Monday, February 9, 2009

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.

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