Subject: Sutter strikebreaker goons threatening unsuspecting citizens
From: Jack Chernos
I HAD A VERY scary, bizarre incident this evening with Modern Industrial Services, a company which is providing security services for Sutter Healthcare during their current labor dispute. I hope you might be interested in looking into this and consider writing an article about how the intimidation used by Sutter's strikebreakers has spread to the surrounding neighborhood.
At about 6:30 this evening I was driving North along Van Ness with a friend and wearing an SEIU knit cap. (I am supportive of the SEIU strike, and have performed music at their rallies, but I am not a member of SEIU. I am a member of American Federation of Musicians, Local 6, and perform as Jack Chernos, but my legal name is Laurence J. Shaw.) Five unmarked white vans were in the lane next to us, four made a lane change in front of us, and the last one was stuck to the side of us at a light. The passenger of that last van rolled down his window and asked to cut in front of us. I said ok, and asked "Who are you guys," and he said "The Renegades, a football team." I thought nothing further of it and did not notice where the vans went as we turned left on Geary, intended to turn right on Fillmore but went past it, made a U at Presidio to go back on Geary, took a left on Fillmore and parked at the interestion of Fillmore and Washington to get something to eat along Fillmore.
We got out of the car and I was fiddling with stuff in the back when a large black Ram truck pulled up onto the sidewalk in front of us and a white GMC SUV pulled up in the street beside us, blocking our ability to exit via car, and three large, buff men with crew cuts (one dressed completely in black with black gloves--I think they each had black gloves) got out and came up to us. The largest of them came right up to me (i.e., "in my face") and said "Don't follow us, we'll fuck you up." At first we didn't associate this with the white vans, and said that we didn't know who they were and weren't following them, but they didn't believe us. Then it became clear that they were referring to the white vans, and we said no we weren't following their vans. But every protest from us about our ignorance was met with stuff like "Shut up, shut up Punchy, or I'll fuck you up" (I don't know why we were being called "Punchy"), so I decided the best course was not to try to deny anything and just to try to leave. When we suggested that we would leave the leader said, a couple of times, "Where are you gonna go? We'll follow you. You follow us, we'll follow you." (The leader was the only one who spoke directly to us.)
Fortunately, this was along Fillmore street and a few people had stopped since this was such a bizarre, noticable scene. Thankfully one guy asked what was going on and I asked him to call the police. (Two people in the neighborhood stayed with us for support until the police came. They could provide eye-witness accounts.) As we were waiting for the police, we took down their license plates and the guy said, "Is this your car? Too bad. I've just got a rental. Is this your car? Too bad," i.e., he kept repeating that in what was clearly a threatening manner.
I was shocked that these men felt they could be so boldly intimidating and threatening in full view of the public.
After a while the police came and took our names and their names. At that point we overheard that they were hired by Sutter (or an affiliate) and the leader was the CEO of MIS, and that confirmation of their belief that I was following their white vans was that I had on an SEIU hat.
Jack Chernos' Email is via www.department-of-justice.org