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SEIU Claims Right of 'Free Speech' to Stalk, Harass, and Threaten Registered Nurses According to the California Nurses Association
Date:4/21/2008

OAKLAND, Calif., April 21 /PRNewswire/ -- Attorneys for the Service Employees International Union claimed in an Alameda County courthouse today that their stalking, harassment, and other acts of intimidation against officers, directors and staff of the California Nurses Association/National Nurses Organizing Committee is nothing more than "free speech."

A temporary restraining order issued last week by Alameda County Superior Court Commission Jon Rantzman remains in effect today. Rantzman said the court was taking the matter under submission and directed additional evidentiary papers to be filed on Tuesday, April 22.

In testimony to the court, SEIU attorneys portrayed the systematic campaign conducted by SEIU under the direction of its President Andy Stern as "protected" free speech -- dismissing the serious concerns voiced by numerous CNA/NNOC leaders who have been subjected to the targeting, threats, and intimidation.

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 and a visit 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

SEIU attorneys today also challenged the restraining order on the basis of a state law exemption of labor disputes from state court intervention. "It's deplorable that SEIU would hide behind important labor law protections to justify their disgraceful attacks against registered nurses," Markowitz said.


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SOURCE California Nurses Association
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