Friday, July 22, 2016

California Governor: I refuse to meet with SEIU-UHW's Dave Regan

California Gov. Jerry Brown
What do California’s top political and union leaders think about SEIU-UHW President Dave Regan?

Not much.

That’s one of the intriguing findings in a 42-page decision issued last month by the arbitrator who investigated the dispute between SEIU-UHW and the California Hospital Association.

According to the arbitrator’s report, California Gov. Jerry Brown -- who is scheduled to speak at next week’s Democratic National Convention -- refused to be in the same room with Regan. Ditto for the California Teachers Association and the SEIU California State Council.

Why do they dislike Regan so much?

It turns out that Regan betrayed them by attempting to raid billions of dollars set aside for California’s chronically underfunded schools.

Here’s what happened.

In 2012, the governor joined the teachers union and many other civic organizations in successfully passing a ballot initiative that established a “Millionaire’s Tax” to improve funding for California’s schools. The tax, also called “Proposition 30,” will expire in 2018.

Last year, the California Teachers Association began openly preparing to file a new ballot initiative to extend California’s “Millionaire’s Tax” and its funding for schools.

Dave Regan
As the teachers began their efforts, Regan eyed an opportunity. 

Under the terms of his secret partnership with the California Hospital Association, Regan was under the gun to deliver billions of dollars of new government funding to hospital CEOs in order to buy their consent to unionize 30,000 of the hospitals’ non-union employees.

Regan, rather than supporting the schools, introduced a separate ballot initiative to snatch $2.5 billion a year from the schools and put it into the pockets of the hospital CEOs with whom he’d secretly been conspiring.

In June of 2015, Regan asked the California Hospital Association (CHA) to join him in filing the competing ballot initiative. Here’s what happened next, according to the arbitrator’s report:
"CHA representatives expressed surprise and raised a number of concerns about the Union's proposal, including the likelihood that the California Teachers Association (CTA), the so-called "ABC Coalition" and the Governor would be angry and unhappy if the LMC [SEIU-UHW and the CHA] were to file a competing statewide tax increase initiative. In particular, CHA expressed concern that competing Proposition 30 initiatives would undermine each other, decreasing the opportunity of either passing." (pp. 11-12)

SEIU-UHW nonetheless filed its competing ballot initiative.

Next, Regan tried to engage Gov. Brown and the teachers union in negotiations over a compromise ballot initiative that would steer billion to his hospital CEO pals. 

Regan asked CHA CEO Duane Dauner to reach out to the Governor’s office. He also called on Peter Ragone and former California Senate President Darrell Steinberg to reach out to the California Teachers Association (CTA) and the SEIU California State Council, which was working with the CTA.

How did they respond to Regan’s plea?

Here’s what the arbitrator wrote in his decision:
"Despite efforts by CHA to have UHW and the LMC included in the discussions, both the Governor's office and the other stakeholders, including CTA and the SEIU State Council, continued to insist that they would not meet with UHW or the LMC, but only with CHA separately." (p. 13)

Ouch. (The term “LMC” refers to the “Labor-Management Committee” that SEIU-UHW and the CHA set up to carry out their secret partnership deal. Duane Dauner and Dave Regan were the co-chairs of the LMC.)

Gov. Brown campaigning for Prop 30
Several months later, Regan begged the Governor, the CTA, and other “stakeholders” to allow SEIU-UHW to join them in a single ballot initiative. But they again refused. The arbitrator says it was “clear that the other stakeholders would not modify their position of opposition to UHW’s involvement.” (p. 13)

In November, the CHA announced its support for the teachers’ ballot initiative. According to the arbitrator, the CHA’s Duane Dauner phoned Regan on November 3, 2015 and “explained to representatives of UHW that the new coalition was not willing to work with UHW and that they, therefore, could not be part of the coalition.” (p. 19)

The arbitrator’s decision makes multiple other references to statewide leaders’ apparently extreme dislike for Regan:
“ was the stakeholders that insisted UHW was not welcome.” (p. 22)
“UHW was generally aware that.. the Governor's office, CTA and other stakeholders were unwilling to meet with UHW or to allow UHW to join their coalition.” (pp. 23-24)

Elsewhere, the arbitrator refers to “UHW's apparently strained relationship with the governor and the SEIU State Council.”

We all know what happened next. When Regan failed to deliver the billions of dollars he’d promised to his CEO pals, his secret partnership deal with the Hospital Association exploded in flames.
Dave Regan and the gang that can't shoot straight

In an angry response to his former CEO pals, Regan filed a new ballot initiative designed to cap their salaries at $450,000 a year. 

Unfortunately, Regan forgot to read the gag clause that he’d signed as part of his secret partnership deal, which legally blocked SEIU-UHW from taking any action "adverse" to the interests of the hospital industry.

