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Comment Archives: stories: News & Opinion: Raising the Bar

Re: “It's Time for the Union Fighting to Stop

Juan Castillo used to be a union rep for UAW Local 2244 at NUMMI where he worked with management to shut down NUMMI with a pack of lies. The main lie used to justify shutting down NUMMI was the pullout of GM which somehow caused a financial strain. That was not true because we didn't make GM cars. We made Corollas and Tacomas and the Pontiac Vibe (25% at its height). GM made little from the sale of the Vibe because it was a rebadged Toyota Matrix. GM didn't get to keep all the profits. The vast majority of revenue came from Toyota production. The GM lie was nothing more than a red herring.

Juan Castillo was also a part of the union busting crew who started a riot at the union hall , videotaped it and spread that across the union busting milieu in the U.S. to frame union workers as "thugs". It's still on You Tube. The whole "riot" was nothing more than a fabricated provocation. People still have flyers from Juan promoting that day with incendiary language designed to provoke anger against the union instead of Toyota.

FYI: Toyota had $39 billion when they announced the shutdown of NUMMI

The lies from Toyota was spread through Juan's newsletter called "Autoworkers News". Juan's newsletter replaced the legitimate workers newsletter called "The Barking Dog" after Caroline Lund passed away. Workers simply assumed "Autoworkers News" was legit and believed the lies from a pro-Reagan anti-union mole. Juan's cheesy website is still up, but the incriminating articles have been taken down to give the impression of just another loyal union rep.

Juan Castillo is still on You Tube in interviews by "laborvideo" where he is quoted as calling the UAW a "business" and spreading the lies about GM.

Juan Castillo lied then and he lies now. Ignore his position as a union rep. He's a union buster.

Either SEIU-UHW was ignorant of who they were hiring; or worse, SEIU-UHW knew of his past collaboration with Toyota management and hired the right guy for the job.

5 likes, 13 dislikes
Posted by Ryan Martin on 05/16/2013 at 8:41 PM

Re: “It's Time for the Union Fighting to Stop

If Kaiser members were persuaded by CNA/NUHW's claim that SEIU-UHW is moving forward as a Union which does the bosses' bidding, and if their readings of the plain language of their last two contracts have been full of concessions, then our Kaiser Service and Tech members would not have turned out to vote to ratify the contracts in record numbers, and they would have voted to leave SEIU. They did not. They are simply unpersuaded by NUHW's "facts".

Before I came on as a staff member of SEIU-UHW, I was a rank-and-file member at Eden Medical Center, where I worked for 25 years and organized my Clerical residual unit into the Union. The training and development I gained as a trade Unionist under the Rosselli-led Local was tremendous. The people leading NUHW are skilled organizers and they wish to help workers. I have zero doubt about that.

Unfortunately, they have lost their perspective and vision. Organizing the organized will not move the labor movement forward. The vast majority of health care workers at hospitals and convalescents in California have no Union. Those caregivers need organizing help to increase their compensation and advocate for better patient care quality and safer working conditions. For these workers, CNA-NUHW has very few answers.

The vast, vast majority of NUHW's organizing has been in attempts to raid SEIU health care worker bargaining units in California. They have attempted to take members from multiple SEIU public sector Unions in addition to their lengthy battles with caregivers represented by UHW. These fights have borne little fruit, and NUHW has not achieved higher standards in the contracts they have managed to settle. And, of course, they have been in negotiations with Kaiser for many years and have been unable to negotiate a contract for any of their bargaining units.

I'm glad that the current SEIU International leadership has steered away from the strategies at the end of Andy Stern's leadership, most notably ending the attempt to organize Unite HERE members and keeping UHW Homecare workers in their Union. The current elected SEIU-UHW President, Dave Regan, was among the International Executive Board members who organized against Anna Berger, Stern's preferred successor, and helped elect Mary Kay Henry as the current SEIU International President.

I think of the leaders who came up with a brilliant set of strategies to win our Sutter Health fights, facility by facility, in 2005 and 2006. I have been sorely disappointed by the direction they have taken their supporters since that time.

