It’s the bat­tle of the health­care union videos

Modern Healthcare - - Outliers -

Just in time for open­ing ar­gu­ments in the epic fed­eral court drama be­tween ri­val unions in San Fran­cisco this week, the Ser­vice Em­ploy­ees In­ter­na­tional Union and the Na­tional Union of Health­care Work­ers have launched Web video at­tacks on their op­po­nents.

First came the NUHW’s video, posted on its Web site Feb. 26, that ap­pears to show, doc­u­men­tary-style, how a heated dis­cus­sion of in­tra-union pol­i­tics can quickly turn nasty. Forty-seven sec­onds into the de­bate among em­ploy­ees at Gar­den Grove (Calif.) Hospi­tal Med­i­cal Cen­ter, the NUHW videog­ra­pher can be heard telling an SEIU sup­porter, “Blame it on the mem­bers! Blame your in­com­pe­tence on, blame—”

The guy never gets to fin­ish his thought as the SEIU sup­porter punches the pho­tog­ra­pher in a burst of mild pro­fan­ity. This Sean Penn-like dis­play of re­straint is view­able at the un­sub­tly ti­tled URL:­saults-union-sup­porter-in-gar­den-grove-hospi­tal-cafet.html.

Then on March 10, the SEIU re­sponded with its own Web video, set to the “Mis­sion: Im­pos­si­ble” theme song, which fol­lows the ad­ven­tures of four nurs­ing home em­ploy­ees who try to present NUHW in­terim Pres­i­dent Sal Ros­selli with an open let­ter from 1,100 SEIU mem­bers urg­ing the NUHW to back off of union-raid­ing. The NUHW of­fi­cials are never found, alas. One high­light is the SEIU’s ap­par­ent in­ser­tion of the sound of tires screech­ing when an NUHW of­fi­cial leisurely drives away from the SEIU doc­u­men­tary crew:

How­ever, both sides’ may have missed the chance for some truly grip­ping video, as re­vealed in eleventh-hour mo­tions filed one week be­fore the March 22 trial be­tween the SEIU and NUHW in U.S. District Court.

The SEIU sued NUHW leaders on al­le­ga­tions that they had used SEIU re­sources to plot the for­ma­tion of their new union well be­fore the SEIU kicked out Ros­selli and just about every­one else in the bar­gain­ing unit’s lead­er­ship for in­sub­or­di­na­tion and im­proper use of union re­sources.

But just a week be­fore the trial’s start date, the NUHW turned over 17 boxes of records that were only re­cently dis­cov­ered, well af­ter dead­lines to turn over all files. “On Sun­day, March 14, 17 boxes were de­liv­ered to our of­fice in Oak­land. We do not know the iden­tity of the per­son(s) who de­liv­ered the boxes,” NUHW lawyer Dan Siegel wrote in a two-page mo­tion.

Will a video of this mys­te­ri­ous pre­trial de­liv­ery show up on YouTube? Stay tuned.

Tem­per, tem­per. You could turn up on YouTube.

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