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Nurses union accuses rival SEIU of stalking

April 17, 2008|Rong-Gong Lin II | Times Staff Writer

The California Nurses Assn. on Wednesday secured a temporary restraining order against the Service Employees International Union, accusing it of harassing the board members of the Oakland-based group.

The two influential nationwide unions have a long, acrimonious rivalry that reached a new height in March after they publicly battled over whether the SEIU should represent more than 8,000 nurses and other healthcare workers in Ohio.

The dispute flared again at a labor conference in Dearborn, Mich., on Saturday, when SEIU protesters attempted to gain access to a ballroom where Rose Ann DeMoro, executive director of the nurses association, had been expected to speak. Several people were injured in a scuffle, including a 68-year-old woman who fell after being pushed.

DeMoro accused SEIU members and staff last week of stalking nurses association board members at their homes, looking through windows and shouting.

SEIU spokeswoman Lynda Tran said union organizers have been driving a nurse and respiratory therapist to board members' homes to express their disapproval of the association's tactics in Ohio last month.

"Certainly it's peaceful, and certainly it's not harassment," Tran said.

Tran, in turn, accused the nurses association of raiding other unions to increase its membership.

Association spokesman Charles Idelson denied that allegation and accused the SEIU of signing agreements that promote the interest of employers instead of union members. Tran denied the allegation.

The restraining order requires SEIU President Andy Stern to appear at a hearing at Alameda County Superior Court on May 1. It orders SEIU members and staff to stay at least 100 yards from all staff with the California Nurses Assn. and its national arm, the National Nurses Organizing Committee.

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ron.lin@latimes.com

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