Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Top SEIU Official to Leave at End of Month

Laphonza Butler and Mary Kay Henry

Laphonza Butler -- the President of SEIU Local 2015 -- is quitting her job at the end of December.

Readers will recall that she was appointed to run the union after its former president, Tyrone Freeman, went to jail for a massive corruption scandal. 

During Butler’s tenure, more local unions were merged into the mega-union including 65,000 long-term care workers transferred from Dave Regan’s SEIU-UHW. Butler also serves on SEIU’s International Executive Board and is reportedly a close ally of Mary Kay Henry.

So why is Butler leaving her position atop a giant union with hundreds of thousands of members? 

Here’s what she’s saying publicly: “The time has come for new leadership to take Local 2015 to its next great victories.”

What’s the real story?

It turns out she’s jumping ship to become a partner at a political consulting/communications firm based in California, according to a Dec. 7 article in the Los Angeles Times:
“Butler will be a partner in the newly rechristened firm SCRB Strategies, along with veteran strategists Ace Smith, Sean Clegg and Juan Rodriguez. Their clients include Newsom, Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf and Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), a frequent subject of speculation in her own right about 2020 presidential ambitions.”

According to the firm’s website, “SCRB also advises Fortune 500 companies, major developers, and sports franchises regarding crisis, PR, and public affairs.” 

One of the firm’s corporate clients is PG&E, which is facing allegations that its faulty equipment sparked the massive wildfires that ravaged California during the past two years and killed more than 100 people. PG&E will no doubt pay a pretty penny to SCRB.

In other words, Butler’s motivation might be summarized as “ka-ching.”

The firm, formerly known as “SCN Strategies,” has added a “B” at the end of its name to indicate its fourth partner, Laphonza Butler, along with partners Smith, Clegg and Rodriguez.

Interestingly, Butler may soon find herself across a table from Dave Regan, whom she reportedly can’t stomach.


Regan has hired the firm to run some of his failed ballot initiatives, including SEIU-UHW’s 2014 ballot initiative targeting the California Hospital Association.

Like planets caught in the same gravitational field, their paths may soon collide again. 

Friday, November 30, 2018

SEIU-UHW’s Dave Regan: “Most Expensive Loser in California Elections”

Dave Regan’s ballot-initiative bonanza has helped him secure the distinction of being the ‘biggest loser’ in California’s 2018 elections, according to CalMatters.

In an article this week, CalMatters -- a daily publication covering California politics -- reported that Regan’s ballot measure targeting the dialysis industry won “the distinction of being the costliest losing campaign of the year.”

SEIU-UHW “not only failed to shackle the profits of the state’s dialysis clinics as planned, they ended up spending more than any other losing campaign—$38 million or $8.49 per vote,” according to the publication. (Ben Christopher, “How much did interest groups pay per vote? The answer, as we break down the midterms with data,” CalMatters, November 26, 2018)

Way to go, Dave! 

Not everyone can claim to be the “most expensive loser” of California’s 2018 political season.

Friday, November 16, 2018

SEIU-UHW's Dave Regan Suffers $4.1 Million Self-Inflicted Blunder in Ohio Ballot Initiative

SEIU-UHW's Dave Regan

Just in case Dave Regan’s lopsided defeat on last week’s ballot measures wasn’t bad enough, he suffered an even more embarrassing ballot-initiative blunder in his home state of Ohio.

In a f*ck-up of interstellar proportions, Regan’s Ohio dialysis initiative was knocked off the ballot because, well, Dave forgot to have his signature-gatherers fill out a required state form.

Way to go, Dave!

It gets worse. Ya see, Dave didn’t happen to notice his mistake until he’d already spent upwards of $4.1 million on his Ohio initiative. D’oh!

Of course, we’ve all made mistakes, right? But have you ever made a $4 million mistake? And it wasn’t even Dave’s money!

Here’s what happened.

After Regan’s SEIU-UHW filed an initiative against the kidney dialysis industry in California, Dave then filed copycat initiatives in both Arizona and Ohio in an apparent attempt to "up the ante" on industry leaders.

Months later, Regan abandoned his effort in Arizona.

But in Ohio, Dave soldiered on like a preacher consumed by the holy spirit. He spent millions on signature gatherers in a fervent quest to qualify his initiative, called the “Kidney Dialysis Patient Protection Amendment.”

In fact, Dave paid $3.6 million to a California signature-gathering company called PCI Consultants (headed by Angelo Paparella) to run his Ohio effort, according to campaign expenditure records from the Ohio Secretary of State.

And he paid thousands to the law firm of his private Ohio attorney, Michael Hunter of “Hunter, Carnahan, Shoub, Byard, & Harshman.”

