Sutter wins $17.3 in defamation suit

A New York union representing hotel and hospitality employees has been ordered to pay Sutter Health $17.3 million. A court found Unite Here, the union, guilty of mailing defamatory postcards in April 2005. Unite Here and Angelica Textile Service (ATS), the laundry service used by Sutter Health, were involved in a dispute in which the union was trying to improve labor conditions at ATS. As part of their campaign, union women sent postcards in Northern California that implied Sutter hospitals used unclean linens provided by ATS. United Here hoped the public attention would cause Sutter to pressure ATS into improving worker's conditions, but that definitely didn't play out as planned. "Our postcards were not about the quality of care Sutter workers provide, but about the quality of linens provided by Angelica Textiles," spokeswoman Amanda Cooper told the San Francisco Business Times. But Sutter officials were outraged when they had to deal with calls from concerned patients who questioned Sutter's cleanliness.

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