OAKLAND, Calif., Feb. 5 /PRNewswire/ -- Impersonating nurses in a multimillion dollar campaign replete with deceptive mailers, phone calls, a website linked to a phony RN group, and the diversion of groups ostensibly working on "healthcare reform," the Service Employees International Union has sharply escalated an offensive to seize control of the nation's largest nurses' organization, the California Nurses Association/NNOC charged today.
SEIU is trying to take over the California Nurses Association/National Nurses Organizing Committee (AFL-CIO) by soliciting SEIU-allied individuals to run for the CNA/NNOC national board of directors, as well as attempting to harass and intimidate the CNA/NNOC leadership, said CNA/NNOC.
The SEIU playbook bears sharp resemblance to a hostile corporate takeover -- and emulates tactics SEIU and its agents have used against other unions, said CNA/NNOC.
Elements of the multimedia campaign include the creation of a false "RN" group titled "RNs for Change" with a fake website, e-mail address, and 800- phone number. All it was missing was actual RNs. Under the "RNs for Change" banner, SEIU has sent multiple smear mail pieces, e-mail alerts, and robo calls soliciting recruits to run for the CNA/NNOC board on SEIU's behalf. (For more details, see the CNA website, http://www.calnurses.org or http://www.servingemployersinsteadofus.org.)
The attack coincides with SEIU's seizure of its largest California local United Healthcare Workers-West. SEIU President Andy Stern has appointed a top enforcer, Dave Regan, as a director of that takeover. Regan has also been Stern's key lieutenant in attacks on CNA/NNOC.
For its CNA/NNOC takeover bid, SEIU has brought staff from around the country to impersonate RNs for phone banking and uninvited home visits to CNA/NNOC members. In some cases the visitors and callers have slipped and identified themselves as SEIU staff. One such caller was Jessica Vollmer, who heads Healthcare United in Colorado, a group whose purported mission is "healthcare reform," not participating in takeovers of other unions.
Other players in the campaign are individuals associated with the Prewitt Organizing Fund and its offshoot, the Direct Organizing Group (DOG), which has been engaged in similar takeover campaigns on behalf of SEIU against Engineers & Architects Association Local 8000 (AFL-CIO) in Los Angeles, and the International Union, Security, Police and Fire Professionals of America (SPFPA).
The Stern Playbook seen in attacks on other unions
In an August 2003 newsletter, SPFPA International President David Hickey described the SEIU/Prewitt campaign as including "sending out false literature and anti-union SPFPA videos, creating false websites with misinformation and lies about SPFPA, and threatening the lives and careers of our members... [and through the use of] phone calls and unwelcomed visits to their homes." That campaign parallels almost exactly the attack on CNA/NNOC.
CNA/NNOC Executive Director Rose Ann DeMoro, who is the primary focus of the SEIU smears and takeover campaign, says Stern's goal, is "to destroy CNA/NNOC as the only effective national voice for RN patient advocates."
"SEIU wants to silence the foremost critic of SEIU's program of aiding employer efforts to undermine patient standards, break down working conditions, cut wages, and eliminate employee benefits in return for employer grants of recognition by SEIU."
"RNs are unified in rejecting this blatant attempt by SEIU to force itself on our members," DeMoro said. "They well know the history of SEIU in signing substandard, backdoor deals with employers that sacrifice the interests of RNs and patients, in undermining RN professional standards, and in suppressing union democracy."
In the meantime, California hospitals and nursing homes have been plunged into a chaotic internal war with SEIU's Regan while some 25,000 healthcare workers have filed petitions to leave SEIU and join a new local led by the ousted UHW President Sal Rosselli.
"Instead of focusing on passing the Employee Free Choice Act," said DeMoro, "SEIU is using its members' dues to destroy other unions and create this massive upheaval in California. Millions of dollars of SEIU members' dues have been wasted in trying to take over unions in California and control them from Washington."
Regan was named by Stern to be an executive vice president of SEIU shortly after one of SEIU and Regan's most notorious exploits -- an assault on a peaceful union conference near Detroit last April at which DeMoro was scheduled to speak about the campaign for healthcare reform.
Shortly before the dinner event at which DeMoro was scheduled to speak, busloads of SEIU representatives, led by SEIU staff, many from Regan's local in Ohio and West Virginia, stormed the conference, breaking into the banquet room. Some staffers, wearing purple bandanas over their faces to hide their identities, proceeded to punch, shove, kick, and knock union members to the floor who were in their way.
In a subsequent website debate about the actions, Regan proudly defended his role and lambasted a non-CNA/NNOC conference participant who criticized SEIU's behavior, "If other organizations wish to host and honor the leaders of CNA, as is their prerogative, we will exercise our right to demonstrate and protest given their undisputed actions. If this results in some people being offended, that is unfortunate, but unavoidable."
Representing 85,000 RNs in 50 states, the California Nurses Association/National Nurses Organizing Committee is the largest and fastest- growing association of direct-care RNs in the nation. Learn more at http://www.calnurses.org.
|SOURCE California Nurses Association/National Nurses Organizing Committee|
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