In late July, Regan triumphantly filed 296,000 signatures to try to qualify his constitutional amendment for the ballot. But he was 9,500 signatures short. Fortunately for Dave, the Ohio Constitution gave him ten more days to collect the missing signatures. One more chance!

Ten days later, after spending even more money on his signature-gathering campaign, Regan finally hit the target. Except for one important thing. Dave’s crack team forgot to have the signature gatherers sign a state-required form required before collecting voter signatures. Whoops!

Dave’s opponents, the Ohio Renal Association, leapt on Dave’s blunder like a pack of hungry wolves on a T-bone steak. They sued to block Dave’s initiative on the grounds that his signatures were invalid. In a 7-0 decision, the Ohio Supreme Court agreed, thereby knocking Dave’s multimillion dollar initiative off the November 2018 ballot. 

(Jackie Borchardt, “Ohio kidney dialysis ballot issue invalidated by state Supreme Court,” Cleveland Plain Dealer, August 13, 2018; Laura A. Bischoff and Kaitlin Schroeder, “Ohio Supreme Court kicks kidney dialysis issue off the November ballot,” Dayton Daily News, August 13, 2018.)

When the court’s decision was announced, it must’ve been quite a scene at the Renal Association… execs doing back flips, taunting Dave for his colossal blunder, etc.

It turns out that Dave’s self-inflicted failure is even worse than it first appears.


In 2016, Regan committed the same exact dumb-ass blunder in Arizona, which caused another one of Dave’s initiatives to be stripped from that state’s ballot.

How did George W. Bush put it? “Fool me once, shame on... Fool me twice, shame on...” Except, of course, George kinda garbled it all up. (Here’s the YouTube video.)

So what’s up with Dave?

Maybe his memory ain’t so good these days. Perhaps his fistfight in a Sacramento bar and his headline-grabbing assault on a process-server have resulted in the premature demise of a few of Dave’s brain cells.

But you gotta hand it to Dave. When he f*cks up, he really f*cks up big-time.

According to campaign disclosure records, Regan spent $4.1 million on his Ohio campaign. And in June, he loaned $1.7 million of SEIU-UHW’s funds to the Ohio campaign. That money has not been repaid, according to the Ohio Secretary of State. These figures don’t include all of the national TV advertising, which tallied millions more.

Regular people get fired if we make a $50 screw-up at work.

So why isn’t Dave held accountable for his repeated multi-million-dollar blunders? Shouldn’t he be fired?

To view campaign expenditure records, go to the Ohio Secretary of State’s website and retrieve records for Regan’s PAC: “Ohioans for Kidney Dialysis Patient Protection” (PAC Registration No. BI1793). The PAC’s address is: 777 S. Figueroa Street Suite 4050 Los Angeles, CA 90017.

Friday, November 9, 2018

Dave Regan’s Ballot Initiatives Are Routed despite Millions in SEIU-UHW Funding

On Tuesday, SEIU-UHW’s Dave Regan suffered a severe drubbing at the polling place despite having spent upwards of $30 million on ballot initiatives this year.

Regan’s biggest measure -- California’s Proposition 8 targeting dialysis companies -- was defeated by a tally of 61.5% (“No”) to 38.5% (“Yes”), according to the California Secretary of State.


Regan dumped more than $20 million of SEIU-UHW’s budget into that campaign.

Why did Regan lose so badly?

He was vastly outspent by his opponents. Plus, Regan ran a sloppy and poorly designed campaign, say analysts.
The proposition also was poorly written and difficult for voters to understand, said Erin Trish, associate director of health policy at the USC Schaeffer Center for Health Policy and Economics.

(Ana B. Ibarra and Anna Gorman, “Measure To Cap Dialysis Profits Pummeled,” California Healthline, November 8, 2018.)

Gerald Kominski, a senior fellow at the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research, said Regan’s campaign, unlike his opponents’ effort, failed to deliver a clear message to voters about why they should support it.

In case losing wasn’t bad enough, Regan also helped deliver a giant payday to his multi-billion dollar opponents. The day after the election, the stock price of both DaVita and Fresenius soared. In fact, DaVita’s share price jumped by 9.9%, according to CNBC.

Way to go, Dave!

Regan’s loss on Proposition 8 wasn’t his only defeat.

In Northern California, voters delivered an even bigger thumping. 

Two city-wide ballot initiatives lost by a landslide. In Palo Alto, Regan’s Measure F lost by a margin of 77% (“No”) to 23% (“Yes”). Meanwhile, in Livermore, Measure U lost by a margin of 82% (“No”) to 17% (“Yes”).

