliver legal records to Regan’s home on behalf of the California Hospital Association.

How does the saying go about the gang that can’t shoot straight?

Maybe SEIU-UHW members should ask Dave to refund all the money he’s pissed down the drain via his f*ck-ups, sell-outs and failures, which now tallies more than $30 million by Tasty’s count.

Here’s another question. Why is Regan still collecting a paycheck? After all, would your boss keep you on the job if you repeatedly screwed up at a cost of millions and millions of dollars?

Friday, October 28, 2016

Court: SEIU-UHW Officials Must Stand Trial for Failing to Represent Union Member

SEIU-UHW has suffered yet another embarrassing legal judgment for failing to back its own members.

Earlier this week, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in California ordered SEIU-UHW officials to stand trial for denying basic union representation to one of its members, which caused her to lose her job of more than 20 years.

Elsewhere on this blog, Tasty has catalogued countless instances of SEIU-UHW’s backroom deals with hospital bosses and its failure to defend workers’ rights on the job.

In fact, so many SEIU-UHW members complained that SEIU-UHW President Dave Regan -- who deploys disinformation and deception as regular tools against his union’s members -- attempted to quiet workers’ criticism by creating a so-called “Department of Representational Excellence.” 

So what happened in the latest case?

According to court records, Starla Rollins worked as a Ward Clerk at a Dignity Health’s Community Hospital of San Bernardino for over 20 years. In 2012, Dignity executives implemented a “reduction in force” and tried to lay off a number of workers including Rollins.
Starla Rollins
When Rollins asked SEIU-UHW to enforce a seniority agreement that should have allowed her to continue working at the hospital, SEIU-UHW refused. When Rollins prepared a grievance against the hospital, SEIU-UHW ignored it.  

So… Rollins tragically lost her job of 20+ years.

Rollins, however, is not one to give up.

She sued both her employer and SEIU-UHW for failing to honor the seniority agreement. As far as SEIU-UHW, she sued the union for failing to fulfill its “duty of fair representation” to provide basic representational services to union members.

After Rollins filed her suit, Regan spent massive amounts of money on lawyers, including on hack attorney Bruce Harland, to try to knock Rollins' lawsuit out of court.

Earlier this week, however, the Court of Appeals handed Rollins a giant victory. 

The court ruled: “We conclude that… the Hospital has breached the Seniority Agreement and the CBA, and that triable issues of fact exist as to whether the Union breached its duty of fair representation.” 

In other words, the court has ordered SEIU-UHW officials to now stand trial in front of a jury over allegations that they failed to provide basic representational support to Rollins.
Bruce Harland, SEIU-UHW attorney

In the ruling, the panel of three judges slams SEIU-UHW officials for failing to defend Rollins. They write: “First, the Union never seriously considered Rollins’s rights under the Seniority Agreement.”

Second, after she was laid off, SEIU-UHW only pretended to help Rollins by lumping her into a group grievance that had nothing to do with her situation and was completely unsuccessful in restoring her job.

Third, when Rollins filed her own grievance against the hospital, SEIU-UHW officials refused to process her grievance for bogus reasons.

In the decision, the judges go on to trash Marcus Hatcher, SEIU-UHW’s so-called “Director of Representational Excellence.” Here’s a quote from the ruling:
The Union's Director of Representational Excellence, Marcus Hatcher, claimed to have reviewed the Seniority Agreement. But he asserted that the Seniority Agreement was "not relevant to the MOU" and unenforceable because "it can't supersede a contract." There are two problems with Hatcher's reasoning…

The judges then execute a take-down on Hatcher.

Congratulations to Starla Rollins! 

Here’s a link to a Bloomberg article on the Rollins case. And immediately below is a copy of the judges' ruling issued October 26, 2016.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Sources: Dave Regan Is on His Way Out

Job application??
Dave Regan is calling it quits at SEIU-UHW.

