NLRB rules for rats, against employers

by Jim Lane

DALLAS -- Union folks are celebrating the latest in a string of favorable rulings from the National Labor Relations Board since President Obama has been making the appointments. The Associated Press reports that the NLRB ruled that our 16-foot tall inflatable rats can be used as part of our right to freedom of expression. Employers have made a number of protests because the rats are usually used to illustrate bosses' behavior during labor struggles.

The Communications Director for the Texas AFL-CIO announced the NLRB decision with "Score another win for the inflatable rat, the scourge of misbehaving employers everywhere!"

The AP article says, "The case was closely watched by business groups who claim the giant rat is too coercive and confrontational. But the labor board says the rats are a form of symbolic speech that don’t interfere with business activity."

Previously, employers in New Jersey had sued a union over inflatable rats, but the New Jersey Supreme Court ruled against them, according to the Texas AFL-CIO. Inflatable rats first became known to Texas unionists during the fight against Republican redistricting in 2002. In November, 2003, the rat was used in a protest against longtime Texas Governor Rick Perry at the Ball Park in Arlington. Perry is involved in drastic redistricting again this year, and has announced that he is "thinking about" a run for President of the United States.

the unions' rat in Dallas

In the photo, a Communications Worker unionist handed out leaflets in downtown Dallas during a contract struggle. The NLRB decision was not the only recent boost to the spirits of unionists. A very nice short Youtube  video from Australia answers the question, "What have the unions ever done for us?"