Monday, January 9, 2012

SEIU’s Zac Altefogt Joins Purple Pinocchios

SEIU at Labor Notes and Zac Altefogt
Remember how SEIU officials rigged the contract-ratification votes at Luther Manor Nursing Home and Mercy Health Partners’ Hackley Hospital… even going so far as to stuff ballot boxes and block union members from voting?

Well, here’s what SEIU’s Communications Director Zac Altefogt told the Muskegon Chronicle after Hackley’s workers delivered a landslide defeat to SEIU in last week’s NLRB election:

“We're a democratic union, and that was their choice,” Altefogt said of a group that SEIU began representing in 2007 at the time of the Mercy-Hackley hospital merger. “We provided this group with a strong first contract. People can join a union or leave it at any time.”
Yeah right… Looks like Zac has conveniently forgotten how SEIU has blocked workers’ NLRB elections for up to 2 ½ years in an effort to stop them from leaving SEIU. Or how SEIU committed such severe violations of federal labor laws that a judge tossed out the largest private-sector union election in the past 70 years.  

Well, it turns out this isn’t the first time that Zac has massively misinformed the Michigan media. Readers might remember an infamous episode that took place in Dearborn, Michigan in 2008. That’s when SEIU sent busloads of people to attack a Labor Notes conference attended by union reformers from 50 unions throughout the U.S.  During the attack, SEIU knocked workers to the floor and even bloodied a 67-year-old woman who ended up in a nearby hospital's emergency room. And tragically, an SEIU homecare worker named David Smith died of a heart attack during SEIU’s assault.

So how did Zac -- after summoning every ounce of integrity -- describe SEIU’s attack on the Labor Notes conference to Detroit’s Metro Times newspaper?
"It was a peaceful protest," says Zac Altefogt, spokesman for SEIU Healthcare Michigan.
Just recently, Tasty discovered that Zac knew the event wasn’t gonna be a peaceful even before it happened. Here’s a message that Zac sent through SEIU Healthcare Michigan’s twitter account in the days leading up to the attack: "Getting ready to RAID the RAD!"   “RAD” refers to Rose Ann DeMoro (the Executive Director of the California Nurses Association), who was gonna speak at the conference and was the focus of SEIU’s attack that day.

As you can see, it's no great wonder that "Zac" rhymes with "hack" -- because he's a big one.

P.S.  For analysis of last week’s election at Hackley Hospital, check out this article by journalist Mike Elk in In These Times.