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SEIU - New Lawsuit: CNA Violated State Law in Mass Mailings to Iowa Nurses

California Nurses Association charged with illegally attaining private mailing list of SEIU nurses during Iowa Caucuses for unsolicited mailers to workers

CORALVILLE, Iowa, May 12 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The California Nurses Association (CNA) violated Iowa state law by improperly mailing promotional materials to 2,000 nurses represented by the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 199 according to a lawsuit filed on behalf of nurses today. The suit charges the CNA broke the Iowa Trade Secrets Act when it sent unsolicited materials to the homes of Iowa nurses after illegally attaining a private mailing list of SEIU members earlier this year.

"It's frankly scary that an out-of-state union like the CNA would have gotten their hands on our confidential, internal list," said Cathy Glasson, a registered nurse and President of SEIU Local 199. "No one in America should ever have to worry that their private information will be taken and used without their consent."

The confidential membership list of SEIU union or local nurses was used by SEIU as part of a December 2007 effort to win support for then-presidential candidate John Edwards. The lawsuit states the CNA violated the Iowa Trade Secrets Act (IA Code SS 550) when it used SEIU Local 199's membership data and mailing lists without permission and by improper means. If found liable, the CNA could owe compensatory and punitive damages to the plaintiffs. The CNA could also be barred from using SEIU's list to initiate any further contact with SEIU nurses in Iowa.

"I could tell immediately something was fishy about the mailing I received because it was sent to my old address instead of the one I have on file with the state nurse registry," said Linda Merfeld, a registered nurse and member of SEIU Local 199 in Coralville, IA. "It's a little more than creepy that the CNA is digging for my personal information to use however they like."

The lawsuit was filed in the Iowa District Court of Johnson County today on behalf of SEIU Local 199 and the Service Employees International Union by the Iowa-based legal firm Sole, McManus, Pearson & Willems PC and Charles R. Both of Washington, DC. The plaintiffs jointly represent more than 900,000 health care workers across the country, including 5,000 nurses and other health care employees in Iowa.

"The way the CNA used our private list is a reminder of why the U.S. government created the Do-Not-Call List to stop telemarketers," said Pauline Taylor, a registered nurse. "SPAM, sales calls, mailers from other unions -- it's all the same when it's unwanted."

The lawsuit filed today is the most recent legal action taken against the CNA in response to the California nurse group's dishonest and anti-union tactics. Despite the majority of its own membership being based in Northern California, the CNA has a track record of using underhanded tactics nationally to prevent nurses from joining SEIU and other unions. In March, the CNA sent a team of more than 30 union organizers to Ohio to sabotage a three-year effort by nurses and other hospital workers in Catholic Healthcare Partners (CHP) hospitals to win a fair process to freely choose whether to form a union with SEIU. Just six days before a union election for 8,300 CHP workers, the CNA's organizers descended on the hospitals with a vicious and misleading "vote no" campaign using tactics such as dressing in nurses' scrubs to gain access to patient-care delivery areas, posing as pizza delivery workers, and sending messages through the hospitals' pneumatic tube system.

The CNA is also continuing to hurt nurses and other hospital workers in its efforts to raid hospitals where workers already have a union voice in states including California, in Nevada, and in Texas. Overall, eighteen states have already reported anti-union campaigns by the CNA.

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SOURCE Service Employees International Union
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