Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Red Revolt In Sonoma County

A new blog has recently appeared which is outlining the absolute travesty that was the Zombie UHW contract vote conducted for the Sonoma County IHSS consortium.

Instead of the typical method of contract voting for in-home care providers, which is a secret ballot conducted by mail, after a copy of the contract had been sent out to all the providers (IOW, the way UHW did things before the trusteeship), Zombie UHW limited the voting times to two hours each in three different locations, all of which were in the center part of Sonoma County.

Go give them a read and bring your barf bags along, as they detail what is in our future when Zombie UHW conducts a vote at Kaiser, or at Sutter, or at CHW, or...

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

NUHW Adds Sequoias-Portola...

One more unit freed from frivolous SEIU blocking charges has opted to go with Big Red...

Workers reject cynical effort by SEIU officials to deny them the right to join a union

Seventy caregivers at The Sequoias Assisted Living Facility in Portola Valley have won their election to form a union with NUHW.

“We organized our union so we could stand up for ourselves, and make sure our residents get the best possible care and that we are treated with the dignity and respect we deserve,” said Jose Bolanos, a cook at the facility. “Now we have a voice to do that. We’re thrilled to be part of a democratic union that is run by healthcare workers like us.”

SEIU had tried to block this election for several months with frivolous charges. When the labor board rejected their charges and scheduled the election, they failed to win enough support to get a spot on the ballot. The final vote was 40 for NUHW and 20 for “No Union.”

It must be noted again - SEIU prevented these people off from joining a union for almost nine months, even though SEIU had no intent of ever representing these people - just like with the HHS group at Los Alamitos. The results were seen at the ballot box.

It can't get any lower or any more cynical than for SEIU to deny someone the opportunity to join a union when SEIU had no intent or desire to represent those people for themselves.

SEIU is acting like a dumped boyfriend that can't take "no" for an answer. It is unfortunate that such a formerly proud organization has had to stoop to this level.

Perez Be Back!

Go give Perez some linky love!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Los Al Chooses NUHW

One more crack in the Big Purple Dam...
SEIU officials forced to abandon election after failing to win any support

Hospital Housekeeping Systems (HHS) workers at Los Alamitos Hospital voted 35-to-7 to form a union with NUHW, despite an aggressive effort by another union to stop them.

“I’m overjoyed that we finally have a voice to protect our jobs and our families,” said Matilde Garcia, an HHS worker and member of the organizing committee. “And I’m proud that we stayed united and chose a union that respects its members and is run by healthcare workers like us.”

The scandal-plagued SEIU, widely condemned for its attacks on other unions, had tried to intervene. After the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) rejected SEIU’s attempt to block the election by filing frivolous legal charges, SEIU tried to compete in the election—but abandoned their effort last week when they failed to win any support from workers.

Even though SEIU represents many other workers at Los Alamitos, SEIU members actually supported the housekeeping workers in choosing NUHW.

“SEIU never intended to represent the housekeeping workers,” said Letty Marquez, an SEIU-represented lab tech at the hospital. “They just want to stop everyone from joining NUHW. It’s sad that instead of helping members, SEIU is wasting our dues money standing in the way of workers who want a union voice.”

NUHW was founded in January, in the wake of SEIU’s hostile takeover of California’s healthcare union. Since then, more than 100,000 healthcare workers—mostly current members of SEIU—have petitioned for elections to join NUHW. Today’s election at Los Alamitos Hospital was the first election to be scheduled by the NLRB.

The voters down at LosAl did exactly what had to be done - deliver a resounding victory for NUHW.

It sure was nice of the Plague to try to bag on Randy Shaw for his latest article calling BS on their claim that NUHW was "falling apart at the seams." What was especially nice was their dig at these workers who freely and without coercion joined NUHW instead of Zombie UHW, and described their decision as "about 80 workers vote for NUHW this week in uncontested elections at two small facilities."

You stay classy, Purple Plague.

Props to the folks down at LosAl, and props to the staff and administration of NUHW. Let's keep the ball rolling, folks.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

SEIU Now Defending Decert Efforts In Maine

From the UnionMaine blog...
MSEA is holding a convention at the end of October. The rumor is that SEIU has troops in Maine. Is it to pat us on the back, support us, or is it due to the resolution that MSEA disaffiliate from SEIU. Some members feel that we will be asked to believe the following:

SEIU has been a tremendous help to MSEA and adds to our successes. Let us look at the recent past - SEIU provided for California, they have provided millions of dollars in advertising to support State Employees.

They have provided a voice in Congress to stand up for California State Employees. SEIU has fought in every way for California State Employees.

Is this what SEIU can do for Maine or is there another reason?

Why have they put so much effort gone into what has been the crown jewel of SEIU?.

Last year they ran a battle with tens of thousands of employees voting to leave SEIU and join another Union and all of a sudden the money, the staff, and more money poured into California. SEIU is estimated to have spent at least ten million dollars fighting attempted decertification efforts from tens of thousands of members.

It seems as if SEIU has won that battle......for now.
Those who believe the above sentence seriously need to get themselves checked, especially in light of the events of the past week.
What did the battle cost other than money? SEIU had to publicly reject card check to defeat the upstart NUHW. NUHW wanted to use card check to validate their decertification efforts and SEIU said card check was not a valid way to vote, probably sealing the fate of the EFCA card check provision.
What the battle has cost is SEIU's soul, not to mention its collective ability to be a positive force in the labor movement. SEIU now stands as a scorned, castigated, management-friendly cabal whose leadership is more interested in personal power than in serving its membership.
Why can't SEIU provide for its membership what they have been providing in the West? More dues $ means more influence and what SEIU offers other states as a matter of common policy, seems too much to offer to Maine.
Trust me when I tell you this, you do NOT want what SEIU provides to members in California.
We took a hit this year in our health care, our longevity, and our pay. Remember Andy Stern says the day of employer paid health care is a dying. Why whould he fight for a benefit he thinks shoud be administered and provided by the Union?

