THE BLOG
05/24/2010 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

SEIU-UHW vs. NUHW Trial: "Tell the Truth and Shame the Devil"

Today's trial began with NUHW Attorney (Dan Siegel) pleading with Federal Court Judge William Alsup to restore his reputation due to the number of sustained objections that were imposed on Mr. Siegel yesterday. Despite this plea, Attorney Siegel continued bringing up issues unrelated to charges against NUHW, attempting to sway the jury time and time again. Dismal, saddened faces lived upon NUHW supporters.

Attempts to "badger the witness" by NUHW attorney Peter Haberfeld failed in cross-examining yesterday's witness, Latasha Winslow-Beavers. Despite being warned by the judge for using "double negative questions," the attorney's attempt to unravel the witness by using the "trick question method" failed as she remained calm and sincere - reiterating the event of NUHW supporters stalking the hallways at her Kaiser office as she eventually had to have five security officers do surveillance on several floors - including the cafeteria.

SEIU-UHW witness (Cass Gualvez/Field Director, Hosp. Division) took the stand immediately after. Post trusteeship, she and her bargaining field team took inventory of materials left behind by former ousted leadership at the Oakland union office. The trustees had not yet occupied the office as barriers were placed upon them by former staff members who were instructed by the ousted leaders to prevent the trustees from entry. Upon surveying the material, the team found incomplete bargaining binders and grievance files. The "personal notes" from previous reps/stewards were all missing. During cross-examination of the witness, the NUHW attorney attempted to detour the responsibility - stating that complete files should have been sought from the employer. Ms. Gualvez quickly educated the NUHW counsel that employer notes are taken with the point of view from the employer - one that would be totally contrary to that of the union...

Then the fifth witness took the stand, Oriana Saportas, an organizer for UHW of 2 ½ years. Prior to trusteeship, she reported to defendant Peter Tappeiner. In a meeting one month before the trusteeship, he stated to Oriana and others hat they had the choice between SEIU or an island, which I took to be another union. Defendant Glenn Goldstein corrected him for referring to the "island." Ms. Saportas was instructed by Mr. Tappeiner to go to Kinkos to photocopy workers contact lists (which are used to run campaigns). The copies added up to approximately 1000 pages of UHW contact information. It was also testified how Mr. Tappeiner went to Ms. Saportas' home and transferred laptop information to an external drive. Upon cross-examination, NUHW Attorney Jose Luis Fuentas also asked questions of irrelevance at which point Judge Alsup mentored the jury, relaying that it doesn't matter who is the devil and who is the angel in this case - stating that even angels can do wrong and shouldn't steal money in salaries, destroy property, lie or cheat - "Wrong is Wrong..." Once again, frustration mounted on the faces of NUHW supporters.

SEIU-UHW witness, Denny Henriques, Chief Steward at Sutter Delta Medical Center, approached the stand . He's been a shop steward for 13 years and a Chief Steward for 5-6 years. He testified that prior to trusteeship, he was instructed by defendant John Borsos to not engage with the trustees and to "throw them out". He was also instructed to circulate decertification petitions and to return them to Sue Finley.

Witness number seven was Jennie Edney, Contract Specialist and Rep. Chair for Kaiser Vallejo. She testified how defendant Ralph Cornejo attended one of their steward council meetings with a Q & A session pertaining to SEIU vs.UHW. He recommended that a contact information list be developed comprised of personal e-mail accounts and cell phone numbers to be able to meet in case any problem were to occur with the leadership of UHW at that time. Note: It was not uncommon for the previous ousted leadership to confuse stewards and members by referring to SEIU vs. UHW as if they were two separate entities. UHW (originally local 250, and local 399 has always been under the umbrella of the SEIU International...just check the SEIU logo on any old L250 or L399 t-shirt...)

Then came the trooper, Mary Kay Henry. This witness educated the entire courtroom of both the International Constitution as well as the local UHW Constitution and Bylaws. As NUHW counsel sought to reference the International Constitution, implying that the provision of seven members not in agreement with a majority on a disaffiliation vote not democratic - Our SEIU-UHW Attorney Kohl quickly opened the local UHW Constitution and Bylaws with the same provision that has been in there since and before defendant Sal Rosselli's reign - without question nor protest from Mr. Rosselli until it impacted him personally. KUDOS Attorney Kohl!!! NUHW Attorneys again attempted to bring up the issue of the Long Term Care Workers. Note: If the State of California voted for Democrat Hilary Clinton, and another state voted for a Republican, and another voted for now President Barack Obama - no matter how you slice it and dice it - each affected member gets a vote which is eventually all tallied up and counted for the majority. California would not be able to break off from the United States and form a separate state, refuse to follow the U.S. Constitution, and then destroy records of the White House because they had a different philosophy of how to do things....

Finally we ended with Myriam Escamilla who witnessed being a member of the "strategic planning meetings" where Sal Rosselli and company spoke of concerns of the long term care workers being moved out of UHW, about creating a legal defense against trusteeship, and having funds transferred out of UHW. He also requested back any personal e-mails that he previously sent to the group stating that the meetings are confidential and not to be discussed outside of the group.

Well, more to come tomorrow...talk to you then.

Erica Boddie.