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Court Throws Out Restraining Order Against SEIU

Wednesday, April 23, 2008 General News J E 4
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OAKLAND, Calif., April 22 A California Superiorcourt today dismissed a temporary restraining order against the ServiceEmployees International Union (SEIU) and SEIU President Andy Stern filed lastweek as a publicity stunt by the California Nurses Association (CNA). Thedecision comes after the court had an opportunity to review video footagesubmitted by SEIU yesterday of the incidents that CNA falsely claimed to be"stalking," and on the heels of an anti-Strategic Lawsuit to Prevent PublicParticipation motion, also filed yesterday by SEIU, against the CNA to preventCNA from further efforts to silence critics of its divisive tactics.

"For months, CNA leaders have made inaccurate and exaggerated claimstrying to cover up their own anti-union tactics in Ohio and other states. Theyhave produced doctored 'evidence,' they have made phony allegations and theyhave cried wolf," said Andy Stern, SEIU International President. "Today'scourt decision shows the public what the CNA is really about, but that'slittle comfort for the thousands of Ohio nurses and hospital workers who sawtheir dreams of forming a union destroyed by the CNA. It's time Rose AnnDeMoro and the CNA wake up and apologize to the workers they hurt."

The Alameda County Superior Court ordered the temporary restraining orderbe thrown out this afternoon after reviewing affidavits and other information-including video footage showing what the CNA called "5 male staffers harassingCNA Board members" was actually a 54 year-old registered nurse and a 61 year-old respiratory therapist going door-to-door to try to speak to CNA leadership(available online at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nGw2QJTgw4I). Informationsubmitted by SEIU showed SEIU members, staff, and workers employed by CatholicHealthcare Partners were exercising their First Amendment rights in theirpeaceful appeals to CNA leadership in California. The temporary restrainingorder-obtained by the CNA on April 15 without any notice to SEIU-was foundunlawful under California labor code.

Since its "vote no" campaign at Catholic Healthcare Partners (CHP)hospitals in Ohio sabotaged a three-year effort by nurses and hospital workersto win a fair process to freely choose whether to form a union with SEIU, theCNA has consistently spread untruths and misinformation in Ohio, California,Nevada, and elsewhere. In particular, the California-based union hasinaccurately characterized efforts by CHP workers and supporters to engagewith CNA leadership over the union's anti-union tactics as "harassment."

"I'm a mom and a grandmom and I've spent my life caring for patients --the last thing I thought anyone would ever call me is intimidating or scary,"said Michaela Silver a respiratory therapist with Catholic Healthcare Partnersin Springfield, OH who spent a week door-knocking alongside one of hercoworkers to try to reach CNA board-members. "We just want the CNA's leadersto explain what they did in Ohio and stop their union-busting."

On Monday, SEIU filed a motion against the CNA under California's Code ofCivil Procedure Sec. 425.16, a statute intended to prevent organizations fromusing a Strategic Lawsuit to Prevent Public Participation or "SLAPP" suit tosuppress free speech from critics or opponents. Damages including attorneyfees and costs from SEIU having to vacate the improper restraining order areexpected.

"The CNA's injunction against SEIU was nothing short of a media stuntmeant to chill free speech by SEIU members and supporters," said StephenBerzon, a partner at Altshuler Berzon LLP, the San Francisco-based law firmhandling the case. "This kind of abuse of the law is exactly what California'santi-SLAPP statute is intended to stop."

The CNA filing of the temporary restraining order last week is only thelatest tactic in the union's misinformation campaign. Last week, the CNAposted widely an exaggerated and distorted depict
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