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Cintas Sues Union For Defamation,Trade Secret Violations and Other Actions


Cincinnati- Cintas Corporation filed Tuesday a multiple-count federal lawsuit against UNITE, the Union of Needletrades, Industrial & Textile Employees, for defamation, illegal use of trade secrets and other actions that the union has taken in its year-long campaign against Cintas. The union seeks to organize Cintas' employees without giving those employees the democratic right to decide for themselves through a secret-ballot election whether or not they want union representation.

The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Cincinnati , seeks unspecified actual and punitive penalties.

One of the charges relates to a deceptive union news release issued January 7 that had the appearance of being issued by the federal government. The deceptive announcement - which, among other things, wrongfully portrayed a union official as a government contact - caused Cintas' stock to immediately drop almost $5 per share on heavy trading, as confused investors responded to the release's errors, mischaracterizations and exaggerations. Hundreds of millions of dollars were lost in Cintas' market value that day following the union's distribution of its news release, directly affecting Cintas' 27,000 employee-partners, many of whom own shares through the employee stock ownership and retirement programs.

In January 2003, UNITE launched a campaign against Cintas to organize the company's employees outside of the customary, democratic secret-ballot election process. The union began a number of initiatives against Cintas in order to pressure the company into a nationwide agreement to circumvent secret-ballot elections. Cintas supports its employees' free choice to decide on unionization through democratic, government-supervised secret-ballot elections - the process preferred by the United States Supreme Court and the National Labor Relations Board.

Cintas employees at dozens of operations have spoken out in petitions against the union's campaign and harmful tactics, and are in the process of filing their own private charges against the union.

"We believe people have the right to say yes to unions, and the freedom to say no," said Cintas CEO Scott Farmer. "We equally believe that the union does not have the right to intentionally, knowingly and maliciously damage our company and harm our employee-partners and their livelihood. On behalf of our employee-partners, our shareholders and our customers, it is only right that we hold this union accountable for its actions."

The lawsuit also claims that UNITE obtained Cintas' customer and prospect lists, account information and other trade secret information through "theft, misrepresentation, and inducing breach of confidential relationships."

Cintas is the nation's largest corporate uniform provider and well-respected among the United States corporate community. According to Fortune Magazine's ranking of more than 550 corporations, Cintas has been listed, for the last four years, as one of " America 's Most Admired Companies." Cintas also has been recognized for its humanitarian deeds, including receiving the Matthew 25: Ministries' highest public service award, the "Corporate Humanitarian Award."

Cintas provides highly specialized services to businesses of all types throughout North America . The company designs, manufactures, and implements corporate identity uniform programs, provides entrance mats, restroom supplies, promotional products, and first aid and safety products to more than 500,000 businesses. Cintas is a publicly held company traded over the Nasdaq National Market under the symbol CTAS, and is a Nasdaq100 company and component of the Standard & Poor's 500 Index. The company has achieved 34 consecutive years of growth in sales and earnings, to date.

Contact:
Wade Gates
Cintas Corporation
513.701.1920



About Cintas
Cintas Corporation provides highly specialized services to businesses of all types throughout North America . The company designs, manufactures, and implements corporate identity uniform programs, provides entrance mats, restroom supplies, promotional products, and first aid and safety products to over 500,000 businesses.Cintas is a publicly held company traded over the Nasdaq National Market under the symbol CTAS, and is a Nasdaq100 company and component of the Standard & Poor's 500 Index. The company, which has achieved 34 consecutive years of growth in sales and earnings.

 



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