Both initiatives targeted Stanford Health Care in an effort to pressure the healthcare system into giving Regan a special unionization deal. If the measures had been approved, they would have capped healthcare providers’ revenues.
SEIU-UHW's Dave Regan

Duane Dauner – the former CEO of the California Hospital Association and Regan’s one-time paramour --   led the campaigns to defeat the two initiatives. Meanwhile, Regan’s former pals at Kaiser Permanente contributed money to defeat Regan’s initiatives.

Will Regan finally hang up the towel on ballot initiatives?

This year, he doubled down on his so-called “innovative” strategy of using ballot initiatives to “rebuild” the US labor movement. And he circulated more initiatives than during the past six years combined. At the end of the day, however, not a single measure was successful.

As a result, Dave successfully flushed upwards of $30 million of SEIU-UHW members’ dues money down the toilet.

Has Regan finally learned his lesson?

It doesn’t look like it. Late on election day, Regan issued a press release announcing his plans to refile the same dialysis ballot initiative in 2020. WTF.

Will SEIU-UHW’s members allow Dave to flush millions more dollars down the toilet?

Friday, November 2, 2018

At SEIU Local 73, Controversy Follows Ballot Count

The results are in from the internal union election at SEIU Local 73 in Chicago. But the controversy is far from over… with allegations of election misconduct filed just days after the ballot count.

Here’s what’s happening:

On October 23rd, the votes were tallied in the mail-in balloting to elect the union’s top officers and 30-member Executive Board. The election came after a two-year trusteeship imposed by SEIU President Mary Kay Henry and a 2017 court battle launched by Local 73 members to bring an end to the trusteeship. SEIU’s trusteeship featured a cast of well-known characters, including Eliseo Medina.

Who won the election?

SEIU’s trustee, Dian Palmer. But by just 375 votes. Until recently, Palmer was the president of SEIU Healthcare Wisconsin. She’s also a member of SEIU’s International Executive Board. She beat out Remzi Jaos, a former staff member at Local 73. He’s part of a slate called “Members leading Members” slate, which pledged to return the union to local control.

As far as the election for Local 73’s Executive Board, the “Members leading Members” slate won eight of 30 seats.

Participation in the election was very low. Only 2,300 ballots were cast from the union’s 25,000 members, who work in the public sector in Illinois and Northwestern Indiana.

Just 6 days after the vote count, the “Members leading Members” slate formally appealed the election. It also plans to file charges with the US Department of Labor over alleged misconduct by SEIU officials during the election, including using the union’s resources to campaign for SEIU’s candidates.

For more details, check out a one-page leaflet from the “Members leading Members” slate as well as the election appeal it filed earlier this week.

Thursday, October 25, 2018

SEIU-UHW’s Dave Regan Launches “Spin” Offensive on Ballot Initiative

This week, Dave Regan trotted out an interesting “spin” on his ballot initiative gamble.

Regan’s mathematically-challenged spin goes something like this: 

Regan has spent $20 million of SEIU-UHW members’ money on a statewide ballot initiative targeting the dialysis industry. Meanwhile, two multinational dialysis companies have spent a combined $105 million to oppose the initiative. Even if Regan’s initiative loses at the ballot box, Dave says he’s still a winner because the other side was forced to spend more money.

A recent article entitled “Healthcare Workers’ Union Counts Dialysis Victory in Dollars Spent against It” (CalMatters, October 21, 2018) begins this way:
Win or lose, Dave Regan, the healthcare worker union leader who is pushing an initiative to regulate dialysis clinic profits, is getting some satisfaction at the huge sums being spent by the dialysis industry, $105 million and counting.
“In a weird kind of way, we must be doing something right,” Regan said, referring to the spending.

So why is Dave’s spin “mathematically challenged”?

Dave forgot to mention some important details.

For example, $105 million is barely a drop in the bucket for these mammoth companies. Their combined annual revenues are $51 billion, with annual combined profits totaling $4 billion. $105 million represents less than 0.2% of the companies’ annual revenues. It’s like a few pennies to them.

Meanwhile, Dave spent $20 million of SEIU-UHW members’ money, which represents about 20% of the union’s annual budget. Ouch!

Imagine if you gambled 20% of your organization’s annual budget… and you lost.

No wonder Dave is test-driving some spin… especially now that the election is less than two weeks away. Publicly, Regan says his union’s own polling indicates the initiative will win, according to a press release issued by SEIU-UHW this week.

Meanwhile, Regan’s $20 million gamble appears to have come at the expense of the union’s basic day-to-day work – such as bargaining good contracts and representing workers on the job. In recent months, two separate groups of SEIU-UHW members formally requested elections to decertify SEIU-UHW and go non-union, according to NLRB records. 

The two groups are USC Verdugo Hills Hospital (a 158-bed hospital in Glendale, Calif.) and Santa Rosa Community Health (an outpatient clinic system with 12 campuses and 500 staff in the San Francisco Bay Area). Regan has instructed his attorneys to stall the elections as long as possible.

