Sunday, December 19, 2010

AP Newsbreak: More Question Arise from Labor Dispute at North Pole

By Yukon Cornelius, Associated Press – 1 hr 37 mins ago

Reykjavik - A civil suit was filed on behalf of the North Pole Toymakers Union in Reykjavik on Friday, alleging unsafe work conditions, racial discrimination, and animal abuse and/or misuse.  Named in the suit is the sole executive of Christmas, Inc. (CI), President of Operations and Plant Director Mr. Santa (NMI) Claus.  The filing of the civil suit follows quickly on the heels of the opening of a criminal case by Interpol, which is investigating several alleged crimes committed by Mr. Claus, including slavery, animal neglect, prostitution, harassment, breaking and entering, intentional inflection of emotional distress, and trademark and copyright infringement. It is believed charges are pending and that an arrest is imminent.  The timing of these dual actions comes at a difficult time for Mr. Claus and CI, already struggling to keep up with a changing business climate and competition from cheap labor markets in Asia.

Mr. Claus, who Interpol states has gone by several aliases during his infamous career, including the ironic Saint Nicholas, Father "Who's Your Daddy" Christmas, Kris Kringle, or simply "Santa", had no comment about the impending civil or criminal actions.  Calls to the Public Relations Office at CI were not answered or returned.  According to court filings, no attorney has been appointed for Mr. Claus in the civil suit.

Others, however, have not been so tight lipped in addressing the allegations.  Mr. King Moonracer, a popular winged lion who acts as the nearby Island of Misfit Toys' (IMT) Chief Executive Officer, was quoted recently challenging Mr. Claus's distribution system; "I was the first to utilize available technology for flying around the world each night in search of unwanted toys. Kringle illegally copied our infrastructure, adapting it for his questionable service.  Regardless of his questionable use, the system is the product of IMT and we have not received compensation for the impermissible use of our internally developed system." Moonracer further states that Kringle intentionally violates the airspace of IMT and has filed multiple complaints with the FAA, citing unsafe vehicle operation, unlicensed pilots, noise disruption ("Those damned bells!" stated Mr. Moonracer), and illegal dumping. Apparently the flying reindeer have been indiscriminate in handling their waste.

It is not only Santa's neighbors who allege misdeeds.  Perhaps the most serious allegations relate to work conditions at Mr.Claus's factory.  "It isn't a factory; it's a sweatshop," alleges one Mr. Charles Springer, now known to former colleagues as Charlie-In-The-Box. "I was pressed-ganged into service, required to keep elves contained on the work floor, using coercion and even force.  I didn't want to, but I went along because I needed the job.  Times are tough, you know. When I spoke out, I was physically restrained and placed in solitary confinement in a cell the elves refer to as 'the box'. Eventually I spoke out so often, I was deprived of my freedom for weeks at a time, earning my unfortunate nickname." The emotional pain, according to Mr. Springer, has robbed him of the ability to earn a living.  He seeks redress from Mr. Claus. "I am speaking out on behalf of the elves.  Someone has to stand up."

Mr. Springer's story is substantiated by affidavits signed by Sam the Snowman and Hank, the so-called "Tall Elf".  Neither was available to speak with reporters, but through their lawyers issued a statement, which reads, "The North Pole has changed, and not for the better.  Mr. Claus has abused his power, and seems fixated on self-gratification and personal debauchery, often seen bright cheeked (signs of alcohol abuse) and ranting 'Hoes, hoes, hoes' merrily. The whereabouts of Mrs. Claus is unknown, but Mr. Claus clearly has been keeping company with some unsavory women in her absence."

Other instances of abuse of workers is evident in the narrative of one Mr. Hermey.  Mr Hermey was initially brought to the factory to work off "immigration fees" for himself and his immediate family. "I didn't want to make toys.  I was training to be a dentist.  But that dream was taken from me," Hermey testified at a recent hearing into the matters at hand.  "My immediate supervisor was a portly and ill-tempered lackey. He wore a goatee styled to resemble Josef Stalin. He was outraged at what he perceived as my intentional, persistent disruption of the assembly line. And the music! He used to imitate Lawrence Welk's  famous introduction, "Ah one, and ah two" and sing carols all year round. It was unbearable."

Mr. Hermey recounts the tale of escaping the confines of the plant in his soon-to-be released autobiography, titled Unsaintly Nick; The Dark Underbelly of Christmas.While in the woods outside of the plant, living off of melted snow and stale cookies, Mr. Hermey met a starved, skeletal reindeer, whom he called Rudolph. "The stories Rudy told me just broke my heart. You know Dasher and Dancer and Prancer and Vixen, Comet and Cupid and Donner and Blitzen? But do you recall why they are famous? They were bullies, four-legged, jack-booted thugs.  Poor Rudolph, you see, was afflicted with a red-nose, a very shiny nose. He was terribly anxious and self-conscious about it. When Rudy would get nervous or anxious, you would even say it glows. All of these dominant reindeer used to laugh and call him names. They never let poor Rudolph join in any reindeer games. Totally exclusionary behavior.  Typical playground bully crap. And Rudy's story wasn't unique. They domineered every other reindeer who aspired to elevate themselves out of poverty. They repressed any and all fair competition; they ran the whole show, with Claus's blessing. That's why they are famous and you have never heard of Rudy or the thousands of other reindeer trapped in an endless cycle of servitude and pain." More of Mr. Hermey's narrative, including his desperate escape from the frozen north, is contained in his book, available from on December 19th. He wouldn't comment on the fate of his friend Rudy, other than to remark that he no longer eats meat.

On the criminal side of the ledger, local police agencies have been given updated warnings from Interpol regarding Santa's potential illegal entrance into homes on Christmas Eve via the chimney. Extra police around the world will be on duty this Christmas Eve, given recent threats posted on Santa's Facebook.  In a rambling post dated last week, Mr. Claus stated, "Oh! You better watch out, you better not cry, you better not pout, I'm telling you why: Santa Claus is coming to town! I'm gonna get you and your (darned) cookies, bitch. I'm making a list, checking it twice, gonna find out who's naughty or nice. Oh yeah, mother (freaking) Santa Claus IS coming to town!" With a chilling coldness, Mr. Claus finishes his missive by darkly stating, "I sees you when you're sleeping, I knows when you're awake. I knows where you live."

The sun has set on the North Pole for the year.  Clearly, the dark times facing a once proud Santa Claus won't brighten with the arrival of spring.  Facing countless legal problems, Mr. Claus's erratic behavior and poor business practices caused one insider to warn, "Jump in bed, cover up your head, 'cause Santa Claus comes tonight. And the long arm of the law is waiting!"

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