Saturday, February 28, 2009

NUHW Ups the Ante, Part The Second...

The nice folks at NUHW sent KaiPerm's CEO, George Halvorson, a letter yesterday:

(click on each image below to enlarge, or click on the link above to launch PDF)

If what the verbiage in the letter states is indeed accurate - that NUHW has collected petition signatures from greater than 50% of UHW's covered workforce, then going by standard card check rules, NUHW is now the de-facto bargaining agent for UHW-covered KaiPerm employees.

However, the law is unclear on which version of card check rules is in place. To be sure, though, if EFCA passes, then by law KaiPerm will have to recognize NUHW.

Look for the Purple Plague to very shortly and all-of-a-sudden discover a deep and profound opposition to EFCA.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Friday Morning Roundup...

SEIU-NUHW Battle Shifts to NLRB (BeyondChron)...

Renegade Healthcare Union Claims Success Cannibalizing SEIU (SF Weekly/The Snitch)...

Kaiser's California Workers Move to Switch Unions (LA Times)...

State Kaiser Workers Push Decertification Vote (SF Chronicle)...
"Kaiser said in a statement it is not a party to the dispute and will take no position on its eventual outcome."

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

NUHW Ups the Ante...

From one of my KP Sources:


I wanted to be the first to inform you that we have successfully reached 50.5%!!! We have surpassed our goal of 50% and will be filing with the National Labor Relations Board on Thursday!

There will be a national press conference at Kaiser Bellflower (in Southern California) and Kaiser Oakland (in Northern California) on Thursday afternoon (more info to follow). This is huge! 19 days ago our members began moving a petition among their co-workers to join us in NUHW and less than a month later we're going to
petition the board to schedule elections to leave SEIU. You all are amazing leaders and the work you are doing is precedent setting. Our members should be proud to have members like you, who serve them in spite of personal gain. Your leadership will work to continue reaching better standards, and increased accountability within Kaiser.

You all are the Union and clearly will be sending a message to Kaiser and SEIU that YOU are the Union, not a man 3,000 miles away in D.C. or the organizers they've sent to your facilities.

Please continue the education of our membership as we move forward to the election. We'll start to make NUHW materials i.e. buttons, flyers, shirts, pens, stickers, etc so you all can distribute them to our members. There will be thousands of materials available for folks so they can identify with the Union of choice. If you have a need for information right now, go to to get what you need. We should be telling all of our co-workers to visit the website so they can start to educate themselves!

Victory is ours!

In Unity!

Unlike CHW, which may or may not have just signed a four-year contract this past year, the UHW contract with Kaiser Permanente expires in October of 2010. So unless the Purple Plague is able to jam through some kind of magic beanstalk extension to the existing contract, SEIU will have to fight it out in each of the Kaiser facilities up and down the state. Considering that SEIU is already running approximately one organizer to every five hospitals in the north state (unknown what they are doing down south), NUHW may well have a legitimate shot at taking KP away from the Purple Plague.

That is, of course, if the National Labor Relations Board allows any vote to happen. Something gives me the feeling that Nice Scarf is busily lobbying both Obama and Hilda Solis to do something, anything, to prevent SEIU from actually having to face its UHW members in an up-or-down vote that SEIU can't legally gerrymander.

"Nice Scarf..."


I suppose one could surmise from the above video that Our Glorious Maximum Leader is confirming his membership in the "Lavender Caucus", no?

It is indeed a weird world, Mr. Stewart...

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

NLRB Blocks Decert Elections

I know I shouldn't be surprised, but I suppose I can be a little disappointed...

Efforts by a new union to woo away members of Service Employees International Union hit a roadblock last week, when the National Labor Relations Board put work-site elections on hold in order to investigate unfair labor charges field by SEIU.

The new union has also been asked to explain why elections are begin sought at Catholic Healthcare West, since it appears a signed contract is in place. If true, new elections cannot be held until the contract nears expiration.

Eleven petitions for new elections were halted last week; two more went out Monday and others are expected, said Tim Peck, assistant to the regional director of the NLRB in San Francisco. The office has received 27 petitions and expects to halt them all, he said.

