Thursday, May 26, 2016

SEIU Convention Resolution on Democratizing U.S. Presidential Endorsement Process Is Sent to SEIU's Circular File

At SEIU’s 2016 convention in Detroit, SEIU members raised concerns about union democracy inside SEIU… which were quickly quashed by a committee headed by members of SEIU’s International Executive Board.

Here’s what happened.

SEIU Local 1021 -- which represents 45,000 public-sector workers in Northern California -- presented a convention resolution that would have given rank-and-file union members a say in determining SEIU’s endorsement of US presidential candidates instead of simply allowing SEIU’s International Executive Board (IEB) to make the decision.

Local 1021’s resolution follows months of criticism directed at SEIU’s endorsement of Hillary Clinton.

On November 17, 2015, SEIU’s IEB endorsed Clinton even though large numbers of SEIU members had submitted petitions requesting a postponement of any endorsement due to support for Bernie Sanders.

A Politico article published in late 2015, “SEIU Battles over Bernie,” summarized the developments this way:
Fearful that the powerful labor union could soon endorse Hillary Clinton, supporters of Vermont Senator have petitioned top leaders to hold off on endorsing a candidate.

In another sign of discontent, SEIU Local 1984 -- which represents public-sector workers in the state of New Hampshire -- announced its endorsement of Sanders just two days after SEIU International endorsed Clinton ("New Hampshire SEIU Branch Backs Sanders”).

This recent history appears to be what caused SEIU Local 1021 to propose “Resolution 223” to the SEIU convention in Detroit, which ended earlier this week. The resolution reads in part as follows (full copy is below):
Clinton at SEIU's 2016 Convention in Detroit
Whereas: the democratic tradition in our nation and in our labor movement is founded on the idea that every person, every voice, every voter has a right to be heard; and…
Whereas: there is a crisis in government and voting with many feeling that the system is rigged, that their vote does not count and their voices not heard in the electoral process; and…
Whereas: the institution of the union must trust and engage the rank and file to discuss, debate and vote on their endorsement recommendation for President of the United State; and
Whereas: the union must demonstrate to the candidates for President of the United States the importance of being accountable to working people and our families by creating a process for endorsement for President of the United States that is democratic, inclusive, and accountable to the rank-and-file;
Therefore be it resolved that: SEIU International will develop a direct system of voting where all members may cast a vote for their preferred candidate for President of the United States using technology or another tool for vote casting and counting; and
Therefore be it further resolved that: the SEIU International will develop a committee of members from throughout the country to create an endorsement process and timeline, and the necessary infrastructure for direct member feedback on issues and endorsements for the President of United States and a process for the 2020 election cycle.

So what happened to the resolution?

It never saw the light of day.

Under SEIU’s rules, only resolutions approved by a small committee of SEIU officials are permitted onto the convention floor for debate and voting by delegates.

In this case, SEIU’s 19-person “Resolutions Committee” -- headed by SEIU IEB member Hector “AirBnB” Figueroa and including IEB members Meg Niemi and Marge Faville Robinson -- refused to send the resolution to the convention floor and instead “referred” it to the IEB for future discussion.


It was sent to the circular file.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Sources: Mary Kay Henry Delivers Body Blow to Regan and SEIU-UHW in Detroit

For months, SEIU-UHW President Dave Regan reportedly has been sharpening his knives in an effort to challenge Mary Kay Henry during SEIU’s officer elections at its International Convention, which concluded today in Detroit.

So what happened?

In the end, Mary Kay Henry appears to have delivered another damaging blow to Regan and SEIU-UHW... who reportedly left the convention even more marginalized than when they landed in Detroit just a handful of days earlier.

Here’s what Tasty’s sources say.

On the convention floor, Mary Kay Henry campaigned to win delegates' support to elect her “leadership team,” which was called “Henry Team 2016,” to a four-year term of office. Henry nominated a full slate of candidates for all of SEIU’s officer positions, including the president, secretary-treasurer, 7 executive vice presidents, and every seat on the International Executive Board.

