SEIU will challenge restraining order

The Service Employees International Union will ask a judge to dismiss a temporary restraining order requested by the California Nurses Association, calling the nurses’ charges of harassment unfounded and politically motivated.

A Superior Court judge in Alameda County issued the TRO late Tuesday, and ordered a hearing for all parties on May 1.

The unions are locked in an ugly battle stemming from a fight over membership organizing in Ohio hospitals and a nasty, physical confrontation at a Michigan labor conference.

CNA chief Rose Ann DeMoro of Walnut Creek says SEIU sent 200 people to California to intimidate and harass her members. Some visited the homes of some of her association’s leaders and frightened them, DeMoro said. (See my blog entry yesterday for CNA’s press release.)

DeMoro said she has been forced to cancel two appearances under threat of SEIU protests and has had to take precautions to protect her personal safety.

Read more for SEIU’s press release issued a few minutes ago:

SEIU to File Motion to Dismiss CNA Restraining Order

Service Employees International Union taking immediate legal steps to dismiss temporary restraining order filed yesterday by California Nurses Association

WASHINGTON, DC – The Service Employees International Union (SEIU) today announced plans to file a motion to dismiss the temporary restraining order filed yesterday by the California Nurses Association against SEIU President Andy Stern and SEIU.

“This is an entirely frivolous injunction being used for political purposes.” said Attorney Stephen Berzon, a partner with Altshuler Berzon LLP, the San Francisco-based law firm handling the case. “The CNA designed their suit to interfere with SEIU’s legitimate, constitutionally-protected free speech activity. The CNA ran into court and procured the order without giving SEIU notice or an opportunity to be heard. Once SEIU gets its day in court, this illegal injunction will be overturned very quickly.”

This week’s legal maneuvering by the CNA is the latest tactic in a campaign of untruths and misinformation led by the California-based union. After waging a vicious “vote no” operation at Catholic Healthcare Partners (CHP) hospitals in Ohio that sabotaged a three-year effort by nurses and hospital workers to win a fair process to freely choose whether to form a union with SEIU, the CNA has inaccurately characterized efforts by CHP workers and supporters to engage CNA leadership over the union’s anti-union tactics as “harassment.” Video footage shows what the CNA called “5 male staffers harassing CNA Board members” was actually a registered nurse and respiratory therapist going door-to-door to try to speak to CNA leadership: (available online at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nGw2QJTgw4I).

The temporary restraining order—filed Wednesday afternoon by the CNA without providing notice to either SEIU or SEIU President Andy Stern—was issued under the California Code of Civil Procedure 527.8 intended for “Employees subject to violence or threats of violence at the workplace.”

“Under no circumstances have SEIU members or staff harassed CNA members or leadership,” said Andy Stern in response to the temporary restraining order. “It’s shameful that the CNA is continuing to spread misinformation and distorting reality to divert focus from the real issues—the anti-union tactics that sabotaged the opportunity for more than 8,000 nurses and other hospital workers in Ohio to freely choose whether to form a union with SEIU.”

For more information visit www.ShameOnCNA.org.

Lisa Vorderbrueggen