THE BLOG
05/29/2010 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

SEIU-UHW vs. NUHW Trial Day 6: "Members of the Secret Land are not allowed to Kiss and Tell."

SEIU-UHW (Service Employees International Union) vs. NUHW (National Union of Healthcare Workers) Trial: DAY 6- March 29, 2010

Well, here we are again, back in the courtroom of Federal Judge William Alsup in San Francisco - and guess what? Not much has changed! As witnesses continued to testify today, it became evident that in order to have a proper conspiracy, former ousted UHW leadership ( presently NUHW leaders) informed many staff members and stewards to keep what would become self incriminating evidence "on the down low. ." In other words they were instructed "no kissing and telling. ."

Last week ended with testimony from SEIU-UHW witness, Jerry Bullock of Bullock & Associates security firm. Mr. Bullock has covered multiple trusteeships in the past and has definitely had to "up the ante" for this particular trusteeship due to criminal, violent acts committed by NUHW supporters and leaders under the direction of NUHW senior officials - both when they were previous leaders of UHW prior to trusteeship, as well as after the trusteeship. The security firm's objective was to allow the union (SEIU-UHW) to carry out their duties of trusteeship on a day-to-day basis without interference or interruption. What constituted the normal average amount of security needed was not the case for the SEIU-UHW Trusteeship of January 27, 2009. The road would be rocky and much preparation would be needed.

"HELP."Somebody Call Security!"

In addition to the SEIU Alameda office break-in, a series of criminal, violent events committed by NUHW were taking place around California. Security was informed that at the Oakland office, boxes of information were being removed. There was also the incident of a NUHW supporter's attempt to ram an individual's car. The UHW Lillyvale office in Southern California reported an incident while the very next day SEIU staff found themselves vigorously confronted by NUHW supporters during their stay at the their hotel. Mr. Bullock himself was even stalked as he went to his car in a parking lot at night time when a white van slowly lured near him with an individual in the passenger seat with what looked like a firearm. Whew!, thank goodness it turned out to be a video camera as the red camera light could be seen as the vehicle got closer. That's enough to get your heart pumping. It wouldn't be fair to leave out how car tires have been slashed, SEIU staff vehicles vandalized, as well as the egg throwing incident after a NUHW rally. An SEIU-UHW staff member had a few incidents at her home that required increased security. In addition, an elderly UHW member who has trouble walking was threatened by two of the defendants as they went directly to the member's home harassing him. You will here more about that as the member is due to testify soon. The list goes on and on but I'm running out of space here.

It appears that while preaching "democracy" some NUHW supporters has changed the pronunciation of DE-MO-CRA-CY to DE-MON-CRA-ZY.

"Well, you know the routine - time to grab a snack, kick back, and rock and roll."

Our SEIU-UHW Home Care Worker witness Anita Torres took the stand this morning and testified how she received a UHW member contact information list while at a NUHW meeting in February of 2009 by NUHW organizer, Anna Stevens. In addition, Ms. Torres was given a petition to certify NUHW and was told to go door to door to get members to sign, and then complete "house visit form codes" to assess member participation. That form included codes for a number of NUHW activities including the "Mass Meeting" held on January 24, 2009 just before the trusteeship.

Remember, .Shhhh.Don't kiss and tell.

The next witness could not kiss and tell even if he wanted to back then. You see, he was not told what was really going on, and not until later did he realize that the wool had been pulled over his eyes. A memo from Sal Rosselli to Dan Martin, and a video recording of defendant Phyllis Willett, quickly exposed the directive to "scramble UHW member contact list information" and sedt it to the International with the incorrect telephone numbers and addresses - a definite attempt to make the trusteeship ungovernable. SEIU-UHW witness Gary Wong, (UHW Information Technology) testified that historically the International required MONTHLY updates of the lists. He was not aware that the lists had been scrambled. An e-mail documented the request to purchase equipment from the PEF (Patient Education Fund) to install in the homes Ralph Cornejo and Dan Martin without I.T. detection.

Within a few days of January 21, 2009, defendant John Vellardita reported his lap top stolen. As Ms. Ortega, another employee stated to Mr. Wong - "I was thinking of reporting my lap top stolen." Mr. Wong began to think to himself (a person doesn't ordinarily voice their intentions to report their lap top stolen). He thought if a lap top is stolen, it is simply stolen. Also, the "Member Power Network" incorporated 200 blackberries outside of the UHW network purchased by the Patient Education Fund. Also, as the UHW system was changed from the Itermedia Company to an in-house server, everyone changed over to the system with the exception of defendant John Borsos, although I.T. had mentioned to him several times to bring his Blackberry in. The "auto delete policy" was suspended by fall of 2008. Members were able to delete without the system knowing. Questions of "double deleting" also came into play.

Next was SEIU-UHW witness Nancy Stengel. She's a Medical Assistant at Kaiser and a union member of ten years and a current shop steward. She told of how she got a call telling her to go to the UHW Los Angeles office where Barbara Lewis and 30-40 other people in the office. She didn't know about the Alameda office break in the day before. The mission was to get inside the SEIU's temporary office and tell SEIU trustees to go away, and flyers were produced to hand to them if they arrived. About 30 to 40 people went upstairs in one of the UHW offices and took documents with members and staff assessments. When security asked them to leave - they refused, and as he eventually tried to move the crowd down the stairs, they became agitated and one member and a few security guards were injured in the chaos. She also reported how the 2008 Leadership Conference was totally unusual with rules of no recording devises and how the union t-shirts were red and black rather than the usual purple. Also during a break out session at a KDSC (Kaiser Division Steward Council) meeting that did not include staff - just the members themselves, Jorge Rodriguez told her to take notes of everything each individual says and list which facility they are from. Then he told her to send that list to Sal Rosselli with Jorge cc:'d. As Mr. Roselli received the e-mail from her, to her amazement he responded that that he along with the Executive Board cannot support such actions as contradictory to the Constitution and Bylaws which prohibits disloyalty to the union.

Last was SEIU-UHW witness Edgard Cajina (UHW Director of Finance) who testified of being asked to assess the cash on hand at UHW, which was six million dollars at the time. A senior staff meeting determined the resolution to bring to the E-Board in order to form a 501(c)(3) charitable organization with the IRS. When he asked who would keep the books, the response was that someone outside will have to keep the books. Sal said this time we will be ready for the trusteeship. Later defendant Dan Martin told Mr. Cajina that per the resolution, Sal wants to move a one million dollars wire transfer into the PEF. When MSP (motion second passed) to approve up to six million dollars to a newly created non-profit it stated that it would be used for UHW workers and the PEF to provide education to healthcare workers and for patient education. That, in fact, was not the case, as time eventually told otherwise.

More to come tomorrow.

Erica Boddie

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