News of the Month: SEIU bullying results in dissolution of Kaiser union coalition

April 23rd, 2018

Every month, we select several of the top stories affecting our members:

Twenty-one local unions, representing about 45,000 Kaiser employees, have left the Coalition of Kaiser Permanente Unions to form their own new coalition, without SEIU-UHW, because they were fed up with the ongoing antics of SEIU-UHW President Dave Regan. In a letter to her members, United Nurses Associations of California President Denise Duncan wrote: “Our alliance of like-minded unions will no longer be held captive by SEIU-UHW. The behavior of SEIU-UHW continually fractured our unity and our ability to focus on bargaining. This is why we believe we serve you, our members, best by taking this strong action.”

 

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra has sued Sutter Health, accusing it of anti-competitive behavior that has driven up healthcare prices in the region, according to Modern Healthcare. Becerra said the health system’s contracting practices with health insurance carriers were done under an “all or nothing” approach that restricted insurers from providing low-cost health plan options to California residents. He also accused Sutter of setting excessively high out-of-network prices and restricting transparency around provider cost information.

 

Lawmakers have introduced legislation that would direct California’s government to set prices for hospital stays, doctor visits and other health care services, vastly remaking the industry in a bid to lower health care costs, the Associated Press reports. The proposal, which drew swift opposition from the health care industry, comes amid a fierce debate in California as activists on the left push aggressively for a system that would provide government-funded insurance for everyone in the state.

 

The U.S. Senate has confirmed John Ring to the National Labor Relations Board restoring the board’s 3-2 Republican majority, Inside Sources reports. Ring began his legal career working with the International Brotherhood of Teamsters before moving onto represent management as a lawyer with Morgan, Lewis & Bockius.

 

The Trump Administration won’t let the National Labor Relations Board spend money allotted to the agency by Congress because it wants to take some of it back, according to Bloomberg Law. The move comes as NLRB General Counsel Peter Robb has cited looming budget cuts to justify controversial proposals to overhaul the labor board and shrink its field office foot print. Robb, who Trump appointed as the board’s general counsel last year, is considering stripping the board’s regional directors of some of their authority and revamping board investigations to speed the process.

 

Healthcare costs about 30 percent more in Northern California than the rest of the state primarily because of greater hospital consolidation, according to a recent study written about in the San Francisco Chronicle.