Buffalo, New York--A Pizza Hut franchisee is claiming he was forced to close his Buffalo store as a result of strong-arm tactics applied by an official of Laborers Local 91, who is also a state appointee on the Niagara Falls Bridge Commission. According to the Buffalo News, Denver developer Joseph Aragon said he closed his Pizza Hut in the bridge's duty-free building in early September because of a boycott. During the 2001 construction of the duty-free building, where the Pizza Hut was located, Aragon said union members picketed the store and placed a 15-foot inflatable rat at the work site. According to Aragon, two union officials told him they were unhappy he was using nonunion construction workers and demanded he hire "two or three" Local 91 laborers on the site each day.

The bridge commission denies any knowledge of the boycott, and Local 91 says Aragon is blaming them for the failure of his franchise, which opened in April and closed in September. -PizzaMarketplace.com