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Inflatable Union Rat – Why?!

Union Rat

Maybe this post is personal finance, maybe it is not…but since it is my blog I can rant if I want to.  For the past 4 or 5 months on my way home from work I pass a construction site with a HUGE inflatable rat.  Everyday there are 3 to 4 guys who sit next to the rat, and to my untrained eye, they do NOTHING.  This means that some other construction worker is paying this guy’s salary (via dues) to just sit there!  I wasn’t going to write this post until today when 2 of the guys were actually sleeping.  I am sure many of you have seen them before – they look like the picture to the right.  A quick google search indicates that,

Inflatable rats, or union rats, or giant inflatable rats, are commonly used by protesting or striking trade unionsagainst their employers or against nonunion contractors, serving as a sign of opposition and perhaps intimidation (wikipedia).

Maybe it is because I have never done construction, or maybe because I am not sympathetic to unions, but this seems like a terrible waste of money.  When I was younger, I worked in the office services department of a very well known labor law firm, and they literally had associates and even partners dealing “with the rat.” So lets get this straight…we have guys/workers doing nothing, lawyers spending the union’s money to defend the use of the rat, and the cost for storing, and keeping a 12 to 30 feet inflatable rat…inflated all day long.  Couldn’t the union use all these expenditures to make them more competitive in today’s market? The only possible explanation I can think of is to let the public know that whatever the building, non-union workers were used.  However, (1) there are many like me, who simply don’t care and (2) who really remembers after the building is done and all construction workers (and their 12 foot pets) are gone? Before I get hate comments attacking my obvious disdain of unions, I have been inundated with these arguments since I was barely an adult (B.S. Economics – if anyone has a degree in Economics will attest, they have run into their share of “worker sensitive” professors and then a Law Degree where liberals run rampet) I just want someone to explain to me the point of the rat.



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