from the SEIU
WASHINGTON, DC – 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:
from the CNA
SERVICE EMPLOYEES UNION ATTACKS LABOR GATHERING CONFERENCE-GOERS ASSAULTED Dearborn, MI—The Service Employees International Union turned their dispute with the California Nurses Association violent by attacking a labor conference April 12, injuring several and sending an American Axle striker to the hospital.
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.
Dearborn police responded and evicted the three bus loads of SEIU International staff and members of local and regional health care unions.
No arrests were made.
The assault took place at the Labor Notes conference, a biennial gathering of 1,100 union members and leaders who met to discuss strategies to rebuild the labor movement.
David Cohen, an international representative of the United Electrical Workers, asked protestors why they came. He said one responded, “they told us just to get on the bus.”