On the other hand, we’re told MSEA with SEIU can achieve what no other major Union in New England has done in years, win a contract with fair raises and a return of benefits. MSEA joined SEIU for several reasons and many of those reasons are still valid. National presence, experience, being part of something that can reach beyond State Employees to the rest of Maine.
That works just as long as you toe the party line. UHW prior to the trusteeship was one of SEIU's crown jewels as well, and look what is going on now.
Make no mistake, a break up from SEIU will be painful , messy, and expensive. Don't expect to see any benefit from that 1.8 million dollars for years to come. SEIU does have the will and money to make life hell for ex members.

So do we believe that staying with SEIU is the way to go? Have they been tremendous force for good, or are they concerned that this could foul up the possible marriage of SEA and SEIU?
Too bad, bub. If you're already in SEIU, you are well and truly screwed. Good luck with your resolution to leave SEIU. If it passes, they may well let you leave, considering the amount of resources Zombie UHW is still having to pour into Hotel California.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Zombie UHW's New Lapdogs

Meet the administration at Gilroy's Saint Louise Regional Hospital...

They are an unusually obedient bunch when presented with what they perceive to be a stronger master, and as such are now trying to remind their workers just who is boss...

September 17, 2009

Saint Louise Regional Hospital SEIU-UHW Associate:

Recently, several associates have reported being harassed, both in the cafeteria and in their working areas, by individuals who may be associated with NUHW or some other organization that does not legally represent any of our associates. To be clear, SEIU-UHW is the only union that represents our SEIU associates. Under our contract with SEIU-UHW, duly authorized representatives of SEIU-UHW have the right to be in the hospital and conduct union business within the guidelines provided by the contract. Neither NUHW nor any other organization has such rights with respect to our SEIU- represented associates.

In order to avoid any confusion about what persons are authorized to be present within the hospital to conduct union business, we have been authorized by SEIU-UHW to provide you with the names of the duly authorized SEIU-UHW representatives:

  • Val Tagawa
  • Rudy Vallin
  • Larry Hill
  • Gregg Woods
  • Matthew Nicholson
  • Osvaldo Romero
  • Grant Schott
  • Barry Roberts

No persons other than the SEIU UHW representatives shown above have the right to be in non-public areas of the hospital. If you believe that you have been threatened, coerced or intimidated, or your work has been interfered with by any individual, whether NUHW or otherwise, please feel free to let your manager or Human Resources know. We will not tolerate any such conduct against you, nor any interference with your work or with our patient care mission.

Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions. I can be reached at (408) 848-8678.


Lin Velasquez


Ms. Velasquez should probably check below on the story of what happened to Olympia Medical Center before making such broad announcements on restrictions of legitimate union activity.

Friday, September 25, 2009

One Letter That Ties Together Many Strings

A few days back, Randy Shaw at BeyondChron wrote a piece on Zombie UHW's ridiculous attempt to chase NUHW supporters off the field by proclaiming that NUHW was "coming apart at the seams."

This claim is, on its face, absolutely ridiculous. After all, if NUHW is "coming apart at the seams," then why did Zombie UHW run away from the Los Alamitos election rather than confronting and defeating so wounded and weak a foe? More to the point, why did workers at Olympia, Providence Tarzana and USC just yesterday file a petition to join NUHW?

Well, not surprisingly, the BeyondChron piece got some letters to the editor, none of which were complimentary to Zombie UHW, but there is one letter that just appeared today which kind of ties several different threads together...
To the Editor:

The struggle for democracy moves forward...

While a staff representative/organizer for United Healthcare Workers-West in Southern California, I was fortunate to be able to spend an all to brief period of time around workers in the shops (Garden Grove Hospital, Providence Tarzana Medical Center, USC Medical Center Olympia) who are now filing for elections to leave SEIU.

In each facility, directly elected steward councils, bargaining committees, and local executive board members were unilaterally removed from office by Andy Stern following his bogus Trusteeship of the then 150,000 member run Local-United Healthcare Workers-West.

As a fourth generation trade unionist with deep roots in the democratic reform movement, I can say unequivocally, that Andy Stern is our generation's labor bastard.

Stern's top down corporate unionism, insatiable self serving corruption, and his ultimate betrayal of hundreds of thousands of workers in our Country is to our labor movement what Wal-Mart is to main street America.

I am proud to say that I was standing shoulder to shoulder with rank and file leaders of the newly born NUHW (for two years prior to the ashes of the old UHW-West). My Brothers Dan Martin and Charlie Ridgell, along with a hundred or so staffers ... principled trade unionists just like 'em, continue to struggle and sacrifice, tirelessly, self-lessly to advance the cause of rank and file unionism. If no longer with NUHW, we continue to do so in other parts of the labor movement.

Yes, as a result of Stern dismantling one of the most progressive and successful Local Unions in America, many of us have had to "drag up", and move on to other battlefronts. Of significance, when confronted with the choice of keeping one's position with UHW-West perpetuating Stern's betrayal, or moving in the direction which was collectively decided upon (creating a new democratic union-NUHW), most UHW-West staffers chose to do the right thing.

