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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?

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Comment Preferences

  •  Every time this happens... (24+ / 0-)

    ... We need our own people there, backing the workers and countering these anti-American traitors.

    We need to make it clear to thugs and bullies among us that when they oppress their fellow Americans, it will not be tolerated and there will be hell to pay.

    They want to intimidate people by threatening their jobs and careers? No problem, we'll threaten your very existence as a business owner. They keep thinking the equation is, "screw these people over, and put more money in my own pocket". We need to make it clear that the equation is, "screw these people at the risk of your own financial and personal well being".

    They are taking it to this level, not the workers who are simply seeking fair pay for the prosperity their labor creates. We must never tolerate those who seek personal profit by preying on their fellow Americans.

    "We see things not as they are, but as we are." - John Milton

    by Jasonhouse on Sun Sep 16, 2012 at 09:14:50 AM PDT

    •  Right on the mark (6+ / 0-)


      Hit them back. Want to be a bully? Excellent!
      We know what to do to to a bully when they bully. You punch them in the nose. (figuratively)

      Make sure everything is on video. Be sure to have good audio if at all possible as well.

      Excellent post Jasonhouse.

      "We can either have democracy in this country or we can have great wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can't have both." Louis Brandeis

      by wxorknot on Sun Sep 16, 2012 at 10:24:13 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  If Mittens is elected a punch in the nose (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        May come closer to "literally"

        Psst!!!......Willard let us see your income taxes.

        by wbishop3 on Sun Sep 16, 2012 at 10:42:46 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Augsburg College, Minneapolis vs. NYU (3+ / 0-)

          NYU accepts money from labor abusers and thugs.   If the jerk is a loner like the late Elroy Stock of St. Paul it is easier to resist the temptation to accept the donation and look the other way like NYU is doing.  Stock was a major donor to Augsburg College and had his name on a building. Then it was revealed that Stock, a retired corporate vice president, had for decades sent out anonymous letters based on news stories and wedding announcements protesting interracial marriage and marriage between people with Scandinavian names and those without.  One of my brothers received one for marrying a woman with a Danish name. Stock didn't know that half of our great-grandparents were born in Norway.  Stock was prolific with hate, he mailed out thousands of letters.
          Augsburg took his name off of the building and told Mr. Stock that he could spend his fortune somewhere else.  Thank you Laura Clawson for an informative and well-written series on folks who usually overlooked in the land of the rich and famous.

          Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan actually do believe in an entitlement society. They believe the wealthiest 1/10th of 1% to be entitled to an ever increasing percentage of the national net personal worth.

          by James Philip Pratt on Sun Sep 16, 2012 at 11:23:47 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  If Mitt wins... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          it's curtains for the middle-class.
          The democrats are no great shakes on these issues but, there's no doubt, a Romney/Ryan presidency would destroy what's left of the middle class.

          Thanks for this diary, Laura. I hope this thuggery lights a proverbial fire under the workers and those who support them.
          It would make me more likely to attend the rallies, not less.

  •  Nursing homes receive over 85% of their revenue (27+ / 0-)

    from Medicaid and Medicare with a small percentage coming from VA. In other words, these 'healthcare' facilities are funded by government welfare/earned benefits. Yet these companies shit on workers who are underpaid, overworked, often undertrained and frankly frequently undersupervised as management sits in glass towers count up their government dollars.

    The result is tired workers making mistakes that result in injuries to themselves and to the residents they want to protect.

    Staffing ratios are as often as low as 2.0 hours of care per day per resident. Workers scurry to do what they can, but often to no avail as the system is designed to maximize profits for the 1%. The toll is great on these workers and greater still on what is left of our "Greatest Generation". As an aside, we boomers are on our way to this.

    Bless these workers. Damn their bosses.

