Anti-SLAPP motion filed in CNA v. SEIU war

The Service Employees International Union today asked the Alameda County Superior Court to vacate a temporary restraining order filed against it and its president, Andy Stern, last week at the California Nurses Association/National Nurses Organizing Committee‘s behest.

The SEIU has filed a motion to vacate the TRO, as well as a separate motion under California’s anti-SLAPP (strategic lawsuit against public participation) law. The latter motion is necessary, the SEIU claims, because the CNA/NNOC sought the restraining order solely “to smear SEIU and Mr. Stern in the national media and to chill free speech by SEIU members and supporters.” The anti-SLAPP motion, if successful, would result in the whole case being thrown out of court and would let the SEIU recover attorneys’ fees.

From the CNA’s news-release response:

CNA/NNOC attorney Pam Allen noted that free speech is very different than the actions employed by SEIU bands who have gone to the nursing stations of CNA/NNOC leaders looking for them and demanding home addresses and phone numbers, following them in cars, pounding on their doors, pointing video cameras in their faces, screaming at them, and refusing to leave until being told the police were on the way.

In a statement to the court, Margie Keenan, RN, a CNA/NNOC Board member described one such visit to her home which also included visits by SEIU to the nursing floor in the Long Beach hospital where she works.

At her home “they began yelling loudly, demanding that I come and speak with them in a very aggressive, boisterous manner. I became very scared, as they continued yelling and pounding on my door, so I dialed 911 and asked the operator to dispatch police as soon as possible. While I was waiting for the police to arrive, I climbed the stairs to the second floor of my house and went quietly to a balcony to wait for the police. After several minutes, they began to leave, then saw me on the balcony and began yelling again. I went immediately back into the house and waited for the police to arrive. By the time the police came, the intruders were gone.

“I was very frightened by the approach at my home because it was extremely aggressive and hostile, and I live alone. Shortly after they left my house, I received a telephone call on my home phone and the caller asked for me by name. I recognized the voice as one of the intruders and immediately hung up the phone. She later learned of the visit to her nursing floor.

“I felt very unsettled and frightened by these events, so much so that I did not feel able to report to work (the following two days) which were my next scheduled days of work. I called in sick both of those days and learned over the weekend of a number of events that have only increased my fear and concern for my personal safety,” Keenan declared.

The SEIU’s news release claims Alameda County Superior Court Commissioner Jon Rantzman this afternoon said he was “strongly of the belief” that the TRO doesn’t pass muster under the state’s Labor Code, and gave the CNA one day — until 3 p.m. tomorrow, Tuesday, April 22 — to respond to the motion to vacate before he makes a ruling.

The unions are at war over accusations that the CNA/NNOC has been trying to poach SEIU’s current or potential nurse members. The CNA/NNOC says SEIU teams recently have targeted CNA/NNOC leaders in nursing stations, harassed them at home, and followed cars.

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.

  • Ingela Dahlgren

    Before you start a smear campaign against SEIU take a look at CNAs track record.
    Our hospital is in contract negotiations trying to secure a contract to improve patient care and working conditions for the staff.CNA staff was observed sneaking in to our hospital attempting to steal schedules and addresses phone numbers.CNA organizers also show up in the cafeteria trying to con RNs into signing desertification cards.All this is local annoyance.Take a look at all the campaigns that CNA has interfered with and the RNs now have no voice in repensentation.We can no longer be quite and let these parasites continue to take away the right to organize from us RNs

  • Tracy Suprise

    The CNA is not innocent. They have barged in and created havoc in many SEIU campaigns. Why not organize the unorganized instead of viciously preventing the unorganized from choosing SEIU as their union?? CNA are like parasitic birds that wait for others to build the nest and then fly in and take the nest (or attempt to) for their own eggs. ( rotten as their eggs may be!!)