For each of us, there has been economic uncertainty and hardship. Such seems inevitable when confronting corruption within the house of labor. This is the path less traveled by all too many who make thier living in the labor movement.

With the help of many friends and family, I am blessed that my family has landed on our feet. Yet, Iam still longing to be there supporting, and bearing witness to, what democracy looks like on such a grande scale.

My friends at NUHW continue to make the correct choice. Fight Back!

Solidarity Forever!

Ed Sadlowski

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Olympia Spanked, Courtesy of NUHW

There’s more to union activities than just gathering people into a group and negotiating on their collective behalf. There is also a duty to protect the interests of those whom you are charged to protect – this comes as the price of being allowed to negotiate on their behalf and to collect periodic dues.

The duty for fair representation is one of the areas where Zombie UHW has utterly and completely failed during the trusteeship, as the stack of DFR’s sitting at the Labor Board offices can readily attest.

One of the most egregious examples of SEIU failing in its duty to fairly represent its dues-paying workers was highlighted over at Perez’s place, and involved Will Brennan down at the Olympia Medical Center, who was suspended without pay for the mere act of talking to people about NUHW. Not surprisingly, Zombie UHW would not take up for Brennan; as it turns out, it was a SEIU representative who actually colluded with Olympia’s HR people to discipline and ultimately to terminate Will Brennan’s employment. The full back-story of this can be found on Perez Stern by clicking here.

This is where NUHW comes in, and this is where Olympia Medical Center gets spanked.

My only regret in this case is that Zombie UHW didn’t get called out by the NLRB for their collusion in getting Will Brennan and others disciplined for exercising their clearly-delineated rights in the workplace.

Kudos go out to the NUHW reps for making sure this wrong got set to right.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The Ballad Of Brave Sir Regan

Dedicated to the NUHW volunteers and staff who have finally shepherded a vote through the NLRB process...

The Ballad of Brave Sir Regan

Bravely bold Sir Regan rode forth from Washington.
He was not afraid to represent, O brave Sir Regan!
He had no problem with being labeled a thug,

Brave, brave, brave, brave Sir Regan!

He was not the least bit scared to look like a dope,
To do Andy’s bidding, this was his best true hope;
He’d have his speeches spread all over YouTube;
With lawyers so fine, the Red Scourge was eternally screwed.

It was so easy to like the lawyers if you were brave Sir Regan!

He came out to Fresno and roared forth, "Old School!"
But his public pronouncement made him look like a fool.
But then the NLRB removed the roadblocks,
And Los Al got their chance to vote, and…

Brave Sir Regan ran away.
Bravely ran away, away!
When losing reared its ugly head,
He bravely turned his tail and fled.

Yes, brave Sir Regan turned about
And gallantly he chickened out.
Bravely taking to his feet,
Zombie UHW beat a very brave retreat,

Bravest of the brave, Sir Regan!

He is packing it in and they’re packing it up
And sneaking away and clamming up.
He’s leaving Los Al to the evil Red Scourge,
Until Andy once again tells him to get the urge!

Burma Shave.

Zombie UHW Punks Out of Los Alamitos Election

The NLRB finally lets an election take place, and instead of offering itself to the voters, Zombie UHW is running away instead and ceding the EVS workers at Los Alamitos Hospital to NUHW...
In the first contest between SEIU and the National Union of Healthcare Workers overseen by the NLRB, SEIU has abandoned its effort after failing to win any support among environmental services workers at Los Alamitos Hospital.

Employees of Los Alamitos Hospital subcontractor Hospital Housekeeping Systems (HHS) had never been part of a union before they filed petitions to join NUHW in March. Now that SEIU has withdrawn their effort to divide HHS employees, the workers will vote to choose between NUHW and “No Union” on Sept. 28.

“SEIU never intended to represent us, they just wanted to stop us from forming a union with NUHW,” said Mercedes Cornejo, a housekeeper at the hospital. “I can’t believe that so-called union leaders would try to stand in the way of workers like me who want a voice to protect our wages and jobs.”

An election had been scheduled for May, but SEIU filed frivolous “blocking charges” with the NLRB to delay the election. When the NLRB lifted the blocking charge, SEIU petitioned for a spot on the ballot with signatures of support from only two workers.

This is not the first time SEIU officials have tried to block non-union workers from joining NUHW. Worker at Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital have been organizing since 2003 to win a free and fair election agreement with the St. Joseph Health System. Management finally promised to negotiate ground rules, and a strong majority signed cards to join NUHW in March.

Frivolous blocking charges filed by SEIU delayed Santa Rosa Memorial workers’ election for almost five months, during which time nearly 200 workers at Memorial have been laid off, their pay has been frozen, and workers there are now in danger of losing their sick time. Just after the NLRB lifted the first blocking charge, SEIU tried to file another. When that effort failed, SEIU officials filed to intervene.

“SEIU officials think if they can’t have us, no one can,” said Noelle Preston, a dietary aide at Santa Rosa Memorial. “But healthcare workers aren’t property. NUHW was founded by healthcare workers, for healthcare workers, and it’s our choice to be part of a union that we control.”

The workers down at LosAl deserve some serious props for hanging in with their convictions and their co-workers. Now it's up to them to cement this apparent result with an overwhelming pro-NUHW vote - and make sure that SEIU does not try to pollute the voting pool by supporting LosAl management with any kind of "no union" push.

By the way, folks, this isn't the first time that SEIU has run away when they knew they weren't going to win. It seems Thug Regan and the Zombies just don't have the heart to take "no" for an answer.

