Saturday, April 10, 2010

SEIU vs. NUHW Trial Ends: Jury awards purple people eaters a nibble instead of a bite

The SEIU's civil lawsuit against the former leaders of one of its largest locals is over and, while the SEIU is certain to claim a appears to be a very hollow victory.

Instead of getting the $25 million the SEIU originally sought (and after the union allegedly spent millions on the suit), the union of purple people eaters is only getting a nibble, a mere $737,850.  And, it may not even get that if NUHW is successful in appealing the jury's verdict.

According to BeyondChron:
The jury verdict is far less than the $25 million SEIU sought in the action, and reflects the jury’s conclusion that defendants should refund their January 2009 salaries, and also reimburse SEIU for directing staff to spend the month resisting trusteeship and working to form NUHW rather than on their SEIU activities.

SEIU’s trial against NUHW is now over, and the spinning of the verdict’s meaning soon begins. While SEIU will argue that the jury vindicates the union’s investing millions of dollars in time and money on the case, the trial achieved none of SEIU’s major goals.

The Lawsuit’s Goals

SEIU’s civil lawsuit against NUHW and 25 former SEIU-UHW staffers had four goals. The first three were to deplete NUHW resources by forcing its leaders to spend time and money defending themselves, send a message to hospital and home care workers facing elections that NUHW cannot not be trusted, and turn the Rosselli leadership team into a cautionary example for other SEIU locals that are considering publicly questioning President Stern’s agenda. None of these goals were achieved by the verdict.

Read the rest of BeyondChron's analysis here.

Even with the relatively minor amount awarded by the jury, it appears the NUHW leaders are planning an appeal as a press release was issued stating:

Labor and elected leaders vow to appeal limited award in SEIU’s lawsuit against union reformers

Twelve defendants cleared, but jury orders other former SEIU staff to repay salary and costs because they resisted orders from SEIU’s Washington, D.C. office

SEIU’s lawsuit against 28 union reformers came to an end today, with SEIU’s central claims abandoned, twelve defendants cleared of all charges, and a judgment that amounts to a tiny fraction of SEIU’s own legal costs.


Attorneys for the defendants will ask the judge to set aside the jury’s verdict, and if the judge does not, they will appeal the decision to the Court of Appeals.

Perez Stern, a pro-NUHW blog had this to say:
This thing makes no sense, and I'm not just talking about my view of SEIU's failed arguments and evidence. Sure I think it's unfair, but you know, I can imagine a judgment that would have had me shrugging my shoulders and saying (as I said above) that not everything worth doing can be done within the SEIU constitution. What I think is that it isn't legally sound! How the hell can NUHW be responsible for lost dues from nursing home contracts when it wasn't created when the contracts were canceled?

An interesting case illustrating all that is wrong with Andy Stern's style of top-down unionism almost comes to an end.

“I bring reason to your ears, and, in language as plain as ABC, hold up truth to your eyes.” Thomas Paine, December 23, 1776

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