Prime Healthcare accuses SEIU of Extortion; Cell Phone Graft, Pay Extortion by California Prison Guards; FireFighter Fraud in Nevada

By: Mike Shedlock | Fri, Feb 4, 2011
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I have many times accused public unions of winning contracts by extortion, bribery, graft, vote buying, and getting into bed with administrators. Thus, I am not surprised to learn that Top Rated Hospital System, Prime Healthcare Services, Stands Up To Union's Extortion Campaign

Prime Healthcare Services (PHS), the largest for-profit hospital system in California and the only for-profit system among Thomson Reuters' Top 10 Health Systems in 2009, announced today that it has been the victim of an extortion campaign by the Service Employees International Union - United Healthcare Workers West (SEIU) over the past year.

According to PHS' officials, SEIU's extortion campaign began approximately 12 months ago when PHS rejected SEIU's demands for a "quick" deal for SEIU members at PHS' Centinela Hospital Medical Center so that SEIU could avoid a challenge from NUHW, an upstart union formed by disgruntled SEIU members. SEIU initially threatened to expose "dirt" on PHS, disseminate reports based on Medicare data, and claim that these reports showed that Medicare patients were acquiring serious blood infections like septicemia at PHS' hospitals even though SEIU knew that the Medicare data identified conditions present on admission; not hospital acquired conditions.

SEIU stepped up its extortion campaign in February 2010 by having CtW Investment Group (CtW), an investment fund created by SEIU and other unions, make false and misleading statements to Medical Properties Trust (MPT), a publicly traded real estate investment trust which serves as PHS' landlord and/or lender at several of its hospitals.

In a February 2, 2010 letter to MPT's Board of Directors, CtW falsely claimed that PHS' hospitals did not comply with California's earthquake safety laws, had infection control problems, had engaged in Medicare, fraud, and faced potential losses of millions of dollars. After MPT received CtW's letter, it conducted its own investigation into the allegations and found them to be baseless.

In April 2010, SEIU included both the SEC and State Senator Denise Ducheney, a long-time supporter of the SEIU, in its extortion campaign against PHS. In an April 2, 2010 letter to the SEC, CtW repeated its false claims against PHS and urged the SEC to interfere with MPT's planned stock offering.....

PHS will continue to stand up against SEIU and has made a criminal referral to the United States Attorneys' Office regarding SEIU's activities. At the same time, PHS urges all interested parties to carefully scrutinize SEIU's propaganda and any articles which rely on such propaganda and urges elected officials to investigate SEIU's activities before they have disastrous consequences on the healthcare delivery system.

PHS has acquired financially distress hospitals that were in bankruptcy, near bankruptcy, and/or on the verge of closure and turned them around into well performing community hospitals that provide quality health care to all members of the community and serve a critical role in the healthcare safety net. Rather than attacking PHS, SEIU and those misinformed politicians should be applauding PHS' efforts to save community hospitals and employing more than 8,000 California workers.

California Hospital Alleges SEIU Extortion

Union Watch a project of the California Public Policy Center discusses the situation in its report California Hospital Alleges SEIU Extortion.

In a meticulously detailed press release issued on February 2nd, Prime Healthcare Services (PHS), the largest for-profit hospital system in California, announced they are victim of an extortion campaign by the Service Employees International Union - United Healthcare Workers West (SEIU) over the past year. What PHS is going through is a classic example of tactics the SEIU often employs with companies who won't accede to their demands.

One of the contributing editors to Union Watch, Dave Bego, has written a book "Devil at My Doorstep" that chronicles his battles with the SEIU when they attempted to unionize the workers in his company. Throughout his book he emphasizes that what his company has gone through is consistent with a strategy of intimidation and extortion used by the SEIU whenever they encounter resistance.

Here are a few of the tactics imposed on Prime Healthcare Services by the SEIU:

January 2010 - Threaten to Tarnish Company Reputation

PHS rejected SEIU's demands for a "quick" deal for SEIU members at PHS' Centinela Hospital Medical Center so that SEIU could avoid a challenge from NUHW, an upstart union formed by disgruntled SEIU members. SEIU initially threatened to expose "dirt" on PHS, disseminate reports based on Medicare data, and claim that these reports showed that Medicare patients were acquiring serious blood infections like septicemia at PHS' hospitals even though SEIU knew that the Medicare data identified conditions present on admission; not hospital acquired conditions.

February 2010 - Make False Claims to Company's Lender

The CtW Investment Group, an investment fund created by SEIU, falsely claimed that to Medical Properties Trust (PHS' landlord and/or lender at several of its hospitals), that PHS' hospitals did not comply with California's earthquake safety laws, had infection control problems, had engaged in Medicare fraud, and faced potential losses of millions of dollars. MPT conducted its own investigation and found the allegations to be baseless.....


Best Way to Deal with Fraud and Extortion

I commend Prime Healthcare Services for standing up to the extortion efforts of the SEIU.

The best way to deal with fraud and extortion is to eliminate it. Public union extortion will not go away until public unions go away. They should be illegal. Public unions do not serve the public. They serve no one but themselves and they will go to any lengths to do so, including fraud, extortion, and outrageous demands.


Union Prison Guards Smuggle Cell Phones to Prisoners

The Los Angeles Times reports California prison guards union called main obstacle to keeping cellphones away from inmates

Lawmakers struggling to keep cellphones away from California's most dangerous inmates say a main obstacle is the politically powerful prison guards union, whose members would have to be paid millions of dollars extra to be searched on their way into work.

