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.