Beware the Inflatable Rat

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I think that we all love a good bounce on an inflatable bouncy house. Is there anything more fun than jumping around for an hour or two? It’s just a lot of fun. That’s the base level for inflatables it would seem. In the last few weeks, I’ve written about some really interesting inflatable items like an inflatable hospital and inflatable tanks and jets. This week, I have something even stranger than that to share with you.

The Washington Post has a story about a labor union and their inflatable rat. A rat you say? Oh yes – it’s a rat. Why would a labor union need a rat? For a simple reason, according to the story:PH2010100102939

“A labor union in Washington will on occasion be upset with somebody. Contract negotiations go awry. Nonunion workers get hired. At these moments, you need a symbol. You need something that is going to attract the attention of passersby, something that your members can rally around during their protest, something that is so hideous that the company whose building it sits in front of will do just about anything to get you to move it. You need access to a rat.”

The custom inflatable rat is only one of many across the country that are used by unions in widespread fashion. Whenever union contracts are in dispute or nonunion workers are hired for good jobs, a big inflatable rat goes up, representing the unions’ collective disgust. Unfortunately, there has been a bit of controversy:

“There have been debates over the legality of the rat. In 2003, for example, a hospital filed charges against a union of sheet-metal workers in Florida, claiming that the giant inflatable rat that the workers had been using to protest was an unfair labor practice. The Cardozo Law Review ran an article: ‘Is a Giant Inflatable Rat an Unlawful Secondary Picket?'”

I don’t know which way the National Labor Relations Board will rule, but a decision will come down soon. They have a rat case on the docket.


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