Prison employees, roughly half of whom are unionized guards, are the main source of smuggled phones that inmates use to run drugs and other crimes, according to legislative analysts who examined the problem last year. Unlike visitors, staff can enter the facilities without passing through metal detectors.

While union officials' stated position is that they do not necessarily oppose searches, they cite a work requirement that corrections officers be paid for "walk time" -- the minutes it takes them to get from the front gate to their posts behind prison walls.

Putting metal detectors along the route, with an airport-like regimen involving removal of steel-toed boots and equipment-laden belts, could double the walk time, adding several million dollars to officers' collective pay each year, according to a 2008 Senate analysis.

Since then, cellphones have proliferated exponentially in California's state lockups. This year, state Sen. Alex Padilla (D-Pacoima) is calling on Gov. Jerry Brown to "put the [search] issue on the table" in contract negotiations with the California Correctional Peace Officers Assn.

"Everybody coming into the state Capitol building has to go through a metal detector.... You even get searched when you go to a Lakers game," said Padilla, who for three years has sponsored unsuccessful legislation to crack down on the contraband phones. "Why don't we have that requirement at correctional facilities, of all places?"

Brown, whose campaign received generous financial support from the union and who made one of his few public appearances between the November election and his January inauguration at the union's annual convention in Las Vegas, would not say whether searches are under review.

More than 10,000 cellphones made their way into California prisons last year -- up from 1,400 in 2007, said corrections spokeswoman Terry Thornton. Two of those wound up in the hands of Charles Manson, who is serving a life sentence for ordering the ritualistic murders of actress Sharon Tate and six others in 1969.

The phones can fetch as much as $1,000 each behind prison walls, according to a recent state inspector general's report, which detailed how a corrections officer made $150,000 in a single year smuggling phones to inmates. He was fired but was not prosecuted because it is not against the law to take cellphones into prison, although it is a violation of prison rules to possess them behind bars.

Analysts for the Senate Public Safety Committee who studied last year's legislation left no room for doubt about who they believed was responsible for most of the unauthorized phones.

"All indications are that the primary source of cellphones being smuggled into prisons is prison staff," they wrote. "The committee has been presented no evidence of visitors who are properly screened through metal detectors being responsible for the problem."

Guard union spokesman JeVaughn Baker said pointing the finger at corrections officers is all wrong.

"Sure, there are instances where officers have brought them in," Baker said. "But to say that prison staff are the most likely smugglers of cellphones is simply inaccurate."


Galling Statements

Look at that galling jackass statement from union spokesman JeVaughn Baker. I suppose the cell phones flew in.

And what idiot negotiated paying unions "walk time" from the front gate? I'll tell you: some administrator or politician in bed with the unions.

Firefighters' e-mails indicate abuse of sick leave, overtime

Please consider Firefighters' e-mails indicate abuse of sick leave, overtime

Some Clark County firefighters appeared to have worked with their supervising officers to improperly use sick leave, according to e-mails obtained by the Review-Journal.

One firefighter in April arranged sick days and overtime days for July.

"I will need July 17, 19 and 21 off (sick of course) and my last day of work will be the 23rd," the firefighter wrote. "I would like to work overtime on July 1, July 5. Thanks for being so nice about this and working with me. I really, really appreciate it!"

In one message, a supervisor wrote:

"There were a couple of vacation slots open on the 21st, but I couldn't put you in them because your request came less than 24 hours in advance. You've been entered as Sick on that day."

In another message, a firefighter said he would "rather take vacation than call off sick."

"You got it," the battalion chief replied.

Many of those firefighters make as much as $200,000 a year collecting overtime the day after they arranged to be sick. Taxpayers have to pay this. And the union is not satisfied. They want more and more and more taxes to pay for this.

Please read the rest of the article for more galling details.


Private Industry Would Not Put Up With This

I am infuriated reading these articles. And I have dozens more that I do not even have time to report on. Every day I see article like this. Private industry would end these practices in one second flat.

Unions have the gall to tell me they "earned" those contracts. Bulls***. It is all bribery, extortion, and graft. Fraudulent contracts should not be binding and benefit haircuts are needed. Unions can face reality or reality will face them in bankruptcy court.

Eventually people are going to elect mayors and governors willing to tell unions to their face "Go To Hell". It's starting in some states already.

The proper way to eliminate the problem is to eliminate public unions entirely. In the meantime any step in that direction is a step in the right direction.

Thus I highly endorse the brave actions of Ohio State Senator Shannon Jones for her bill to Kill Collective Bargaining for State Employees.

It is not easy to stand up to union extortionists who will lie, cheat, and steal to get what they want. However it's a battle that must be fought.

If Governor Brown had any concern for California, he would put proposals on the California ballot to rein in these abuses. Please see California Budget Poker: Republicans May Raise the Stakes in Jerry Brown's Special Election Bet for details.

 


 

Mike Shedlock

Author: Mike Shedlock

Mike Shedlock / Mish
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Mike Shedlock

Michael "Mish" Shedlock is a registered investment advisor representative for SitkaPacific Capital Management. Visit http://www.sitkapacific.com/ to learn more about wealth management for investors seeking strong performance with low volatility.

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