Zombie UHW Forced To Live Up To Own Agreement

Yesterday's edition of the Sacramento Business Journal had an article entitled, "Kaiser Workers Rally Against Job Cuts."

That's kinda funny, considering how it was SEIU and Zombie UHW that entered into negotiation with KaiPerm and agreed to those job cuts. So I guess Zombie UHW is going to be protesting itself, right? Uh, no...

Union workers are picketing Kaiser Permanente’s South Sacramento Medical Center on Tuesday to protest company plans to slash 1,350 jobs in coming months to offset enrollment losses and declining margins.

A total of 48 jobs are in jeopardy at the South Sacramento hospital, according to Service Employees International Union-United Healthcare Workers West. The union represents 1,438 radiology and operating room technicians, environmental service and others at the medical center and surrounding clinics.

Pickets are planned from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the hospital on Bruceville Road and at Kaiser’s regional office in Pasadena.

North and South they go, and when they'll stop spinning, nobody knows...
“We’re here to show our faces and say we don’t approve of the layoffs and want to sit down at the table and bargain over this,” said Keturah James, a union member who works in hospital staffing at Kaiser’s South Sacramento hospital.
Unfortunately, Keturah, your union already HAS sat down at the table and bargained over this - and has given away almost 50 jobs at your facility - for nothing in return. Mighty sporting of the Purple Plague, dontcha think?

Not surprisingly, KaiPerm is in no mood to go back to the table and give back what was so easily bestowed upon them by Zombie UHW...

The union is mad that Kaiser sent out job elimination notices in August shortly after it kicked off the voluntary separation plan and claims picketing has brought management back to the table.

A bargaining session on the proposed job eliminations in Northern California will be help Sept. 30, union officials said.

Kaiser management will attend the Sept. 30 meeting to “discuss and share information regarding the implementation of the agreement signed by SEIU-UHW on Aug. 3,” Westfall said in an e-mail Tuesday.

“We believe that this unique agreement and the intensive engagement that led to it more than fulfilled our bargaining obligations. Kaiser Permanente has honored the agreement and expects SEIU-UHW to do the same,” she said.

Management continues to meet with SEIU-UHW and other unions to implement the process — but all future meetings about job eliminations will be for this purpose and not to renegotiate the agreement already signed, she said.

Folks, the above paragraph can be distilled down into two words: Pound Sand.

Well done, Zombies. Hope you like that bed y'all built for yourselves.

One other question - why is it that the same people keep showing up at all the protests, even though they're at different locations?

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Dictionary Time!

Today's Word: NEUTRAL

Pronounciation: (noo-trul)

Part of Speech: Adjective

  1. not taking part or giving assistance in a dispute or war between others: a neutral nation during World War II.
  2. not aligned with or supporting any side or position in a controversy: The arbitrator was absolutely neutral.
  3. of or belonging to a neutral state or party: neutral territory.
So let's see how the nice folks at KaiPerm apply that definition, especially in light of their public pledge of neutrality in the Great California Union Foodfight.

From a reader at Santa Clara's new Kaiser Hospital, who sent along the photo:
So here is the picture from the Picket Making for Kaiser Santa Clara, for the informational SEIU agreeing to lay-offs. Note the following;
1. Never has a Union that I know of been able to make picket signs on the property that the union is going to picket at lunch in the quad.
2. A Notice was posted in all the Santa Clara break rooms to come and help make these picket signs for two days in the Quad.
3. Notice the man sitting he is one of the Contract Specialist for Kaiser Santa Clara, he gets to picket and make signs and have Kaiser pay him. All previous Contract Specialist would not have been able to do this, or even talk about doing this. His name is Daniel Lopez.
4. Sitting with him is a Chief Shop Steward of no Department because she has since transferred to another department and Diane Barton SEIU's talking mouth Scab told her not to worry don't say anything and no one will know. This same Chief rigged an election in the Clinical Lab posted is for 3:00pm to 5:00pm and then after 20 minutes of letting all 5 Stewards vote and people they knew would vote yes, when they employees who showed up to vote and vote no all of a sudden the voting was closed after 20 minutes and she would not let anyone else vote. Rose Radford is a wonderful shining example of the new SEIU-UHW. Oh, yes this was the second election for this Steward as a month before he lost overwhelmingly I guess with SEIU if you loose then you get a redo.
5. The gentlemen standing is SEIU's Person for Action things as he told us, I don't know what kind of a title that has but he could not answer any questions except to say I am here for the Action, of Informational Pickets, oh by the way.....he tried to get Security to throw Ralph out while we were watching them make picket signs in the quad.
I have to wonder what would have occurred if NUHW showed up in the middle of the SCH quad and started making protest signs against Kaiser.

Just more proof that the Zombie UHW "We Didn't Really Negotiate For Layoffs (eventhoughwereallydid), We Promise!!!" Informational Picket Tour of California was and is an absolute put-up job.

Monday, September 21, 2009

The Alinsky Factor, Part Four of Four

Overall grades at the bottom...

RULE 10: "If you push a negative hard enough, it will push through and become a positive." Violence from the other side can win the public to your side because the public sympathizes with the underdog. (Unions used this tactic. Peaceful [albeit loud] demonstrations during the heyday of unions in the early to mid-20th Century incurred management's wrath, often in the form of violence that eventually brought public sympathy to their side.)