Like Dave said: “In a weird kind of way, we must be doing something right.”

Friday, October 19, 2018

$125 Million Price-Tag on Dave Regan’s California Ballot Initiative

Here’s an update on Dave Regan’s 2018 ballot initiative bonanza:
The ballot initiative campaign with the highest price-tag in California's 2018 midterm elections isn’t about rent control or the gas tax, it’s about kidney dialysis, and specifically, how much profit providers can make from the procedure.
Supporters and opponents of Proposition 8, the “Fair Pricing for Dialysis Act,” have contributed almost $120 million during the 2018 campaign season.

(Samuel Metz, “California's most expensive proposition battle pits kidney dialysis providers against unions,” Palm Springs Desert Sun, Oct. 16, 2018)

In fact, these numbers have grown even higher since the article was published three days ago. According to the California Secretary of State, Regan has pumped $20.4 million into the campaign while opponents have poured $105.6 million into their effort.

Regan launched this statewide ballot initiative after SEIU-UHW was unsuccessful in organizing kidney dialysis workers a couple of years ago. Regan hoped his punitive measure would serve as leverage to force the industry into a backroom unionization deal -- just like Regan tried to do with the California Hospital Association.

Apparently, Regan’s threats weren’t enough.

According to one source, the two sides met in Sacramento to discuss a possible deal just days before the deadline for withdrawing initiatives from the ballot. After 30 minutes, however, the meeting reportedly ended when Regan stormed out of the room.

That’s what led to the full-on fight we’re now witnessing at the ballot box… with Regan’s billionaire opponents pouring five times as much money into their campaign as Regan.

At this point, it’s impossible for SEIU-UHW to finagle any sort of deal from the industry as Regan no longer has the ability to remove his initiative from the ballot.

So, SEIU-UHW is left in a no-win position… even as it spends tens of millions of its members’ dollars on a no-win proposition.

Meanwhile, SEIU-UHW’s public image is taking a beating in the press. All of the state’s major newspapers have editorialized against Regan’s initiative including the Los Angeles Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Sacramento Bee, San Diego Union-Tribune, San Jose Mercury News, Fresno Bee, La OpiniĆ³n, Santa Rosa Press Democrat, Modesto Bee and Bakersfield Californian.

Many of the newspapers are angry at Regan’s repeated attempts to use the initiative process as a bargaining chip rather than a tool to create better public policy. For example, the Santa Rosa Press Democrat writes:
Proposition 8 is nothing short of an abuse of California’s initiative process, which allows anyone with enough money to put a proposed law on the ballot.
This initiative is designed to punish dialysis clinic operators who have resisted union efforts to organize their employees. Voters shouldn’t play along.
We don’t have a position on whether clinic employees should unionize. However, we’re absolutely certain that voters shouldn’t be asked to judge a regulatory scheme for a specialty medical procedure that literally is a matter of life and death for tens of thousands of California residents suffering from serious kidney disease. That’s a job for the Legislature and the state Department of Public Health Services.
Proposition 8, sponsored by the Service Employees International Union-United Healthcare Workers West, supposedly is about improving conditions at the 588 licensed dialysis clinics around the state. Yet there is nothing in this initiative about standards of patient care…
This isn’t the first time these unions have used ballot initiatives to try to gain leverage at the bargaining table. But this fight doesn’t belong on the ballot, as voters are in no position to write accounting rules for dialysis clinics.

To date, Regan has gambled tens of millions of dollars of his members’ money on ballot initiatives… without success. This year, he introduced no fewer than 10 initiatives. 

Imagine if he had instead spent $20 million on training rank-and-file organizers, mounting aggressive contract fights, winning improved standards for workers and patients, and launching grass-roots organizing campaigns.

Unfortunately, Regan has little interest in developing rank-and-file leaders and building bottom-up power among his union's members. Why?

It means fewer challenges to his personal power atop the union.

Friday, October 12, 2018

Is SEIU-UHW’s Dave Regan On the Take from his Billionaire Buddies?

Here’s the latest from San Francisco, where SEIU-UHW’s Dave Regan has joined forces with tech billionaires, real estate titans, and the billionaire CEO of a cryptocurrency company in an effort to defeat pro-worker candidates running for the San Francisco Board of Supervisors.

Last month, Regan dumped a quarter million dollars of SEIU-UHW members’ money into a Super PAC associated with tech billionaire Ron Conway. In the past, Conway’s Super PAC has “netted five-figure donations from Facebook, Google, and Airbnb,” according to the SF Weekly.

In recent weeks, Conway’s Super PAC dumped $640,000 into “Independent Expenditure” campaigns aimed at defeating two pro-labor candidates, according to campaign records published by the California Secretary of State. 

