Cockroaches, bugs, mold, and flies. These are just some of the props and rumors allegedly employed by the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) against the American unit of French catering company Sodexo. And the company's had enough.
Fed up with tactics that include intimidation, extortion, and yes, sabotage that apparently includes plastic cockroaches, Sodexo filed a lawsuit against the SEIU last week under the Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act.
"We work constructively with unions every day but the SEIU has crossed the line by breaking the law," Robert Stern, general counsel for Sodexo USA, said in a statement. "We will not tolerate the SEIU's tactics any longer."
SEIU has been fighting to represent 80,000 hourly Sodexo employees, which is above and beyond the 180,000 hourly employees who are already union members. The union regularly stages protests against the company to make its point, like this one last fall on the campus of George Mason University. The video alleges SEIU bused in protesters, who can be heard chanting, among other things, "As long as it takes, whatever it takes, we'll be in your face!"
Another video purportedly shows former SEIU president Andy Stern being arrested outside Sodexo's Maryland headquarters last April:
That's also the same protest that saw actor Danny Glover arrested in an act of pre-arranged civil disobedience:
"This is about protecting the Company's business and the rights of our employees to vote freely about union representation," Sodexo's Stern added. "Their campaign jeopardizes our Company and our employees' jobs, and ultimately would rob our employees of their right to vote."
Sodexo's complaint, filed in federal court in Alexandria, VA, alleges acts of SEIU blackmail, vandalism, trespass, harassment, and lobbying law violations designed to steer business away from, and harm, the company.
And just what exactly might those acts look like? Sodexo gives the details:
- Throwing plastic roaches onto food being served by Sodexo USA at a high profile event;
- Scaring hospital patients by insinuating that Sodexo USA food contained bugs, rat droppings, mold and flies;
- Lying to interfere with Sodexo USA business and sneaking into elementary schools to avoid security;
- Violating lobbying laws to steer business away from Sodexo USA, even at the risk of costing Sodexo USA employees their jobs; and
- Harassing Sodexo USA employees by threatening to accuse them of wrongdoing.
The lawsuit seeks an injunction against the SEIU and its executives, as well as monetary damages to be determined by the court.
This isn't the first story to feature SEIU this week. Not only did video surface of union members storming a bank headquarters in Pennsylvania, but The Blaze uncovered one former SEIU official's plan to collapse the U.S. economy.