    Roman Catholic by birth---thoroughly confused by life.

    by alasmoses on Sun Sep 16, 2012 at 09:18:37 AM PDT

    •  2 hours Ha! (6+ / 0-)

      If you look at the people providing hands on care (LPN, CNA) a typical ratio is one provider for every 12 to 14 patients.  if you have 2 x 12 hour shifts a day (typical) then each patient actually sees significantly less than 2 hours of care.  Often an RN at a long term care facility will have 24 to 30 patients on a shift some times more.

      the bottom line on all of this is that care givers are paid $11 to $13 an hour to do things that most of us would not be capable of or want to do.  there is a gradual consolidation of the markets, the private equities companies see a government funded gravy train, if we could get them out of the industry we could double the pay of the people doing the work with out a stretch.    

      there is only one reality, republicans just forget at times

      by Bloke on Sun Sep 16, 2012 at 09:44:28 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  And they still try to rip off their customers. (6+ / 0-)

      A friend of mine died in a nursing home last January.  The care there was quite good, but ...

      We were told that day by the business manager -- who was quite nice, and seemed to believe it -- that we would get a reimbursement for the last prepaid six days of room and board for the month in "four to six weeks."

      Cut to months later.  No reimbursement.  Over the next few months we literally called and went to the office in person to ask about the reimbursement six or seven times.  All we were told was that it had been "submitted to corporate" -- (when they bothered to return our calls at all, which was maybe once).

      It was clear that the Cathedral Rock corporation didn't feel it had to pay us back the money it owed us (even though when we owed it money we were, of course, expected to pay it on time).

      Finally, we were fed up.  We hand-delivered a letter saying that our patient and nice approach obviously wasn't working, and that if we didn't get our reimbursement plus interest within three weeks, we WOULD:  

      1.  File a complaint with the NM/Souther CO Better Business Bureau;  

      2.  File a complaint with the new Federal Consumer Protection Bureau (thanks Elizabeth Warren!);  

      3.  Write about our negative experience on any website where people could leave review and ratings of nursing homes;  

      4.  Contact the local papers -- who, a few years ago had written series' of articles on questionable practices by Cathedral Rock which led to some of their nursing homes almost being shut down;  and

      5.  Write a diary about our experience on DailyKos, giving the contact information for Cathedral Rock so activist readers could voice their opinions of its business practices.

      At that the director really went into panic mode and apparently finally had to beg "corporate" to overnight us the check -- which we actually did receive, plus interest, two weeks later.

      Typical corporate America:  "Give us your money, but when we owe you ... tough."

      •  My parents are terrified of having their (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        bank accounts emptied by nursing homes who have access to their accounts. They cashed out their 401k's and other incomes and keep it in cash, literally, in a safe.

        No Jesus, Know Peace

        by plok on Sun Sep 16, 2012 at 10:20:42 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  I understand and believe (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      there are some corporations and the "mom and pop" nursing home owners who are beyond reproach and have no business of taking money from the people that provide and manage their care.

      Having said that, the unions and nursing homes have been a bone of contention for quite some time.  I believe things are case specific and in this case a union is warranted.


  •  Where is the NYU faculty on this? n/t (4+ / 0-)

    A definition is the enclosing of a wilderness of ideas within a wall of words -- Samuel Butler

    by A Mad Mad World on Sun Sep 16, 2012 at 09:22:09 AM PDT

  •  Repubs won't (9+ / 0-)

    stop until we are all enslaved and working for nothing.

    The banks have a stranglehold on the political process. Mike Whitney

    by dfarrah on Sun Sep 16, 2012 at 09:26:03 AM PDT

  •   donations or students"? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MNsmartgirl, llywrch

    Oh dear. Looks like a sucker bet to me.

    Romney: Stubborn, dumb, dishonest, predictable, responds poorly to pressure, and for sale. What''s not to like?

    by tomwfox on Sun Sep 16, 2012 at 09:31:34 AM PDT

  •  Business as usual... (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Jasonhouse, Egalitare, TheChop, WakeUpNeo
    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?)
    ...since I was a grad student there thirty years ago.  NYU is the epitomy of University as Big Business, has been for decades.

    "Nonsense!" said Alice, very loudly and decidedly, and the Queen was silent.

    by RIposte on Sun Sep 16, 2012 at 09:34:55 AM PDT

  •  FAKE!! (22+ / 0-)

    The loud woman in scrubs who makes the double handed finger gesture at the camera is not a nurse, CNA, LPN, Cleaner, or in any other position that requires the provision of patient care.  

