Friday, August 23, 2019

SEIU-UHW Staffer: ‘Whistleblower Was Correct about Dave Regan’

Remember when SEIU-UHW President Dave Regan sued one of his union’s organizers after she spoke to a publication about Regan’s alleged sexual misconduct, drinking on the job, backroom deals with employers, illegal electioneering and other misconduct?

Regan fired the 42-year-old woman organizer, and then sued her for allegedly defaming his character.

Will check this out.

Her attorneys submitted a sworn declaration from another SEIU-UHW staffer, who backs up everything she said to the media. A copy is below.

As Tasty earlier reported, the organizer did not backed down about the truthfulness of what she told the press. And she filed a motion in court to knock out Regan’s lawsuit and require him to pay for any court and legal costs she’s been forced to fund.

Here’s the affidavit:

Thursday, August 8, 2019

Union Leader to SEIU’s Any Stern: “Good riddance and thanks for the clarity”

Sara Nelson, AFA's President

How is the US labor movement reacting to news that SEIU’s President Emeritus Andy Stern has joined a billionaire-funded group that’s dedicated to battling teachers unions?

Here’s what Sara Nelson, International President of the Association of Flight Attendants and a former Flight Attendant at United Airlines, told Splinter:
“It’s always good when people can finally be themselves. The labor movement doesn’t need climbers or people who think they are owed something. We need serious leaders. Good riddance and thanks for the clarity. The rest of us have serious work to do right here with the people who do the real work that makes this country, this world, run. We know which side we’re on.”

SEIU’s reaction?

They were initially silent. But in response to a journalist’s inquiry, SEIU spokesperson Dan O’Sullivan issued a written statement that included this excerpt:
We are all indebted to Andy for his leadership as SEIU president. We respect Andy’s desire to contribute to improving working people’s lives now that he is no longer SEIU president. We won’t always agree with Andy, and his views are his own—he does not speak on behalf of SEIU’s members.”

Hmm. Why are SEIU officials allowing Stern to use his official title of "SEIU President Emeritus" in the WalMart family-funded organization's public materials?

Stern’s reaction

First, he took a page out of Trump’s playbook by tweeting something that was totally contradicted by the facts, according to journalist Hamilton Nolan at Splinter. He then asked Nolan for more time to reply to his questions about why he joined the billionaire-funded pro-charter school group. Nolan added this note:
I don’t believe there is any reason the questions can’t be answered now. I will publish Stern’s further comments if and when I receive them.

Hamilton Nolan, “The Union World Is Not Happy With Andy Stern,” Splinter, August 1, 2019.

Friday, August 2, 2019

Another Former SEIU Official Is on Uber’s Payroll

LaPhonza Butler and Mary Kay Henry

It turns out that SEIU President Emeritus Andy Stern isn’t the only SEIU official on the payroll of gig companies.

Laphonza Butler, the former President of SEIU Local 2015 and the SEIU California State Council, is advising and representing Uber in secret talks with SEIU, according to an article in Bloomberg. (Josh Eidelson, “Teamsters Union Splits From Uber and Lyft on California Worker Rights Law,” Bloomberg, July 25, 2019).

Butler, a close ally of SEIU President Mary Kay Henry, also served until on the SEIU International Executive Board. Last December, she resigned her position at Local 2015 to take a job as a consultant and partner at SCRB Strategies, a California-based business and political consulting firm.

During the secret talks, covered in this earlier post, SEIU discussed plans to support Uber’s request for an exemption from a groundbreaking new California bill (Assembly Bill 5) that would force Uber to hire drivers as employees rather than exploit them as independent contractors.

On the good news front, Bloomberg reports that leaders of the Teamsters union in California are now saying they oppose exemptions for gig companies following a public backlash.

According to Eidelson:

If the [gig] industry can’t win over the Teamsters, firms could still hope to find compromise with other prominent unions that companies have met with, which include the Service Employees International Union and the United Food & Commercial Workers.
One asset for Uber is Laphonza Butler. She was president of one of the SEIU’s largest local unions until last year and is now a partner at SCRB Strategies, a California-based business and political consulting firm. There, Butler has advised and represented Uber in its dealings with organized labor on employment issues and also serves as an adviser to the presidential campaign of Kamala Harris, the Democratic senator from California. An Uber spokesman said Butler brings a valuable perspective to the company’s efforts to improve work for drivers, and a spokesman for Harris declined to comment. Butler and her firm didn’t respond to requests for comment
More recently, SEIU California circulated a summary of potential alternative legislation. The proposal would provide “flexibility to platform companies and platform workers,” according to the memo. It would create systems for collective bargaining, “portable benefits” accounts and minimum pay guarantees but would allow companies that meet certain criteria to seek “flexible alternative standards” in place of those covering other employers in areas such as overtime, breaks and worker’s compensation.

Such an approach alarms some drivers. Cutting a deal that deprives app-based workers of full employee rights “will absolutely damage the future for workers,” said Nicole Moore, a Lyft driver and organizer with the advocacy group Rideshare Drivers United in Los Angeles. She said any kind of special arrangement would reverberate far beyond ride-hailing and food delivery. “Workers can be deployed from apps in any industry,” Moore said.
In public, union leaders have taken a hard line. Mary Kay Henry, international president of the SEIU, said in February that the union intends to “reach an agreement that’s not a concession.” Henry discussed the issue in a recent meeting with Newsom’s chief of staff.
Bob Schoonover, president of the SEIU’s California State Council, said Thursday that the group “has not and would not support any third classification or interpretation of employee classification that would undermine employee status and protections” granted by last year’s court ruling and the proposed law. SEIU intends to help workers “maintain and expand upon” those protections instead, he said in an emailed statement. Schoonover described the memos exploring potential compromises on employment rights as “ideas and concepts” that “should not be construed” as something more significant.

What kind of deal is SEIU discussing with Uber?

It goes something like this:  In exchange for SEIU backing the gig companies’ exemption from the California bill, the gig companies would designate SEIU as their official “association” representing independent-contractor workers, according to articles in the Los Angeles Times, New York Times and other publications.

This would allow SEIU to collect dues money. But it would deprive the workers of the right to strike. And… it would deny gig workers basic legal protections that come with regular employment status: minimum wage, sick leave, overtime pay, meal and rest breaks, unemployment insurance, disability insurance, workers’ compensation, parental leave, family leave, and contributions to Social Security and Medicare.

If Andy Stern and LaPhonza Butler are on gig companies’ payroll, are there others?

Most likely.  Tasty wouldn’t be surprised if David Rolf is pocketing gig company cash.