MANHATTAN (CN) – A&P has sued a labor union for defamation in the supposed suggestion that the story had a “rodent issue,” when the union brought a giant rat balloon to the picket line.
The grocery chain claims that a union rep acknowledged that one targeted store “did not have a ‘rodent'” issue, but that workers were picketing to protest A&P’s use of nonunion labor. The Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Co. claims sued the Asbestos, Lead and Hazardous Waste Laborers Local 78 in New York County Court.
It claims the workers’ handbills stated that the A&P had “mice droppings in … rice and cornmeal” and “live mice crawling on retail shelves and floor,” and that A&P had hired a substandard company to remove asbestos.
A&P claims the motive behind the protests was to pressure A&P executives to contract with a unionized asbestos removal company. The grocery chain claims that a Local 78 representative acknowledged that one targeted store “did not have a ‘rodent'” issue, but that workers were leafleting to protest A&P’s use of nonunion labor.
The big rat balloons are several feet tall, and have popped up at union protests all over the country.
A&P demands $1 million for defamation and injunctive relief. It is represented by Douglas Catalano with Fulbright & Jaworski.