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As SEIU Prepares Hostile Takeover of United Healthcare Workers, Surveillance of Local Union Office Ends in Assault by Off-Duty Police Officer
Date:1/18/2009

OAKLAND, Calif., Jan. 18 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Days before national SEIU officials are expected to launch a hostile takeover of United Healthcare Workers (UHW), an off-duty police officer apparently hired as a private investigator aggressively photographed members of the local union and assaulted a UHW staff member.

"Before I even saw the man watching us I could tell something was wrong," said Andrea Carol, a UHW member and food service worker at Children's Hospital in Oakland. "I have been in that parking lot so many times as a member of UHW and it just felt different. I can't believe that SEIU International would pay someone to harass us like this. I know they are itching to take over our union, but we have the right to meet in our own union office and come and go without feeling watched and spied on."

At 6:00AM Saturday, staff and members of United Healthcare Workers (UHW) first noticed suspicious activity outside UHW's Oakland office.

Around 7:00AM, staff and members confronted suspicious men outside the United Healthcare Workers office, near Broadway on Thomas L. Berkeley Way in Oakland. When UHW staff asked the men what they were doing, they claimed it was nothing to do with the union and that it was no one's business who they were.

Members coming into the office began complaining to staff that they were being watched and photographed outside. UHW staff again confronted the men and asked them to stop photographing because it was making members uncomfortable. The men refused, so UHW staff called the police.

While waiting for police to arrive, the surveillance got more aggressive, with a man between the parking lot and the back entrance getting closer and closer to members while photographing them.

"I felt really intimidated," said Anita Cook, UHW shop steward for 9 years and a unit clerk at Kindred Hospital in San Leandro. "It was scary to know th
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SOURCE SEIU United Healthcare Workers-West
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