NUHW/SEIU-UHW Trial: “Even Angels Cannot Steal”

Once again, Mr. Dan Siegel, counsel for the defendants, attempted to sidetrack the trial and go into areas that he had been previously told were not to go into. Talking about the trusteeship….BAD. Again Judge William Alsup quickly reigned him in and instructed the jury that what is not at hand were the merits of the trusteeship. “Even if the defendants were the angels and the plaintiffs were the devils…it does not matter because even angels cannot steal,” the judge said, because the issue in front of the jury  is whether the defendants stole union property and assets and sabotaged UHW while on its payroll.

Oriana Saportas, a UHW organizer, explained to the jury that just before trusteeship, workers at Santa Rosa Memorial who had been trying to organize were told about an “island option” as a choice in their bid to become a union hospital. The implication is that the “island option” was code for a new union. Oriana Saportas, an organizer on that campaign, told the jury of meetings that happened where this was brought up. The meeting was attended by defendant Glenn Goldstein. She went on to say how defendant Peter Tappeiner, to whom she reported, instructed her to back up membership and campaign files from the union’s computer into an external drive. At some point he also instructed her to go to Kinko’s and Xerox all the worker “contact sheets.”

On the stand today were two shop stewards, Denny Henriques from Sutter Delta and Jenny Edney from Kaiser Vallejo. They both told how prior to trusteeship the former leaders, now defendants, instructed them “not to engage” any new union staff that may come into their facilities after the trusteeship. Prior to the trusteeship, they were given “decertification petitions” and told to gather signatures using membership lists provided for them by a defendant