This is truly not a good thing for NUHW, as they need a "quick" victory in order to prove their viability as a bona-fide labor organization.

Halting all of the elections (not just those that are opposed by the Purple Plague) seems to me to be a bit of an extreme step, but I have to wonder if Nice Scarf has already met with The Messiah and given him his marching orders vis-a-vis what the NLRB should do with any decert petitions.

By the way - SEIU is complaining about "unfair labor practices"? (snort)

Monday, February 23, 2009

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Our Glorious Maximum Leader Speaks!

Well, sort of (toward the end of the article).
Stern, the SEIU president, said he met with Obama and 27 senators last week, and that no one indicated that the union's internal conflicts were causing a problem. He sees the media attention as a sign that labor's prominence is finally increasing, he said.

"For a long time, the labor movement couldn't buy a newspaper story about anything, unless it was a strike," Stern said. "Now people are covering our internal politics. Part of me thinks that we're testing the theory that there's no bad publicity," he said.
When hospitals and nursing homes are getting ready to jump en masse off of the Good Ship Purple, Our Glorious Maximum Leader will soon find out there indeed is such a thing as "bad publicity."

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Resistance is Futile...

WTF has gotten into Our Glorious Maximum Leader?

He hasn't come even close to getting the remains of UHW in any semblance of order, and now he's talking about trying to swallow up UNITE-HERE?

A man has GOT to know his limitations...

The NUHW Scorecard

And they said that it would never work...

NUHW evidently is proving a tad more popular than some folks in the Purple Plague may have thought they might be.

For hospitals, the list goes as follows:

Sutter: Santa Rosa, Alta Bates/Summit, Delta (Antioch), Solano (Vallejo)

CHW: Woodland, Methodist (Sacto), Mercy General (Sacto), St. Josephs (Stockton), Mercy Folsom, Mercy San Juan (Carmichael), Mark Twain (San Andreas), Mercy Redding, Mercy Mount Shasta, St. Elizabeth (Red Bluff), St. Mary's (SFO), St. Francis (SFO), Sequoia (RWC), Dominican (Santa Cruz), French (SLO), Marian (Santa Maria), Bakersfield Memorial, Mercy Bakersfield, California (LA), Northridge, St. Mary's (LB), St. Bernadine (SB), Community (SB), St. John's (Camarillo), St. John's (Oxnard), Washington (Fremont), O'Connor (San Jose), Saint Louise Regional (Gilroy), Seton (Daly City), Saint Elizabeth/Seton Coastside (Moss Beach).

Others: CPMC (four locations in SFO), Childrens Hospital Oakland

This is in addition to 57 Convalescent facilities.

And it appears that Kaiser Permanente is on the knife's edge of having enough decert signatures to force the vote. That would be roughly 15 additional hospitals for SEIU to try to defend.

It will be interesting to see what the Purple Plague has in store for all these votes, for it will not be One Big Vote - SEIU is going to have to fight this battle facility-by-facility. And right now, the Purple Plague is fortunate to have one organizer for about four or five hospitals in the Kaiser system, and my CHW sources tell me that it is the same condition for them in their system as well.

Well, friends and neighbors, it looks like the "slog" is just beginning...


Is THIS the best that the trustees can do?!?

Okay, I guess I shouldn't be surprised that such palaver would be coming out of Regan and Medina, but still...

Let's take the boxed points one-by-one, shall we?

1. We will work with you to build - and grow - your union through transparency, democratic accountability, and increasing workers' strength.

Retort #1: Transparency? Democratic accountability? You mean, like the vote where 68% of all eligible nursing home voters returned ballots indicating by a 99:1 ratio they would like to stay in UHW? Or are you referring instead to the "celebration of union democracy" that was the statewide poison pill vote sent out to over 300,000 people, with under 25,000 ballots returned (8.3% return rate) but with in excess of 125,000 different validated protests to that ballot? Because when we're talking about "democratic accountability" it sure would be nice to know the Purple Plague definition of the term.

