Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Two sides to every story - SEIU/UHW vs. Prime Healthcare

I ran across this release from a local (Ontario, California) company, Prime Healthcare. It discusses Service Employees International Union-United Healthcare Workers West (SEIU-UHW). A few excerpts:

Prime Healthcare Services, a California-based and award-winning hospital management organization, has filed a complaint under the federal RICO statute against SEIU, SEIU President Mary Kay Henry, UHW, UHW President Dave Regan and affiliates....

Filed in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, San Francisco Division, the lawsuit accuses the defendants of conspiring to extort, threaten and force Prime Healthcare to enter into a "neutrality agreement" that would enable SEIU to force all employees into the union regardless of employee choice.

Among other unlawful conduct, the defendants have issued malicious and false statements, funded operations with money unlawfully received in violation of federal law, coerced the California Hospital Association to impose neutrality agreements on its members including Prime Healthcare, and threatened to prevent acquisitions of hospitals by Prime Healthcare unless it concedes to the defendants' demands and provide them control of all Prime Healthcare hospitals.

I figured that the SEIU and UHW would have a different spin on the story. I was right:

A growing coalition of community leaders and SEIU-UHW members are speaking out to hold Prime Healthcare Services accountable.

Prime has a shameful history of buying struggling hospitals, then laying off large numbers of staff and reducing patient services in order to increase profits. Prime’s business model has been bad for patients, bad for taxpayers, and bad for workers.

And Prime Healthcare isn't the only hospital chain that has incurred SEIU-UHW's ire:

Shortly after reaching a truce with much of the hospital industry...California's largest healthcare union vowed to step up its criticism of Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and two hospital chains that balked at the agreement..

On an internal conference call leaked to the media, a leader of the Service Employees International Union lashed out at the three holdouts and talked about using the new deal to bring them "to heel."...

Under the agreement, the California Hospital Assn. and a majority of the state's 430 hospitals approved a new "code of conduct" to make it easier for the union to organize thousands of workers....

But [SEIU-UHW President Dave] Regan singled out Cedars-Sinai, Prime Healthcare Services Inc. and the Providence Health & Services hospital chain as the top three "bad actors" who didn't sign on.

And SEIU-UHW is receiving criticism from the other side:

Some rival unions and patient advocates have faulted SEIU for making this deal and for being too cozy with hospital management.

You just can't win.
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