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?