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    Read our pamphlet: “What is a Union?
    Léelo en español: “¿Qué es un Sindicato?


    Read “The State of the Union,” from the 2013 Leadership Conference.

    WHICH WAY TO WELLNESS? Read this authoritative report on how SEIU-UHW’s “Wellness” schemes at Kaiser, Dignity Health and other employers hurt workers.

    Latest news


    Clinicians, Nurses and Hotel Workers Hold Kaiser Executives Bernard Tyson and Ben Chu Accountable

    On Saturday, NUHW clinicians and registered nurses, along with representatives of the California Nurses Association and Unite HERE, the hotel workers’ union, leafleted the Anaheim Convention and the Anaheim Marriot to call attention to growing patient care concerns about Kaiser Permanente’s profit-driven delivery system.  The occasion was the 60th anniversary celebration of the Southern California Permanente Medical Group, the LA-based organization of Kaiser physicians.

    Discussing concerns directly with event-goers on their way into the celebration, the leafleters took the opportunity to ask Bernard Tyson, president of the Kaiser Foundation Health Plans, and Ben Chu, head of the Kaiser hospitals in Southern California, how they could justify trying to eliminate staff when Kaiser is having such quality care issues, particularly the $4 million fine from the Department of Managed Health Care for Kaiser’s failure to provide timely mental health services.

    Workers report a cordial conversation with Bernard Tyson.  Not discussed, however, was how Mr. Tyson and Mr. Chu could be demanding the elimination of pension plans for Kaiser employees while both Tyson, Chu, and other top executives have 8 pension plans each.  


    Medical providers at AIDS Healthcare Foundation petition to join NUHW

    On Friday, September 27, in observance of National Gay Men’s HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, the medical providers at the AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), joined by patients and other supporters, held a press conference on the steps of AHF’s Hollywood headquarters to talk about their effort to form a union with the National Union of Healthcare Workers (NUHW).  The providers are frustrated by the attempt of AHF Director Michael Weinstein to thwart their efforts.  Providers filed a petition on July 27 with the NLRB, but Weinstein has filed frivolous legal challenges since then to try to delay the vote.

    Check out the pictures from our event on our Facebook page.

    Based in Los Angeles, AHF is a global organization with testing sites and healthcare centers, serving 200,000 patients in 28 countries with a mission of providing cutting-edge medicine and advocacy.  Founded by Michael Weinstein, AHF is the largest provider of HIV/AIDS medical care in the United States. With 12 medical centers in California, AHF serves more than 8,000 patients in nine medical centers in the Los Angeles metro area as well as San Francisco, Oakland and Upland, California.  According to the Nonprofit Quarterly, revenues for AHF “have doubled since 2008, rising throughout the recession, but its fund balance has tripled.  These are the kinds of financial reports that often spark employees—whether middle managers or rank-and-file—to think about their labor rights.” 

    Felipe Findlay, an AHF Physician’s Assistant stated: “I am so very proud of all the providers and patients that came out to support our rally on Friday. AHFs profits are growing exponentially, yet staffing is inadequate and patient care is suffering! I look forward to the continued struggle to have our union be recognized so we can address these concerns.”

    The Friday press conference has focused considerable attention on Weinstein’s delaying tactics, in addition to the article in the Nonprofit Quarterly were additional pieces in the LA Times,  and the LA Daily News.


    NUHW Files Complaint Alleging Misconduct by Former State Official for Aiding Kaiser During Mental Health Investigation

    The National Union of Healthcare Workers (NUHW) filed a complaint with the California Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) requesting an investigation into whether a former official in California’s Department of Managed Health Care (DMHC) illegally “switched sides” by assisting Kaiser Permanente during the investigation.

    The official, Marcy Gallagher, was a top DMHC attorney and was responsible for leading the agency’s investigation into Kaiser’s patient-care violations, including the HMO’s illegal delays in caring for patients with depression, autism and other conditions. After leading the agency’s investigation for eight months, Gallagher resigned her government position and was hired by Kaiser, where she works for the Kaiser division that’s responsible for defending Kaiser against the agency’s investigation. At Kaiser, Ms. Gallagher reportedly trained Kaiser officials on how to answer questions posed by DMHC’s investigators. Next month, the agency plans to conduct site visits at Kaiser hospitals and clinics as part of its ongoing investigation. 

    Ms. Gallagher went from directing the DMHC’s investigation against Kaiser to helping Kaiser fend off the very investigation that she spearheaded.

    Additionally, documents indicate that a number of Kaiser’s top officials were aware of Ms. Gallagher’s  highly questionable conduct, including Dr. Ben Chu, the president of Kaiser’s Southern California Region and a top national official at Kaiser.

    NUHW’s complaint requests that the FPPC  immediately investigate whether Ms. Gallagher violated various provisions of California’s Political Reform Act including the “Permanent Ban on Switching Sides by State Officials” and the “Ban on Influencing Prospective Employment.” These provisions, detailed in NUHW’s four-page complaint, are intended to prevent private interests from corrupting the government by buying “insider” assistance from state officials. Kaiser is California’s largest HMO and has reported $10.2 billion in profits since 2009.