    How can we be so absolutely sure about this?

    Look at her expensive fingers and the acrylic nails she so obnoxiously waives at the camera.  Infection prevention practice requires that any provider who is in contact with the patient can not have acrylic nail extensions.  They harbor bacteria and result in  transmission of infections.  If this lady is engaged in patient care as the donning of scrubs would indicate, either the infection prevention practices of her nursing home do not meet Joint Commission requirements (no medicare payments for you) or far more likely SHE IS A FAKE!!

    BTW the scrubs they are wearing are all wrong too but that we can discuss later.

    there is only one reality, republicans just forget at times

    by Bloke on Sun Sep 16, 2012 at 09:37:33 AM PDT

    •  WHO and CDC bash both fingernails and rings (5+ / 0-)

      as huge contributors to the transmission of healthcare associated infections. Nursing home administration folks know this. The annual state surveys look at this issue. It falls under what is referred to in the industry as F tag 441. Often the surveyors (if they are worth a damn) will specially mention both WHO and the CDC when long and/or painted and bejeweled fingernails and/or jewelry is observed on a caregiver.

      Bloke, awesome pick-up. Fraud indeed.

      Roman Catholic by birth---thoroughly confused by life.

      by alasmoses on Sun Sep 16, 2012 at 10:10:51 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Always look for the obvious (4+ / 0-)

        Tatoos are out, (or must be covered when at work), Big ear rings, bangles, necklaces and similar.  

        Did you notice they had on uniform blue and white scrubs?  no one buys blue scrubs these days.  Since scrubs are nolonger provided (yup $13 an hour an buy your own required clothing) most people go to Walmart and buy the colorful cheap ones they sell.

        there is only one reality, republicans just forget at times

        by Bloke on Sun Sep 16, 2012 at 10:16:51 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Excellent observation. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      alasmoses, Dirtandiron, WakeUpNeo

      My mother was a R.N. for 20 yrs. She had to keep her nails short

    •  the woman you mention looks more like a 'strauss' (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      then a nurse...

      is there a way to find out which nursing home strauss runs?   is he in Bklyn?  I have a relative in a home recently taken over and the staff struke there because they were losing pay, being required to work longer hours and refused healthcare coverage.

      I am now wondering if Strauss bought this home.

      "You've got to be an optimist to be a Democrat, and a humorist to stay one" - Will Rogers

      by KnotIookin on Sun Sep 16, 2012 at 11:01:57 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Ask which group the home is part of (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        KnotIookin, alasmoses, Dirtandiron

        Most are relatively proud of their corporate ownership (goodness knows why).  If the home is run by HealthBridge then it is a Strauss unit.  Typically in ammongst the the intro package they gave you is a glossy pamphlet that talks about who owns the place

        there is only one reality, republicans just forget at times

        by Bloke on Sun Sep 16, 2012 at 11:13:01 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  the home was bought while relative was already (0+ / 0-)

          living there...  the name changed but we got no new 'into packet'  we will be visiting there over the next week to bring holiday dinner to my relative so I will ask if it is now owned by healthbridge.

          "You've got to be an optimist to be a Democrat, and a humorist to stay one" - Will Rogers

          by KnotIookin on Sun Sep 16, 2012 at 11:27:49 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Good point! (0+ / 0-)

      Not anything I know enough about nursing home work to catch, but now that you say it, totally makes sense.

      Not to mention, let's face it -- that is not the gender and racial composition of your average northeastern nursing home staff...

  •  Wow genuine authenic Anti-Union Thugs (7+ / 0-)

    vs People who Romney labels Union-Thugs or as you or I would refer to them as labor organizers.

    The 1st Amendment gives you the right to say stupid things, the 1st Amendment doesn't guarantee a paycheck to say stupid things.

    by JML9999 on Sun Sep 16, 2012 at 09:38:01 AM PDT

  •  Quite naturally so (5+ / 0-)

    they've very clearly put donations above students.

