All posts by Ludlow

NYT and WSJ Cover SEIU’s Violence at Labor Notes

The New York Times and Wall St. Journal both cover the incredible events at Saturday’s Labor Notes conference in Michigan, where Andy Stern of SEIU International sent busload of male staffers to chase and harass RNs from the California Nurses Association/National Nurses Organizing Committee, in retaliation for CNA/NNOC defeating them in a controversial “company union” vote last month in Ohio.  Fortunately the targeted RNs were able to escape out a back door, but other conference-goers were not so lucky, with one woman sent to the hospital, and others punched, kicked, slapped, and shoved

This is obviously a dark day for the labor movement.  Andy Stern needs to learn that this kind of harassment of women is NEVER okay. And it is NEVER, EVER okay to orchestrate an action that is so stressful that members have a heart attack and die.

RNs will never forget this day, nor is it now likely that any RN in the country will want to organize with SEIU after this kind of display.

As a first step, Andy Stern needs to apologize to all involved, pay the hospital bills of the injured woman, and promise to never use violence again.  Instead, shamefully, SEIU is going back and forth between denying the violence and attempting to justify it.  You can watch first-person accounts from some of the RNs targeted for harassment.

You really need to go look at the picture, but The New York Times writes:

       “The A.F.L.-C.I.O. president, John J. Sweeney, denounced on Tuesday what he said was “a violent attack orchestrated” by the Service Employees International Union against members of other unions at a conference on Saturday in Michigan.

The service employees’ union sent busloads of members from Ohio to the labor conference in Dearborn to confront leaders and members of the California Nurses Association. The service employees say the nurses sabotaged a major service employees’ unionizing drive last month.

Others at the conference said the fighting began when service employee members and officials tried to barge into the conference in a hotel banquet hall. Chris Kutalik, editor of Labor Notes, a magazine sponsoring the conference, said a retired member of the United Automobile Workers was pushed, banged her head against a table and was taken to a hospital for a head wound.

“There is no justification, none, for the violent attack orchestrated by S.E.I.U.,” Mr. Sweeney said in a statement. “Violence in attacking freedom of speech must be strongly condemned.”

Today’s Wall St. Journal takes their own look, at SEIU’s attack (reg. req’d)

       “On Saturday, a scuffle broke out between members of the SEIU and participants in a labor solidarity conference in Detroit at which the executive director of the California Nurses Association was scheduled to speak. One attendee was sent to the hospital after cutting her head on a table, according to Chris Kutalik, editor of the magazine Labor Notes, which organized the conference.

Rose Ann DeMoro, executive director of the 66,000-member nurses’ association, decided not to appear at the conference because of tensions between the unions. “Our folks are extremely upset about what happened,” she said. “This is a nasty campaign.”

Mr. Sweeney condemned the confrontation. “There is no justification — none — for the violent attack orchestrated by SEIU,” he said in a statement. Mr. Sweeney called on leaders of both unions to meet to resolve their differences.”

Andy Stern attempted to destroy the labor movement n 2005 by splitting the AFL-CIO, he is undermining the progressive labor movement with series of corporate partnerships you can learn more about here, and now his actions threaten to hurt the reputation of every labor union.  Here’s why Andy needs to apologize and make restitution.

       “More significantly, such fighting could tarnish the image of unions, which have been trying to stem the decline in membership and attract more workers, say labor experts.”

Andy Stern must apologize and make things right.


SEIU RNs throughout California and the nation have seen the light and had enough. They have been signing up by the thousands to join their RN colleagues in the CNA/NNOC.

Last December, RNs at Saint Mary’s in Reno voted overwhelmingly for CNA/NNOC representation, rejecting SEIU’s last minute attempt to derail the election. RNs at the St. Rose Dominican Hospitals in Las Vegas are voting in May to switch from SEIU to CNA.

Check out this video about how SEIU really operates as Las Vegas RNs and service employees speak from their hearts. (SEIU members appearing in this video are not actors and were not paid or coaxed.)…

This is not at all surprising.  RNs and RN issues have received even less support from SEIU since the SEIU reorganization last year. Imagine this: LA County is SEIU’s largest RN unit in the nation, but only one LA County RN was chosen to be a delegate to the SEIU convention! even though many LA County RNs ran for delegate positions!

SEIU claims to represent 1.9 million members, of which actual RN membership is less than 2%. CNA/NNOC/AFL-CIO is the largest professional RN union in the country, with over 80,000 RN members in all 50 states. Our Board of Directors and convention are 100% RNs, directly elected by our all-RN membership.

The heart of the matter lies in the fact that SEIU International has created a harmful company union structure where the “union” partners with management to the detriment of their members. This is especially dangerous and harmful when they represent health care workers who work in unsafe conditions and with contract clauses that cause nurses to go against their ethical and legal obligations to be the patient’s advocate.

The unfortunate outcomes harm patients as well as caregivers as detailed in a recent SF Weekly article.  The article is a must read from start to finish, but I have to quote here the alarming part about the tragic death of Mary Hochman, a night nurse and SEIU member who worked at Beverley La Cumbre, a Santa Barbara nursing home:

(Read the full story here…

According to news accounts, Hochman walked onto a beach and shot herself in the heart after a months-long dispute with her employer. Her problems began when she tried to report that a nurse’s aide had hit an 81-year-old man with dementia. According to Contra Costa Times reporter Carolyn McMillan, Hochman said in a sworn affidavit that she was told to cover up the information. Cover it up!

“If a nurse cannot protect her patients, I do not want to be a nurse,” Hochman wrote in her suicide note. “This has taken all hope away from me.”

Hochman’s note, along with a journal detailing instances where she was told to cover up incidents of abuse and neglect, helped spur a federal raid on the nursing home. A subsequent investigation revealed patients suffering beatings and maggot-infested bedsores, culminating in a $2 million settlement against Beverly relating to preventable deaths. The investigation also spawned a dozen civil suits, according to press reports.

SEIU had lobbied to ensure that a bill before the California legislature didn’t include provisions supported by patients’ rights groups that would have set standards guaranteeing high-quality care. The union added hundreds of nursing home workers to its ranks. But the labor contracts that resulted included a scandalous, horrifying detail: The union was discouraged from informing regulators, or the press, in cases of bad patient care.

CNA/NNOC is proud of our record in fighting for RNs and safe patient care; from winning the first-in-the nation RN-to-patient ratios, to fighting Governor Schwarzenegger’s attacks on our ratios as well as his attacks on the Board of Registered Nurses, to building a national nurse’s movement, to fighting for the highest standards nationally for RNs and patients.

Building a national nurses movement isn’t always going to be easy, but it will all be worth it when we change the face of health care in this country.

Visit our website  for more information.

Please also visit  to hear how SEIU is serving employers rather than their nurses and other members.