SEIU: Zombie UHW made a feeble attempt at this in the SF IHSS petition drive, but as usual they horrendously overstated the actual impact of their "evidence" and protracted it out to the entire group at hand. Much like their premature claim of absolute majority at Fresno, this fell on largely deaf ears. They are now trying the same thing with their most recent "NUHW is falling apart" meme, and that has been absolutely blown up by Randy Shaw over at BeyondChron. Grade: D

NUHW: The Red Tide would get a better grade for this had they pushed the SEIU violence and vandalism meme more down in Fresno than they did. SEIU's actions with people down in Fresno who did not agree with them was (in my opinion) criminal, and this should have been pounded upon on a daily basis in the local media - especially after Thug Regan opened his pie hole and started talking about how SEIU would administer the "major league ass-whipping" to NUHW. Still and all, SEIU really can't help their thuggishness, and it is to be hoped that NUHW will continue to press that meme in the elections to come. Grade: C

RULE 11: "The price of a successful attack is a constructive alternative." Never let the enemy score points because you're caught without a solution to the problem. (Old saw: If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the problem. Activist organizations have an agenda, and their strategy is to hold a place at the table, to be given a forum to wield their power. So, they have to have a compromise solution.)
SEIU: There's only so many times you can say, "NUHW sucks" and get away with it, especially when your people get steamrolled in the contract negotiation rooms, as was seen at Alameda, at Hawkins, and now most recently at KaiPerm. Grade: F

NUHW: Without a doubt, this has been where NUHW and its organization has shone at its brightest. NUHW has been able to step in and assist the IHSS consortiums in both Sacramento and San Francisco with their funding, and has been able to explicitly state exactly what and how they would do things differently than Zombie UHW has done so far with Alameda and with Kaiser. Grade: A

RULE 12: Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it." Cut off the support network and isolate the target from sympathy. Go after people and not institutions; people hurt faster than institutions. (This is cruel, but very effective. Direct, personalized criticism and ridicule works.)

SEIU: The Great Big Lie has been, so far, decently effective for people who do not pay attention to such things. Once people are educated as to what actually went on in the years prior to the trusteeship, that effectiveness decreases rapidly. Fortunately for SEIU and Zombie UHW, their unwillingness to be transparent in union activities has succeeded in keeping people out of the loop and uneducated. Grade: B

NUHW: Considering the people involved with SEIU, including Thug Regan, Our Glorious Maximum Leader, Esquirol Medina, Ogren the Ogre, Freeman My Man, Annelle Grajeda, Diane Barton, and all the other various hangers-on and assorted dolts that surround the Zombie UHW power base, it's practically impossible to not have a target to freeze and polarize. If anything, SEIU presents too much of a target-rich environment. Grade: B

SEIU: D, C, B, B, D, D, D, C, C, D, F, B -- > C- overall
NUHW: C-, B, D, D, B, A, D, C, B, C, A, B -- > C+ overall

The grades above are, of course, entirely subjective, however I have tried to be as objective in my assessment (especially of NUHW) as possible. As the "radical" in the equation, it would have been hoped that NUHW would have scored better on some of the rules, especially those regarding pressing the attack and regarding pushing the negative through to the positive.

The Alinsky Factor, Part Three of Four

Going on...

RULE 7: "A tactic that drags on too long becomes a drag." Don't become old news. (Even radical activists get bored. So to keep them excited and involved, organizers are constantly coming up with new tactics.)

SEIU: Going off of rule #5 - all SEIU has got is the Great Big Lie, and incumbency. They are now pretty much hoping that incumbency will carry the day, and that the Great Big Lie will keep activists off the field. Grade: D

NUHW: Perhaps Sal Rosselli's attendance at the AFL-CIO convention in Pittsburgh this last week will help gin up some actual support and some actual positive news, because other than that the silence from NUHW has been deafening. It is only so long that you can sit back and let SEIU screw up of its own accord; sooner or later positive action has to be taken for the people whom you wish to represent. Upcoming representation elections are a very good start. Remodeling the website is another. Grade: D

RULE 8: "Keep the pressure on. Never let up." Keep trying new things to keep the opposition off balance. As the opposition masters one approach, hit them from the flank with something new. (Attack, attack, attack from all sides, never giving the reeling organization a chance to rest, regroup, recover and re-strategize.)

SEIU: I'll say this for The Plague, they put out pressers like it's nobody's business. Better than that, once they put the presser out, it reverberates over three to four days in the 'sphere. Now, the fact that their pressers are by and large proving out to be 100% grade-A
unadulterated crap (like the Fresno 5000-vote claim, the most recent claim regarding NUHW and Charlie Ridgell, amongst others) depresses their grade here, but they put out their BS with full force. Grade: C

NUHW: After the Fresno defeat, NUHW made some good strides in terms of re-establishing IHSS funding in both Sacramento and San Francisco - two things for which Zombie UHW tried lamely to take credit. For about a two month span, SEIU and Zombie UHW was having to respond to NUHW actions. Since then? Up until about two weeks or so ago, bupkis. Now, it seems that elections have been scheduled and NUHW is ramping up to take the fight back to The Plague. This time, results matter. Grade: C

RULE 9: "The threat is usually more terrifying than the thing itself." Imagination and ego can dream up many more consequences than any activist. (Perception is reality. Large organizations always prepare a worst-case scenario, something that may be furthest from the activists' minds. The upshot is that the organization will expend enormous time and energy, creating in its own collective mind the direst of conclusions. The possibilities can easily poison the mind and result in demoralization.)