22 likes, 6 dislikes
Posted by Douglas Jones on 05/11/2013 at 4:50 PM

Re: “It's Time for the Union Fighting to Stop

NUHW supporters are in denial and it's time to stop. Two election; two defeats::::::please accept it; Kaiser members spoke and Democracy must prevail.

The labor movement is dying and the world is changing. If it really is about working families, then focus your energy on that. Regardless on how evil NUHW supporters think SEIU is, the facts are that the Kaiser SEIU contract protects working families well; with respectable wages, benefits, and a 52 weeks of income security that no one outside of that contract has, including NUHW or CNA....

Start focusing on the economy, unemployment, National Debt, the rising cost of Healthcare, the competition, and the fact that only 9% of American families have a retirement plan. That's the fight that labor needs to fight.... Not each other....

If Kaiser workers don't wake up soon, the world around them will change their lives just like the American Autoworkers' lives changed while their union was focusing on being militant and fighting "the boss", and in the end, their lack of vision for the future, and understanding of the world around them, was the root cause that failed to protect the contracts that brought Blue Collar workers to the middle class of American society........ Wake up!!

23 likes, 13 dislikes
Posted by Juan Castillo on 05/11/2013 at 8:02 AM

Re: “It's Time for the Union Fighting to Stop

So, Doug, I guess being a political organizer for SEIU, you kinda have to say the things you do in your post. There are many facts that contradict your statements, but I will not bother to challenge you with facts enumerate them, they are available on the NUHW web site and stopseiucuts.com. It would be futile to discuss the facts with someone so obviously wedded to SEIU, because SEIU's modus operandi seems to be to distort facts. There are takeaways built into the recently "ratified" Service & Tech group's contract. None of the S&T members I know was even notified of an opportunity to "ratify" the contract. In fact, to get a copy of the contract (actually a summary - the members don't even get a copy of the actual full contract) people were required to sign a card stating that they would vote for SEIU in the election. Does that sound like democracy? One of the clauses in the contract actually allows the employer to change any aspect of the contract unilaterally and at will. Does that sound like protection? As for SEIU's motivation to create a weak contract? They want to be the boss's friend, so that they are assured lots and lots of members (and lots and lots of dues money). That is why we decertified and went with NUHW.

6 likes, 24 dislikes
Posted by Adam Front on 05/10/2013 at 9:48 PM

Re: “It's Time for the Union Fighting to Stop

Adam,

"SEIU did what amounts to a hostile takeover when it put the local in trusteeship, and the leaders who were erroneously charged with malfeasance and thrown out formed NUHW."

Erroneously charged with malfeasance? Then why was there a civil judgement of $1.5 million for SEIU against NUHW and more than a dozen NUHW leaders which has been sustained on appeal?

"NUHW is the Kaiser workers old union, reconstituted after a hostile takeover,...".

I thought NUHW claimed that members are the Union, not the staff representatives. Were SEIU-UHW members, Kaiser and non-Kaiser, responsible for building the best contract for health care workers, or was it all Sal and Pals? If it was all Sal and his team, then how does that meet with the claim that it's all about the members?

"...the trustees, who are now the leadership under SEIU,...".

The leadership elected by the members, you mean? The leadership elected with a much higher voter turnout than was ever managed for a leadership election in the Rosselli Era? The leadership with an Executive Board made up of 300 members and NO staff, unlike the E-Board under Rosselli which was a fraction of the size and was dominated by powerful staff members? That leadership?

"SEIU, who will make contract concessions to Kaiser at the expense of its own members....".

Yes, the prediction of "contract concessions" that NUHW leaders have made since 2009, two contract negotiations ago, negotiations led by the largest Kaiser SEIU-UHW member bargaining team ever (much, much larger than the Rosselli-era bargaining teams), which maintained contracts with industry-leading wage, benefit and job security standards and were ratified by supreme majorities with higher voter turnout than ever before.

First, Kaiser SEIU-UHW members disagree that they have suffered great concessions in their last two contracts; their enthusiastic ratification votes prove it.

Second, and I mean this seriously, what would be the motivation of the current SEIU-UHW leaders to create "secret concessions" now and in the future? Explain to us why you think they would do that, and, if they were planning on doing so, why they participated in the creation of new SEIU-UHW bylaws which established a much larger membership presence among top leaders? If they wanted to give away the store, why would they set themselves up to be watched so closely?

