OAKLAND, Calif., April 14 /PRNewswire/ -- In the wake of a brutal attack on a labor conference in Michigan Saturday night by staff of the Service Employees International Union, the California Nurses Association/National Nurses Organizing Committee Monday called on SEIU President Andrew Stern to "renounce the use of violence, and stop targeting women, nurses, and working people for threats and harassment."
By their own admission, quoted in an SEIU press release after the event, SEIU said it sent 800 people to the event to confront CNA/NNOC Rose Ann DeMoro, the scheduled banquet speaker that night, and other female CNA/NNOC leaders who were at the conference.
Concurrently, SEIU representatives were engaged in stalking and harassing female CNA/NNOC Board members in their homes and in their nursing departments over the past few days.
"Together these actions reveal an unmistakable pattern of violence and specific targeting of women labor leaders that is reprehensible and should have no place in our labor movement or our country," said DeMoro today. "Stern has an obligation to the labor movement and the world to take a clear stand against such disgraceful behavior."
Labor Notes, an independent magazine, also issued a call to Stern and SEIU to "repudiate" the use of violence following the shocking events of Saturday night when purple-clad SEIU staff stormed the Labor Notes conference banquet, crashing through the doors, and assaulting union members in their way in an effort to rush the stage.
According to Labor Notes, "a recently retired member of United Auto Workers Local 235, Dianne Feeley, suffered a head wound after being knocked to the ground by SEIU International staff and local members. Other conference-goers -- members of the Teamsters, UAW, UNITE HERE, International Longshoremen's Association, and SEIU itself -- were punched, kicked, shoved, and pushed to the floor."
Meanwhile, roving bands of SEIUers continued their campaign against female CNA/NNOC Board members. On Saturday, one team arrived at the house of CNA/NNOC Board member Veronica Rocha, RN just as she and two family members were entering her car to drive to a memorial service. The SEIU team in the car followed them and at one point began yelling at them in the car.
"I really felt threatened and personally violated when they showed up at our place of residence uninvited and continued to follow us, knowing I did not want to interact with them. Nobody deserves to be stalked in this manner," Rocha said. "I really don't believe that they would appreciate an unannounced visit from CNA at their homes, disrupting their personal family life. I am proud to represent CNA, a professional organization with membership that supports and advocates for patients and safe staffing."
When CNA/NNOC Board member Janice Webb, RN arrived at her San Diego hospital to work in her nursing unit Saturday, the night shift charge said that "someone from SEIU was calling the unit last night asking for my phone number and address. I am unclear as to how many times they called."
"When will Stern and his gang learn that threatening women in their homes and harassing them in areas where they are caring for patients is abusive, immoral, and unacceptable behavior?" DeMoro said.
At the Labor Notes conference, the Saturday night attack followed a day of disruption by SEIU at the conference, as Labor Notes also noted in a press release afterwards: "Despite being welcomed to the conference earlier in the day -- and given space to debate (CNA/NNOC) supporters -- SEIU International and regional staff shouted down speakers at workshops and panels throughout the event."
Many others witnessed that as well, such as Heather Ives, RN, an Ohio NNOC member who said, "I came here to learn as a novice to the labor movement and the social movement. I wanted to gain knowledge of how to organize people for social causes in unity.
"There was so much anger and disruption in the workshops that I could not gain any knowledge. SEIU gave nurses a bad name -- I am thankful I am not associated with an organization which is so negative, disruptive, and toxic," Ives said.
In a blog on the website Daily Kos, Nancy Lewis, a nurse practitioner who is a member of both SEIU and CNA/NNOC voiced her disgust at what she called SEIU's "bully-boy tactics":
"These are the same tactics that Operation Rescue used to bully and intimidate health care providers at Planned Parenthood to the point where such hatred went beyond disagreement and picketing into stalking us at home and later overt violence directed at providers like me in our own work places. As a nurse practitioner, it is unconscionable to see this level of hatred directed at a peaceable assembly of labor activists and their hosts," Lewis wrote.
SOURCE California Nurses Association/National Nurses Organizing Committee