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.
Outliers: It's the battle of the healthcare union videos
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: nuhw.org/seiu/seiu-assaults-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: bit.ly/az9puG.
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.
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