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Striking Caregivers Protest Harassment by Guards at California Pacific Medical Center
by PR Newswire (reposted)
Friday Oct 14th, 2005 6:28 AM
Nursing Assistants, Licensed Vocational Nurses and Other Striking Caregivers
Subjected to Violent Harassment From Military Trained Security Guards
SAN FRANCISCO, Oct. 13 /PRNewswire/ -- Hundreds of striking caregivers
will gather in protest of recent harassment from military trained security
guards at California Pacific Medical Center. Caregivers, who were forced on
strike 31 days ago for a Federal Mediator's contract proposal, will peacefully
confront security personnel and denounce their violent behavior. Yesterday
morning, over 70 security guards shoved and threatened a largely female group
of strikers at the Pacific campus
"Union members at CPMC are predominately women and people of color, and we
deserve to be treated with dignity and respect," said Helen York-Jones,
Dietary Aide with 37 years of service at California Pacific Medical Center.
"We are going to send a clear message that this type of behavior is
unacceptable."
Temporary CPMC security are employed through Steele Foundation, a
multinational firm that provides personnel for armed combat on all seven
continents

Woman hospitalized after kicked to the ground by military trained CPMC security guard

San Francisco – Several caregivers were physically assaulted by CPMC security personnel after a candlelight vigil at the hospital this morning. Striking dietary aide, Lorenna Hernandez, was hospitalized with abdominal injuries after being kicked to the ground by military trained security at CPMC (police report # 051155135). Several other caregivers filed police reports after being kicked and punched by security guards (police report #051155107).

“The security guards were out of control. I was on the picket line, and security starting shoving us off the sidewalk,” said Hernandez. “I fell to the ground and one of the guards kept kicking me in the stomach. Everyone was yelling at him to stop and trying to get him off me.”

CPMC hired the temporary security personnel from Steele Foundation, an expensive international security firm that sends private armed guards to volatile areas around the world. In 2001, Steel Foundation guards were engaged in fighting a paramilitary coup attempt that resulted in the death of four people at Haiti’s National Palace. California Pacific Medical Center hired the Steele Foundation guards in an effort to intimidate the caregivers forced to strike for better patient care at CPMC.

Since the strike began 31 days ago, Steele Foundation guards have shoved, spit on, sexually harassed, and threatened Nursing Assistants, Licensed Vocational Nurses and other hospital caregivers. Yesterday morning over 70 Steele personnel attacked a largely female group of caregivers protesting peacefully at the hospital’s Pacific campus.

“We were just walking on the picket line and security started running toward us. They told us we needed to get off the sidewalk, but it is our legal right. Besides there was fast traffic on the street,” said Maria Salina, a central distribution aide at CPMC. “They started pushing us, shoving me hard in my shoulder and neck.” (Continued)

Nearly 800 caregivers were forced to strike on September 13 after pursuing every possible measure to avoid the walkout, including accepting a Federal Mediator’s compromise proposal for settlement. Sutter/CPMC initially accepted, then reneged on a Mediator’s proposal, which featured safe staffing guidelines and a training fund. Every other hospital in Northern California, including Kaiser, Catholic Healthcare West, and Daughters of Charity, have accepted the industry standards included in the Mediator’s recommendation.

###

SEIU United Healthcare Workers-West, with more than 140,000 members, is the largest and most powerful healthcare union in the Western U.S. We represent every type of healthcare worker, including nursing, professional, technical and service classifications. Our mission is to achieve high quality healthcare for all.

http://www.seiu-uhw.org/mediacenter/pressreleases/page.jsp?itemID=27270980
§Sutter brutality won't deter us
by from SEIU blog Friday Oct 14th, 2005 6:31 AM

It’s midmorning, day 32 of the strike, and I’ve just come from the lines at CPMC’s Pacific Campus. I must tell you, I—and our striking members—are shocked by the unprovoked attack early this morning by the paramilitary thugs hired by Sutter Corporation to “protect” their facilities. There were about 150 caregivers on the lines at 5 a.m. at Pacific Campus, picketing and peacefully demonstrating when the “men in black” from the mercenary Steele Foundation unleashed a violent confrontation with our members. Several strikers were hit and kicked by the guards. One member was kicked in the stomach so hard she required ER treatment. Witnesses to the assault alerted SF police and the offending guard was arrested. Thankfully, the victim of the kicking came through the ordeal, apparently okay.

To me, this engagement was painfully mindful of the riot some 15 years back when SEIU janitors, family and allies—seeking Justice for Janitors—were beaten unmercifully by LA police while rallying in front of Century City office buildings. That police violence drew national attention and that fateful date, June 19, is now commemorated by labor as Justice for Janitors Day.

Like that LA encounter so many years ago, today’s assault by Sutter’s beefy thugs serves to mobilize and further empower our caregivers at CPMC’s three campuses. By the day, our campaign for a fair contract is picking up more strength—among strikers themselves and in the community at large. After all, the kind of Sutter thuggery on display early this morning is totally out of touch with the values and standards of San Francisco. Here, in this most tolerant city, people expect disputes such as ours with Sutter CPMC to be worked out in a rational and respectful way. Instead, what people are seeing is that Sacramento-based Sutter Corp is way out of touch with our city’s proud values of peace, harmony and reason.

Meantime, striker resolve grows by the day. In my 25 years of union work I have never seen such unity among strikers this far into a strike. I just spent three straight days on the lines at all three campuses and over this time talked to some 300 strikers. A common theme was “we’re fine, we’re going to win.” Member Juan Flores at Davies said, “I feel great. Our group is holding together very well.” Carl Evans, another Davis brother, offered that “this is a fight that sooner or later had to be fought. Sutter expected us to fold, but now they realize we’re for real and we’re not going away until they sign the contract.”

Jose Areas, an EVS member from Pacific Campus, echoes this feeling. “We’ve come this far, and we’re not going to quit until we win, whatever it takes.” L. C. Moore, also an EVS member at California Campus, noted that “CPMC board members are talking to us now . . . six in all in the last few days alone. At the start, nobody on the board paid attention, now they’re listening to us, and say they want to get this thing settled.” Alicia Muyto, a patient care asst. at California Campus, said, “We’re getting there. We’re solid.”

To sum up, there’s amazing unity and resolve to force this most arrogant employer to put patients first. We’ll keep on exposing the lies and mismanagement of Sutter Health and its management team. I know this: Our members will keep fighting. Together, we’ll get it done.

Sal Rosselli

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Wednesday on the picket linesemily stone (reposted)Saturday Oct 15th, 2005 2:01 AM