The Ernest N. Morial Convention Center in New Orleans has filed state and federal suits against HERE saying the union has engaged in a pattern of intimidation intended to coerce the Center into providing space where food service employees can eat. Center officials alleged HERE had crossed the line into unlawful behavior by threatening the Center’s customers and members of the board that governs the Center. Among other actions, Center officials assert HERE has encouraged convention organizers not to hold conventions in New Orleans and in some cases has threatened violence against convention organizers. Center officials have affidavits signed by witnesses attesting to the threats.
The Center asked the courts to order the union to quit contacting convention organizers and Center officials and employees. “We’d just like them to stop, that’s all,” said Ralph Brennan, a New Orleans restaurateur who is also president of the Ernest N. Morial New Orleans Exhibition Hall Authority, the board that governs the Center. “They’re trying to get us into the middle of it by harassing our customers. The unions are just looking for some leverage…” [Times-Picayune 6/24/99]