    Well, in the manner we organize our society that is quite natural, one might even say the appropriate thing.  After all, we don't define our system around human beings, we don't call it the humanist system.  We certainly don't deine it around the needs of human society, we definitely don't have any sort of resulting "socialist" system.  What we DO define our system around is money, not just any old money, but the really big money, money big enough that we don't even call it money anymore, we call it "capital", and we all proudly embrace the fact that we live in the system dedicated to the good of really big money, the "capitalist system".  So living in a capitalist system, why shouldn't donations take precedence over students?  The entire point of our system is to put profits before people.

    Ever get the feeling you've been cheated?

    by ActivistGuy on Sun Sep 16, 2012 at 09:42:31 AM PDT

  •  Just Once I Would Love To Read (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Lothar2009, penguins4peace

    "Students, workers threaten anti-union thugs, threaten to kick their asses" lol. Why in the fuck are we always the ones being threatened? Make these pricks quake in their loafers for a change. Fuck them.

    All of these smug little jerks look alike to me – from Ralph Reed to Eric Cantor to Jeb Hensarling to Rand Paul and now to Ryan, they all look like overgrown kids who got nipple-twisted in the halls in high school..Matt Taibbi.

    by Ky DEM on Sun Sep 16, 2012 at 09:49:10 AM PDT

    •  you know that's not how it works (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      however justifiable use of force may be on the students' part, they'll be painted as the bad guys, made out to be the thugs who started trouble instead of the victim defending themselves. They'd probably get thrown out of school, too.

      •  Who said use of force? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Just a simple response to "when you leave here, I'll find you" with, "And do what, huh? Huh? HUH?! HUH?!!!!!!" In a louder and louder voice with clinched teeth and fists and a "I'll fucking kill you" look would be sufficient. At least that's what I would do.

        Dems can't win in Georgia anymore. If you can't beat 'em, antagonizing and driving them crazy is the next best thing.

        by Lothar2009 on Sun Sep 16, 2012 at 10:20:43 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Ky Dem, I'm with you. I would beat all their asses (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      No way, will I be intimidated for standing up for workers rights. I grew up in the Bronx. We don't let wealthy corporations hire thugs to come into our neighborhoods and threaten us. It takes a thug to know one. Get me my drift? lol

  •  Whaddaya wanna bet some of the thugs are (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    annieli, Dirtandiron, Jkirk3279

    off-duty cops?

    48forEastAfrica - Donate to Oxfam> "It is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness." Edna St.V. Millay

    by slouching on Sun Sep 16, 2012 at 09:57:47 AM PDT

  •  I hope you posted this video on You Tube. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mike08, Lothar2009, Dirtandiron

    Someone will ID these thugs.

    48forEastAfrica - Donate to Oxfam> "It is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness." Edna St.V. Millay

    by slouching on Sun Sep 16, 2012 at 09:59:57 AM PDT

  •  Diarist: please edit (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Put the quotation about counter-protesters not knowing what SLAM stands for and pointing to the building where they work (not nursing home workers).

    Here's a lesson I learned from history:  Protesters should know each other in advance. This makes it easier to stand up to thugs and to weed out infiltrators.

    NYU faculty, by the way, includes an army of underpaid adjuncts. Fortunately, there is a union and that would be the route to go for any complaints.

    The BEST way to protest about $ from unsavory sources is through PUBLIC OPINION from the wider community.

    I'd be asking what is NYU teaching its students with real-life "lessons" like this.

    I'd like to add that one of the terrible issues for nursing home workers = injuries. More needs to be done to prevent their crippling back injuries from lifting patients.

  •  if anyone thinks (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    prfb, Dirtandiron

    the admin  of nyu or the police will do anything about this don't, hit nyu in the pocket book thats all anyone reacts to in america anymore, our ethics & values in this once great nation are for sale like everything else.

  •  Looks like we really are going back to the past (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    in this country in a multitude of ways.  Union thugs, violaence against union supporters and organizers, no birth control, poll taxes.   We're going to busy fighting back against it all.