2. We will work with you in a democratic process. Workers will elect stewards and bargaining committees. Rank-and-file members will ratify contracts.

Retort #2: In UHW, rank-and-file members WERE the bargaining committees (along with, of course, management representatives) - and thus could take back to the membership some actual information rather than waiting for the information to come down from On High, brought forth by the cloven-hooved minions of Our Glorious Maximum Leader.

3. We will work with you to hold stewards and other elected leaders accountable to the entire membership.

Retort #3: If that is indeed the case, then SEIU would not be interfering in the efforts of UHW members to develop their own member-driven organization. I would instead opine that in the Purple Plague mindset, the only accountability that stewards and elected leaders should bear is to Our Glorious Maximum Leader.

4. We will work with you to foster a strong member organizer/member political organizer program.

Retort #4: Uh....yeah... When y'all get some actual member organizers, rather than unshaven buck-toothed scabs bussed in from all parts of the nation, then we'll talk about that.

5. We will work with you from your worksite to your community to Sacramento and beyond to protect your jobs and benefits, to win universal healthcare and to make sure that you have a voice on the job.

Retort #5: See Retort #4 above.

Regan and Medina close with the following: "We invite you to come to us with your questions and concerns."

One picture truly does say a thousand words, yes?

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Mary Kay Henry Speaks!!!

Our Glorious Maximum Crown Princess has deigned to come out to California, and she was silly enough to get herself taped and posted to Youtube saying the following:
"Here's what's key from my perspective: The Southern California rank-and-file leadership is going to lead this state back to unity."

(The passage referred to above is about five minutes in).

Having heard the above passage, only the very cynical mind could think that the merger between Local 399 and Local 250 which created UHW could indeed have been a set-up from the start, as a means by which the SoCal union could effectively take over the NorCal union.

Then again, that is precisely what I thought when I voted "no" on that merger.

Anyhoo, I haven't seen any SoCal staff union folks come onto my site yet, but my response to them would be precisely the same response I would have to any Purple Plague representatives from DC - "Get bent."

What those dunderheads in that video apparently do not understand is that people followed Sal Roselli not because he was a part of SEIU, but because he and his staff were actually in the facilities or had recently come out of them, and that he and his staff actually listen to what the rank-and-file actually think.

Looking at the video up above, there is no way in hell that Ms. Henry or any of the Purple Plague give a good G-d damn about any of the rank and file, save for that monthly "contribution" that we are required to provide them for the privilege of having people like them "support" us.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Remember What Eli Medina Said?

In his Robocalls the morning after the imposition of the trusteeship, Eli Medina's recorded voice told all of us that "nothing has changed", that it was only the "leadership" of UHW that had been removed, and that all other union functions would continue as-is after a week or two of sorting things out.

Yeah, right.

The utterly awesome PerezStern relates a story from a Kaiser employee with a wee bit of a problem...
I've been trying to find an seiu field rep to help process a grievance, per the grievant's request (she didn't want to wait until the new union formed). My experience thus far has been horrible.

I call the seiu phone number at the bottom of the seiu-uhw web page. I get transferred around a few times and I end up talking to someone (Susie), who sounds confused and dumbfounded as to how to help me. I give her as many details as possible about the grievance and our conversation ends with her telling me she will research it and find someone who can help me. I get a phone message an hour later from Susie asking me to call her, since she has more questions to ask me. She leaves me the SEIU phone number (866-660-5235) to call. I call, get transferred around a few times, and end up being connected to a voice mail which belongs to someone whose name isn't Susie, and the voice mail says to call a different number and not to leave any message!

Susie does get back to me however, and I give her more details of the situation. It turns out she works for SEIU out of Los Angeles and takes calls for an "intake center" which processes all calls in California. Doesn't sound like a very user friendly system thus far.
Just remember, folks - the "S" in SEIU Stands For SERVICE!

Thursday Morning Roundup

Stories regarding Our Glorious Maximum Leader's coup from...