Last month, after Regan had already wasted $5 million of SEIU-UHW members’ dues money to collect signatures for his doomed executive-compensation ballot initiative, a Superior Court judge ordered Regan to withdraw the initiative or face tens of millions of dollars of penalties.

Altogether, it was quite a remarkable series of failures and f*ck-ups by Regan and his chief political strategist, Dave Kieffer.

As one observer remarked: “It looks like Dave Regan is chief gunner for the gang that can’t shoot straight.”

Thursday, July 14, 2016

More Criticism of SEIU-UHW Dave Regan's Backroom Deal with California Hospital Association

Days after the Los Angeles Times slammed SEIU-UHW for its ballot initiative fraud, the Sacramento Bee has published an op-ed by NUHW’s Sal Rosselli, who blasts SEIU-UHW's Dave Regan for abandoning patients, defrauding voters, gagging workers, and undermining the labor movement. 

Here’s a full copy of Rosselli’s op-ed:

Sacramento Bee
Shady Union-Hospital Deal Is Double-Crossing Voters
Special to The Bee
California voters have been duped, defrauded and double-crossed twice, and now they’re being fed an outrageously disingenuous lie to cover it up.
Earlier this month, a judge blocked an attempt by Oakland-based Service Employees International Union-United Healthcare Workers West to place on the November ballot an initiative to limit the pay of nonprofit hospital executives.
Why did the judge block it? Because it’s a bad idea? No. Because it was written incorrectly? No.
It’s hard to believe, but the courts blocked the initiative because it violated a secretive, collusive arrangement between the health care workers union and the California Hospital Association.
In 2014, the union abandoned its watchdog role by agreeing to a gag clause that legally prevents the union and its members from criticizing or filing ballot initiatives “adverse” to the hospital association or its members – in exchange for unfettered access to nonunion health care workers throughout California. Once the agreement was signed, the union abandoned its initiative, which had already qualified for the 2014 ballot.
Despite a chorus of critics in the media and the labor movement, SEIU-UHW President Dave Regan called the deal “visionary.” He didn’t see the fallout coming.
When the union failed to persuade workers throughout the state to become members, it retaliated against the hospitals by paying millions of dollars to get the initiative back on the ballot. The mess of threatened lawsuits and counterlawsuits quickly spiraled out of control, culminating in Regan’s alleged assault on an unsuspecting Contra Costa County process server.
California voters are paying the price for the spectacular collapse of this shady backroom deal. More than 600,000 people signed petitions to qualify the measure for the ballot in both 2014 and 2016, only to see it snatched away – once by the union officials who wrote it and now a second time as an unintended consequence of the gag clause.
SEIU-UHW officials are now crying foul to convince voters that they were sincere about the ballot measure in the first place. They’re hoping voters will forget that the union abandoned the measure once before and were prepared to do so again this year if it could have strong-armed the hospitals. And union leaders hope voters will have short memories two years from now when the union attempts its ballot-box blackmail again.
The National Union of Healthcare Workers has been a vocal critic of this scheme from the start. It embodies so much of what is wrong with the labor movement today.
Rather than subverting workers’ rights, unions should be democratic and member-driven. Rather than engaging in backroom deals, a union should be open and transparent. Rather than teasing and betraying voters, a union should be forthright and honest.
Let’s hope SEIU-UHW’s leaders learn their lesson and get back to organizing on behalf of health care workers rather than hospital executives.

Friday, July 8, 2016

Los Angeles Times Slams SEIU-UHW’s Dave Regan for Backroom Ballot Deal

On Monday, California’s largest newspaper published an editorial bashing SEIU-UHW for its ballot initiative fraud.

The editorial, authored by the Los Angeles Times’ deputy editorial page editor, describes how SEIU-UHW’s Dave Regan twice introduced statewide ballot initiatives for the “ostensible” purpose of protecting taxpayers… but then quickly tossed the public interest into the trash so he could cut secret deals with hospital CEOs.

According to the editorial, the “real purpose” of SEIU-UHW’s ballot measures was making backroom deals with CEOs, “as was made clear in an arbitrator’s report last month.”

“There’s something undeniably distasteful about the SEIU-UHW’s tactics,” says the Times.

That’s for sure.

Regan cynically exploited the public’s anger about soaring income equality, the shrinking middle-class, and worsening poverty... knowing full well he never intended to use voters’ 600,000 signatures to actually win improvements for the public. Instead, Regan traded voters’ signatures like so many poker chips during his secret negotiations with hospital CEOs.

That’s why the Times attacks SEIU-UHW for trying “to harness voters’ resentments to advance its own parochial interests.”

As a result of recent lawsuits, we now know that Regan committed an even bigger betrayal of the public trust.

