Attack On UE
One of the nations most notorious labor law violators has abandoned its legal
assault on a respected labor researcher.
Beverly Enterprises decided against appealing a judges dismissal of its suit
against Dr. Kate Bronfenbrenner of Cornell University, who addresses the UE Convention
this month. Beverly, the nations largest nursing home chain, had vowed last month to
pursue its persecution of Bronfenbrenner for her comments on the companys
The Arkansas-based Beverly singled out Bronfenbrenner for legal attack following her
remarks to a Congressional town meeting in Pittsburgh in May 1997. Several members of
Congress had invited the scholar to speak on proposed legislation that would bar major
labor law violators from obtaining federal grants.
In detailing tactics companies use to frustrate organizing campaigns, Bronfenbrenner
described Beverly as "one of the nations most notorious labor law
Beverly struck back, suing Bronfenbrenner for defamation and demanding that she open
her research to inspection as part of pretrial discovery. A federal judge for the Western
District of Pennsylvania granted a motion to dismiss the suit in May, ruling that
Bronfenbrenner couldnt be sued for what she said in a Congressional forum.
In her extensive research, Bronfenbrenner found that Beverly fired workers for union
activity, harassed and spied on others and illegally altered wages in a systematic
campaign of coercion to keep unions from gaining recognition at dozens of nursing homes.
Dr. Bronfenbrenner, director of Labor Education Research at Cornell, is co-author of
the recently published book, Organizing to Win: New Union Research on Union Strategies.