SEIU: Once again, here is where the Great Big Lie doesn't really help SEIU, and may in the end hurt them. Zombie UHW has been telling everyone how horrible things would be without SEIU looking over them, when all anyone needs to do is to open up the most recent Kaiser UHW contract, and see what signatures are on the bottom line - and it ain't Medina, it ain't Regan, and it ain't Stern. Grade: C

NUHW: Until a couple of weeks ago, all NUHW had was vague suppositions of how SEIU would conduct itself in the meeting room with Kaiser - and then came the August 4th Agreement. This one agreement put in stark contrast just what a threat SEIU represents to Kaiser employees. NUHW hasn't been making too much hay of it yet, but I suspect there will be more to come in the near future once the run-up to Kaiser elections begin. Grade: B

The Alinsky Factor, Part Two of Four

Getting back to the Alinsky rules, as they apply to SEIU and NUHW...

RULE 4: "Make the enemy live up to its own book of rules." If the rule is that every letter gets a reply, send 30,000 letters. You can kill them with this because no one can possibly obey all of their own rules. (This is a serious rule. The besieged entity's very credibility and reputation is at stake, because if activists catch it lying or not living up to its commitments, they can continue to chip away at the damage.)

SEIU: At every possibility, SEIU has been raising the specter of the Marshall Hearings, and proclaiming out loud their Great Big Lie. As a result, NUHW folks are forced to explain the Great Big Lie, and when you're explaining, you're losing. Grade: B

NUHW: SEIU has been violating contracts right and left, and has willingly provided a target-rich environment for publication and ridicule like very few have seen. Unfortunately, the Reds have left it to others to explore what SEIU's malfeasance really means to the rank and file. An utterly prostrate and corrupt NLRB has not helped in this regard, but you still gotta make the case yourself. Grade: D

RULE 5: "Ridicule is man's most potent weapon." There is no defense. It's irrational. It's infuriating. It also works as a key pressure point to force the enemy into concessions. (Pretty crude, rude and mean, huh? They want to create anger and fear.)

SEIU: After a while, the Great Big Lie becomes One Big Drag (see rule #7). Quite frankly, SEIU are a mirthless bunch, utterly devoid of anything approaching a sense of humor. This is what happens when you promote dullards as your replacement steward council. Grade: D

NUHW: This has been one of the Red Tide's best weapons, and a bunch of us have been using it with gusto. The best part about it is that SEIU keeps giving us our material free of charge. Unfortunately, outside of the "labor community", much of this energy and ability goes unseen and unheard in the wake of boilerplated SEIU press releases. Grade: B

RULE 6: "A good tactic is one your people enjoy." They'll keep doing it without urging and come back to do more. They're doing their thing, and will even suggest better ones. (Radical activists, in this sense, are no different that any other human being. We all avoid "un-fun" activities, and but we revel at and enjoy the ones that work and bring results.)

SEIU: Stories are rife here and elsewhere about how SEIU has to pay people to get on board the Barney Bus to show up and provide themselves with some measure of "strength." That SEIU had to pay scads of scabs to go into Fresno (when SEIU's LTC stronghold in Los Angeles is less than an hour and half away by car) goes to indicate just what a loss leader the SEIU brand is becoming. When you have to pay someone to spread your message, it can be generally said that your message needs a bit of retooling. Grade: D

NUHW: Say what you want about the Red Tide, but those that go out believe in what they are doing. Otherwise, they would not be there, because they are there on their own free time and of their own free choice. It is to be hoped that some of that enthusiasm will be rewarded with actual positive results in the future. Grade: A

Sunday, September 20, 2009

The Alinsky Factor, Part One of Four

A book from the early 1970's is now getting much scrutiny of late in political circles. That book is entitled, "Rules For Radicals" by Saul Alinsky. This book has been alleged to be one of the founding sets of principles behind the Obama candidacy in the 2008 presidential election, and some of the tenets therein are now being adopted by other "grass roots" movements.

So let's take a look at those rules, and how they may or may not pertain to those of us stuck here in Hotel California...

RULE 1: "Power is not only what you have, but what the enemy thinks you have." Power is derived from 2 main sources - money and people. "Have-Nots" must build power from flesh and blood. (These are two things of which there is a plentiful supply. Government and corporations always have a difficult time appealing to people, and usually do so almost exclusively with economic arguments.)

SEIU: Much has been made of the vaunted SEIU ground game, and they attempted to show that off in the Fresno battle by parachuting in somewhere between 500 and 1000 people, and spent upwards of $10M to defend the Fresno IHSS consortium. The thought process is that SEIU's ability to bring in so many people on short notice keeps other upstart organizations from trying to fight SEIU toe-to-toe. This tactic may be effective back east, but it is woefully inadequate out here on the Left Coast. Quite simply put, people aren't scared of SEIU any more, as the San Francisco Labor Council so vividly proved. Grade: D

NUHW: The Reds have had to take advantage of the latter source - people. With one-tenth the manpower and 5% of the monetary resources, NUHW came within 250 or so votes of knocking off SEIU. NUHW has defeated SEIU at Doctor's, but has lost votes at Hawkins and a couple of nursing homes in the wake of the Fresno defeat. In the time since, there have been reported difficulties in getting enough signatures for the San Francisco IHSS fight. Whether it is because people are marshalling their energies for the upcoming Kaiser campaign, or for other reasons, the steam seems to have gone out of NUHW's sails of late. The potential to raise peoples hopes and ambitions still remains, but there is a sense of inevitability building in to some folks which is quite difficult to breach once it has gained a foothold. Grade: C-

RULE 2: "Never go outside the expertise of your people." It results in confusion, fear and retreat. Feeling secure adds to the backbone of anyone. (Organizations under attack wonder why radicals don't address the "real" issues. This is why. They avoid things with which they have no knowledge.)

