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Union bashes Au Bon Pain’s menu in new P.R. campaign

One of the hospitality industry’s largest unions is trying a new way to exert financial pressure on Au Bon Pain, a bakery-café chain with many outlets in unionized facilities like hospitals and airports.

United Here is questioning the healthfulness of Au Bon Pain’s menu in a public relations blitz that includes the distribution of leaflets at the chain’s stores. It has also set up a website, No BonPain.info, and commenced a Twitter campaign aimed at fans of  “The Biggest Loser” TV show.

“Au Bon Pain’s menu contains items that are no better than what you might find at fast food restaurants such as McDonald’s,” the union says in its announcement of the new initiative.

The launch came as United Here was fighting with Au Bon Pain over a store in Philadelphia International Airport.  This year, Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter raised the minimum wage for all airport workers to $12 an hour as of Jan. 1. But the Au Bon Pain does not have to pay the new rate until its lease expires at the end of 2018. The grandfather exemption has drawn pickets from workers, union members and students in the area.

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