27 likes, 10 dislikes
Posted by Douglas Jones on 05/10/2013 at 6:43 PM

Re: “It's Time for the Union Fighting to Stop

Soooooo Mr. Jay Youngdahl, I understand your cousin is Jon Youngdahl, the Executive Director of SEIU California State Council - their chief lobbyist! There goes whatever credibility you had as a journalist... And to think, I used to enjoy East Bay Express...

14 likes, 24 dislikes
Posted by Zelly Lodin on 05/09/2013 at 12:39 PM

Re: “It's Time for the Union Fighting to Stop

This comment was removed because it violates our policy against anonymous comments. It will be reposted if the commenter chooses to use his or her real name.

3 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Editor on 05/09/2013 at 12:28 PM

Re: “It's Time for the Union Fighting to Stop

NUHW suporters: Please take note of the astute conclusions of author Jay Youngdahl: "The argument that the workers were too scared to vote for NUHW-CNA was condescending and paternalistic when made by NUHW supporters to explain their 2010 defeat. And one cannot credibly claim that, with the backing and money of the militant and committed this time around, Kaiser workers were again mousy and scared." Because that is exactly what you are continuing to do. Please stop insulting the workers that you claim to care so much about--if you don't respect the folks you want to represent, you probably shouldn't be the ones representing them...

23 likes, 15 dislikes
Posted by Sherry Minson on 05/09/2013 at 11:34 AM

Re: “It's Time for the Union Fighting to Stop

When you lie down with dogs, you wake up with fleas. Unions destroyed the auto industry, have bankrupted local and state governments, and now they're working on the federal government.

4 likes, 32 dislikes
Posted by Thomas Collins on 05/09/2013 at 6:19 AM

Re: “It's Time for the Union Fighting to Stop

I remember in my life time when Journalists had integrity and actually reported the facts without bias. That is also when they remained respected. It is clear that you don't have any idea what you are talking about. You look ridiculously ignorant. I do have to say though at least I am allowed exercise my First Amendment rights on this post. It was clear to "we the people" at the Federal Building in Oakland that we had no rights. We were INFORMED that our First Amendment Rights at the Federal Building did not apply. Oh yes, that was after they referred to us as "red shirts" but before Home Land Security showed up. Funny, I think that my name is Christina and that I am an American tax paying citizen. At what point in the game did it become acceptable in the Labor Movement in America for your "union" to become the "man." Isn't that why unions were formed in the first place? To protect the workers from the "man?" I guess that when you have enough money you can buy anything in America even your union and the entire time they are throwing their dues paying members under the bus. They only thing that I can possibly think that is lower than a union "buster" is a union that has a "price" and that has clearly been met here.

15 likes, 29 dislikes
Posted by Christina Meschnark Schofield on 05/09/2013 at 12:49 AM

Re: “It's Time for the Union Fighting to Stop

I'm sorry, but this article misconstrues everything that's actually going on at ground zero in these Kaiser facilities. Jay, I implore you to ACTUALLY GO INTO A FEW FACILITIES AND TALK TO THE WORKERS YOURSELF. This is the umpteenth journalist that's written on this issue without actually having talked to workers (or at the most they'll simply obtain one quote from either side to 'get a balanced story').

You should be ashamed for how you framed this issue. The first time around, NUHW was barely even allowed into the hospital and yet SEIU had access to regular staff meetings to preach their gospel - that doesn't constitute a fair election according to the NLRA! The second election was not much different either: Kaiser called the police on NUHW, SEIU called Kaiser security regularly to eject NUHW from the facility, and SEIU harassed workers and NUHW staff at each and every Kaiser site. The funny thing is that many hospitals, workers still refuse to accept SEIU'S representation, now that they recognize who they really are: management's lap dog. When a union bullies its own member and threatens to report them to management (and often does report them), it ceases to be a union. I'm sorry, but I think calling them a mafia would be a better characterization.

