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SEIU RN Dian Palmer Calls on AFL-CIO Head John Sweeney to Review Video From Dearborn Protest, Retract Statement Accepting CNA Distortions

Unedited video footage from Labor Notes conference shows nonviolent protest by women and children, CNA claims of violence inaccurate and exaggerated

WASHINGTON, April 24 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- With raw video from the Labor Notes Conference in Dearborn, MI, showing a nonviolent protest held by mostly women and children, SEIU District 1199 Wisconsin President and registered nurse Dian Palmer today called on AFL-CIO President John Sweeney to retract his hasty statement last week criticizing SEIU members and accepting the inaccurate depiction presented by the California Nurses Association (CNA). Palmer urged Sweeney to view unedited video footage to determine for himself that the much-debated April 12 protest led by nurses and other workers from Catholic Healthcare Partners (CHP) hospitals, while certainly spirited -- in the classic tradition of labor union protests -- was brief and involved none of the widely posted but utterly inaccurate claims of orchestrated violence by the CNA and Labor Notes participants.

"The true victims of what happened in Dearborn were not the conference-goers, and not the SEIU members who came to protest," said Dian Palmer, RN, in a video message to Sweeney today. "The true victims were the Ohio hospital workers who fought for three years to form a union, but who saw their hopes and dreams disappear when dozens of CNA organizers landed in their hospitals. Now their story is being drowned out by all the inflammatory rhetoric surrounding the Labor Notes conference, just as the California Nurses Association hoped it would be." Dian's video message is available at:

Since the Labor Notes Conference protest -- an effort led by CHP nurses and other health care workers to express their disapproval of the CNA's sabotage of union elections for more than 8,000 hospital workers in Ohio -- the CNA and Labor Notes organizers have made sweeping and inaccurate claims of "violence by protesters." Last week, Sweeney issued a statement condemning SEIU members' role in the protest based on misrepresentations by the CNA and other Labor Notes conference attendees.

"I was quite surprised to learn that you had accepted the untruthful accounts of what happened in Dearborn as a 'violent attack orchestrated by SEIU -- and even put out a press statement to that effect -- despite the fact that you weren't even there," said Palmer, in the video message. "I appeal to you -- as a leader of the American labor movement, as a former member of SEIU, and as man of faith -- to help us put the false and misleading stories to rest."


Raw video footage directly contradicts the distorted stories presented by the CNA and Labor Notes shortly after the conference. The footage of the entire 15-minute protest shows a mostly female crowd of nurses, hospital workers, nursing home workers, home care workers, and their children picketing and chanting. After a brief period of tension when SEIU members were blocked from entering the hall, the protestors dispersed. Raw video footage available at: and

A video by the Labor Video Project also tells a different story than the one being disseminated by the CNA -- not only about the Dearborn protest, but also about the union elections in Ohio. The video features an interview with Susan Horne, a registered nurse with CHP in Cincinnati, who responds to questions from an angry conference participant concerning the protest. Video courtesy of the Labor Video Project available at:

"I wish I were a member of SEIU but I was denied my right to vote for the SEIU union -- and I was denied by the California Nurses Association," said Susan Horne in the Labor Video Project video. "I'm here because of Rose Ann DeMoro. They were going to honor Rose Ann DeMoro at this conference and she's a union-buster. We have a conference of unions and people and they are going to honor a union-buster."


The CNA's misrepresentation of the protest in Dearborn is not the first untruthful allegation the California Nurses Association has made in recent weeks. On Tuesday, the Alameda County Superior Court ordered an illegal temporary restraining order obtained by the CNA as a publicity stunt last week be thrown out after reviewing affidavits and other information contradicting the CNA's accusations that "5 male staffers were harassing CNA Board members." A video shows that a 54 year-old registered nurse and a 61 year-old respiratory therapist, both women, were going door-to-door to try to speak to CNA leadership (available online at

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SOURCE Service Employees International Union
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