Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Hospital Association's Lawsuit Details SEIU-UHW Dave Regan's Dirty Deal with CEOs

SEIU-UHW President Dave Regan
Here's the lawsuit that the California Hospital Association (CHA) filed against SEIU-UHW on January 26, 2016 in Sacramento Superior Court.

In the 11-page suit, the CHA asks a judge to toss out SEIU-UHW’s November 2015 lawsuit and to force SEIU-UHW into binding arbitration per the terms of their secret "partnership" agreement.

The lawsuit discusses the "money-for-members" quid pro quo in which SEIU-UHW President Dave Regan agreed to deliver $6 billion in public Medicaid funds to hospital CEOs in exchange for the right to unionize up to 60,000 California hospital workers without employer opposition.

The lawsuit also offers new details about the massive gag clause that Regan wrote into his secret deal with CEOs. 

In addition to the terms of the gag clause already detailed in previous posts (e.g., no "anti-employer activities," no "derogatory" comments about corporations and CEOs, no regulatory complaints or legal actions against hospital corporations, etc.), we learn that Regan also agreed to block SEIU-UHW from "raising concerns about... executive compensation in health care."

What does this mean?

For at least the past two years, Regan has blocked SEIU-UHW from writing leaflets, issuing press releases, or even talking to legislators, journalists and the public about hospital CEOs' excessively fat paychecks.

So much for speaking out against the CEOs who’ve created the worst wealth inequality crisis in the United States since the 1930s. It turns out that SEIU -- a company union that's for sale to the highest bidder -- is bought and paid for by the CEOs.

For SEIU-UHW's members, Regan's secret gag clause will help explain why their union hasn't issued a single leaflet criticizing their bosses' multi-million dollar paycheck… even as they try to ram pay and benefit cuts down their throat.

Finally, here are some excerpts from the lawsuit. A full copy is below.

On May 5, 2014, CHA, UHW, and a number of California hospitals and health systems entered into an agreement entitled the Code of Conduct. The Code of Conduct sought to "create a new model for labor relations that is based on cooperation rather than confrontation," including by laying out "a labor-management relationship as reflected in the code of conduct" and ensuring that "every opportunity will be taken to resolve differences quickly and in a professional and non-confrontational manner." (p. 2)

UHW agreed that it would not engage in "reputation or economic attacks; personal attacks; or instigating or supporting... litigation" that was "directed at or with respect to CHA... and any of [its] officers, directors, managers or shareholders." UHW also specifically agreed that it would not "sponsor or support legislation, initiatives, or regulatory action adverse to the California hospital industry during the terms of this Agreement." (p. 3)
The Second Complaint addresses UHW’s efforts to qualify California Initiative 15-0111, "Hospital Executive Compensation Act of 2016" ("Compensation Initiative") for placement on the 2016 California ballot. As CHA explained to UHW in its November 30, 2015 complaint, the Union's decision to sponsor the Compensation Initiative violated Sections I(B) and II(C) of the Code of Conduct, and in particular UHW’s agreement not to "sponsor or support... initiatives adverse to the California hospital industry" or make comments "raising concerns about... executive compensation in health care." (p. 6)

Upon learning of the [UHW] lawsuit [filed in November 2015], CHA notified UHW that it viewed the litigation as a violation of Section I(B) the of the Code of Conduct, which prohibits "instigating or supporting... litigation" that is "directed at or with respect to CHA or signatory hospitals or health systems and any of their officers, directors, managers or shareholders." The CHA also noted that the inflammatory language UHW had used in its complaint -- labeling [CHA CEO Duane] Dauner a "saboteur" and accusing him of "corrupt acts," for example -- constituted a separate violation of the Union's duties to refrain from "reputation... attacks" or "personal attacks" directed at CHA and its officers and to avoid "derogatory comments" about CHA. (pp. 7-8) 

The Code of Conduct anticipated that signatory hospitals might choose to execute "Conditional Access Agreements," which would provide UHW access rights at California acute care hospitals in the event of "the achievement of a legislative or political solution that meets the previously agreed upon goal of obtaining full Medi-Cal funding and payments to hospitals for services rendered to Medi-Cal beneficiaries...by December 31, 2016." … The parties agreed that "[i]n the event that, by January 1, 2016, an insufficient number of hospitals or health systems execute Conditional Access Agreements to meet the requirement of [UHW access to] thirty thousand (30,000) non-union, non-supervisory employees..., the Union [would] be released from all further obligations under this Agreement and this Agreement shall terminate." Upon such termination, "all of [the Code of Conduct's] terms are terminated with respect to all signatories." (pp. 3-4)