  •  My mom's in a nursing home (0+ / 0-)

    on the front door of her nursing home it reads:

    "do you want to be carried out or are you going to leave on your own two feet"
    It's all about crowd control dont'cha know...

    No Jesus, Know Peace

    by plok on Sun Sep 16, 2012 at 10:16:48 AM PDT

  •  So now we know (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dirtandiron, WakeUpNeo

    how much a seat on the board of the NYU law school is worth:  $1.25 million/year.

    What we don't know is how much further influence the board seat gives Straus and whether that further influence involves what is taught in the law school and how it is taught.

    This intrusion of corporate money into academia, especially when it's used to buy influence on policies and curriculum, is extremely troubling.

    "In this world of sin and sorrow there is always something to be thankful for; as for me, I rejoice that I am not a Republican." - H. L. Mencken

    by SueDe on Sun Sep 16, 2012 at 10:19:58 AM PDT

  •  The ongoing CUNY Queensborough crisis, (0+ / 0-)

    and CUNY Pathways crisis in general, is worth noting in this regard, worth, indeed, its own front-page story here. To wit, Pathways is a top-down directive that's been forced on CUNY to raise tuition and help move students, regardless of need, toward graduation; that's created a set of curriculum mandates that are not only opposed by CUNY faculty but could potentially limit CUNY students' choices and even end departments outright; and that's furthered the move toward privatizing public education, and moving higher education away from educators and into the hands of bureaucrats and MBAs.

    Lately, the entire English Department of Queensborough Community College was threatened with a set of punitive cutbacks for having voted to reject Pathways: all adjuncts will be let go for 2013; hiring will be frozen; full-time and tenured faculty will be renewed upon availability of funds and courses; and all English composition courses will be summarily canceled. Sheer madness.

    Lots of links to the story:

  •  They PAID Thugs in EGYPT TOO!.. (0+ / 0-)

    To attack US EMBASSY...

    Egypt's prime minister says some were paid to protest outside US Embassy

    CNN:tensions remain as U.S. seeks to protect embassies
    -- Kandil, Egypt's prime minister, said Saturday that his government has reliable information "a number" of people admitted to getting money to protest outside the U.S. embassy in Cairo, while noting other demonstrators were genuine and not paid."

    DEMOCRACY is a Relay Race... and you pass the baton by VOTING! VOTE for MEDICARE and MIDDLECLASS

    by LOrion on Sun Sep 16, 2012 at 11:56:54 AM PDT

  •  My grandfather was the 5th dean of NYU's (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dirtandiron, WakeUpNeo

    Stern School of Business, and also the Dean of CCNY's
    Dean of CCNY's  Bernard M. Baruch School of Business and Public Administration, and a member of the National Labor Relations Board.

     I can assure all the students who are protesting against Daniel Straus  that Dean Thomas Lowell Norton is totally behind them in spirit, as am I, his granddaughter.

  •  Higher education has been hijacked (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    as the cost of tuition has risen meteorically in the last 30 years.  However the increase has not been for better teachers and more depts.  Instead, it has been for administrative salaries, for bricks and mortar and for a burgeoning, ever increasing bureaucracy.

    In the meantime, we have seen the Koch brothers engineer the takeover of economic depts by demanding oversight of professors hired and curriculum taught in the depts.  The Kochs are the tip of this iceberg.  

  •  Good framing on the bottom line (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    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?
    Free speech issues are one thing, but mercenary intimidation is not a free speech issue. That's a safety issue. Does the university really want to be caught overlooking a known safety issue, in this day and age?
  •  NYU putting donations over students? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Why they would NEVER!

    The Great Depression: Now In Color!

    by TheChop on Sun Sep 16, 2012 at 01:31:23 PM PDT

  •  Note to cheap thugs -you dont get to be anonymous (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dirtandiron, WakeUpNeo

    anymore. This isn't the 20th century. Or an episode of THE SOPRANOS. Every one of those NYU students can take a picture, heck, a video, of your sorry ass.  Mess around and you'll be found.

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