The giant inflatable rodent set up by unions outside of New York City construction projects is getting challenged in court. An advice memo from the general counsel at the National Labor Relations Board says inflatables, including famed Scabby the Rat, should be illegal for unions to use in protest. As Gothamist reported, Peter Robb, the President Donald Trump-appointed general counsel for the NLRB, said the big balloons like Scabby are “coercive” and “unlawful.”
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Photo courtesy of Big Sky Balloons
Despite a nationwide decline in union membership, New York City continues to defy this trend. The number of city workers who belong to unions has risen for the last three years in a row, growing from 21.5 percent of all workers to 25.5 percent in 2016. And because of this high number of unionized employees, city residents have become even more familiar with Scabby the Rat–one of the most recognizable symbols of unions. The giant inflatable rodent, with its sharp buck teeth and beady red eyes, has been a staple of union construction protests in NYC and across the country for decades, and if there’s a development project that enlists nonunion labor in New York, expect to see Scabby out on the street.
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