PLAINFIELD, NJ -   According to recent reports issued by the Arctic Gazette, the flying reindeer (not reindeers!) employed by one seasonal philanthropist Santa Claus of 9 Candycane Lane, West North Pole, are embroiled in a labor dispute regarding their placement in the formation that hauls Claus's sleigh worldwide on Christmas Eve.

Eight reindeer literally have their antlers in a knot over the consistent placement of Rudolph, a nontenured relative newcomer to the sleigh team, who has claimed the lead position since a popular song by Johnny Marks and performed by Country-Western (well, Western, anyway) artist Gene Autry made him famous in 1949.  Before that time, Rudolph's nose prohibited from playing in the popular reindeer games in which the flying animals compete for prominent placement in the sleigh team.

Donner, who formerly held the lead position, first raised the objection to Rudolph, claiming that the red-nosed caribou had the "navigational skills of a birthday party balloon."  Donner is leading a union complain against Claus for not following seniority rules in this matter and for undermining the seriousness of the reindeer games and the endorsements that follow reindeer athletes that follow success in the games.  The Elf Street Journal announced last week that Nike had pulled Donner from their "Winged Victory" ads and have compelled the beast to have the copyrighted "swoosh" removed from his hooves.

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Complaining about Rudolph's "lack of grace and clumsy leaps," Prancer and Dancer also jingled their bells and snorted when asked about the lead reindeer at the North Pole's Annual Hanukkah Party, a popular event scheduled at presumably random dates in December.  At that time, Prancer reminded Dancer that too many latkes could impede anyone's ability to jump and fly.

As expected, Biltzen was also at the party.  When asked to comment, his response was unintelligible.  Claus once asked Blitzen to navigate the sleigh and the reindeer wound up delivering Easter eggs just in time for St. Patrick's Day.

Comet and Dasher, undoubtedly the fastest of the reindeer and gold medalists at the reindeer games, did not linger to answer questions. Their comments on Twitter included #FasterThanRudy and #TiredOfLookingAtHisTail and are trending.

Vixen and Cupid agreed that while "Rudolph is, like, really, really totally hot and everything" that would like "a look from the front of the line this year" so that they could "like, see some stuff."

Followers of the sleigh trade have recorded these bitter labor issues in the Claus camp for 67 years now and predict little change.  Says economist O. Tannenbaum, "Look, the kid has a red nose that glows.  It's a hit."

Christmas is likely to proceed as usual around the world, with perhaps a bit of kvetching in the line-up.