It seems unfathomable that a union could spend $35 million of its members’ money to get an employer—or, in this case, a group of employers—to agree to allow themselves to become unionized without putting up any kind of fight. Then, once getting the employers to step aside for the union, to utterly fail to win one single new union member.
Yet, according to Stern Burger With Fries (SBWF)—a pro-union blog critical of the Service Employees International Union and its affiliates—the head of the SEIU-UHW in California, Dave Regan, spent a vast amount of union members’ money to obtain what is commonly referred to as a “sweetheart deal” with the California Hospital Association, and now has nothing to show for it.
Regan famously secured SEIU-UHW’s so-called “organizing rights deal” by forfeiting workers’ rights — workers’ right to strike, workers’ right to report patient-care violations to government oversight agencies, workers’ right to negotiate their own wages and benefits, etc.
Regan also agreed to prohibit SEIU-UHW from taking any positions on legislative, regulatory, and ballot issues that are “adverse to the interests” of the hospital industry. In addition, Regan’s deal essentially converts SEIU into a lobbying arm for hospital corporations that’s dedicated to boosting hospital profits.
According to SWBF, the deal with the California Hospital Association cost the SEIU $35 million and, in return, has produced zero members.
Where did the $35 million go?
Approximately $10-$15 million went to statewide ballot initiatives that the SEIU-UHW used as leverage, but never filed, to obtain the hospital association’s acquiesence to remain “neutral” on SEIU-UHW organizing employees.
Then, according to SBWF, the sweetheart deal calls for the SEIU to deposit $20 million into a “political fund jointly controlled by the CHA that’s used to lobby politicians for billions of additional taxpayer monies for hospital corporations.”
In an audio recording obtained by SBWF and posted on Youtube, CEO Duane Dauner reported on a conference call last month with California hospital executives that, so far, SEIU-UHW has attempted only two elections under the deal.
It should be noted that, back in 2009, it was a similar “sweetheart deal” in California that led to the SEIU’s “civil war” and drove the formation of the break-away union, the National Union of Healthcare Workers.