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.