Imagine being at a dinner event and having your plate served with (plastic) cockroaches scattered over the food. Envision going to a hospital with a loved one only to be confronted with the hint that the hospital food is infested with bugs, flies, mold, and rat droppings. Pretty disgusting, right? Well, imagine how disgusting it is that these tacticss are due to a union's efforts to unionize the "offending" company's employees. At least, that's the allegations being made by the French-owned company Sodexo.
For more than a year, Sodexo has endured being targeted by the SEIU. Being on the SEIU hit list for the company's refusal to turn its workforce over to the purple behemoth, the SEIU has (allegedly) engaged in rallies, unlawful retaliation against Sodexo employees, as well as other, equally ugly, tactics such as:
- 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.
Now, Sodexo appears to have had enough.
On Thursday, Sodexo filed a civil lawsuit against the SEIU under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (more commonly known as RICO).
According to Sodexo's press release:
Sodexo USA today filed a civil lawsuit against the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) and other defendants under the Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act, to stop the illegal campaign of extortion that the SEIU has been waging in the U.S. for over a year.
"This is about protecting the Company's business and the rights of our employees to vote freely about union representation," said Robert Stern, Senior Vice President and General Counsel for Sodexo USA. "We work constructively with unions every day but the SEIU has crossed the line by breaking the law. We will not tolerate the SEIU's tactics any longer. Their campaign jeopardizes our Company and our employees' jobs, and ultimately would rob our employees of their right to vote."
Sodexo USA has filed the lawsuit seeking to halt the SEIU's extortionate threats and barrage of unlawful tactics. The complaint alleges acts of SEIU blackmail, vandalism, trespass, harassment, and lobbying law violations designed to steer business away from Sodexo USA and harm the company.
...the SEIU has engaged in a vicious campaign to force the Company into broadly recognizing the SEIU to the exclusion of other unions without allowing its employees in the U.S. to exercise their right to vote for or against the SEIU in a federally supervised secret ballot election.
According to Sodexo, the complaint, filed in federal court in the Eastern District of Virginia, seeks an injunction against the SEIU and its locals and executives, as well as monetary damages to be determined by the court.
There's nothing like shining light on a cockroach to make it run. It appears Sodexo is ready to do that with the SEIU.
“I bring reason to your ears, and, in language as plain as ABC, hold up truth to your eyes.” Thomas Paine, December 23, 1776
Photo credit: Emrank