tion, which states, in part, that ‘‘collective bargaining isintended to involve members directly and actively in de-termining their wages, hours, and working conditions.’’In a letter to both presidents, employees asked Reganand Henry to stop and or set aside the rushed ratifica-tion vote and hold a new one. They wrote: ‘‘How can wemake an informed choice when we’re not even permit-ted to see the actual language that would define ourfamilies’ future health benefits and our pensions?’’The members charged that despite their concerns,Regan and Henry failed to stop the vote, failed to ex-tend the time for ratification, and failed to provide em-ployees with the actual language of the tentative agree-ments. They also charged that Regan and Henry ‘‘com-pletely failed to take any step whatsoever to allowaffected employees to be directly and actively involvedin ratifying their own contract.’’
UHW Spokesman Says NUHW Behind Charges.
SteveTrossman, a spokesman for UHW, told BNA May 16that the charges are a ‘‘hit piece on us’’ by the rival Na-tional Union of Healthcare Workers, alleging that thecharges were written by NUHW’s lawyer rather thanthe workers. He denied all the charges contending thatthe proper notice was given about the ratification votes within the rules of the bylaws.Contending that the charges are merely ‘‘harass-ment’’ by the rival union, Trossman said 87 percent of those members voting agreed to ratify the contract. Headded that almost half of the bargaining unit turned outto vote.Nonetheless, Trossman said the charges will be dealt with. There is a union ‘‘process to look at charges anddeal with them,’’ he said, and the union plans to ‘‘followour procedures’’ for when members file complaints.NUHW was created by former officials of UnitedHealthcare Workers after SEIU placed the local undertrusteeship (17 DLR A-17, 1/29/09). Within days, NUHWbegan filing petitions seeking elections in units repre-sented by UHW (20 DLR A-12, 2/3/09).
Terms of Contract in Dispute.
In announcing the ratifi-cation of the contract, UHW said the contract provideda ‘‘free, family medical plan and phased costs for cur-rent employees on higher cost plans’’ as well as a ‘‘com-mitment for the hospital system to fully fund the cur-rent retirement liability, protecting the retirement ben-efits earned to date, and a new plan under whichemployees can receive up to 12 percent of their incomein a retirement fund going forward.’’ According to a summary of the tentative agreement, which was posted on the NUHW website, three of thehospitals will continue to offer a fully employer paidhealth maintenance organization with comparable ben-efits and copayments if employees participate in a‘‘wellness program.’’ Employees who decline to partici-pate in the wellness assessment will be required to pay20 percent of the total premium. The same is true of afourth hospital that currently has a fully employer-paidpoint of service plan.Employees, who previously were covered by a pointof service or preferred provider organization ‘‘buy-upplan,’’ also will be required to pay a higher percentageof the total premium than they previously paid, with aneven higher percentage for those employees who do notparticipate in the wellness assessment, according to thesummary. The percentages vary among the hospitals. According to the summary, the defined benefit pen-sion plan will be eliminated and replaced with a 401(k)plan, with all benefits accrued up to Jan. 1, 2013, fro-zen. In addition, the contract imposes two-tier retire-ment benefits, with new hires receiving a smaller em-ployer contribution rate. Current employees will receivecontributions ranging from 3 percent to 11 percent, de-pending on the number of years of service. Employeeshired after Jan. 1, 2013, will receive employer contribu-tions ranging from 3 percent to 7 percent.
Regan Charged With Financial Malpractice.
Meanwhile,the internal charges brought by the UHW members alsocharged Regan with financial malpractice alleging thathe spent $5.5 million of UHW members’ dues to gathersignatures from voters to qualify two ballot measuresfor the statewide elections in November. According to the UHW members, Regan told mem-bers and the public that the two measures—the ‘‘FairHealthcare Pricing Act of 2012’’ and the ‘‘Charity Care Act of 2012’’—would overhaul the state’s health caresystem and protect consumers. He ‘‘deliberately failedto inform UHW’s members that the measures containedhidden loopholes that exempted California’s two largesthospital corporations (Kaiser Permanente and DignityHealthcare) from the proposed laws,’’ the members al-leged.On May 2, Regan announced that he was abandoningthe measures, claiming that he took the action becauseof an agreement he negotiated with the California Hos-pital Association that included ‘‘unspecified commit-ments’’ from CHA, the members alleged. Regan, how-ever, failed to release a copy of the agreement to UHWmembers for them to review the commitments he se-cured, they contended.UHW and the California Hospital Association May 2announced they had reached a broad agreementthrough which the union agreed to drop two ballot mea-sures aimed at hospital charity care and billing prac-tices in exchange for help from the hospital associationto organize workers (86 DLR A-2, 5/3/12). According to the charges, by abandoning the two bal-lot initiatives, ‘‘the millions of dollars of SEIU-UHW’sfunds that had been dedicated to the effort have effec-tively been wasted. Brother Regan’s deceptive misrep-resentations to SEIU-UHW’s members and his misman-agement of SEIU-UHW’s resources resulted in the mis-appropriation of millions of dollars of union members’funds and resources.’’The members charged that Regan’s failure to releasethe agreement ‘‘supports a conclusion that he has mis-managed millions of dollars of SEIU-UHW’s resourcesand is simply employing the reported agreement as a
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2012 BY THE BUREAU OF NATIONAL AFFAIRS, INC. DLR ISSN 0418-2693