In the run-up to the voting process, Henry circulated promo materials demonstrating that she’d already locked up the support of virtually every member of SEIU’s International Executive Board as well as dozens and dozens of SEIU local unions across the country.

Noticeably absent from the list of her supporters, of course, were any representatives of SEIU-UHW.

Immediately below is a pro-Henry piece that reads in part as follows:
Brothers and Sisters,
For more than six years, Mary Kay Henry has provided the vision, courage, and leadership our union needs to overcome the greatest challenges we have ever faced.
Mary Kay has demonstrated the willingness to make smart, tough decisions and the courage to act on them. She inspires us to focus not on what is, but what could be. She has steered our union on a course that has brought higher wages to millions of workers and new hope to millions of current and future members…
We are proud to support the re-election of Mary Kay Henry as our SEIU president, and to fight alongside her and her leadership team on behalf of our 2 million members and all working families in 2016 and the years ahead.
In Solidarity,

In a surprising twist, "Henry Team 2016" was prominently backed by Regan’s erstwhile allies at 1199NY -- including its president George Gresham, SEIU Executive Vice President Gerry Hudson, and multiple other 1199NY officials.

In fact, Henry nominated Hudson to serve as her Secretary-Treasurer.

Henry's leadership team also was backed by another of Regan's erstwhile allies, Meg "I Love the Boss" Niemi.

Sources say Regan was so marginalized and outmaneuvered that when the time came for delegates to nominate and vote for candidates from the convention floor, Regan and SEIU-UHW’s entire delegation stood up and walked out of the convention hall.

Here’s a photo taken by one source soon after the SEIU-UHW delegation walked out of the convention. 

One source called SEIU-UHW “the stepchild of the Union” who “were reduced to nothing.” “What a shame, they weren’t mentioned once,” says the source.

Here are more photos of propaganda that Mary Kay Henry’s supporters circulated at the convention.

What’s next for Regan in his even more marginalized position?

Stay tuned!

The following are members of the SEIU International Executive Board who backed "Henry Team 2016."

Friday, May 20, 2016

SEIU Prepares Confetti Canons for International Convention

SEIU President Mary Kay Henry at SEIU's 2016 Convention 
On Sunday, SEIU will begin a three-day convention in Detroit, Michigan where union leaders will select SEIU’s officers and vote on a union-wide “program” for the next four years.

As usual, the convention will feature heavy doses of purple swagger and hoaky gimmicks like exploding confetti cannons.

Take, for example, the title for SEIU’s union-wide program for the next four years: the “Unstoppable Program to Win for Working People” (UPWWP). 

No joke.

Among other giant steps forward for the working class, the UPWWP will boldly establish an “SEIU Innovation Center” and a “21st Century Blueprint Committee.”

In case you’re wondering, it’s apparently no longer necessary for workers to focus on things like building rank-and-file organization, solidarity, and industry-wide power to take on ever-more-powerful corporations.

Instead, “21st century innovation” is the key to workers’ power.

SEIU’s “Innovation Center” -- which sounds a lot like “The Workers Lab,” the Silicon Valley-styled “business incubator” recently set up by David Rolf and other SEIU officials -- will “develop, manage and drive experiments to create the next form of organization for working people,” according to a conference resolution to be presented next week.

SEIU officials are actively scouring the business practices of Apple, Google, and the tech sector...
An image from the SEIU Convention floor
where Rolf believes SEIU will find “the next form of organization for working people.”

On Sunday, SEIU officials will distribute conference materials describing their efforts to harness the power of smartphones and new technologies… and to “reverse engineer all campaigns across the union to ensure that we get the best strategic thinking possible.”

Along with 21st century innovation, convention-goers may be treated to some old-school infighting among SEIU’s top officials. 

Tasty hears that an anti-Mary Kay Henry faction headed by Gerry Hudson and Dave Regan has been sharpening its knives in the run-up to the convention.

