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SEIU Members Renew Call for CNA, Labor Leaders to Address Deplorable Tactics Harming Nurses and Patient Care

On heels of protest by SEIU nurses, health care workers in Dearborn, MI

Eyewitness accounts of recent protest question distorted story,

photos used by California Nurses Association

WASHINGTON, April 15 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- On the heels of a protest led by Catholic Healthcare Partners (CHP) hospital employees at a Labor Notes Conference in Dearborn, Michigan, SEIU members and eyewitnesses are renewing their call on the California Nurses Association (CNA) and major labor leaders to address the deplorable tactics that sabotaged a union election for more than 8,000 caregivers in Ohio and other hospitals around the country.

"John Sweeney has the power to solve this problem," SEIU President Andy Stern said in response to a statement by AFL-CIO President John Sweeney released earlier today. "He should stop making excuses and protect workers."

As details unfold about the events of last week-end, clear and compelling evidence is emerging to contradict the CNA's account of what happened in Dearborn. To those seated inside the banquet hall, what appeared to be happening near the door was only a minor tussle. Outside, however, a scuffle occurred between protestors trying to enter and conference organizers trying to keep them out. Contrary to the CNA's description of what happened, however, many of the protestors were being pushed, shoved, and even assaulted by conference participants. In fact, photos on the CNA and Labor Notes websites offered as "evidence" of violence by protestors actually depict the peaceful protestors under attack by conference security. The following are some of the reported and eyewitness accounts that contradict the CNA's portrayal of the event:

-- "We were in the middle of our meal, when all of a sudden the private security guards hired by the CNA whisked all of the CNA people out of the room. The doors were locked, and people formed a human chain to block the entrance. People were trying to get inside. The whole squabble lasted about a minute and a half. I don't think anyone got in. There was no violence whatsoever. One lady got hurt--she was standing by the door and got bumped in the head by the door. The conference organizers tried to make a bigger issue out of it. They tried to suggest to the woman that she had been hit, but she denied it. She insisted no one hit her. It was done and over with in less than two minutes." - Sandy Morales, RN, SEIU Member, New York City

-- "A spokeswoman for the Dearborn mayor told BNA April 14 that there were no arrests and the SEIU members dispersed without incident when the police arrived on the scene. She added that one woman was 'startled' when the SEIU group came into the hotel resulting in her falling and hitting her head. The fall did not occur because of 'criminal action,' she added." -"Dispute Heats Up Between SEIU, CNA Over Elections in Ohio, Las Vegas Hospitals," Daily Labor Report, April 15, 2008

-- "I was at the banquet, talking quietly with people at my table. Then there was a ruckus in the back of the room. Someone went to the microphone to talk about what the CNA did in Ohio, and the conference organizers tried to take the microphone away. There was some back and forth, and some shouting, but no physical violence of any sort. We continued to chat at our table." - Sally Baker, RN, Springfield, Ohio

-- "Dearborn Police Sgt. Derek Hadder tells me no reports of a crime or charges have been filed, yet he has been fielding media calls from across the nation. 'It's definitely been blown way out of proportion, he said. 'Once police arrived, they left without any problem... It was done within minutes, and I don't know why it's been blown out of proportion as it has.'"--Josh Richman,, "Update at 2:05 P.M. Monday," April 14, 2008

-- "Our plan, and my own goal, was to march peacefully into the board room and support our CHP sisters as they spoke and handed out literature about their stolen right to vote for their union. However, the CNA's supporters in the room ran out to confront us and used physical force to prevent our group from entering the ballroom and voicing our dissent. After only a few feet I found myself dodging out of the way of getting tackled. They started to attack us. I ran past about three men who tried to stop me by tackling me. I was about 10 feet away from the ballroom room door at the point that I was slammed into the ground. ..." -- Rachael Holland, SEIU/1199 organizer, Ohio at

-- "Here's what happened: We stood outside and protested peacefully. Then the doors came open and we went inside. We didn't go into the banquet room, only the hallways. We had friendly conversations with people in the hallways and we chanted: 'Shame on CNA.' The only violent part was Labor Notes pushing us out of the building. It was a peaceful, loud demonstration. We wanted to make our voices heard. I can't believe that CNA is claiming that we were violent, after what they did to the CHP workers." -- Eugene Jordan, Sr, hospital employee, SEIU member, Cleveland, Ohio

CHP nurses and other hospital employees have been engaging in a broad effort nationally to express their disapproval of the CNA tactics in Ohio. After a three-year campaign by CHP workers to win a fair process to freely choose whether to form a union with SEIU, CNA organizers waged a vicious "vote no" campaign that resulted in the cancellation of union elections in March.

The CNA has continued its tradition of raiding other unions rather than uniting currently unorganized nurses. Recent examples include:

-- Texas: CNA is "trying to muscle in on the action" by raiding nurses in public hospitals already represented by AFSCME ("Union is wary of its new rival on the scene; An area leader says California Nurses group is 'raiding' her local," Houston Chronicle, L.M. Sixel, April 8, 2008).

-- California: CNA is raiding nurses in public hospitals already represented by SEIU, an effort a CNA official describes as "a real war." ("Battle of the Nurses Turns Physical," April 10, 2008,

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SOURCE Service Employees International Union
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