Lastly, before you call CNA the 'loser' here, I must once again ask that you actually make the effort to step into one of these hospitals before you write this BS. The nurses have a newfound camaraderie with their co-workers, which is more essential than any union label or brand. In fact, because of the affiliation, many of the workers have learned more about their rights under the NLRA and how to approach a dispute with management from the RNs. One worker was going to receive punitive action for getting hurt on the job before an RN stepped in to help inform him of his rights - I thought that was the stewards job? There's a reason NUHW keeps coming back, they're for the workers by the workers. That's why there was hundreds of rank and file NUHW supporters out at the ballot count, but less than 40 paid SEIU stewards and staff - the rest of SEIU's paid staff was enjoying an-all expense paid trip to the Disneyland resort. And the dues went up recently...

24 likes, 30 dislikes
Posted by Zelly Lodin on 05/08/2013 at 10:24 AM

Re: “It's Time for the Union Fighting to Stop

First, full disclosure: I am a member and a shop steward in NUHW. The real problem with both elections, 2010 and last week, is the framing of the question. SEIU framed it this way: why would you go with a small upstart union with no power, when you have always been with us, a large, powerful union that has won you great contracts?" This is a distortion. SEIU did what amounts to a hostile takeover when it put the local in trusteeship, and the leaders who were erroneously charged with malfeasance and thrown out formed NUHW. They are the strong leadership that Kaiser workers always had, and the trustees, who are now the leadership under SEIU, have been working with Kaiser behind closed doors to erode the good contracts that the ousted leaders won for the workers. So NUHW is not a rogue union trying to steal members from SEIU. NUHW is the Kaiser workers old union, reconstituted after a hostile takeover, trying to rescue Kaiser workers from a union that wants to sell them out to make the boss happy. Estimates are that SEIU's agreed cuts to retirement has saved Kaiser something like $1.8 Billion already, at the workers' expense. Meanwhile, Kaiser, supposedly "non-profit," makes larger and larger profits each year. The Kaiser workers who, after last week's vote, remain stuck in SEIU, stand to lose healthcare benefits, watch jobs be subcontracted, and other protections eroded. SEIU sided with the Healthcare industry in lobbying against staffing ratios that protect patient care.

I am glad to be represented by NUHW. Time will tell, but this reminds me of the Pacifica / KPFA civil ware several years ago. That fight went the other way and Goliath was pushed back by David. We are still a David, fighting the Goliath of Kaiser and its ally SEIU, who will make contract concessions to Kaiser at the expense of its own members. Last week's vote is being investigated for irregularities similar to the ones that prompted NLRB to void the 2010 election. I do think that the voters were lied to and intimidated. The intimidation seems not to have been as much of a factor this time, but the lies were rife and oft-repeated, so that in the end, SEIU was believed. The workers and their patients are the ones who will suffer for this, and SEIU and Kaiser, both large corporations scratching each others' backs, will profit.

24 likes, 30 dislikes
Posted by Adam Front on 05/08/2013 at 6:47 AM

Re: “Pat Your Neighbor on the Back

Thanks for pausing to reflect on these important victories, Jay. It is easy to be so focused on staving off the next wave of attempts to deprive Americans of decent living standards that we forget to recognize our successes. Now we need to make sure that the constituencies you listed hold the president accountable for his actions. The election is over, and "the other guy is so much more awful" is no longer a reason to accept mediocrity.

Posted by Lisa Lindsley on 11/24/2012 at 5:07 PM

Re: “Where Is Our Katniss Everdeen?

I really resisted reading this book because the premise is so disgusting, but when I did read it, I think it is a very good dystopian vision of the path we are on. In addition to the Katniss character, the Peeta character is fascinating when he says that he hopes the struggle for survival will not change who he is. Will our identity as a nation and as individuals survive this struggle?
Lisa

Posted by Lisa Lindsley on 10/10/2012 at 1:26 PM

Re: “The One Percent Doubles Down With Paul Ryan

Neither the author of this piece nor the Occupy folks represent anywhere near 99% of the country and never have. This is just the same old stale socialist rhetoric of the intellectually & morally bankrupt Left that has failed in every place on the globe.
Despite Ryan's past admiration for Ayn Rand he has a statist voting on all the bailouts, civil liberties issues and Pentagon socialism. He's no Ron Paul.
See Lew Rockwell.com for recent critiques of Ryan from the libertarian viewpoint. He's controlled by neocons who are anathema to the Objectivist philosophy of Rand and the anarcho-capitalism of Murray Rothbard.