Prior to SEIU’s convention in 2012, sources said Hudson contemplated an effort to unseat Henry after she reportedly stripped him of many responsibilities and also considered removing Hudson from her slate of candidates. Hudson serves as one of six “Executive Vice Presidents,” the union’s highest officers after its president and secretary-treasurer.

SEIU signage with "SEIU Unstoppable" logos
Hudson is a former top official at SEIU 1199 New York, where he retains the support of 1199NY President George Gresham. In recent months, Gresham also has lent support to Regan in his battles with Mary Kay Henry.

Could Hudson and Regan mount a successful challenge to Henry?


Henry enjoys support from a majority of SEIU locals. Furthermore, her transfer of 60,000 long-term care workers out of Regan’s local and into SEIU Local 2015, which is run by Henry’s ally Laphonza Butler, has strengthened Henry’s hand on the convention floor.

Stay tuned for more news about confetti cannons and other 21st century innovations from the SEIU convention.

Inside the Detroit Convention Center

Friday, May 13, 2016

SEIU-UHW Fires Union Staffers Attempting to Form Union

Last week, SEIU-UHW laid off a number of staff just days after they petitioned the NLRB for a government-supervised election to form a union, according to NLRB records.

The staff are employed by a nonprofit organization called “Good Health for California,” which was founded last year by SEIU-UHW’s Dave Regan to enroll Californians in the Affordable Care Act (a.k.a. “Obamacare”).

The organization, with an annual budget of approximately $2 million, has more than 60 staff in Los Angeles, Fresno, Bakersfield, Stockton, the San Francisco Bay Area, and Sacramento. Staffers include Organizers, Screeners, and Data Entry Associates who run enrollment events to sign up Californians for Obamacare, which is called “Covered California” in the Golden State.

Until recently, the organization was headed by Rebecca Hanson, a former SEIU staffer who recently left “Good Health for California” to take another job at SEIU-UHW.

On May 2, the staffers at “Good Health for California” submitted formal paperwork to the NLRB requesting an election so they can join “United Staff Workers,” which currently represents SEIU-UHW’s organizers, field representatives, researchers and other staff.

On May 5 -- just three days later -- “Good Health for California” announced it was laying off many of the staffers who requested the unionization election, according to Hunter Pyle (the staff union’s attorney) and SEIU-UHW staffer Jared Mayhugh.

A May 5 e-mail sent by Pyle to the NLRB regarding the layoffs reads as follows:
The screener canvassers were notified today that they will be released. I just got this information this afternoon that they plan to lay them off.

Regan, who has repeatedly teamed up with hospital CEOs to slash workers’ benefits, also apparently favors the union-busting tactics employed by his CEO buddies.

Regan is already under investigation by the Contra Costa County District Attorney’s office for his allegedly violent assault against a process server. He will now likely find himself under the crosshairs of the NLRB for violating workers’ labor rights.

...and the contradictions grow even deeper.

It turns out that "Good Health for California’s" formal business name is “Good Health Good Jobs for California,” according to the California Secretary of State (see below).

Hmmm… I guess when Diamond Dave used the term “Good Jobs” in the organization's title, he didn’t actually intend it to apply to the organization’ own (non-union and now fired) staff.

Way to go, Dave!

What other nifty tricks does Diamond Dave have up his purple sleeve?

Nothing will surprise Tasty anymore.

From the California Secretary of State's incorporation records.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Leaked Document Offers Glimpse into California Hospital Association’s Arbitration Hearing against SEIU-UHW’s Dave Regan

A source has offered an interesting glimpse into last week’s three-day, closed-door arbitration hearing against SEIU-UHW. The hearing was triggered by a California Hospital Association lawsuit alleging SEIU-UHW violated a secret partnership deal.

For six months, Dave Regan has refused to appear before an arbitrator.

Recently, however, a Sacramento Superior Court judge and an appeals court both ordered Regan to stand before an arbitrator to face charges he violated the terms of his secret partnership deal with the California Hospital Association (CHA), including the deal’s far-reaching gag clause.

