SALISBURY, N.C. -- Food Lion here is seeking more than $100 million in actual damages from the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union, the Food and Allied Service Trades Department of the AFL-CIO, Consumers United With Employees and 16 other parties for conspiring to destroy the chain. The suit, filed late last month in U.S. District Court for the western district of North Carolina in Charlotte, N.C., accuses the union, its officers and attorneys and other groups and individuals of violating the federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization Act, antitrust laws and a variety of state laws. The suit claims the defendants have tried to drive Food Lion out of business by conspiring to create lawsuits and regulatory charges against it regardless of merit, by knowingly distributing false information about Food Lion to manipulate media coverage and by engaging in other similar actions. Food Lion said the UFCW's attacks against the chain are not related to any effort to organize its workforce, but to efforts designed to cause general economic harm to the company. It also said the RICO statute applies because the union and others acting on its behalf have engaged in criminal actions over an extended period of time. Al Zack, assistant director of organizing for the international union, told SN, "We believe the suit is retaliatory in nature, designed to get back at those who have pointed out Food Lion's violations of law." Besides the UFCW, the suit targets FAST, an arm of the AFL-CIO established by the UFCW to conduct corporate campaigns, and CUE, a lobbying coalition formed by FAST and a variety of consumer groups. Food Lion said CUE, which has repeatedly accused Food Lion of selling out-of-date food, has served as the vehicle for many of the union's media and regulatory attacks against Food Lion.