    Currently, Kaiser is under heavy regulatory scrutiny for its mental health violations. After the first phase of the state’s investigation, Kaiser was fined $4 million for violating multiple provisions of state law, including the California Mental Health Parity Act and California’s Timely Access Regulations. The investigation was prompted by a complaint filed by NUHW, whose members include 2,500 psychologists, therapists and other licensed mental health clinicians who care for Kaiser patients at dozens of hospitals, clinics and emergency rooms across California.

    See an article about the charges below.

    California Healthline


    Kaiser Breaches Patient Confidentiality in Wellness Program

    The journal HealthITSecurity reports that “Kaiser Permanente is alerting patients that it experienced a ‘human error’ data breach on May 16 when an employee mistakenly emailed a spreadsheet associated with a Wellness Screening competition to a pilot planning team member who was not part of the Kaiser organization.” (Read the full story here).

    The compromised data included: “first and last names, Kaiser Permanente medical record numbers, phone numbers, email addresses, employer names, department names and the appointment dates and times for the health screenings.”

    Kaiser apparently has not disclosed how many patients were involved or what steps it has taken to ensure that this doesn’t occur again.

    NUHW-CNA strongly opposes corporate wellness programs. Why? They violate our privacy and fail to address the on-the-job conditions that affect the health of so many healthcare workers.

    At Kaiser, SEIU-UHW and other “partnership” unions are working hand-in-hand with Kaiser to roll out a corporate wellness program that allows Kaiser to monitor SEIU-UHW members’ biometric data, including their weight, smoking habits, blood pressure and cholesterol levels. In fact, SEIU-UHW is contractually obligated to push this program on SEIU’s members. Unions are supposed to protect their members’ interests, not the company’s.  Click this link to read a full critique of Kaiser’s Wellness program and these programs in general.

    In another recent development, the New York Times reports that professors and clerical staff at Penn State University have launched an “uprising” against the university’s Wellness Program. That university requires employees to “visit their doctors for a checkup, undergo several biometric tests and submit to an extensive online health risk questionnaire that asks, among other things, whether they have recently had problems with a co-worker, a supervisor or a divorce. “  If they don’t fill out the “health assessment,” the university deducts $100 per month from their pay for non-compliance.

    Last week, the Penn State faculty senate denounced the plan as “coercive, punitive and invades university employees’ privacy.”


    Two Victories for Workers at Kaiser

    It’s been a busy and productive week for the members of NUHW!  You may have read some of the numerous stories in the press about our important action at the AFL-CIO’s national convention in Los Angeles this past week.

    AFL-CIO Boots Kaiser from Labor Convention

    Despite its track record as an anti-worker employer, Kaiser was on the official convention agenda twice, which would have given Kaiser the opportunity to promote its invasive “wellness program” and publicize itself as a “union-friendly” company.  Kaiser was even supposed to get a booth at the convention and be a co-sponsor of the opening reception for the convention’s 1,600 delegates.

    As soon as we learned about this, our chapter presidents wrote a letter to AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka  to protest Kaiser’s role in the convention.  We called his attention to the $4 million fine that the Department of Managed Health Care (DMHC) recently levied against Kaiser for patient-care violations.  And we described Kaiser’s attempts to eliminate our defined-benefit pension plan and to cut our health benefits, which has forced NUHW, the California Nurses Association, UNITE HERE and other unions to wage multiple strikes against Kaiser.

    As the convention began, our members were prepared to reach out directly to the delegates and press to educate them about Kaiser’s track record.

    However, just hours before the convention opened, President Trumka confirmed that Kaiser had been knocked off the agenda and had been asked to remove its exhibition booth!

    We’re grateful for the decision of the AFL-CIO’s leaders to stand with us while we stand up to Kaiser’s attempts to put their outrageous profits ahead of both their patients and workers.

    This decision allowed our representatives to spend their time talking to convention delegates from more than fifty international unions across the country about our fight with Kaiser.  We clearly have the support of union members and leaders who are appreciative of our willingness to take on this fight not just for workers, but for Kaiser patients.

    But that’s not all that happened this week!

     Optical Workers Take a Stand—And Win!

    NUHW’s Optical Chapter at Kaiser voted unanimously to hold a one-day strike on September 12 to protest Kaiser’s bad-faith bargaining and unfair labor practices. Our decision came after our chapter overwhelmingly rejected Kaiser’s concessionary and illegal “Last, Best and Final Offer.”

    Our September 12th strike was set to coincide with Kaiser’s regional “trunk show,” which is a major sales event where Kaiser markets the eyeware that our chapter produces.

    Yesterday we received confirmation that the trunk show had been cancelled in response to our planned action! 

    The Optical Chapter’s stewards unanimously decided to cancel the strike because it’s clear that Kaiser got our message — we are strong and united and will not allow Kaiser to erase the decades of achievements that our members have fought so hard to achieve.

    Here are some news stories which describe NUHW’s recent action at the AFL-CIO convention:

    The Hill: AFL-CIO convention avoids healthcare union’s protests
    BeyondChron: As The Curtain Rises in LA, The AFL-CIO Convention
    Bloomberg Daily Labor Report


    Gloria Villasenor, Optician, Kaiser Union City
    National Union of Healthcare Workers - California Nurses Association