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STERN'S GANG SEIZES YHW UNION HALL IN OAKLAND

by Echo Park Communtiy Coalition Thursday, Feb. 05, 2009 at 12:47 AM
epcc_la@hotmail.com 213-241-0995 337 Glendale Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90026

This mob, thirty, maybe forty strong, mostly very nicely dressed white men for this side of struggling Oakland, was led by a young female lawyer – there were a couple of nasty ex-cops in tow, just in case. They used bolt-cutters to get through the parking-lot gates in back; they smashed their way through a second floor window, then pushed their way to the front, where they opened the doors, let in the rest of the mob in and then ended the occupation – evicting the (former) members of United Healthcare Workers-West (UHW) from their union hall, their house. “Who’s House, Our House!” No more.

STERN'S GANG SEIZES ...
20a_00052.jpg, image/jpeg, 2400x1600

EPCC NEWS

February 3, 2009

Stern's Gang Seizes UHW Union Hall In The Bay Area

by Cal Winslow (repost from Counterpunch)

Tuesday Feb 3rd, 2009 11:37 AM

I’ve forgotten the technical term, a senior moment perhaps. What do you call a mob of white people, who, with the police standing by, attack a handful of defenseless people, in this case mostly women of color, a few youngsters, humiliate them, drive them from their home?

This mob, thirty, maybe forty strong, mostly very nicely dressed white men for this side of struggling Oakland, was led by a young female lawyer – there were a couple of nasty ex-cops in tow, just in case. They used bolt-cutters to get through the parking-lot gates in back; they smashed their way through a second floor window, then pushed their way to the front, where they opened the doors, let in the rest of the mob in and then ended the occupation – evicting the (former) members of United Healthcare Workers-West (UHW) from their union hall, their house. “Who’s House, Our House!” No more.

The Oakland cops arrived just in time to see to it that the freshly evicted behaved themselves. They were not impressed, apparently, by the fact that the workers actually had the building’s deed in hand. Neither were they concerned that no court had sanctioned this invasion – a Sergeant Kelly assured the workers that everything was just as it should be.

This mob, these people were Mary Kay Henry’s “warriors,” staff members and lawyers of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), recruited from around the country to do battle. They came, possibly 200 strong, to California to break UHW – the dissident, 150,000 member healthcare workers union – a militant and democratic union that represented hospital workers, long term and home care workers, plus others throughout California.

They call it “trusteeship” – the trade union equivalent, according to Steve Early, of martial law. Mary Kay Henry, an Executive Vice President of SEIU, paid 0,000+ a year, personally pushed her way into hall. She was assisted by another Executive Vice President, Dave Regan, a 0,000+ guy as well. I guess they were on hand just to show that SEIU was serious, but also perhaps a little bullying firsthand was a pleasant diversion from the banalities of Washington, DC life.

In Regan’s case, this seems a career specialization. Last March he helped orchestrate SEIU’s physical (but unsuccessful) assault on the Labor Notes Conference in Detroit.

It all had an air of slumming it – coming here to this neighborhood in Oakland where Jerry Brown’s grand gentrification scheme is languishing. Upscale apartments sit empty; the atmosphere of the neighborhood still owes more to the Social Services offices at the end of the street and the Greyhound Bus station around the corner.

The rented SUV’s and black Audi sedans stood out on Thomas Berkley Way, where UHW had had its headquarters for more than twenty years. Its roots go right back to the 1934 general strike. It has been an important factor in California labor history.

Read More at Counterpunch: http://www.counterpunch.org/winslow02022009.html

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