SEIU: One of the biggest mistakes SEIU made in the immediate aftermath of the trusteeship was to insist on a loyalty oath to SEIU, with termination of any and all stewards who show the slightest bit of disloyalty to the Purple People Beaters. Esquirol Medina and Thug Regan sent out the letter (along with Esquirol Medina's robocall to the membership) swearing up-and-down that nothing would change, when we all knew what would happen - and happen it did. As a result, Zombie UHW lost its best and brightest stewards, and has had to replace them with stewards who may or may not be the best, but certainly are not the brightest - and none of whom enjoy the unqualified support of the rank and file. The resultant feeling of insecurity has only been exacerbated by SEIU's inexcusable decision to partner with KaiPerm in laying off 1600 people. The end result of this is that the only thing SEIU has been able to do of late is to put out press release after press release, trying to convince people that they are still large and in charge. It is admittedly what SEIU is really good at, even if nobody with half a brain believes what they say. Grade: C

NUHW: The Reds have, by and large, stayed within the expertise of their people, but of late that has not been of much help as there has been no real structure to NUHW's activities of late, as was seen by the anemic response to the SEIU "We Didn't Really Negotiate For Layoffs (eventhoughwereallydid), We Promise!!!" Informational Picket Tour of California. NUHW stewards at several KaiPerm facilities have been forced to take a lower profile, but their refusal to play along with the LMP game has resulted in most all LMP and UBT groups to grind to a halt. Unfortunately, right now, you can't fight something with nothing. Grade: D

RULE 3: "Whenever possible, go outside the expertise of the enemy." Look for ways to increase insecurity, anxiety and uncertainty. (This happens all the time. Watch how many organizations under attack are blind-sided by seemingly irrelevant arguments that they are then forced to address.)

SEIU: This isn't really SEIU's bag, except for their propensity to tell the One Big Lie in the wake of the Marshall Hearings. However, because every presser they put out gets automatically repeated nationwide, their One Big Lie tends to reverberate much louder than is warranted. This, combined with NUHW's inability of late to bring the final vote across the line, has contributed to a great sense of unease within the NUHW support base. Grade: B

NUHW: Team Red has picked up several unlikely allies and collaborators in this process, including Paul Pringle at the Los Angeles Times, Randy Shaw at BeyondChron, and several different website directors who are collectively clowning SEIU from stem to stern, including UNITE/HERE (with the "Wrong Way SEIU" site), SMART (with the "SEIU-SMART" website) and now the "Purple People Beaters" website that just popped up. (Ed: I'd forgotton about the hopefully only temporarily departed PerezStern) It is notable that as it stands right now, there is only one separate pro-SEIU website going right now, whose author is quite possibly functionally illiterate, at least based strictly on his writing style; this individual is pretty much only capable of regurgitating SEIU press releases...of course, without links or attribution. Grade: B

More in a later post...

New Site to Check Out...

Purple People Beaters is now up and running. They do not heart Our Glorious Maximum Leader or His Empire.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Friday Wrap

1) It appears that Our Glorious Maximum Leader has been asked to sit on an advisory board tasked with making sure that ACORN no longer helps perpetuate child prostitution through its offices. Some jokes just write themselves.

2) The NLRB is most decidedly NOT your friend. Sure, you can participate in union activity while on your job - but according to the NLRB, just not too much, and not at the expense of SEIU.

3) Remember those layoffs that SEIU swears that cannot and will not occur on its watch, and are the basis for the "We Didn't Really Negotiate For Layoffs (eventhoughwereallydid), We Promise!!!" Informational Picket Tour of California? They keep saying in their pressers that they're walking the line to protect jobs of people like this guy...

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Signed, Sealed, Sold Out (Part Two)

Here's a companion piece from NUHW that illustrates just what a bad agreement that Zombie Grillo and Zombie Chavez signed on our collective behalf (click to enlarge):

Kinda says it all, don't it?

Signed, Sealed, Sold Out

In a prior post, I had linked to an unsigned copy of the August 4th "Affordability and Transition Plan" which is the basis of the Zombie UHW "We Didn't Really Negotiate For Layoffs (eventhoughwereallydid), We Promise!!!" Informational Picket Tour of California.

Well, folks, here's a SIGNED copy of that very same document...

The reader is invited to note the signatures of Mary Grillo, "Director - SEIU UHW" and Veronica Chavez, "Staff Director - SEIU UHW".

Let's take a look at what can be found in this document that, according to Zombie UHW, does not allow for layoffs:

Let us be very clear - Page One of the above document states, in part, "The Employer will provide the number of positions being eliminated by facility, classification, position, and employee names for their respective bargaining unit(s). Such notice shall result in the commencement of the redeployment and transition process for impacted employees." You do NOT get to the redeployment process unless there is intent to lay people off. The above was agreed to by Kaiser, and it was agreed to by Zombie UHW. This is indisputable.

Going on to Page Two:

How do you get "there will be no layoffs" out of the above? Especially when KaiPerm eliminated a whole bunch of vacant positions for which those affected by the August 4th agreement could migrate themselves?

Going on to Page 5:

Translation of the above passage: If you don't like this agreement, too damn bad. The above language limits any grievance to the language of the agreement itself, and completely eviscerates any protection affected employees may have within the contract. In one agreement, SEIU-UHW and KaiPerm have rendered the entire 2005 contract null and void.

But wait, it gets better...

