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Nurses Blast SEIU for Deceit in Hiding Violence at Michigan Conference
Date:4/24/2008

Orwellian Spin: SEIU Peddling Video That Does Not Show Attack

Nurses Will Never Forget SEIU's Violence

OAKLAND, Calif., April 24 /PRNewswire/ -- Desperate to hide the truth about a brutal attack on a labor conference in Michigan April 12, Andy Stern's Service Employees International Union is now peddling a video that does not show the violence ... as proof that the attack never happened. Stern's denials contradict dozens of first-person accounts of journalists, non- partisan trade unionists, and the organizers of the conference.

As a result, the California Nurses Association/National Nurses Organizing Committee call on Stern to "renounce the use of violence, end the lies, and stop targeting women, nurses, and working people for threats and harassment."

The labor movement was shocked by SEIU's attack, which sent one woman to the hospital, introduced the use of violence to labor politics, and was widely covered and reported on by the 1,000 attendees.

"The violence in Michigan and the specific targeting of women labor leaders is reprehensible and should have no place in our labor movement or our country," said Rose Ann DeMoro, executive director of CNA/NNOC. "For Andy Stern to direct this attack and its cover up is abusive, immoral, and unacceptable behavior. He demonstrates why RNs across the country want no part of an organization like SEIU."

In a letter sent out after the attacks, John Sweeney, president of the AFL-CIO said, "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. Any attempt to deny the right of free speech threatens the foundation of our movement and the future of working people."

Below is a brief recounting of the events in Dearborn, Michigan, with five of over nearly two-dozen first-person accounts of the violence. Full details are available at http://www.ServingEmployersInsteadofUs.org.

Steve Early, journalist: A rent-a-mob of rowdy, punch-throwing demonstrators burst into Labor Notes' biennial labor conference in Dearborn, Michigan, last Saturday night. When it was over, the local cops had been called in, one demonstrator had collapsed and died and SEIU's chieftain Andy Stern had etched himself another benchmark for intolerance... Several leaders of the pack wore purple bandanas to conceal their faces; others started pushing, shoving, and throwing punches when their path was blocked by the linked arms of a hastily assembled but experienced group of Labor Notes marshals (among them, veterans of many past encounters with far more formidable Teamster goon squads).

Bill Ornash, trade unionist and journalist: By now most of you have heard of a scandalous physical attack on the gathering mobilized by the leadership of SEIU. At least two bus loads -- some say more -- of SEIU staffers were determined to invade the banquet and take it over. Some wore masks.

David Moberg, journalist: According to eyewitness accounts, the most aggressive leaders of the group -- some with purple bandanas on their faces -- hit and kicked some of the Labor Notes staff and supporters who were blocking the doors. But another line of conference attendees locked arms to hold back the rest of the crowd.

The non-partisan staff at Labor Notes: The Service Employees International Union turned their dispute with the California Nurses Association violent by attacking a labor conference April 12, injuring several and sending an American Axle striker to the hospital. A recently retired member of United Auto Workers Local 235, Dianne Feeley, suffered a head wound after being knocked to the ground by SEIU International staff and local members. Other conference-goers -- members of the Teamsters, UAW, UNITE HERE, International Longshoremen's Association, and SEIU itself -- were punched, kicked, shoved, and pushed to the floor. Dearborn police responded and evicted the three bus loads of SEIU International staff and members of local and regional health care unions.

Ken Paff, Teamsters: The advance line of SEIU staffers led the chanting group forward and pushed and punched and tried to break in, and almost did. My friend Dan Campbell had his glasses broken from a glancing punch.

By their own admission, quoted in an SEIU press release after the event, SEIU said it sent 800 people to the event to confront CNA/NNOC Rose Ann DeMoro, the scheduled banquet speaker that night, and other female CNA/NNOC leaders who were at the conference. Male SEIU staff members were in the first two buses

Concurrently, SEIU representatives were engaged in stalking and harassing CNA/NNOC women board members in their homes and in their nursing departments over the past few days. For example, last Saturday, one team arrived at the house of CNA/NNOC board member Veronica Rocha, RN as she and two family members had just got into her car to drive to a memorial service. The SEIU team in the car followed them and at one point began yelling at them in the car.

"I really felt threatened and personally violated when they show up at our place of residence uninvited and continued to follow us knowing I did not want to interact with them. Nobody deserves to be stalked in this manner," Rocha said. "I really don't believe that they would appreciate an unannounced visit from CNA at their homes disrupting their personal family life. I am proud to represent CNA, a professional organization with membership that supports and advocates for patients and safe staffing."


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SOURCE California Nurses Association
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