One of the targeted candidates is Gordon Mar, the Director of Jobs with Justice San Francisco, which is part of a network of pro-labor nonprofit organizations across the nation. The second is an anti-eviction lawyer who serves on the city's Board of Education.

The avalanche of Super PAC donations from Regan and his corporate buddies has already prompted multiple complaints alleging campaign law violations, according to the SF Weekly.

San Francisco is an especially illuminating stage for Regan to flaunt his love-acts with tech billionaires and plutocrats.

Using data from the US Census Bureau, the city’s Human Services Agency concluded that San Francisco has more income inequality than Rwanda and other sub-Saharan countries. And the Brookings Institute found that San Francisco’s income inequality is growing faster than any other city in the nation.

Meanwhile, San Francisco’s housing costs are off the charts. City officials discovered that 42% of the city’s Latinos are living doubled-up with another family in one unit.

So why the f*ck is Regan working with billionaires to attack pro-worker candidates in the city with the highest income inequality in the nation?
Hotel workers striking Marriott in San Francisco

And how can Regan's $250,000 contribution to the Super Pac possibly be in the interest of SEIU-UHW's rank-and-file members?

Perhaps Diamond Dave is on the take.

After all, his timing is impeccable. 

Regan dumped SEIU-UHW’s quarter million dollars into anti-worker campaigns at the same time that thousands of UNITE HERE members are striking Marriott, the largest hotel operator in San Francisco.

So Dave, what kind of secret deal did you make with your billionaire buddies?

We want to know.

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Election Begins at SEIU Local 73 Following Two-Year Trusteeship and Court Battle

Remember SEIU’s trusteeship of Local 73 in Chicago, which represents 25,000 public-sector workers in Illinois and Northwestern Indiana?

In August 2016, SEIU President Mary Kay Henry imposed the trusteeship based on the claim that tensions between the local union’s top two officers were disrupting it. She appointed Eliseo Medina, Dian Palmer and Denise Poloyac as trustees.

Eighteen months later, members of Local 73 sued SEIU and asked a federal judge to end the trusteeship and allow Local 73’s members to elect a president and Executive Board. Under federal law, a trusteeship is presumed to be invalid after 18 months.

That lawsuit -- known as Hunter vs SEIU -- was filed in February 2018 in US District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. This summer, a federal judge held a five-day hearing on the suit.

One month after the hearing concluded, the SEIU trustees announced officer elections. Earlier this week, mail-in ballots were sent to the union’s members and are due back October 23, according to a timeline posted on Local 73’s website.
Remzi Jaos

Initially, SEIU’s elections committee tried to block the opposition slate’s leading candidate from appearing on the ballot. Eventually, they backed down and Remzi Jaos, a candidate of the “Members Leading Members” slate, is on the ballot as a candidate for the president of Local 73. The slate is campaigning on a platform of returning control to local members.

Jaos formerly directed Local 73’s Higher Education Division and before that was a staffer at SEIU Local 1 and the Illinois Nurses Association, according to his bio on the “Members Leading Members” website. See below a photo of the slate’s candidates.

At the top of SEIU’s slate is Dian Palmer, who’s been one of SEIU’s appointed trustees at Local 73. Before that, she was the president of SEIU Healthcare Wisconsin. She’s also a member of SEIU’s International Executive Board.

The “Members Leading Members” slate says SEIU officials changed internal rules to allow Palmer and other SEIU staffers to qualify as candidates for the election. Here’s how they describe it in a leaflet:
In a sneaky move in July, Palmer got the International to waive the 2-year membership requirement for her and the other trustees. This waiver was done before any Local 73 members were notified by the Election Committee that the two-year membership requirement was changed to a six-month membership requirement!

Another SEIU staffer, Jeffrey Howard, is a candidate for the Executive Vice President. Howard, an “Assistant Area Director” for SEIU International, began working on the trusteeship team at the beginning of 2018.

In a September 26th filing in federal court, the plaintiffs in Hunter vs SEIU express additional concerns about the integrity of the voting system and the security of the ballots once they’re sent to an outside agency hired by SEIU to oversee the election. For example, they raise concerns about how "replacement ballots" will be issued and tracked, and how ballots returned as "undeliverable" will be handled and accounted for.

Stay tuned!

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

SEIU-UHW’s Dave Regan Joins Tech Billionaire to Oppose Pro-Worker Candidates

Tech billionaire Ron Conway

It turns out that Andy Stern is not the only SEIU official who’s working with billionaires to fight pro-worker candidates.

Ten days ago, Dave Regan deposited a quarter million dollars of SEIU-UHW members’ funds into a Super PAC to oppose two pro-worker candidates running for San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors.