Sources inside SEIU-UHW recently confirmed that Regan will not stand for re-election as SEIU-UHW’s president when his three-year term expires in early 2017.

Ten months ago, Tasty reported that Regan told members of SEIU-UHW’s Executive Board he was throwing in the towel. At the time, he said he would support Chokri Bensaid, the director of SEIU-UHW’s Kaiser Division, to become his replacement.

Why is Regan leaving?

Observers point to a series of colossal failures that have taken a serious toll on SEIU-UHW and its members, including... 
  • Regan’s backroom deals and mega-failures at the bargaining table that have stripped tens of thousands of SEIU-UHW members of their pensions and other benefits; 
  • his failed battle with SEIU President Mary Kay Henry that has left Regan deeply isolated inside SEIU; 
  • his loss of 65,000 homecare and nursing home workers that halved his union’s membership; 
  • his failed backroom deal with the California Hospital Association that has cost SEIU-UHW’s members more than $25 million and has left the union mired in expensive legal battles and more politically isolated than ever; 
  • his failure to organize healthcare workers to join SEIU-UHW; 
  • etc.
And don't forget the personal scandals, such as Regan's physical assault on a process server that splashed his face across TV newscasts in California.

Where will Regan go next?

Coming to a reality TV show near you? 
It's not clear at this point.

However…Tasty hears that Diamond Dave would be absolutely perfect for a new reality TV show that Donald Trump is planning to launch after the US presidential election. 

Friday, October 14, 2016

Purple Palace Suffers Self-Inflicted Wound through Trusteeship of SEIU Local 73

SEIU officials have carefully used their trusteeship of Chicago-based SEIU Local 73 to deliver a strategic blow… to themselves!

Here’s what happened.

For many months, Local 73’s leaders have been in discussions aimed at affiliating the 2,000-member Graduate Students United (GSU) at Columbia College Chicago, a private liberal arts college with 9,500 students.

The affiliation was intended to advance SEIU’s national campaign to unionize faculty and graduate student workers.

Then, on August 3, SEIU’s Mary Kay Henry imposed an “emergency trusteeship” on Local 73 and removed the union’s president and secretary-treasurer.

During SEIU’s trusteeship hearing on September 24, Local 73’s former president, Christine Boardman, warned that the trusteeship would submarine Local 73’s affiliation discussion with graduate students.

Here’s what Boardman said in her prepared testimony:
On the downside of adjunct organizing, I can tell you that we will not get Columbia College which after they disaffiliated from the IEA, their bargaining unit was 2,000 strong. They began meeting with SEIU Local 73 regarding possible affiliation.
Diana Valera, the leader of that group, was continually asking questions about how much independence would they have and can they make their own decisions.  Putting an emergency trusteeship in place at Local 73 has definitely cooled their idea of joining our local.  Talk to Grant Williams and Sean McGough.

It looks like Boardman was right.

Last week, the 2,000-member Graduate Students United announced that its members had voted to stay with the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), according to an article in The Chicago Maroon (“GSU Votes to Stay with Union Affiliation”).

AFT's Randi Weingarten
In fact, the AFT received nearly twice as many votes as SEIU Local 73. 

AFT President Randi Weingarten gushed about the AFT’s victory. Here’s how she’s quoted in a press release and news article:
“Tens of thousands of graduate students are already affiliated with the AFT, as momentum builds in our nationwide fight for them to be recognized as the higher education professionals they are,” AFT president Randi Weingarten said in a press release Thursday. “The AFT will be with them every step of the way.”

From the looks of things, SEIU officials implemented their trusteeship at precisely the wrong time. Mary Kay Henry seized control of Local 73 just eight weeks before graduate students began voting on whether to affiliate with the Chicago-based union. By the time that graduate students cast their ballots, Local 73 was functioning under a sort of "martial law" without any functioning constitution or system of local control.

A perfect formula for victory, right?