Contracts are supposed to contain clear and concise language, such that there can be no misunderstanding. That was the point of the Employment and Income Security Agreement language of the National Agreement. Of course, both KaiPerm and Zombie UHW had to get around this particular little mine field, so what do they do? They tell everyone that the EISA language does not apply to this agreement (even though they acknowledge that there is a "difference of opinion" on that matter), and then try to weasel out of it by setting in language that indicates there is no precedent being set.

Two words: BULL CRAP.

KaiPerm needed the EISA language to be set aside for the upcoming contract negotiations, and Zombie UHW gave that language away in this agreement, for nothing in return.

This August 4th agreement guarantees layoffs, eliminates contracted grievance protections, and sets the Employment and Income Security Agreement aside. It represents everything Kaiser wants, and nothing that anyone in UHW would want - if UHW was even half the union it used to be.


It has taken NUHW representatives to get this out to the affected employees - SEIU won't send it out.

I wonder why that is...

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

What If The Plague Threw A Protest...

...but nobody showed up?

From an alert reader at the Roseville facility, we have these pictures of the Zombie UHW "We Didn't Really Negotiate For Layoffs (eventhoughwereallydid), We Promise!!!" Informational Picket.

From the reader at Roseville:
"These pictures were taken 15 minutes after the scheduled start time for the pickets - even though management had sent out three different announcements to the entire Roseville area staff (Eureka, Riverside, Lava Ridge, Parkway), telling us precisely where and at what time this "union activity" was to take place, and assuring everyone that they (Kaiser) respected their unions' rights when it comes to demonstration.

So much so that there was a HR Rep from Roseville helpfully directing people as to where to go in order to participate in the protest. Unfortunately for the Zombies, he didn't need to tell very many people where to go, because in the first 15 minutes of the protest, somewhere between 5 and 10 people had come out. Everyone else there had arrived on the Barney Bus."

Monday, September 7, 2009

Peering Into Andy's Purple Future

Herman Benson has once again given us a peek at what Our Glorious Maximum Leader has in store for the American Labor Movement, once he gets his grimy paws on the pursestrings...

Putting it together: Any local which "voluntarily" refuses to cede control over collective bargaining to the council, can be financially starved of the resources necessary to conduct its own effective collective bargaining and so forced into submission. It can't happen here, you will say? Then you don't know where Stern is taking the SEIU.

The locals have no right to their own money. The council president is endowed with sweeping financial powers. He or she is authorized to hire and fire and direct the whole council paid staff and set their rate of pay and to retain attorneys, accountants, and other consultants. The president is insulated from membership control.

Because the council is an intermediary body, not a local, the president, despite those enormous powers, is not elected by the membership but by a delegated body, in this case by the council executive board. After their four-year appointive term is up, executive board members will be elected by the locals, but that status does not give them a paid job. The president's power of the purse extends even to those who have the constitutional power to elect him or her. An executive board member depends upon the president for a paid staff job.

In the old style SEIU, the now-familiar mega locals remain formally autonomous; they collect and retain dues; their members elect local officers; they are responsible for organizing, collective bargaining, processing trials and charges --- all the authority and responsibility traditionally vested in local unions remains. With the new California janitors council, the role of locals is transformed. To sum it up:

The council takes over dues and assessments. As required by federal law, after the appointive term has ended local members will be permitted to elect local officers, but not necessarily to pay them. Money for all salaries, including for elected local officers, depends upon decision of the council. Who pays the piper calls the tune. Without independent access to money, local members lose control over their own locals. The handling of grievances and the processing of charges and trials are removed a greater distance away from the membership. The council dominates the locals; the international president, through his appointive power, dominates the council.
As they say, read the rest.

It gives Andy Stern's penchant for control a whole new level of focus.

Anyone who believes in democracy should avoid SEIU like the (purple) plague.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Happy Labor Day

On this Labor Day holiday, and to display the honor and the pride that exudes from being a (unwilling) part of the Purple Plague, I give to you a new and updated picture of the SEIU Barney Bus, which was so kindly sent in by one of the commenters:

Happy Labor Day, everyone!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Zombie UHW: "Keep Your Hands Off Our Dues Money!"

So an E-mail comes into ¡AA! from the Zombies, informing us that they would like us to sign the petition to tell Ralph, Sal and Joan to keep their hands off of Zombie UHW dues money...

First they tried to take $3 million of our dues money for their own use...then they spent $11.5 million of our dues for their own personal power...then they took another $3 million from our strike fund, and now these three former officials have grabbed another $265,000 from our union treasury.


Former Vice President Ralph Cornejo claimed 352 days of unused vacation. That's 11.7 years' worth of vacation pay. Former President Sal Rosselli claimed 261 days, or 8.7 years' worth. This was on top of 140 days of vacation Cornejo cashed out while still part of SEIU-UHW, and 120 days Rosselli had already cashed out. They each claimed they were entitled to five weeks of paid vacation every year plus an extra week every year for "relief time."

The labor commissioner has ordered these payments:

Rosselli will get a total of $128,341.
Cornejo will get a total of $129,809.
Former Secretary-Treasurer Joan Emslie will get a total of $47,873.
Overall, former staff and officials have received $1.8 million of our dues money on their way out the door.
Earth to SEIU: This is what happens when you fire people without proper cause. If you had proper cause, then the labor commissioner would not have found SEIU liable for those payments.

And while you're at it, perhaps you folks in SEIU should start a petition to make sure that Annelle Grajeda, Alejandro Stephens, Rickman Jackson, and Tyrone Freeman should keep their hands off of our dues money as well.

Just saying is all...

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Quick Hits

Keeping the UHW members locked up in Hotel California is expensive.

Raiding UNITE/HERE to create WU is even more so.