One of the candidates is Gordon Mar, the Executive Director of “Jobs with Justice San Francisco,” a pro-labor organization backed by many unions… including SEIU.

Go figure.

According to campaign records, Regan dropped the $250K into a PAC that’s long been associated with billionaire tech investor Ron Conway, a San Francisco resident who’s been sharply criticized for using his cash to exert outsized influence on San Francisco politics.

Just days after Regan deposited the money into Conway’s PAC (“Progress San Francisco”), the PAC funneled more than $120,000 into two “Independent Expenditure” campaigns to oppose the pro-worker candidates. (The two IEs are “San Franciscans for Change, Supporting Johnson and Trauss for D6 Supervisor 2018” and “Safe and Clean Sunset Coalition, Supporting Ho for D4 Supervisor 2018.”)
SEIU-UHW's Dave Regan
Conway, once dubbed the “Godfather of Silicon Valley,” was an early investor in Google, Facebook and other tech companies. He was the single largest donor to former San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee… dumping $600,000 into an independent expenditure committee to support Lee. After Lee was elected, observers criticized him for taking actions to benefit the companies in which Conway has investments.

When Lee died suddenly in office, Conway threw his support behind London Breed, who defeated two progressives in June 2018 with the help of a half million dollars of Conway’s money, according to campaign records. Breed now sits in the mayor’s office.

Regan, by pouring $250,000 into Conway’s PAC, has joined forces with a gang of SF business titans.

In recent days, a business association representing San Francisco’s 40 largest employers -- the so-called “Committee on Jobs” -- dumped $50,000 into Conway’s PAC. The group’s board is headed by Lloyd Dean, the CEO of Dignity Health, which employs about 13,000 of SEIU-UHW’s members. Conway also serves on the Board of Directors of the “Committee on Jobs.”

Another contributor is Diane Wilsey, the owner and CEO of A. Wilsey Properties Company, a San Francisco-based real estate company. Last week, she dropped $150,000 into Conway’s PAC, according to campaign records. (See below.)
Diane Wilsey -- Dave's pal

Wilsey, the daughter of a US ambassador and the great-granddaughter of the founder of Dow Chemical, inherited $300 million and a real estate company when her husband, a real estate tycoon, died in 2002.

She’s also a socialite who pays special attention to the ballet, the opera and museums, which earned her the title of “San Francisco’s queen of philanthropy” by the New York Times. (Jori Finkel, “For San Francisco’s Queen of Philanthropy, No Quiet Exits,” New York Times, August 1, 2016)

By the way… she loves her pet dogs. She donated thousands of dollars to put her dogs’ names on the walls of a San Francisco museum, where her pure-bred canines are memorialized as generous donors to the museum. 

WTF, right?

And here’s a shocker.

Wilsey reportedly doesn’t have much respect for regular people. 

A former director of San Francisco’s museums told the New York Times: “She can laugh and joke with anyone, even a truck driver. Her failing is that she has not always listened to what people told her if they didn’t have social standing.” (Laura M. Holson, “Dede Wilsey Is the Defiant Socialite,” New York Times, September 24, 2016)

Another former director put it more bluntly: “A lowly staff member does not command her attention. There is a master-servant relationship that gets in the way of things.”

Yo, Dave… she sounds like a f*cking perfect ally for the workers in SEIU-UHW.  Great job.

So who are the two candidates opposed by Regan, Conway, Wilsey, and the other gold-plated execs?

One is Gordon Mar, the Executive Director of “Jobs with Justice San Francisco.” He’s a candidate in District 4 for the Board of Supervisors. The second is Matt Haney, a tenants rights attorney who served as the President of the Board of Education. He’s a candidate in District 6.
Diane Wilsey relaxing with her dogs
Mar and Haney have each been endorsed by more than 20 unions, including UNITE HERE, NUHW, CNA, UFCW, Teamsters, the teachers’ union, the San Francisco Labor Council, and SEIU Local 1021. They’ve also been endorsed by groups like the Green Party, the San Francisco Tenants Union, San Francisco Berniecrats, the San Francisco League of Pissed Off Voters, as well as progressive members of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors.

Meanwhile, their opponents -- Jessica Ho, Sonja Trauss and Christine Johnson, whom Regan is backing to the tune of $250,000 -- are each endorsed by just two unions.

So why is Regan working with corporate fatcats to oppose pro-worker candidates?

First of all, this isn’t new for Regan. Since Andy Stern appointed him as the trustee of SEIU-UHW, Regan has dramatically reshaped the union’s former political orientation in order to align it with business executives and the right wing of the labor movement.

In 2014, for example, Regan joined billionaire Conway and AirBnB investor Reid Hoffman in backing David Chiu, another corporate Democrat, in his race against David Campos, a progressive candidate for a California Assembly seat in San Francisco.