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

President of SEIU Local 73: SEIU Officials Imposed an “Illegal” Trusteeship after I Supported Bernie Sanders

Christine Boardman, SEIU Local 73
Christine Boardman, the President of SEIU Local 73, has provided an insider’s view of SEIU’s recent trusteeship of her union, which represents 25,000 public-sector workers in Illinois and Northwestern Indiana. 

In a communication sent to Tasty in recent days, she writes: “I read your two posts concerning the Local 73 trusteeship and feel obliged to write to you.” 

On August 3, 2016, SEIU officials seized control of Local 73 in an "emergency trusteeship" and removed Boardman and Secretary-Treasurer Matthew Brandon from office. Boardman had served as the union’s president for 16 years.  

In Boardman's place, SEIU President Mary Kay Henry appointed Eliseo Medina to serve as trustee. On September 24, SEIU officials conducted a trusteeship hearing where Boardman and others reportedly testified.

In her communication to Tasty (see documents below), Boardman writes:
I was removed from office in a classic SEIU trusteeship. As we all know the International likes to use the wording “emergency trusteeship” even when it is not. The basic reason I was removed from office was because I disagreed with the International leadership on a number of issues. The most recent was when they called me from Washington to assure themselves that I supported Hillary in the Primary which I did not. I supported Bernie Sanders. Both times they called I told them that I supported Bernie Sanders. They told me he would lose. This was probably the straw that broke the camel’s back for them. For years I have disagreed with them on major issues of democracy within the union, organizing new members and servicing members which the International sees as in opposition to organizing new members.

She goes on to describe how SEIU officials in Washington DC “regularly criticized me for ‘taking too many cases to arbitration.’”
SEIU's Eliseo Medina addressing Local 73 members
The International’s main focus is to extract as much dues money from the members which it promptly turns over to the DNC. This deprives locals of operating expenses, as well as funds to support local candidates who actually support unions. The National Democratic office holders who get the members money have consistently avoided enforcing existing labor laws and instead have promoted bad trade deals that have sent most manufacturing jobs overseas.
As anyone familiar with the SEIU International is aware they are very thin skinned and accept NO dissent of any kind, they promote and expect complete obedience. The fact that I had an executive board of 100 rank and file members and that I always brought numerous members to all bargaining sessions simply horrified the SEIU International.
This illegal take over was plain and simple an undemocratic take over in the long and sordid history of the SEIU.

With her permission, Tasty has posted below Boardman’s message as well as her testimony during SEIU’s recent trusteeship hearing. 

During SEIU’s trusteeship hearing, Boardman described how she blew the whistle on “corrupt and unethical behavior” by Local 73’s Secretary-Treasurer Matt Brandon after he cut a “backroom deal” with Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel that “sold out” Local 73’s members.
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel
Instead of penalizing Brandon, SEIU used his illegal behavior as the pretext for removing both her and Brandon, even though she was the “whistleblower” who outed his misconduct, says Boardman.

Boardman’s testimony includes poignant passages like this one:
You have put me into a situation that I will have to sue the International Union. You have ruined my reputation of more than 45 years in the trade union movement with a bs attempt to get me out of office. I was doing my job and you will be hard put to show that I was not.

Her testimony describes the role of other SEIU officials in Local 73’s problems, including Debbie Schneider, Mary Ann Collins, Denise Poloyac and Pia Davis. Schneider served as a "Deputy Trustee" with Medina during SEIU's trusteeship of SEIU-UHW in 2009.

Boardman concludes her testimony:
I feel that the entire emergency trusteeship has been a sham, and the International views the local as something they will award to their friends, and not positions that require significant experience and skill at accomplishing the task at hand. You are attempting to make me collateral damage and I will not accept that.
SEIU's Debbie Schneider
I ask that the hearing officer reinstate me as President so that I may continue to do what I believe and that is the strong belief that working people can overcome all obstacles in their way. I did nothing wrong and everything right. If the International does not allow me to complete my work and transition a new President at the end of my term which is April 2017. It will be a great disservice to the local and our members.

See two separate documents below from Boardman.