3 likes, 10 dislikes
Posted by Caryn Goddard on 08/15/2012 at 10:38 AM

Re: “Romney's Bain Capital Is a Job Killer

The author in this treatise failed to mention another type of financing - the type used taking OPM (other peoples' money) to finance a company in the hope that its performance can be turned around and profits achieved. The author failed to mention the Obama government's loans to favored companies like solar panel producer Solyndra (almost 1/2 Billion taxpayer-provided dollars), and other so-called "Green" ventures. Unlike with Bain-type private-sector financing, not one of the taxpayers whose money was involved in such "Obama" loans or financing had the opportunity to make a choice in those actions. They were dragged in as a function of a government decision - with no pre-disclosure of information and recourse for its failure. As to the author's lofty aspiration that investors should be held accountable for the impacts upon employees and others harmed when such plans go awry, one only can look to the more than 1000 employees of Solyndra who hit the street with nothing but their cardboard boxes when that company went under. Where was the "social conscience" of Obama's type financing in that? Where was Obama's personal responsibility? The author says that "when investments are made that kill jobs and communities, it would not be that hard to set up a system to force those who are responsible to pay for needed unemployment assistance, health care, real job training, and to compensate the communities for lost tax revenues. All involved should personally have to pay for this, from the private-equity experts to the pension fund administrators who hire them and the trustees who approve the job-killing investments. Maybe then all these folks would admit the downstream effects of their actions and focus on investments that create good jobs and build healthy communities." So is it now the responsibility of the taxpayers who funded Obama's investments to additionally fund this? Perhaps it should be Obama's (and his staff's) personal responsibility to fund such social ambitions from their own pockets. In summary, the author described here a "herd" of financing elephants - naming the Bain Capital type animal as the worst elephant in the herd - while ignoring a huge elephant in the room - and the absolute worst elephant of all - the government animal that gives its taxpayer investors no choice at all and then leaves the scene of its failures with no responsibility whatsoever for the human toll and other results of its actions. Don't be hoodwinked by this magician-like vanishing act on the part of the author. It is politically motivated to deceive.

1 like, 1 dislike
Posted by William H. Thompson on 05/31/2012 at 12:53 PM

Re: “Romney's Bain Capital Is a Job Killer

like tnt

Posted by Richard Johnson on 05/30/2012 at 7:27 AM

Re: “The Anti-Bullying Movement Misses the Mark

I think you are on to something here. If American capitalism has morphed into a zero-sum game, where Americans think only the strongest will survive, and there is no regard for our collective well being, how else can we expect kids to behave?

2 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by Lisa Lindsley on 05/20/2012 at 8:22 PM

Re: “One Big Happy Elite Family

another good reason not to listen to the overrated and mostly boring NPR

Posted by Alan Lopez on 05/17/2012 at 7:08 PM

Re: “One Big Happy Elite Family

I take it those at the party were the 1% of those in the media who can afford such antics - so they are not much different from the 1% they deride with biased coverage and their all-too-liberal slant. It's not journalism - it's business. Oh well, what are we to do with an industry that at least once had to pay for its ink when it drowned the nation in its bias - but now with the demise of hard print, their "digital ink" costs them even less to flood the land with their opinionated penmanship. After all, their industry is about to profit from the most over-spent presidential campaign in history (where all ad rates skyrocket from demand for space) - and their biggest spender, Obama, needs a good party to ensure they get every extra dime from his side. So what's the use in complaining about the media when they throw a party with their inner circles that counters their image of objective, hard-working journalists? They are in it for the power and the money - no different from many others in business who struggle to stay out of the national economic malaise that affects most of their readers. Kim Kardashian and her conservative cash-green evening gown and diamond bracelet sent a subtle message: It's all about the green of money!

1 like, 1 dislike
Posted by William H. Thompson on 05/16/2012 at 11:04 PM

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