In his secret deal with hospital CEOs, Regan not only agreed to drop the CEO salary initiative from the ballot, he also signed a gag clause that legally silenced SEIU-UHW from even mentioning CEOs’ off-the-charts salaries.
SEIU-UHW's Dave Regan 
According to court records, Regan’s secret pact -- called the “Code of Conduct” -- legally prohibited SEIU-UHW from issuing any “communications raising concerns about hospital pricing and executive compensation in health care.” [See Section I(B)(4)(a) of the Code of Conduct]

So just how concerned is Regan about CEOs’ sky-high salaries?

Let’s ask the 85,000 members and staff of SEIU-UHW who’ve had a giant piece of purple duct tape across their mouths for the past two years... thanks to SEIU-UHW President Dave Regan.

Friday, July 1, 2016

SEIU-UHW’s Dave Regan Withdraws Ballot Initiative and Launches “Big Lie” Campaign

SEIU-UHW's Dave Regan on the run
SEIU-UHW President Dave Regan has launched a disinformation campaign to try to deflect attention from the embarrassing blunders that forced SEIU-UHW to withdraw a California ballot initiative at a cost of millions of dollars to his union’s members and untold damage to SEIU’s reputation.

Yesterday (June 30), Regan bought ads in the Los Angeles Times and the Sacramento Bee where he published “An Open Letter to California Voters” to try to explain why he’s withdrawing the Hospital Executive Compensation Act of 2016 from the November ballot. (See a full copy of the ad below.)

Regan’s open letter -- composed of equal parts lies and deceit -- says he’s not to blame for a staggering series of f*uck-ups, failures, and ethical transgressions against workers, patients, and taxpayers.

The letter’s over-the-top deceit hints at the phenomenal scale of Regan’s blunders. 

• Last fall, Regan’s sweetheart deal with the California Hospital Association (CHA) exploded in flames.
• In November, Regan angrily filed the ballot initiative even though he had signed a secret pact with the CHA in May of 2014 that specifically prohibited SEIU-UHW from “sponsoring or supporting” any ballot initiatives or legislation that are “adverse to the interests of the hospital industry.” Regan’s secret deal also contained a gag clause blocking SEIU-UHW from “raising concerns about… executive compensation in health care” or saying “derogatory” things about corporations and their bosses.
• In January, a copy of Regan’s secret CHA deal was finally released to the public as a result of the CHA’s litigation. For nearly two years, Regan had treated the deal, known as the "Code of Conduct," like a tightly held state secret, refusing to show it even to SEIU-UHW’s elected governing board.
• In February, Regan’s face was splashed across TV newscasts after he unleashed an allegedly brutal assault on a process server who tried to deliver court records to Regan’s home regarding the CHA lawsuit. 
• In March, a Sacramento County Superior Court judge ordered SEIU-UHW to submit to binding arbitration over the filing of the ballot initiative in violation of Regan's secret CHA deal.
• In June, an arbitrator and a Superior Court judge ruled that Regan had violated his secret agreement with the CHA and consequently ordered SEIU-UHW to withdraw the statewide ballot initiative by June 30 or reimburse the CHA for its costs in opposing the initiative at the ballot box.

Now that Regan has withdrawn his ballot initiative, he's left with the task of somehow explaining his stunning series of f*ck-ups, failures, and sell-outs to his members, politicians, and the public.

For instance, why did the state’s largest healthcare workers’ union surrender its watchdog role by signing a secret pact with hospital CEOs that prohibits SEIU-UHW from doing anything “adverse” to the hospital industry’s interests?

In trademark fashion, Regan is refusing to acknowledge his failures. Instead, he’s promoting an aggressive “Big Lie” campaign to try to cover his tracks.

According to Regan's Big Lie, “an unaccountable arbitrator” is responsible for his phenomenal failures. In yesterday's newspaper ads and e-mail blasts, Regan comically casts himself as a righteous defender of the 99% who tirelessly battles fatcat CEOs.

Referring to the “unaccountable arbitrator,” Regan writes:
Yes, one person can deny the will of 650,000 people and prevent a vote by more than 17.9 million, all in the name of protecting multimillionaire CEO salaries. It's outrageous.

In fact, one person did deny SEIU-UHW the right to challenge CEOs’ outrageously excessive compensation packages. And one person has been protecting multimillionaire CEOs.

His initials are “Dave Regan.”

He personally signed the secret gag clause that blocked SEIU-UHW’s 80,000 members from talking about executive compensation for nearly two years. That's the same gag clause that blocked SEIU-UHW from taking independent positions on countless legislative, policy, and regulatory matters for two years.  

Dave Regan
Last week’s Superior Court decision ordering SEIU-UHW to withdraw its ballot initiative demonstrates just how restrictive the legal handcuffs are that Regan strapped onto his union’s 80,000 members through his secret deal with hospital CEOs.

Oh, and remember those “multimillionaire CEOs” that Regan now rails against?