Sacramento News and Review...
Gangbox (Article relating the story of a laid-off UHW staffer)...
Adam Fischer ("SEIU - Smoke Without Fire")...
Labor Pains...
SF Bay Guardian ("SEIU Preaches Unity While Trying to Divide CNA")...

Also, the latest from NUHW on recent filings and doings:

Upcoming votes forced at some CHW facilities...
NUHW News website

As to SEIU/UHW? Same old, same old. What is of note is that on the UHW website, the SEIU robots are pushing for EFCA - while at the same time fighting tooth-and-nail against EFCA-style signups to force a decert vote in favor of Sal Roselli's NUHW.

Evidently, irony is lost on the Purple Plague.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

We're Not Worthy!!!

Why, may you ask?

Because Perez is in the house.

Go forth and check out (the site has been added to the links on the right side). This should be required reading for anybody caught up in the SEIU-UHW heist.

For a quick taste, behold the loyalty oath that all remaining SEIU-UHW staff employees are required to sign (click to enlarge):

All your thoughts are belong to us, so says our Glorious Maximum Leader...

Monday, February 9, 2009

Quick Question:

Why don't people who work for a union actually belong to a union?

Just asking...

Who is Eliseo Medina?

On paper, he is almost the Perfect American Labor Union Success Story.

Immigrant. Worked in the fields picking grapes. Walked the streets with Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta and helped to build UFW. Resurrected a moribund SEIU chapter in San Diego. First Hispanic-American to serve on a national union at the cabinet level. Etc., Etc.

How much of that bio, though, is actual truth, and how much of it is self-serving claptrap?

Let's see what a former SEIU International insider, Andy English, has to say on the subject:
While Medina has an admirable history, its clear that long ago he sold his soul to Andy Stern. The majority of managers I met in SEIU international never worked a blue collar job or any kind of working class job, and had no interest in listening to workers (polls and focus groups were all they cared about). They were arrogant, conceited, obnoxious, convinced they were right about everything, and that they were the “cool kids” that everyone else had to bow down to. Anyone with experience in another union, and with working class experience outside of SEIU was considered suspect, and if they showed the slightest hesitation about drinking the purple kool-aid, they were marked for elimination. SEIU prefers to hire and promote people who know nothing about unionism besides the SEIU line and will drink the kool-aid because they don’t know any better.

So if anyone reading this is thinking about going to work for SEIU international, be prepared to conform and sell your soul too or they will find a way to get rid of you.
Read the whole article for the complete backstory of this one individual's story whilst working for Our Glorious Maximum Leader and his purple-shirted aotomatons.

One quick additional pull from that article really stands out in regard to the UHW struggle:
To me a union is not just an institution - the union is the unity of the workers in the shop, be it a factory, a hospital, a nursing home or whatever. UHW members are clearly united behind their leadership. By attacking UHW to crush dissent within the organization, SEIU international is attacking the workers and engaging in union-busting. By backing this union-busting as the top leader of SEIU in California, Medina is scabbing on the working class movement. His loyalty is to Stern, not to the working class.

Who is Dave Regan?

Most in the labor movement know Dave Regan as the Executive VP of SEIU-International, formerly the appointed (but never formally elected) president of SEIU 1199WOK (WV, OH, KY).

You know, Andy Stern's right-hand man. Hatchet man. Doer of deeds that need not be done by Our Glorious Maximum Leader. He has even been spoken of as SEIU's Dick Cheney, which is an insulting Dick Cheney. After all, at least Dick Cheney has actually stood for (and won) individual election - even if it was back in the 1970's.

There is more to Dave Regan, tho...Dave Regan is that swell peach of a guy who decided to bus in a bunch of purple-shirted thugs in order to bust up the Labor Notes conference in Dearborn, Michigan, in April of 2008. It seems that people representing Our Glorious Maximum Leader's #2 Worst Enemy (the California Nurse's Association) were there to speak to the conference. Of course, such discourse Must Not Be Heard. After all, how dare a union be actually allowed to speak at a union conference?

And so, Mr. Regan decided to bus in a bunch of thugs from his local to, er, shake up the conversation. And shake they did.

