OC Mental Health Workers Join Statewide Protest Against Kaiser's Whistleblower Firing

Categories: Labor

Gabriel San Roman / OC Weekly
Welcoming committee
UPDATE, MAY 19, 6:35 A.M.: Kaiser Permanente mental health workers ended their statewide leafleting on Friday. The health insurance nonprofit weighed in with the Weekly about the National Union Healthcare Workers (NUHW) organized action saying in a statement that they had deep concerns about picketing "a site where patients receive care on what can be sensitive matters, and who trust they are doing so in a safe and confidential environment."

As for stalled contract negotiations and alleged retaliatory whistleblower firing? "It is unfortunate that the union is making a new round of false claims against Kaiser Permanente as part of its bargaining strategy, this time wrongly leveling accusations of retaliation," the Kaiser statement reads.

"We have engaged in good faith bargaining with the health care professionals and therapists and have in no way sought to retaliate against them."

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Want To Go All The Way To The FBI And Get Paid?

Tired of sitting all day at Starbucks while sipping free water, surfing the Internet, people watching and faking that you're on vacation from a real job?

A few of you might have a chance of, as Dr. Hannibal Lecter said slowly, "getting all the way to the FBI."

The agency's Los Angeles field office has scheduled a May 13 special agent job recruitment session for interested professionals: lawyers, computer scientists, engineers, detectives, pilots, weapons experts and foreign language specialists.

According to FBI spokeswoman Laura Eimiller, in-shape applicants must be between the ages of 23 and 36; possess a bachelor's degree; and have three years of employment experience.

Don't get too excited dear, job-hunting OC Weekly readers because you may not qualify.

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Sheriff's Department Ends War Against Fired Deputy, A Navy Cross Recipient

Taking leave from his deputy job at the Orange County Sheriff's Department (OCSD), Scott Montoya volunteered for U.S. Marine duty after the 9-11 terrorist attacks, fought in the 2003 Battle of Baghdad and returned home garnering the prestigious Navy Cross for repeated acts of combat bravery.

But Montoya's longest war--the 10-year one OCSD waged against him--is finally over.

Despite angry threats to do otherwise, county officials finally decided to accept a jury verdict and a federal judge's rulings that the agency illegally discriminated against the fired deputy in bizarre retaliation for his military service.

The Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) bans public and private employers from discriminating against soldiers.

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OC May Day Marches to Fight for Immigrant and Worker Rights!

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AJimenez Photography
Many countries around the world celebrate May 1st as International Workers' Day. Though the holiday's origins trace back to the 1886 Haymarket Affair in Chicago, the United States--in another example of American exceptionalism--shrugs its own history aside and tells its workers to clock in! In recent years, though, the immigrant rights movement revived May Day from coast to coast, even in Orange County.

To mark the occasion this year, two coalitions will host marches on Friday in Anaheim and SanTana. Both are calling for immigrant and worker rights in their own way.

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UC Irvine Student Health Center Doctors Ready to Strike Saturday

Union of American Physicians and Dentists
Unhappy campers (who are doctors).
Doctors at UC Irvine's student health center plan to go on strike Saturday and stay off work until April 15 as part of a labor action by physicians at all 10 University of California campuses, their union recently announced.

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Gustavo's Latest KCRW "OC Line": On the Retirement of Labor Boss Nick Berardino!

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OC Weekly archives
Since we don't have a good shot of Berardino in our archives, let's go with the OCEA barbecue pit--another Berardino innovation!

We haven't necessarily cheered on all the moves of Orange County Employees Association head Nick Berardino, and you're just gonna have to find them (hint: churros!). But we have always respected the man for bringing true, populist labor politics to a county so hateful of organized labor that everyone declared war on striking Mexican orange pickers in 1936.

Berardino is retiring in July, and he was the topic I discussed this week in my every-Monday KCRW-FM 89.9 "Orange County Line" commentary.

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Hopi Indian Activist Nikishna Polequaptewa Fights Back Against Federal Lawsuit Claims

Categories: Court, Labor

Honors and accolades are plentiful in Nikishina Polequaptewa's life, but the Garden Grove resident and founding director of the American Indian Resource Center at UC Irvine might be in the battle of his life.

In April 2014, Blue Stone Strategy Group, LLC of Irvine hired Polequaptewa as a senior consultant. The relationship soured, however, within six months during a company retreat in Fort Lauderdale. His employers didn't just file a federal lawsuit in late November claiming Polequaptewa stole trade secrets and sabotaged company computer records. They also instigated a preliminary FBI investigation that appears to be ongoing.

But Polequaptewa, who denies wrongdoing, is telling a far different story in court. In his version, he's the victim of company bosses that won his services and then breached their contract by unacceptably demanding he must spend six days a week in Florida for at least half a year.

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OCEA's Jennifer Muir Is the Hammer of OC Labor

Photo by John Gilhooley
Also a major foodie...

In a weird way, Jennifer Muir, assistant general manager of the Orange County Employees Association (OCEA), the county's largest labor union, owes her career to an organization that views organized labor as anathema. After graduating in 2002 from Pepperdine University, where she majored in journalism and Spanish, Muir won a paid internship courtesy of the Institute for Humane Studies (IHS), which was funded by the libertarian Cato Institute.

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Federal Judge, Again, Rejects Sheriff's Refusal To Accept Jury Verdict In War Hero Abuse Case

Jack Gould / OC Weekly
Orange County Sheriff's Department (OCSD) officials have repeatedly refused to accept a jury's 2013 verdict that they discriminated against a deputy who took temporary leave to serve in a U.S. marine scout sniper unit during the Iraq War and earned the prestigious Navy Cross for life-saving, Battle of Baghdad heroics in 2003.

But Scott Montoya--whose military service was brazenly mocked upon his return to OCSD, targeted for loaded internal affairs probes and fired as a person unworthy to wear a deputy's uniform--keeps winning court rulings.

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UC Irvine, UCLA and Labor Leaders Celebrate Orange County Reality Collaboration TONIGHT

Orange County Labor Federation
I'm proud to be a union man.

There's much to celebrate in Buena Park tonight: the two-year-old collaboration between UC Irvine, the UCLA Labor Center and the Orange County Federation of Labor; the launch of the UCI Community and Labor Project (UCICLP); and the evening's honorees AFL-CIO Executive Vice President Tefere Gebre, UCI School of Law Dean Erwin Chemerinsky and Santa Ana Boys & Men of Color.

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