Well, Wall Street Dave gleefully leapt into bed with those same CEOs only months ago. He held secret meetings with them in fancy hotels like the Fairmont Grand Del Mar where he traded away workers’ wages, benefits, freedom of speech, and right to strike – without even consulting workers.

In fact, Regan climbed so far down the pants of his pinstriped pals that he became their official errand boy, shamelessly pushing CEOs' anti-worker legislation in the halls of California’s legislature.

Make no doubt about it:  Regan is a two-faced liar who’s a disgrace to the labor movement.

Below are copies of Regan’s ads in the Los Angeles Times and the Sacramento Bee as well as an e-mail blast that he sent yesterday to SEIU-UHW’s members and the public as part of his “Big Lie” campaign.

Here's an e-mail blast Regan sent to SEIU-UHW members on June 30:

I just finished up a special meeting with our SEIU-UHW Executive Board, where we wrestled with how best to move forward after receiving a deeply flawed arbitration decision affecting the fate of our initiative, the Hospital Executive Compensation Act of 2016. In his ruling, the arbitrator ordered us to withdraw the initiative or risk being fined $65 million (or more). Given the fact the arbitrator was essentially threatening our union with bankruptcy if we moved forward in support of the initiative, our Executive Board made the difficult decision to recommend that the proponents withdraw the initiative in order to best protect the interests of SEIU-UHW members (see Resolution 22-16).

As I’m sure you can imagine, I am incredibly frustrated with the arbitrator’s ruling. With the stroke of a pen, one person has wiped away the clear intentions and hard work of so many SEIU-UHW members and staff, and the nearly 650,000 California voters who signed our initiative petition. I want to be clear, though, that this is only a temporary setback. The arbitrator ruled we can’t pursue this initiative this year, and his authority is only limited to this one decision. Going forward, we can freely use any and all of the tools in our ballot initiative toolbox to accomplish our goals of ensuring members are able to get to retirement with all our wages and benefits intact and ensuring access to quality healthcare for all Californians.

In our meeting yesterday, our Executive Board reaffirmed our commitment to speaking out against excessive hospital CEO pay, holding the hospital industry accountable to patients and workers, fixing California’s broken Medi-Cal system, and ensuring a rising standard of living for healthcare workers. To that end, an Open Letter to California Voters from our Executive Board will appear tomorrow (Thursday) as ads in the Sacramento Bee and L.A. Times.

Here is the text of that open letter:


The 85,000 hospital and clinic workers of the Service Employees International Union-United Healthcare Workers West (SEIU-UHW) want to work in a healthcare system that delivers affordable, high-quality care on an equal basis to all Californians. We also know we have a lot of work to do to get there. 

Take Sutter Health, one of the largest hospital chains in the state. Sutter is considered to be a non-profit charity, meaning it doesn’t pay taxes, a huge benefit courtesy of California taxpayers. In exchange, Sutter is supposed to serve the public and you would expect that it would operate in the service of all Californians.

But it turns out Sutter charges 25 percent more than other hospitals in California, nearly $4,000 per patient admission (based on 2013 prices). It can “get away” with this because many of its facilities operate in areas where there is little or no competition, enabling it to use its market power to raise prices.

It also pays its executives some of the highest salaries in the state. In 2014, at least 24 Sutter executives were paid more than a million dollars, 2 were paid more than $2 million, 1 was paid more than $4 million, and one executive was paid more than $6 million.

And they call themselves non-profits? Charities? Really? 

Sutter is one of the many examples in a California hospital industry where CEOs get extremely wealthy while patients face crippling costs. That is why the caregivers of SEIU-UHW sponsored the Hospital Executive Compensation Act of 2016, which would limit hospital executive compensation to the same level as the President of the United States, or $450,000 a year. And that is why nearly 650,000 California voters signed petitions to put it on the ballot in November. We believe this initiative would be an important step toward lowering healthcare costs and improving access to care. 

Hospital executives are desperate to deny you the right to vote on this initiative. They initiated legal proceedings and got an unaccountable arbitrator, named Richard L. Ahearn, to order us to withdraw the ballot initiative you signed – before you had a chance to vote on it. Yes, one person can deny the will of 650,000 people and prevent a vote by more than 17.9 million, all in the name of protecting multimillionaire CEO salaries. It's outrageous.

The caregivers of SEIU-UHW regret that we are being ordered to withdraw this initiative and that California voters are losing their right to vote on it THIS year. But we pledge that we will keep speaking out on the corrupting effects of excessive executive compensation in our healthcare system and will work to bring a similar initiative back to the ballot as soon as possible. 

All Californians need access to the highest quality, affordable healthcare. We will continue working day and night toward that goal.


The Members of the SEIU-UHW Executive Board

I look forward to working with you in November and beyond to build a better healthcare system for California and a better standard of living for healthcare workers.

In Unity,

Dave Regan
President, SEIU-UHW