So… what happened at last week’s arbitration hearing?

A source has provided a 30-page document with the questions that SEIU-UHW’s attorneys posed during their cross-examination of CHA CEO Duane Dauner, who also testified at the hearing.  

The document, entitled “Dauner Cross-Examination Outline,” offers insights into the clandestine maneuvers by Regan’s rivals at SEIU, along with the shifting loyalties of his former best buddy, CEO Duane Dauner.

Under the partnership deal -- memorialized in a written contract called the “Code of Conduct” -- SEIU-UHW and the CHA set up a labor-management committee (LMC) that they named “Caring for Californians” (CFC). The LMC, which was jointly controlled by the two partnering organizations, planned to introduce a statewide ballot initiative to raise billions of Medicaid revenues to deposit into the coffers of California hospitals.

Then, in the summer of 2015, Dauner reportedly began clandestine discussions with Regan’s rivals and decided to dump Regan and instead form a partnership with SEIU California State Council, the California Teachers Association, and the California Medical Association.
CHA's Duane Dauner

The CHA joined these organizations -- known as the “ABC Coalition” -- to file an alternative ballot initiative that submarined Regan’s scheme to corral $6 billion in taxpayer funding for hospitals. 

(For discussion of the organizations’ motives in undermining Regan’s initiative, see this post.)

Regan’s simmering anger at Dauner and Regan's Purple Palace rivals is abundantly evident in the questions that SEIU-UHW attorneys fired at Dauner as he sat on the witness stand last week.

SEIU-UHW’s attorneys repeatedly sought to uncover details about Dauner’s contacts and conversations with Laphonza Butler (President of the SEIU California State Council and a close ally of SEIU President Mary Kay Henry), John Youngdahl (Executive Director of the SEIU California State Council), the California Teachers Association, and others. Here are excerpts from the document below:

Who are the members of the ABC Coalition?
Who is your contact person for each organization?
Who is your primary contact at the ABC Coalition?
Who is John Youngdahl? (SEIU State Council Executive Director)?
When did you first meet with John Youngdahl regarding the ABC Coalition?
How many times did you meet in person regarding the ABC Coalition?
Where did you meet?
Who else was present?
What was discussed?
Isn’t it true that the subject of the discussions was how to construct an alternative
SEIU's Mary Kay Henry and Laphonza Butler
Isn’t it true that as part of the agreement outlined above the California Hospital Association made a $25 million commitment to the ABC Coalition?
And when David Regan asked you for a copy of the Agreement – you refused to give it to him, didn’t you?
And on December 3, you told David Regan that you would be supporting the ABC Coalition initiative – didn’t you?
How many e-mails did you exchange regarding the ABC Coalition?
Who else was on the e-mail chain?
What was discussed?
How many times did you speak on the phone regarding the ABC Coalition?
Contacts with Laphonza Butler, President of SEIU United Long-Term Workers
Contacts with Dustin Corcoran, CEO of California Medical Association
Contacts with California Teachers Association
When did your contacts with ABC Coalition or members begin?
Who initiated the contact?
For what purpose?
Frequency – regular, scheduled discussions versus occasional, as needed
What form where the communications: written or oral?
Duration of contacts – ended or ongoing

…SEIU-UHW’s questioning of Dauner continued:

When did you know ABC Coalition would put a competing initiative on the ballot?
SEIU's John Youngdahl
ABC Coalition asked you to stall or prevent CFC’s initiative, didn’t they?
What promises did you give to ABC Coalition?
What was your deal with ABC?
Did deal involve other CHA members of CFC’s Board?
What are the specifics of discussion with John Youngdahl?
What with the specifics of discussions with Laphonza Butler?

The 30-page document also confirms the money-for-members transaction that Regan inked with hospital CEOs, including the exchange of 30,000 non-union members for billions in new Medicaid revenues.

