Brandworkers Hails Dismissal of Cintas RICO Lawsuit Against Unions

Wed, 03/11/2009 - 6:46pm

For Immediate Release:
Brandworkers International

Contact: press (at)

Statement of Brandworkers on Dismissal of Cintas RICO Lawsuit Against Labor Unions

"Brandworkers applauds the decision of federal district court Judge William Pauley III to dismiss all of Cintas's anti-speech legal claims against the labor unions UNITE-HERE and International Brotherhood of Teamsters as well as their labor federation, Change to Win.

Cintas, the giant uniform corporation, sought to use the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) to restrain peaceful and dignified First Amendment activity aimed at protecting workers' rights. Under Cintas's legal theory, much of the work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the civil rights movement would have been misclassified as extortion and denied constitutional protection.

Brandworkers recently triumphed over a similarly meritless RICO lawsuit from seafood processor and retailer, Wild Edibles, Inc. We are hopeful that judges around the country will increasingly see through the misuse of RICO by low-road employers seeking to undermine efforts to win fairness and security at work.

Amid a devastating economic crisis, worker campaigns to safeguard income and job security need more, not less protection. Retail and food workers participating in or contemplating participation in broad-based workplace justice campaigns should be heartened by the strong rebuke of misplaced RICO litigation represented by Judge Pauley's opinion."


Brandworkers International is a non-profit organization protecting and advancing the rights of retail and food employees. The Brandworkers "Focus on the Food Chain" initiative, which includes the workplace justice campaign at Wild Edibles, promotes a sustainable food system which incorporates respect for workers' human rights.

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