By Lisa Vorderbrueggen
Wednesday, April 16th, 2008 at 4:57 pm in Labor politics.
The California Nurses Association, led by Rose Ann DeMoro of Walnut Creek, has obtained a temporary restraining order against the Service Employees International Union in what has become a highly contentious battle between the two unions.
The nurses group contends that SEIU is harassing, stalking and intimidating nurses in roughly a dozen California hospitals targeted for an SEIU take-over.
According to the CNA, SEIU Director Andy Stern will be required to appear in Superior Court in Oakland on May 1, where a judge will consider a request for a three-year injunction.
SEIU, on its website, accuses CNA of engaging in union-busting activities starting with a conflict in Ohio. De Moro later cancelled an appearance at a Michigan labor conference out of fear for her personal safety.
Click here for CNA’s press release or read on for the text.
Court Orders Service Union and its President Andy Stern: Stop Stalking and Harassing Registered Nurse Leaders and Staff of California Nurses Assn/NNOC
California Superior Court today issued a temporary restraining order against the Service Employees International Union President Andy Stern and SEIU to cease and desist the stalking of, use of violence against, and harassment of officers, directors, and staff of the California Nurses Association/National Nurses Organizing Committee.
Under the order, SEIU and Stern are prohibited from stalking, threatening, or following CNA/NNOC leaders staff at work, in hospitals, clinics, and offices, at their homes. They are also barred from following their cars or harassing them with mail or phone calls.
Stern and SEIU will be required to appear in an Oakland, Calif. court on May 1 as the court considers a three-year injunction. The order, signed by the Hon. Jon Rantzman late Tuesday and issued this morning, is in effect immediately.
“While this court order provides a step forward for the safety and security of our leaders and staff, it’s a disgrace that a labor organization would engage in this level of deplorable behavior against an organization that is predominantly women and nurses,” said CNA/NNOC Executive Director Rose Ann DeMoro.
The order was prompted by a campaign of stalking and harassment by Stern’s SEIU over the past week in which SEIU teams have targeted CNA/NNOC leaders in nursing stations, harassed them at home, and followed cars.
On Saturday night, SEIU sent what they said were 800 people to crash a conference hosted by the magazine Labor Notes in Dearborn, Mich., where DeMoro was scheduled to speak. SEIU staff muscled their way into the building and assaulted union members beyond the doors before rushing the auditorium and the stage.
According to eyewitnesses, several SEIU staff pulled purple bandanas over their faces to conceal their identities in the attack on union members outside the entrance to the ballroom. Several people were injured, including a retired member of the United Auto Workers, Dianne Feeley, who suffered a head wound after hitting her head on a table when knocked to the floor.
A number of CNA/NNOC Board members have been confronted in their homes by SEIU teams pounding on their doors, pointing cameras in their faces, and yelling at them. SEIU representatives have also gone to nursing floors seeking to find CNA/NNOC leaders.
Veronica Rocha, a Southern California CNA/NNOC Board member, describes this interaction this week: “I really felt threatened and personally violated when they showed up at our place of residence uninvited and continued to follow us (in our car), knowing I did not want to interact with them.”
“Nobody deserves to be stalked in this manner. I am proud to represent CNA, a professional organization with membership that supports and advocates for patients and safe staffing,” she said.
Another Southern California CNA/NNOC Board member, Carol Koelle, RN, described her response when SEIU went to her house and followed family members in their car. “This is unprofessional, thug-like behavior that has no place in a professional women’s union.”
“I feel violated that they actually came to my home, my sanctuary way out in the desert, and involved my family. They degraded me in front of my son as they were pointing a video camera at us. They are trying to intimidate me, but I am not afraid,” she said.
Other major labor leaders have also spoken out and called on Stern to stop the violence.
AFL-CIO President John Sweeney emphasized that “there is no justification – none – for the violent attack orchestrated by SEIU at the Labor Notes conference in Detroit.”
“While there may well be multiple sides to any dispute, violence in any form is reprehensible. Violence in attacking freedom of speech must be strongly condemned,” Sweeney said in a statement Tuesday. “Any attempt to deny the right of free speech threatens the foundation of our movement and the future of working people.”