Woodhouse, Leighton

Leighton Woodhouse is the Political Director at Brave New Foundation, who's mission is to champion social justice issues by using a model of media, education, and grassroots volunteer involvement that inspires, empowers, motivates and teaches civic participation and makes a difference.

NLRB Judge Finds Kaiser Permanente Guilty of Violating the Law

By Leighton Woodhouse
National Union of Healthcare Workers

On Tuesday, National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) Judge William Schmidt announced that Kaiser Permanente brazenly violated federal labor law by withholding scheduled raises and tuition reimbursements from workers who voted to leave the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) and join the National Union of Healthcare Workers (NUHW) earlier this year, and ordered immediate remedial action.

In the plainest of rebukes, Judge Schmidt referred to the “massive damage done” to workers' rights by Kaiser, characterized the company's justification for its actions as “lack(ing) merit” and “without legal foundation,” and called its cited legal precedents “misplaced.” Judge Schmidt ordered Kaiser to “immediately restore and apply” the scheduled wage increases plus interest, tuition reimbursement benefit, and steward training benefit provided under the workers' prior union contract.

Well Point Still Doesn't Get It

By Leighton Woodhouse
Brave New Foundation

If you want to understand why Americans are so outraged by obscene executive compensation levels in a time of severe economic malaise, consider not just the 51% bump awarded to WellPoint CEO Angela Braly for her performance at a time when the insurance behemoth prepared to raise rates on policyholders in California by as much as 39%. Consider, as well, the pro forma excuses offered by her company flacks.

According to the Los Angeles Times, Braly's total compensation shot up from $8.7 million to $13.1 million last year. At least three other executives there did just as well, with raises of up to 75 percent. Meanwhile, 800,000 individual policyholders in California are learning of this good news for WellPoint executives a month before their own insurance rates are set to spike by double digits - an unprecedented rate increase initiated on Angela Braly's watch.