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Court Throws Out Restraining Order Against SEIU
Date:4/22/2008

California Superior court dismisses illegal temporary restraining order

filed last week by California Nurses Association as publicity stunt

OAKLAND, Calif., April 22 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A California Superior court today dismissed a temporary restraining order against the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) and SEIU President Andy Stern filed last week as a publicity stunt by the California Nurses Association (CNA). The decision comes after the court had an opportunity to review video footage submitted by SEIU yesterday of the incidents that CNA falsely claimed to be "stalking," and on the heels of an anti-Strategic Lawsuit to Prevent Public Participation motion, also filed yesterday by SEIU, against the CNA to prevent CNA from further efforts to silence critics of its divisive tactics.

"For months, CNA leaders have made inaccurate and exaggerated claims trying to cover up their own anti-union tactics in Ohio and other states. They have produced doctored 'evidence,' they have made phony allegations and they have cried wolf," said Andy Stern, SEIU International President. "Today's court decision shows the public what the CNA is really about, but that's little comfort for the thousands of Ohio nurses and hospital workers who saw their dreams of forming a union destroyed by the CNA. It's time Rose Ann DeMoro and the CNA wake up and apologize to the workers they hurt."

The Alameda County Superior Court ordered the temporary restraining order be thrown out this afternoon after reviewing affidavits and other information- including video footage showing what the CNA called "5 male staffers harassing CNA Board members" was actually a 54 year-old registered nurse and a 61 year- old respiratory therapist going door-to-door to try to speak to CNA leadership (available online at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nGw2QJTgw4I). Information submitted by SEIU showed SEIU members, staff, and workers employed by Catholic Healthcare Partners were exercising their First Amendment rights in their peaceful appeals to CNA leadership in California. The temporary restraining order-obtained by the CNA on April 15 without any notice to SEIU-was found unlawful under California labor code.

Since its "vote no" campaign at Catholic Healthcare Partners (CHP) hospitals in Ohio 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 consistently spread untruths and misinformation in Ohio, California, Nevada, and elsewhere. In particular, the California-based union has inaccurately characterized efforts by CHP workers and supporters to engage with CNA leadership over the union's anti-union tactics as "harassment."

"I'm a mom and a grandmom and I've spent my life caring for patients -- the last thing I thought anyone would ever call me is intimidating or scary," said Michaela Silver a respiratory therapist with Catholic Healthcare Partners in Springfield, OH who spent a week door-knocking alongside one of her coworkers to try to reach CNA board-members. "We just want the CNA's leaders to explain what they did in Ohio and stop their union-busting."

On Monday, SEIU filed a motion against the CNA under California's Code of Civil Procedure Sec. 425.16, a statute intended to prevent organizations from using a Strategic Lawsuit to Prevent Public Participation or "SLAPP" suit to suppress free speech from critics or opponents. Damages including attorney fees and costs from SEIU having to vacate the improper restraining order are expected.

"The CNA's injunction against SEIU was nothing short of a media stunt meant to chill free speech by SEIU members and supporters," said Stephen Berzon, a partner at Altshuler Berzon LLP, the San Francisco-based law firm handling the case. "This kind of abuse of the law is exactly what California's anti-SLAPP statute is intended to stop."

The CNA filing of the temporary restraining order last week is only the latest tactic in the union's misinformation campaign. Last week, the CNA posted widely an exaggerated and distorted depiction of a protest at an April 12 Labor Notes Conference in Dearborn, MI featuring photos and video of SEIU members and staff injured by conference security as "evidence of violence by protesters." Despite outcry from Rachael Holland, the SEIU organizer in the images, the CNA has failed to admit its misrepresentation of actual events. The CNA has even created a video featuring Rachael's photo as "evidence" (available online at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fiMH20aJiXg).

For more information visit http://www.ShameOnCNA.org.


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SOURCE Service Employees International Union
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