Statement on the "SLAM" Rally at NYU on September 11, 2012

A key mission of universities is to help students in seeking the truth, and I fully support that mission.

At New York University, my alma mater, where I serve as a Trustee of the Law School and on its Executive Committee, I established The Straus Institute for the Advanced Study of Law & Justice. Each year, more than a dozen Straus Fellows – gifted scholars from different disciplines and cultures – spend 11 months working on individual projects falling within the mission of The Straus Institute.

The SEIU has chosen to target my connection with NYU as part of its ongoing campaign of misinformation and ruthless tactics revolving around a business dispute in Connecticut. It’s a play straight out of the SEIU’s “Contract Campaign Manual,” a document the SEIU was forced to produce in discovery in a 2011 Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act case.

In a section entitled “Pressuring the Employer,” the manual calls on union members involved in a contract dispute to use these tactics:

* Outside pressure can involve jeopardizing relationships between the employer and lenders, investors, stockholders, customers, clients, patients, tenants, politicians, or others on whom the employer depends for funds.

* Legal and regulatory pressure can threaten the employer with costly action by government agencies or the courts.

* Community action and use of the news media can damage an employer’s public image and ties with community leaders and organizations.

That’s exactly what the SEIU, via an organization styling itself as the Student Labor Action Movement (SLAM), seeks to do in today’s staged protest. Perhaps SLAM should be asked about its connections to the SEIU.

What the SEIU and SLAM fail to tell students is why the New England Health Care Employees Union, District 1199 SEIU is under criminal investigation by the Connecticut Chief State’s Attorney. It’s because, as SEIU members went out on strike on July 3, numerous criminal acts of sabotage were committed against the elderly, often frail, residents at three of the five Connecticut Health Bridge centers. Please see articles here and here.

The recent acts of sabotage bear a striking resemblance to the 2001 strike-related actions against nursing homes by the same union. In the 2001 case, The Hartford Courant reported that then-Chief State’s Attorney John M. Bailey concluded “in a damning report that many of the alleged incidents not only occurred but also were criminal.”

The Connecticut Chief State’s Attorney will be seeking the truth in determining who committed these 2012 odious, totally unacceptable acts of sabotage.

I ask those participating in today’s protest to seek the truth about the union they have chosen to support. Examine the “Contract Campaign Manual” and its sleazy, manipulative recipe of tactics. Ask about the acts of sabotage committed against some of the most vulnerable among us. Then ask yourself if this is a union worthy of your support.