[Hpn] Santa Cruz Union Leaders Arrested Without Cause

steve argue steveorchid@yahoo.com
Wed, 9 Apr 2003 21:05:38 -0700 (PDT)

Santa Cruz Union Leaders Arrested Without Cause 

    As this writer and many other unionists witnessed,
on Wednesday April 9th, two leaders of SEIU Local 250
were arrested by the Santa Cruz County Sheriff's
Department without cause.  

   The arrests occurred as a peaceful and legal union
rally was winding down.  Participants in the rally
were workers at Dominican Hospital who are members of
SEIU Local 250 and their supporters.  The union is
struggling for a decent contract. 

   Arrested were Chief Negotiator Greg Nomacher and
Administrative Vice President John Borsos.  The
arrests occurred without legal cause.  The two were
obviously targeted for their leadership roles in the
union.  Deputies waded into the crowd and selected
them for arrest, saying nothing to anyone, simply
taking the two away in handcuffs. 

   In response worker’s chanted “shame, shame, shame”
at the arresting officers.  One unionist said, “I
thought they (the deputies) were good union members,”
Another worker replied, “Obviously they are not.”  

   After seeing the events of the day peace activist
Louis LaFortune said, “I think the Dominican guy
learned his technique at the George W. Bush School of
Effective Negotiation.” 

   The two union leaders were taken to the Santa Cruz
County Jail where they were almost immediately
released.  Neither one was charged with any crime. 
Bob Downing who went to the county jail to make sure
the two were released said that deputies claimed they
had to carry out the arrests due to a complaint from
Dominican Hospital. 

   According to such thinking law enforcement now
decides who to arrest not based on the law, but upon
the complaints of business management.  While the
anti-worker prejudices of law enforcement are often
apparent, usually they try to mask their actions under
the cover of legality.  Since Nomacher and Borsos had
committed no crime, the Santa Cruz Sheriff’s
Department actually violated the law in carrying out
false arrests, and violations of the constitutional
right to freedom of assembly and freedom of speech. 

   Former Santa Cruz Citizen Police Review Board
member Sandy Brown called the police action

   While these false arrests were meant to intimidate
the workers, those present who witnessed the police
actions said it would have the opposite effect.  The
rally ended on an upbeat announcement that the workers
had been effective and had made their point. 

   Member of the SEIU 250 bargaining committee, Paul
Frommherz, stated, “We’ve been trying to get a fair
contract with Dominican Hospital since last October.” 
He pointed out that the contract under negotiation
will cover, “The housekeeper who cleans your room, the
food service worker who prepares and delivers your
meal just as the doctor ordered, the technician who
performs diagnostic tests and accurately analyzes the
results of blood tests, and the medical records people
who make your records available for the doctors and
nurses who provide your medical care.  These are the
people represented by SEIU Local 250.” 

   The hardball stance of Dominican Hospital, owned by
Catholic Healthcare, was made all the clearer by
today’s Dominican inspired arrests.  The fact that
management is intimidated is also clear.  In the
unfolding struggle the members of SEIU Local 250
deserve the deepest solidarity from the Santa Cruz
community and from unionists everywhere. 

    Please send letters to protest against these
arrests.  The letters will be forwarded to the Santa
Cruz County Sheriff’s Department, the County Board of
Supervisors, and to SEIU Local 250.  Send letters to:

Steve Argue is a healthcare worker and member of SEIU
Local 415. 

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