June 5th, 2013
NUHW supporters have been vindicated.
Last week, a California appeals court reversed a lower court ruling in a lawsuit brought by NUHW supporters (myself included) against SEIU for alleged acts and threats of violence against workers organizing for NUHW.
In a horrible ruling, the lower court had granted what’s called an “anti-SLAPP motion” to SEIU, holding the plaintiffs responsible for SEIU’s attorney’s fees. In a unanimous decision last week, the appeals court rejected that wrong-headed ruling.
California’s anti-SLAPP law was designed to prevent people from filing frivolous lawsuits whose only purpose is to intimidate others from exercising their free speech rights. As the appeals court correctly ruled last week, that is the farthest thing from what’s at the heart of our suit against SEIU.
Describing SEIU’s threats and acts of violence as described in our lawsuit, the court asserted that “(c)onduct illegal as a matter of law is not protected by the anti-SLAPP statute … Threats of violence or bodily injury are not protected activities for the purposes of an anti-SLAPP motion … The conduct goes well beyond mere speech in connection with a labor dispute.”
The bottom line is that when SEIU instructs its staff and supporters to intimidate us with violence and threats of violence, they can’t expect the courts to support their illegal actions. These acts of intimidation by SEIU have no place in the labor movement.
You can read the court’s ruling here:
National Union of Healthcare Workers – California Nurses Association