And it confirms that Regan and other SEIU-UHW officials (including Arianna Jimenez) attended secret meetings with hospital execs at luxury hotels in California, including the Fairmont Grand Del Mar in San Diego... where the cheapest room costs $545 a night. (pp. 6-7)

Here’s the document:

Friday, May 6, 2016

SEIU-UHW’s Dave Regan is Interrogated by California Hospital Association in Court-Ordered Arbitration Hearing

Dave Regan and Duane Dauner
SEIU-UHW’s Dave Regan is in the midst of a three-day arbitration hearing in Emeryville, Calif., where attorneys from the California Hospital Association (CHA) are questioning him over SEIU-UHW’s alleged violations of their secret partnership deal and a gag clause.

The hearing, which is taking place at the Courtyard Marriott Hotel in Emeryville, began May 5 and is scheduled to conclude tomorrow afternoon, May 7. Both Regan and CHA CEO Duane Dauner are testifying at the hearing, which is close to the public.

According to Tasty's sources, the testimony is offering jaw-dropping details about SEIU-UHW’s intimate relationship with hospital CEOs. For example…
  • Regan met secretly with hospital CEOs at fancy hotels across California including a July 10, 2015 meeting at the Fairmont Grand Del Mar in San Diego, Calif., where the cheapest room costs $545 a night … and the Villa Brisa Suite will set you back $5,000 a night. 
  • During the summer of 2015, Dauner began discussions with Regan’s opponents, which ultimately led him to dump Regan so he could ink an alternative deal. Testimony described Dauner’s contacts with Jon Youngdahl (Executive Director of the SEIU California State Council), Laphonza Butler (President of SEIU California State Council), Dustin Corcoran (CEO of the California Medical Association), and leaders of the California Teachers Association. Butler is a close ally of SEIU President Mary Kay Henry.
  • During the summer and fall of 2015, Dauner had multiple phone conversations with California Gov. Jerry Brown about plans for ballot initiatives to pour billions more dollars into hospital industry coffers.
The arbitration hearing, now under way in Emeryville, was ordered by a Superior Court judge. After
Regan met with hospital CEOs at the Fairmont Grand del Mar

the CHA first requested arbitration to deal with SEIU-UHW’s multiple alleged violations of their secret partnership deal, Regan simply refused to show up.

The CHA then sued SEIU-UHW in Sacramento Superior Court. 

In March, a judge ordered Regan to submit to binding arbitration. 

And just three weeks ago, SEIU-UHW lost a last-ditch appeal to escape the arbitration hearings, thereby landing him in the Emeryville hotel to be questioned by CHA attorneys.

Stay tuned! 

SEIU’s Fast-Buck Entrepreneurs

SEIU's Andy Stern
After SEIU officials’ backroom lap dance with Airbnb execs was abruptly interrupted, Randy Shaw of “Beyond Chron” penned a piece that examines the profiteering of former SEIU and Obama administration officials.

SEIU President Emeritus Andy Stern, for example, is involved in at least three for-profit ventures... including a biowarfare pharmaceutical company owned by his billionaire patron, Ron Perelman, the 78th richest person in the world. 

In addition, Stern recently became a high-paid consultant for Airbnb, which ostensibly hired him to grease the wheels inside the Purple Palace. Stern was reportedly helping Airbnb reach a deal with SEIU that critics say would have given the $25.5 billion company political cover for driving up housing costs, intensifying gentrification, and undercutting hotel workers' jobs.

What do Andy Stern, Jon Carson, David Plouffe, and Jim Messina all have in common? Each played key roles in Barack Obama’s campaigns promoting “Change We Can Believe In” and now work for for-profit corporations or conservative candidates. 
Why have these and others like former SEIU staffer Christopher Nulty (now at Airbnb) and former NextGen organizer Chris Lehane (also at Airbnb) shifted their energies from working for progressive change in the public sector to private pursuits?

SEIU's Christopher Nulty
Who’s Nulty? 

