Attorneys representing the 150,000 California healthcare workers represented by SEIU-UHW against Sal Rosselli and NUHW did such a great job laying a solid foundation for our case that it has the lawyers for Rosselli and the 27 other alleged conspirators scrambling for cover. It seems like the only highlight of the day for them is 12:59 pm, when the trial ends for the day. Earlier this week, I overheard a conversation in the hallway where one of their staffers mentioned how the plaintiff’s allotted time was running short, while Rosselli, Borsos and others had over three hundred more minutes than us (each side was given 18 hours to put on their case). As of today however, only ninety minutes separate the two sides, and they still have over twenty more defendants to take the stand in their defense. Add to that, an array of “character witnesses” made up of politicians whose campaigns have at one time or another benefited from Sal and company. 😉
Sal In The Hot Seat
If Rosselli took comfort in his lawyer’s soft and cozy direct examination, Mr. Kohlman gave him a rude awakening. With the very first question he began to grill the witness.
Yesterday, when asked why contract extensions at several nursing homes were canceled just days before the trusteeship, he replied that he had no knowledge that defendant Vellardita did that. He went on to acknowledge that the trustee had the legal authority to access the union’s offices and assets in order to service the members. He also acknowledged the duties and responsibilities he had to uphold the constitutions of UHW and SEIU. Among those duties were not just to comply with the decision of the International Executive Board, but to also ensure an orderly transition of authority to the trustees. He failed in both these instances. From the stand he admitted that while he was aware of the mob attacks on the offices in Alameda and LA, and that they were led by members of his senior staff, he did nothing. He also admitted that he was aware that members and staff were squatting overnight at UHW offices throughout the state and that they had chained and padlocked the doors shut (fire hazard), but he did nothing. And that he knew those inside were given the deed to the offices and expenses for these “sleepovers” were paid by our dues monies, he still did nothing. Nothing was more disturbing to hear than when he was asked if it was inappropriate for union officers or employees to keep our personal information in databases outside of our union, and he said “…hmm, I’m not sure about that.”
Go Gary Go!
Once again today , Kohlman delivered. Yesterday Rosselli testified that he knew what was going on, and today he couldn’t seem to recall much – he can’t remember meetings, memos, lists, phone calls, people, places or things. He wasn’t sure if he got a memo from Laura Kurrie instructing senior staff on talking points for the bogus outside fund they put $3 million of our money into (the PEF) in case the International asked. He wasn’t sure what John Borsos would tell a crowd of hand-picked members in a January 24, 2009 mega meeting. Heck, he couldn’t recall how the members at those meetings were selected to attend (they were assessed as loyal to him and most receptive to his message.) He can’t recall who ordered the UHW data base to be scrambled. He can’t recall what happened at a December 6, 2009 meeting he attended where work plans for creating a new union were being worked out. He can’t recall if his special assistant Dan Martin set up an office in his home with a computer system that could access the UHW mainframe without the IT department even knowing.
He can’t recall receiving an e-mail with an attachment that had a membership list of over 20,000 Kaiser workers, but remembers not opening it. He can’t recall if he read a letter to SEIU President Andy Stern trying to reach out and resolve differences. Clearly, this witness was very uncomfortable today; he fidgeted in his chair and coughed after every question as if trying to buy time to find some answer.
“Stay The F*** Out!”
When he first approached the stand, former union rep from the hospital division, Andy Reid, looked like a boy scout from a time long gone by. He spoke of the ideals and passion that brought him to UHW, collaborative efforts, and how the union is bigger than any one person. But that didn’t last long. When confronted with a memo he received from Barbara Lewis telling him to instruct stewards to tell new incoming staff to “Get the F*** out!” his demons just had to come out. In a loud voice for the judge, jury and all to hear, he blurted out “They should get the F*** out of my hospital!!!” He then explained how he recruited followers to sleep at the San Jose office to resist the trusteeship.
NUHW Witness Verifies Key SEIU Testimony
She must have thought she was being slick or just plain cute, but Beverly Griffith only ended up corroborating a key element of the SEIU case. The former steward from Alta Bates in Oakland and as of today, an NUHW staff member, testified how she “led” the mob of 50-60 rioters that attacked the Alameda SEIU office on January 20, 2009. When they were greeted at the door by the security guard, she told them “We’re coming in!” Then she and the others started to push their way in. She acknowledged the guard being shoved to the ground as the mob made its way in, “I just jumped over him” Griffith told the jury. She then began to “have conversations” with the workers, ordering them to “Go back to Washington D.C. (even though most were not from D.C.), you opened a Pandora’s box and it will not close!” As Rasheda Anthony told last week how defendant Goldstein tried to snatch confidential documents out of her hand, and defendant Krystal shoved her into a desk, Griffith, testified that they were present at the altercation. She also told the jury how this was not the first time she was violent at union activities.