SEIU-UHW (Service Employees International Union)
vs. NUHW (National Union of Healthcare Workers)
Trial: DAY 12 - April 6, 2010
San Francisco, CA
As the final witnesses took the stand Monday, the door was opened today to start the "closing arguments" in the trial of SEIU-UHW vs. NUHW.
Many members have long awaited the details revealing foul behavior by ousted leaders as they deemed to make SEIU-UHW ungovernable upon trusteeship. The very detailed testimonies of many witnesses include an array of secret plans to remove, alter and destroy UHW property - organize UHW members against their International - breech fiduciary responsibility - store UHW membership contact information onto private, offline undetectable data bases - occupy UHW offices to prevent trustees from entering - provoke violence towards SEIU staff and trustees - divert funds under false pretenses to the PEF (Patient Education Fund) - and using UHW resources to build NUHW while still employed by UHW. These were among the many alleged charges against Rosselli and company.
The list goes on and on but there are basically two top items that really guide what happened before and after the trusteeship. The first pertains to abiding by the "rules" of the governing SEIU International Constitution (in which all officers are bound to as sworn in under oath). The second is the subject of the "consequences" of not doing so.
SEIU-UHW Attorney Gary Kohlman reiterated to the jury that just as Federal Court Judge William Alsup ensures that attorneys from both sides adhere to the "rules" of the court and of the law - and that they play "fair" - he stated that this also applies to the NUHW defendants. Whenever an attorney attempted to detour from the rules of court, Judge Alsup quickly called it to attention and consequences were delivered appropriately.
During the final arguments on behalf of SEIU-UHW, Attorney Kohlman unfolded defendant Barbara Lewis' covert plan to teach members and staff how to "create an ungovernable situation" for the SEIU trustees and how it played a major role in constant attempts to "hobble and cripple" the trustees and prevent them from caring for the very same members that are being lured into NUHW. A timeline of events was exceptionally prepared by the SEIU-UHW counsel as evidence of the above allegations.
The timeline of the covert conspiracy was displayed as early as 2007 up until present. Each defendant was named as they strategically came into play in the operation.
There were e-mails involving various defendants, expense reports, meeting documents, and even documentation of a Kinkos purchase for disaffiliation forms adding up to over $41,000. The "Shakers and Makers/Breakfast Club" plan and efforts to circulate disaffiliation petitions to members of UHW in an attempt to move them into (NUHW) were carefully demonstrated as evidence against the conspirers. NUHW Attorney Dan Siegel's attempt to discredit SEIU-UHW witness Leon Chow failed as the rebuttal by SEIU-UHW counsel quickly brought it back in perspective. The "real story" behind the scene involved Mr. Chow being asked by defendant John Vellardita to "look into the open window periods for disaffiliation." The NUHW leaders' premeditated and urgent plan to find office space while still employed by UHW was disclosed as this space eventually became the office of NUHW. Closing arguments by the prosecution also revealed that as of January 21, 2009 there were thirty contract extensions being terminated by nursing home employers. The "missing yellow cards" given to members during "mega meetings" were examined as that information with the members' contact information was never put into the UHW database - but was last given to NUHW defendant Marti Garza by SEIU-UHW witness Jennifer Castro. Even the seventeen boxes of UHW files and information which "mysteriously appeared" at NUHW's attorney's doorstep was brought to the attention of the jury today.
The final argument by SEIU-UHW Attorney Kohlman stated that the defendants left behind two things: "A paper trail" and "their honor."
How can NUHW claim that their undemocratic behaviors happened "on behalf of the members" while it "happened to the members" in creating a deficiency for SEIU-UHW to care for them?
As NUHW Attorney Dan Siegel took the stage for his "Stars in the Sky" fantasy routine, the song and dance did not shadow the real testimonies from witnesses who testified under oath during the past two weeks. He seemed disappointed that SEIU trustee Dave Regan was not present - but he also had the same opportunity to invite him to the dance if so needed. He must not be aware that Dave Regan prioritizes himself second to the actual members who were hurt by the inappropriate behaviors of the former ousted leadership. Council Siegel even went so far as to state "I don't want to brag but my defendants are pretty well organized."
Mr. Siegel even tried to insinuate that the reason the defendants used outside, undetectable communications systems was so that SEIU could not spy on them. He then reverted to a memo sent from Andy Stern informing the defendants that a monitor was coming in to inventory UHW books - however, later in the SEIU-UHW rebuttal, it was shown how the defendants planned and purchased outside communications devices long before the Stern memo ever arrived. Besides...What ever happened to "transparency?" NUHW Attorney Siegel also stated that defendants Dan Martin and Laura Kurre developed "member assessment tools" as early as 2005 before all of this happened - but what he did not state was how it is unconstitutional for those very same tools to be used by staff and members against its own union in a conspiracy. Dahhh...
The day ended with the jury being given instructions by Judge Alsup as they went in to deliberation at 1:57p.m. today. We will keep you posted when the final verdict arrives.
Talk to you soon.