Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The Trusteeship At One Year of Age

I had planned a detailed explanation of just what a disaster the Trusteeship has been for SEIU and UHW, but the nice folks at NUHW beat me to the punch, with their review of where NUHW stands one year after its founding.

Follow the link and you will have an exact layout of the elections won and lost by each party (it's 7-2 for NUHW by the way). The NUHW piece takes a much more optimistic and forward-looking tenor to its report.

I, on the other hand, am a cynical and backward-looking fellow, and in preparing for this "year in review" of UHW, I got a chance to actually read through the archive (as well as that of the dear, departed PerezStern, SonomaRedRevolt and TastySternburger), and I find myself truly appalled at what has gone on with UHW, and what SEIU has done to that once-great organization.

Who in their right mind would have believed that, one year removed from the imposition of the trusteeship, that the remains of UHW, with SEIU's full and complete backing, would have lost five straight elections, and to have the cumulative "no union" vote be almost equal to, if not greater than, the number of people voting to stay with Zombie UHW?

The beginning of the end for Zombie UHW within KaiPerm came much sooner than anyone could have expected, just about two months into the trusteeship, with the sounds of Esquirol Medina's robocall still echoing in my head about how "everything will be the same," and then the form letters went out to all the stewards who did not swear a loyalty oath to SEIU uber alles, and as a result were summarily fired as stewards.

That, in a nutshell, really set the wheels in motion, because as a result of that mass dismissal of stewards, Zombie UHW no longer had the support staff within KaiPerm to withstand the anger of the KaiPerm UHW membership. We've seen the pension giveaway, the allowance of KaiPerm to violate the contract regarding force reductions, the Pharmacy staffing double-cross, and now Zombie UHW's intent to raise dues, combined with Brave Sir Regan's desire to extend the Trusteeship beyond its legally alotted three years.

And so, when finally given an opportunity to voice their opinion on the matter, the SoCal KaiPerm membership told Zombie UHW precisely where it can go and what it should do with itself.

Of course, Zombie UHW remains utterly tone-deaf in this regard, as evinced by the statement that their spokespunk, Steve Trossman, put out in the wake of today's drubbing at the hands of NUHW...

"While today's election results are disappointing, the fact is only about 2,600 SEIU-UHW members have chosen NUHW over the past year, in contrast to more than 55,000 SEIU members who have chosen to stay united in our union.

"What's more, NUHW is seeking to stop union elections for nearly 5,000 hospital, nursing home, and home care members at 42 facilities because they know if the elections take place they will lose. Although the National Labor Relations Board, SEIU-UHW, and several of the employers have all agreed to election dates in early February, NUHW has refused to enter into the agreements.

"The bulk of SEIU-UHW's 50,000 Kaiser members are now launching the largest and most active contract campaign in history with the full support of the union's 150,000 California health care members. SEIU-UHW members at Kaiser are also part of the 100,000-member Coalition of Kaiser Permanente Unions, and expect to be at the bargaining table this spring as part of the coalition to negotiate a new national agreement.

"Meanwhile, NUHW has put these workers at grave risk because they will no longer be part of the Kaiser coalition and will have to try to bargain a contract on their own."
That bulk of Zombie UHW's 50,000 Kaiser members are already chomping at the bit to get out of SEIU's grip, and today's results will only double down on that desire. It is the height of arrogance for Trossman to think that he speaks for those of us who are stuck in Zombie UHW, because in about five months UHW is going to (once again) get kicked to the curb. The only way for Zombie UHW to preserve its position within KaiPerm is to check its hubris, up its humility, and take a good, hard look at what it is doing to the membership - because for damn sure it's not doing anything FOR the membership.

And now it is apparent that SEIU and UHW-West are going to prove to everyone around that they are the sore losers that they now appear to be, by forbidding admittance of a legally and duly-elected union in the Coalition of Kaiser Permanente Unions.

So Happy Freekin' Birthday to the SEIU-UHW West Trusteeship. You all have quite a track record built up so far.

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