He was SEIU President Mary Kay Henry’s speechwriter and Chief Communications Aide, as described in this recent post. He left SEIU to take jobs at Yahoo and Airbnb, where he currently serves as Airbnb’s Public Affairs Lead for the eastern half of North America.

Shaw goes on to deliver a smackdown of Stern, whom he calls “the worst stereotype of the fast buck entrepreneur.”
Larry Cohen v Andy Stern
Let’s start with the most obvious contrast, that of the post-retirement actions of two leading union supporters of Obama in 2008: Larry Cohen, former head of the Communication Workers of America, and Andy Stern, who left SEIU in 2010. 
Since leaving CWA, Cohen has continued to work for progressive change. Cohen probably did more than anyone else to build labor support for the Bernie Sanders campaign, indirectly moving Clinton and the Democratic Party to the left on trade and other issues of concern to working people. 
Stern, in contrast, has gone from representing Big Pharma to his recent ill-conceived plan to forge a deal between SEIU and Airbnb on unionizing maids that bypassed UNITE HERE (and violated the jurisdictional agreement between the two unions). He’s become the worst stereotype of the fast buck entrepreneur… 
Stern was the labor official most passionate about Barack Obama in 2008. Yet today it almost seems unbelievable that he was even part of the labor movement.

Here’s a link to the full article.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

SEIU-UHW's Dave Regan Chalks up More Losses in Legal Battles over Secret Partnership Deal with Hospital CEOs

SEIU-UHW's Dave Regan
Here’s the latest on SEIU-UHW’s legal battles with its erstwhile corporate partners at the California Hospital Association (CHA).

In recent months, the two organizations filed dueling lawsuits after their secret partnership deal exploded in flames.

Under the defunct partnership deal, 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.

Regan also agreed to help hospital bosses by forcing workers into cheap labor contracts and silencing them with a “gag clause” that blocks workers from filing complaints against hospital corporations for patient care violations.

Who’s winning the dueling lawsuits?

The CHA.

In mid-March, a Sacramento Superior Court judge ruled in favor of a CHA lawsuit that seeks to force SEIU-UHW into binding arbitration over its alleged violations of the secret “gag clause.” 

SEIU-UHW, after losing in Superior Court, then appealed the judge’s decision to the California Court of Appeal (Third Appellate District) on April 6. 

Just two days later, however, the appeals court “summarily denied” SEIU-UHW’s appeal. (See a copy of the Appeal Court’s order below.)

What happens now?

An arbitrator will conduct hearings on SEIU-UHW’s alleged violations of the partnership deal and will then issue a binding decision. The arbitrator’s hearings -- which are private -- apparently began on April 13.

Meanwhile, the CHA is trying to gain an upper hand over a lawsuit filed by SEIU-UHW in Sacramento Superior Court in November.  In February, Regan became so worried about the viability of his lawsuit that he unilaterally dropped the suit… only to re-file it days later in Los Angeles, some 500 miles away, in an apparent game of legal hide n’ seek.

On May 20, a Los Angeles judge will hear CHA’s request to send Regan’s lawsuit back to
Sacramento, where it would be handled by the same judge who already ruled against SEIU-UHW on the first lawsuit.

Finally, there are the multiple civil and criminal actions connected to Regan’s alleged violent assault on a process server who tried to deliver CHA court documents to Regan’s home in a wealthy suburb of the San Francisco Bay Area.

In both February and March, a Contra Costa County Superior Court judge issued temporary restraining orders against Regan. Just two weeks ago, the judge issued yet another legal order -- a “restraining order for civil harassment” against Regan, which will last for a lengthier period of time.

As far as the criminal investigation into Regan, the Contra Costa District Attorney’s Office is continuing its review to determine whether it will file criminal charges against him.

Earlier, Tasty published the victim’s jaw-dropping account of Regan’s assault… which includes photos of the process server’s bruised body resulting from Regan’s kicks to his body and punches to the head.

Here's a copy of the California Court of Appeals decision denying Regan's recent appeal of a judge's decision regarding his secret partnership deal with the California Hospital Association.