Mr. Regan then proceeded to attempt to justify his actions (in part) on the Monthly Review E-zine:
I am a union organizer and proud of it. I am also proud of the fact that SEIU has succeeded in organizing over 1 million new union members in the past twelve years. I like the fact that we take seriously the challenge of working to help rebuild the American labor movement which, as we all know, is in utter crisis and desperate for innovative new models and strategies.

I am mindful that we in SEIU are far from perfect and that we make our share of mistakes. However, I take great offense when a "respected academic" like Luce sets out to diminish SEIU by engaging in casual insults about our integrity, relies on the cheap smear, substitutes lazy speculation for analysis and evidence about our methods and then wants to assert her concern for the future of our movement.

Luce writes in her piece "I wonder if SEIU has lost sight of the real battle?" If the battle is defined as creating an unaccountable debating society for academics and commentators to work out their own "issues," I plead guilty to failure. If, however, the battle is defined as rebuilding the American labor movement and raising the standard of living for millions of American workers, then I am confident we in SEIU are clear-eyed and focused.

SEIU's own website also bragged on the Heroic Virtues of the 1199-WOK Goon Squad, but that presser has since gone down the SEIU Memory Hole.

So let's see:

Taking credit for other people's work: Check.
Insulting others personally when they have a difference of opinion on how to achieve a goal: Check.
Insisting that his solution to any problem is the only solution, and all other possible solutions should not ever be entertained? Check.
Willingness to use force to make sure that his desires - and the desires of his Glorious Maximum Leader are carried out? Check.
Efforts to make sure that contemporaneous reporting of his exploits are lost to the permanent record? Check.

Maybe that comparison to Cheney ain't too far off the mark after all.

For myself, given the above track record, I just can't wait for all the fun and games that are sure to take place when NUHW starts trying to get itself into facilities that are now currently controlled by Regan/Medina and, by proxy, Our Glorious Maximum Leader.

And as to Regan's organizing track record at 1199: As claimed on the official SEIU website, in eight years 1199 grew by 21,000, from 13K to 34K members. In comparison with Sal Roselli's tenure at both Local 250 and most recently at UHW, Regan's record is weak tea indeed.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Articles and whatnot of the past week regarding the Great SEIU Foodfight...

For more background on this mess, see:

Counterpunch (the Hotel California article)...
Stephen Frank (who basically says a pox on both houses)...
The SD Union-Tribune (hospital negotiations now in limbo because of the trusteeship)...
The American Leftist...
The Dissident Voice...
Indymedia ("Oakland's Still Burning")...

...with many more to come.

It seems that folks on the right side of the political spectrum are staying out of this one, giving proof once again to James Carville's famous maxim: "When your opponent is drowning, throw the [SOB] an anvil." Almost all of the discussion on this issue is coming from the left side of the political spectrum, and a largish chunk of that discussion is based on wondering why Andy's Purple Robots have decided to form up a circular firing squad with UHW at the center.

I say po-tay-to, you say po-tah-to...

It looks like we have a difference of opinion regarding why UHW was placed in trusteeship.

SEIU Says:
What caused SEIU UHW-W to be placed under trusteeship?
The top UHW-W leadership has been found to have violated their duties to their membership, engaged in serious financial wrongdoing, attempted to subvert the democratic processes of our union, and failed to safeguard collective bargaining relationships.

After overseeing six days of hearings where testimony was heard from both SEIU International and SEIU UHW-W leadership, former Secretary of Labor Ray Marshall issued a report confirming that top SEIU UHW-W leadership has engaged in serious financial wrongdoing and has attempted to evade democratic accountability and oversight. Link
NUHW (the organization now containing the deposed leaders of the former UHW) Says:
So why is UHW in trusteeship? Because UHW leaders like you insisted on building a member-driven, fully democratic Union where workers, not Washington, D.C. lawyers, make the decisions. SEIU officials couldn’t silence your voices, so they put UHW in trusteeship. Link
Fair enough. Opposing sides of an argument are going to differ, yes?

Well, in the next series of posts, we will be exploring that question, with views from both inside and outside of UHW.