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SEIU Defends Actions In Detroit At Labor Notes Conf-Releases New Video
Date 08/04/26/23:11
Thursday, April 24, 2008

SEIU RN Dian Palmer Calls On AFL-CIO Head John Sweeney to Review Video from
Dearborn Protest, Retract Statement Accepting CNA Distortions

Unedited video footage from Labor Notes conference shows nonviolent protest by
women and children, CNA claims of violence inaccurate and exaggerated

WASHINGTON, DC--WITH RAW VIDEO from the Labor Notes Conference in Dearborn, MI
showing a nonviolent protest held by mostly women and children, SEIU District
1199 Wisconsin President and registered nurse Dian Palmer today called on
AFL-CIO President John Sweeney to retract his hasty statement last week
criticizing SEIU members and accepting the inaccurate depiction presented by the
California Nurses Association (CNA). Palmer urged Sweeney to view unedited video
footage to determine for himself that the much-debated April 12 protest led by
nurses and other workers from Catholic Healthcare Partners (CHP) hospitals,
while certainly spirited--in the classic tradition of labor union protests--was
brief and involved none of the widely posted but utterly inaccurate claims of
orchestrated violence by the CNA and Labor Notes participants.

"The true victims of what happened in Dearborn were not the conference-goers,
and not the SEIU members who came to protest," said Dian Palmer, RN, in a video
message to Sweeney today. "The true victims were the Ohio hospital workers who
fought for three years to form a union, but who saw their hopes and dreams
disappear when dozens of CNA organizers landed in their hospitals. Now their
story is being drowned out by all the inflammatory rhetoric surrounding the
Labor Notes conference, just as the California Nurses Association hoped it would

Since the Labor Notes Conference protest--an effort led by CHP nurses and other
health care workers to express their disapproval of the CNA's sabotage of union
elections for more than 8,000 hospital workers in Ohio--the CNA and Labor Notes
organizers have made sweeping and inaccurate claims of "violence by protesters."
Last week, Sweeney issued a statement condemning SEIU members' role in the
protest based on misrepresentations by the CNA and other Labor Notes conference

"I was quite surprised to learn that you had accepted the untruthful accounts of
what happened in Dearborn as a 'violent attack orchestrated by SEIU'--and even
put out a press statement to that effect--despite the fact that you weren't even
there," said Palmer, in the video message. "I appeal to you--as a leader of the
American labor movement, as a former member of SEIU, and as man of faith--to
help us put the false and misleading stories to rest."


Raw video footage directly contradicts the distorted stories presented by the
CNA and Labor Notes shortly after the conference. The footage of the entire
15-minute protest shows a mostly female crowd of nurses, hospital workers,
nursing home workers, home care workers, and their children picketing and
chanting. After a brief period of tension when SEIU members were blocked from
entering the hall, the protesters dispersed.

A video by the Labor Video Project also tells a different story than the one
being disseminated by the CNA--not only about the Dearborn protest, but also
about the union elections in Ohio. The video features an interview with Susan
Horne, a registered nurse with CHP in Cincinnati, who responds to questions from
an angry conference participant concerning the protest. Video courtesy of the
Labor Video Project available

"I wish I were a member of SEIU but I was denied my right to vote for the SEIU
union--and I was denied by the California Nurses Association," said Susan Horne
in the Labor Video Project video. "I'm here because of Rose Ann DeMoro. They
were going to honor Rose Ann DeMoro at this conference and she's a union-buster.
We have a conference of unions and people and they are going to honor a

The CNA's misrepresentation of the protest in Dearborn is not the first
untruthful allegation the California Nurses Association has made in recent
weeks. On Tuesday, the Alameda County Superior Court ordered an illegal
temporary restraining order obtained by the CNA as a publicity stunt last week
be thrown out after reviewing affidavits and other information contradicting the
CNA's accusations that "5 male staffers were harassing CNA Board members." A
video shows that a 54 year-old registered nurse and a 61 year-old respiratory
therapist, both women, were going door-to-door to try to speak to CNA leadership
(available online at

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