Friday, September 27, 2019

Coalition of Kaiser Unions Reaches TA as Controversy Brews over Dave Regan’s New “Partnership Tax”

On Wednesday, the Coalition of Kaiser Permanente Unions announced it reached a tentative agreement for a new contract with Kaiser. Details on the deal are still sketchy at this point.

Meanwhile, anger is brewing among SEIU-UHW members over Dave Regan’s effort to jam a 25-cent-per-hour tax down workers’ throats. 


According to SEIU-UHW members, Regan is trying to fold the tax into the contract ratification vote rather than letting workers vote on the tax as a separate item. See this earlier post for more details. 

During a recent negotiating session with Kaiser, Regan reportedly attacked a member of SEIU-UHW’s Bargaining Committee, according to a retired Kaiser worker who formerly served on SEIU-UHW’s Executive Board. In a leaflet circulated among SEIU-UHW members, John Duff writes:
“At the last bargaining session, Dave Regan ended up screaming at Vallejo member, and long-time leader, Ollie Allen. What was Ollie’s crime? He had the nerve to ask for a separate vote on the 25 cent tax.”

Regan reportedly opposes a separate vote on the tax because he knows that workers would vote it down. The tax would cost each full-time SEIU-UHW member an estimated $1,020 per year.

Duff’s leaflet -- along with three others (see below) -- were circulated among Kaiser workers before SEIU-UHW reached a tentative agreement with Kaiser earlier this week. 

The leaflets refer to Regan as “Takeaway Dave Regan” and “the Donald Trump of union leaders” -- apparently due to Regan’s reported bullying of union members for requesting a separate vote on the tax. Duff says the tax will generate millions of dollars a year that will be steered into a “slush fund” controlled by Regan.

Here are the leaflets:

Friday, September 13, 2019

Dave Regan Is Pushing a New “Partnership Tax” on SEIU-UHW’s Members at Kaiser

SEIU-UHW’s Dave Regan is facing criticism from rank-and-file members at Kaiser for pushing a new “partnership tax” on SEIU-UHW members at Kaiser. Regan is trying to slip the new tax into a contract he’s negotiating with Kaiser.

How much is the tax?

Beaucoup bucks. 

Each SEIU-UHW member would be taxed 25 cents for every hour worked, according to a description issued by SEIU-UHW (see below). 

For a full-time worker (2,080 hours a year), that translates into $520 per year. Together,  SEIU-UHW's members at Kaiser would pay an estimated $26 million per year in taxes.

In response, SEIU-UHW members at Kaiser are circulating this leaflet:

Of course, the new proposed tax would come on top of SEIU-UHW’s current “partnership tax,” which is approximately 9 cents per hour worked. (SEIU-UHW and Kaiser officials reportedly boosted the tax during their last contract negotiations.) 

Some SEIU-UHW members are asking: 
Why are we even paying the current tax to fund our 'partnership' with Kaiser even though Kaiser is forcing us to go out on strike? 

Not a bad question. 

See below for SEIU-UHW’s effort to win support for its proposed new partnership tax.

In Tasty's humble opinion, SEIU-UHW’s arguments don’t make much sense. 

For example, SEIU-UHW says that by expanding California’s workforce of trained health care workers by 10,000 workers per year, it will improve current union members’ power to win better wages, benefits and retirement.

But that doesn’t follow the logic of supply and demand in labor markets, right?

For example, if there’s a shortage of Respiratory Therapists or Rad Techs in California, those workers have greater power to command higher wages. In fact, hospitals often negotiate mid-contract wage increases designed to prevent these high-in-demand workers from leaving to take jobs elsewhere.

How will expanding the supply of trained workers by 10,000 per year improve the power of SEIU-UHW members at the bargaining table?

And here's another question that deserves attention: Who pays and who benefits?

Kaiser stands to benefit from having a steady supply of newly trained workers.

But under Regan's proposal, Kaiser would only pay half the costs, with SEIU-UHW's members picking up the other half. Why not let Kaiser pay the full cost of training its own workforce? 

Plus, Kaiser pocketed $5.2 billion in profits during the first six months of this year. Kaiser should pay, not workers.

Interestingly, as far as the tax proposal, there's one person who wouldn't pay any taxes under the proposal: Dave Regan.

Sounds like someone is selling snake oil.

Friday, September 6, 2019

SEIU Local 73 Must Re-Run Officer Election after Feds Find Fault

Next month, SEIU Local 73 will re-run last year’s internal officer election after a federal investigation found that SEIU-backed candidates improperly used union resources during the campaigning. The “re-run” election will be conducted under government supervision.

SEIU Local 73, which represents approximately 25,000 public-sector workers in Illinois and northwestern Indiana, entered into a “voluntary compliance agreement” with the feds to re-run the election, according to the federal Office of Labor Management Standards:
OLMS entered into a voluntary compliance agreement with Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 73 (located in Chicago, Ill.), concerning its October 23, 2018 election of officers.  The union agreed to conduct new nominations, a new election, and installation for the offices of president, secretary-treasurer, two executive board vice presidents, five vice presidents, and [8] executive board members under OLMS supervision on or before November 22, 2019.  The investigation disclosed that union resources were used when a candidate obtained the union’s membership list and used it to purchase members’ phone numbers to campaign via phone bank.  The agreement follows an investigation by the OLMS Chicago District Office.

The announcement was cheered by the “Members leading Members” slate, whose complaint prompted the government investigation.

Last year’s election came after a two-year trusteeship imposed by SEIU President Mary Kay Henry as well as 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.

SEIU’s trustee, Dian Palmer, won last year’s election for president of Local 73 by just 375 votes. The “Members leading Members” slate, which campaigned on returning control of the union to its members, won eight of 30 seats on the union’s Executive Board.

Since the election, SEIU leaders have faced a variety of criticisms over salary increases for top officials, changes to the union’s constitution that eliminated four annual membership meetings, and the arrest of the local’s former president, Christine Boardman, for allegedly “trespassing” when she attended a membership meeting and handed out a leaflet. Boardman said she had a right to attend the meeting since she’s a retiree.

Next month’s elections will be conducted by mail.