You must Publish this diary to make this visible to the public,
or click 'Edit Diary' to make further changes first.
Posting a Diary Entry
Daily Kos welcomes blog articles from readers, known as diaries. The Intro section to a diary should be about three paragraphs long, and is required. The body section is optional, as
is the poll, which can have 1 to 15 choices. Descriptive tags are also required to help others find your diary by subject; please don't use "cute" tags.
When you're ready, scroll down below the tags and click Save & Preview. You can edit your diary after it's published by clicking Edit Diary. Polls cannot be edited once they are published.
If this is your first time creating a Diary since the Ajax upgrade, before you enter any text below, please press Ctrl-F5 and then hold down the Shift Key and press your browser's Reload button to refresh its cache with the new script files.
ATTENTION: READ THE RULES.
One diary daily maximum.
Substantive diaries only. If you don't have at least three solid, original paragraphs, you should probably post a comment in an Open Thread.
No repetitive diaries. Take a moment to ensure your topic hasn't been blogged (you can search for Stories and Diaries
that already cover this topic), though fresh original analysis is always welcome.
Use the "Body" textbox if your diary entry is longer than three paragraphs.
Any images in your posts must be hosted by an approved image hosting service (one of: imageshack.us, photobucket.com, flickr.com, smugmug.com, allyoucanupload.com, picturetrail.com, mac.com, webshots.com, editgrid.com).
Copying and pasting entire copyrighted works is prohibited. If you do quote something, keep it brief, always provide a link to the original source, and use the <blockquote> tags to clearly identify the quoted material. Violating this rule is grounds for immediate banning.
Be civil. Do not "call out" other users by name in diary titles. Do not use profanity in diary titles. Don't write diaries whose main purpose is to deliberately inflame.
Anti-union thugs threaten pro-union NYU student protesters.
The nursing home chains owned by Daniel Straus have been cited numerous times for illegally firing workers and unfair labor practices. Most recently, the National Labor Relations Board filed for an injunction to halt his HealthBridge nursing homes in Connecticut from the illegal cuts that led the workers to go on strike. But in the eyes of New York University, Straus is an honored philanthropist. He's endowed the Straus Institute for the Advanced Study of Law and Justice, and as his nursing homes impose illegal pay and benefit cuts on workers, he's giving NYU $1.25 million a year to support that institute. Now, a demonstration outside the Straus Institute has turned ugly as Straus-supporting thugs threatened students and workers.
Students at NYU, led by the Student Labor Action Movement (SLAM), have been trying to support workers by drawing attention to the sources of the money Straus gives the university. They've repeatedly rallied with nursing home workers outside the Straus Institute, both during the current strike and during a lockout at one of the nursing homes last winter. In addition to the injunction the NLRB is seeking in the ongoing strike, the agency had previously ordered reinstatement and back pay for the workers. There's a clear pattern of illegal behavior by Straus's nursing homes, yet NYU administrators continue not only to take his money but to defend his behavior. (Those two actions are maybe related, you think?)
Tuesday, SLAM held another rally to support the nursing home workers. This college rally of about 100 people drew an aggressive counter-protest, as seen in the video above. People claiming to be nursing home workers and bearing signs saying "Daniel Straus cares," "SLAM doesn't speak for us," and "Stop SEIU lies and smears" showed up, yelling at and even threatening the NYU students in SLAM. One man is shown on camera asking a student "do you want to be carried out or are you going to leave on your own two feet" and "when you leave here, I'll find you." The anti-union crowd also yelled homophobic slurs.
So ... who were these people? A cynical person might almost suspect that Daniel Straus hired them to counter-protest. Since that can't be proven and Daniel Straus is widely understood to be a litigious son of a bitch, we'll leave it at the level of one theory we should strongly consider. But one thing they absolutely weren't is legitimate protesters who cared about the issue at hand. According to SLAM:
Many of these anti-union thugs claimed to be nursing home workers, yet when asked which nursing home they worked in, they pointed to the building behind them—the Straus Institute! And when asked what their signs, which read, "SLAM Doesn't Speak for Us", meant, none of them could tell us what SLAM stood for.
Whether Daniel Straus paid these thugs to show up and counter-protest the student rally is at a minimum a fair question, and it's one that the administration of NYU needs to be asking him in all seriousness. Students at their school were threatened and verbally abused, not randomly but by people who showed up for the purpose of intimidation. If NYU administrators do not ask Straus if he was involved, they've very clearly put donations above students. Mind you, breaking labor law and abusing workers should be enough to make Straus's presence on the NYU Law School's board of trustees poison. But even if nursing home workers and the general principle that labor laws should be obeyed aren't worth defending in the eyes of NYU administrators, the school's own students should be. And if there's any indication that Straus was involved in the hiring of these thugs, is the position of the NYU administration still that he is an honorable man whose presence on the NYU Law School board of trustees and whose major financial donations remain a subject of pride for the university?