The nearly four-week-long trial against the SEIU closed on Thursday, sending the jurors off to deliberate following the holiday weekend. But before closing, PJS attorney John Zavitsanos delivered a memorable final blow to SEIU – and their witnesses’ credibility.
The original complaint, and most of the trial, revolved around the union’s tactics derived from the infamous “Contract Campaign Manual.” Although it was a directive compiled and delivered by their president on advancing campaigns, throughout the trial the SEIU’s witnesses all claimed to have never seen or taken direction from the document which says things like:
“Union members sometimes must act in the tradition of Dr. Martin Luther King and Mahatma Gandhi and disobey laws which are used to enforce injustice against working people.”
Zavitsanos pointed out that neither King nor Gandhi would condone the underhanded tactics of the SEIU.
The manual details everything from dealing with lawyers and “Salting” employers, to emailing asset managers and media outlets about baseless allegations against a company. It is undoubtedly the most valuable and closely guarded tool that the SEIU has at its disposal.
The union affiliates’ narrative of having no knowledge of the manual unraveled quickly under one of the SEIU’s final witnesses, Darin Dalmat.
Dalmat, formerly SEIU’s in-house counsel, began “legalizing” documents for the “Justice for Janitors” campaign in November of 2006. Even though most of the damaging flyers, emails, and op-eds had been dispersed prior to Dalmat coming on board with the campaign, (or even graduating law school for that matter) the SEIU called him in to testify about his review process for external communication.
PJS’ big moment came when Zavitsanos asked Dalmat, numerous times, if he had seen various pieces of language from the SEIU’s Contract Campaign Manual. Which, in typical SEIU fashion, he denied. Dalmat did admit to seeing the cover of the document during trial preparation, but nothing more.
“Ok, Mr. Dalmat, your testimony under oath, sir, is that you’ve not seen this language prior to preparing for your testimony in either this document or any other document as the union’s official policy?” Zavitsanos asked.
Dalmat responded, “Yes sir, I take my oath very seriously, I’m giving you truthful testimony,” ending by saying he only looked at the cover of the document in preparation.
Zavitsanos then admitted into evidence a 2011 lawsuit where Dalmat was a defense attorney for the SEIU. The case was a racketeering claim by Sodexo against the SEIU for the tactics they deployed to drive away their business – the same tactics used against PJS. Although the SEIU’s counsel attempted to fight the admittance, using every rationale possible, they failed.
Dalmat – like every other SEIU witness – claimed to have never seen the document which guided the union’s actions, but the evidence showed he at the very least had complete access to it as early as 2011.
Part of that suit read, “[SEIU] told Sodexo if Sodexo does not let [SEIU] unionize their non-union workforce on terms dictated by the defendants they will destroy the company…Defendants have unleashed an avalanche of malicious attacks on every aspect of Sodexo’s business affairs… In essence, defendants have pushed Sodexo to the edge of an economic cliff and offered to back off if only Sodexo agrees to defendants’ forced unionizing demands.”
In the case, Sodexo attached a copy of the “Contract Campaign Manual,” in full detail, to make public the playbook that was being used against them.
In the answer filed to the lawsuit, SEIU claimed ownership, “Defendants admit that SEIU at one time wrote and published a book called the ‘Corporate Campaign Manual’.”
Zavitsanos finished by saying, “Mr. Dalmat you came into this court room and told the jury, repeatedly, that you’ve never seen this language before…the language is identical, remember when I asked you five times and you said no?”
Zavitsanos went on to detail how following Dalmat’s time at SEIU he went to work with a D.C. law firm – James & Hoffman – whose major clients include the SEIU. Unsurprisingly, the SEIU was paying him $200 per hour to testify on their behalf. Dalmat’s profile on his law firm’s website says he, “vigorously represents unions and workers in federal and state courts and agencies throughout the country.”
At all costs, apparently.
The revelation further illuminated the SEIU’s systematic campaign of black mail and extortion. Not once during the trial did the union bring any of the “hundreds” of janitors that they claim they were working to enhance the lives of.
Rather, they paraded former counsel (who is still receiving union cash), and union organizers from around the country who have dedicated their lives to growing union power, and have proven they would do or say anything to ensure that the union they fought so hard for could continue to use its playbook to terrorize and demonize business owners around the country.
Zavitsanos closed the trial by saying he wanted to play a clip of his favorite Soprano, the voice that followed was that of SEIU’s first witness, Chicago-organizer Dan Schlademan who was heard, again, telling PJS owner Brent Southwell of SEIU’s determination to “kill PJS.”