Secondly, there’s undoubtedly a transactional deal hidden behind Regan’s contribution -- a tit-for-tat exchange in which Regan kicks down $250,000 of SEIU-UHW members’ money in return for some secret benefit to Regan.

From the face of it, it’s difficult to see how SEIU-UHW’s numbers could possibly benefit from defeating pro-worker candidates and replacing them with corporate Democrats beholden to a billionaire tech investor and corporate bosses, including the CEO of Dignity Health.

Leave it to Regan -- a so-called “21st century thinker” -- to sell out workers in favor of corporate executives.

For more information, see excerpts from campaign filings below. Also, here are links to several articles:

Joe Kukura, “Massive Dark Money Donation Rocks D6 Race,” SF Weekly, September 20, 2018.

Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez, “Mystery backers of Trauss, Johnson drop $100k into D6 race,” San Francisco Examiner, September 20, 2018.

Matier & Ross, “The one-two strategy in SF’s District Six supervisor race gets money behind it,” San Francisco Chronicle, September 24, 2018.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

SEIU’s Andy Stern Joins Billionaires, Not Union Members, in Election Campaign

SEIU's Andy Stern
SEIU President Emeritus Andy Stern has once again shown his true colors.

In an upcoming election for a seat in California’s legislature, Stern has jumped in on the side of billionaires to back a corporate Democrat who’s challenging a union member supported by progressive organizations, multiple local unions, Bernie Sanders’ Our Revolution, the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) and California-based unions inside SEIU.

The November election pits Jovanka Beckles -- a Teamster, two-term Richmond city councilmember and DSA member -- against Buffy Wicks, a former White House official and Clinton Super PAC director who recently relocated to California and has never held elected office.

According to records from the California Secretary of State, Stern has made two contributions to Wicks this year. When contributing the funds, Stern identified himself as a “consultant” for Grandview, LLC, a corporation founded by Stern soon after he resigned as President of SEIU in April 2010. (See below.)

Incorporation documents confirm Stern’s role in the company (see below). Stern may use the corporation as a vehicle for his consulting gigs with tech companies like Uber and AirBnB. Stern’s company is registered to a Washington, DC apartment -- presumably Stern’s -- which appears to have a “grand view” of the Potomac River.
Jovanka Beckles (left) and Buffy Wicks (right)

The race for the California legislative seat has features similar to recent electoral contests in the US including the one between Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Joe Crowley.

During this spring’s primary election, Wicks received $1.2 million from “wealthy donors tied to Lyft, Uber, and Bay Area tech firms, charter school interests, major landlords, a health care industry PAC, and Govern for California, a business-oriented Super PAC created by the board chair of Walmart and a former top advisor to Republican Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger,” according to an article authored by labor journalist Steve Early. (Steve Early, “Teamster Tackles Corporate Democrat in California Assembly Race,” Labor Notes, August 31, 2018)

The "grand view" of the Potomac from the DC apartment
If you’re curious about Wicks’ donors, check out this interesting website -- buffywicks.money -- which offers details about Wicks’ donors including billionaires Ron Conway and Reid Hoffman.

“In contrast,” says Early, “Beckles raised and spent only about $160,000, mostly in smaller, in-state donations. She ran as a “people-powered” candidate, free of corporate money and relied on few paid staffers or outside consultants.” Beckles supports “workers’ and tenants’ rights, single payer health care, and getting big money out of politics,” says Early.

Here's an interview with Beckles in Jacobin Magazine: "We Need a New Economy That Works for the Many” 

Early writes:
Ex-SEIU President Andy Stern is an individual endorser of Wicks—despite the fact that two major SEIU locals and their state council favor Beckles. Since leaving the union, Stern has become a corporate board member and gig economy consultant… In the Assembly District 15 race today, California single-payer advocates favor Beckles over Wicks, whose position on health care reform is much weaker.
If Beckles’ consistent solidarity with local labor causes is reciprocated through sufficient union voter turnout and spending on her behalf, she may indeed be joining the Assembly in January.
And there, she will be a rare “corporate-free” voice for many other working class and poor Californians whose interests tend to be overlooked by state legislators who do take money from business PACs and industry associations.

Beckles is backed by multiple unions including the National Union of Healthcare Workers, Transit (ATU) Local 192, University Professional and Technical Employees (CWA), Teamsters Joint Council 7, SEIU Local 1021, the Alameda and Contra Costa County Labor Councils, the California Labor Federation, both statewide teachers’ unions, AFSCME, and the California Nurses Association.

Friday, September 7, 2018

Press: “Sexual Misconduct Lawsuit Filed against SEIU Prez’s Top Ally”

SEIU-UHW’s Dave Regan is getting more attention in the news… this time for allegations that he and other top SEIU-UHW officials engaged in harassment against women inside the union.

On August 21, Payday Report published an article detailing the latest developments in a lawsuit filed by Mindy Sturge against SEIU-UHW and Marcus Hatcher. Sturge first filed the lawsuit in May, but filed an updated and amended suit in July in Alameda County (Calif.) Superior Court. (Mike Elk, “Sexual Misconduct Lawsuit Filed Against SEIU Prez’s Top Ally,” Payday Report, August and 21, 2018)

Until recently, Hatcher directed SEIU-UHW’s Kaiser Division and served on the union’s Executive Board and Executive Committee. He was one of Regan’s top allies. Sturge, a “Coordinator” in SEIU-UHW’s Kaiser Division, was directly supervised by Hatcher.

Here’s an excerpt from the article. A full copy of the revised lawsuit is below.
Payday Report has learned that one of the largest Service Employees International Union locals in the country, California-based SEIU-UHW, has been sued in Alameda, California for sexual misconduct and assault committed by a top SEIU official against one of its former organizers. The lawsuits, obtained by Payday Report, accuses SEIU Vice President Dave Regan, who also serves as President of SEIU-UHW, of engaging in sexual misconduct…
SEIU-UHW has long faced criticism as one of the most corrupt and undemocratic union locals in the country; leading many #metoo activists to believe that the undemocratic culture within the union has bred a culture where misogyny and sexual misconduct flourish…
Now a lawsuit filed by a former SEIU staffer, Mindy Sturge, accuses SEIU-UHW President Dave Regan and former SEIU-UHW Kaiser Permanente Division Director Marcus Hatcher, of sexual misconduct and retaliation against Sturge for reporting it.
The lawsuit filed by Sturge also accuses SEIU-UHW of knowingly hiring organizers such as [Pedro] Malave who have been accused of sexual misconduct in other parts of the union.
According to the lawsuit: “Sturge and other women employees, and women union members were the subjects of inappropriate remarks that addressed their looks, their bodies, and their availability/interest in relationships. Sturge was also subjected to offensive touching, and she and others were discussed in inappropriate texts and in comments heard by or related to Sturge”.
Sturge reported the comments to SEIU-UHW management on several occasions, but no investigation was undertaken until Sturge was physically and sexually assaulted by Hatcher in September of 2017.
When Sturge finally did report the incidents, the lawsuit alleges that Regan, who was responsible for investigating all claims as President of the SEIU-UHW, verbally abused and berated Sturge in front of other staff members.
In November of 2017, Hatcher was reportedly fired from SEIU-UHW for violating SEIU’s non-fraternization policy, but the union took no disciplinary action against him for engaging in alleged sexual misconduct and assault. Nor was an action taken against SEIU UHW President Dave Regan for harassment of Sturge.
During this time period, the lawsuit alleges that Hatcher and his allies made social media posts and verbal comments accusing Sturge of lying about the story and trying to shake down Hatcher and the union for money after engaging in a consensual sexual relationship with Hatcher.
The lawsuit alleges that that “SEIU-UHW and its agents furthered the false and defamatory narrative about Sturge by announcing to others, both internally and externally, that Hatcher was fired for violation of the union’s non-fraternization policy as opposed to Hatcher having violated SEIU-UHW’s anti-harassment policy and/or having assaulted Sturge. This gave rise to the implication that Sturge and Hatcher had a consensual relationship or that his termination was the sole result of his consensual relationship(s) with other union staff and/or members”.

The lawsuit alleges that Hatcher and/or other SEIU-UHW staffers waged a campaign on Facebook and other social media designed to trash Sturge’s reputation and to lie about what happened. Here’s an excerpt from the lawsuit:
Among other things, these posts claim that Sturge had lied about the sexual assault by Hatcher, that she had “a consensual affair” with Hatcher, that she had ruined Hatcher’s life and career, that she is a “liar and manipulator,” that she is “a cheat and a home wrecker,” that she traveled to Los Angeles to further her alleged consensual affair with Hatcher, that she would go “bar-hopping” with Hatcher, and that she had reported Hatcher’s conduct to SEIU-UHW solely for the purpose of obtaining a monetary settlement…

According to the lawsuit, all of these statements are false and originated from Hatcher and/or other SEIU-UHW staffers. The latest version of the lawsuit says that when some of these Facebook post attacking Sturge were shown to Greg Pullman (SEIU-UHW’s Chief of Staff), he called the posts “disgusting.”

If the lawsuit proceeds to trial, says Payday Report, it could produce “volumes of evidence” that could shine a light on why top SEIU officials like Regan “were allowed to get away with sexual misconduct and retaliation against those who reported it.”