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View Diary: Are unions ditching the venerable inflatable rat? (81 comments)

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  •  Does anyone know the story of the inflatable rat? (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jessical, 6412093, Hey338Too, Mentatmark

    And what its message was?

    "let's talk about that"

    by VClib on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 04:58:50 PM PST

    [ Parent ]

    •  For a century (12+ / 0-)

      some union workers, mainly in the construction industry, have referred to non-union contractors, and sometimes their workers as rats.  Non union work sites were sometimes referred to as the "rat world."

      Non-union construction contractors, with the encouragement of their industrial and commercial customers, eroded union strength so swiftly in the early 1970s that the unions were caught flat-footed.

      When the unions geared back up and started mass protests at the site of non-union construction, they began bringing a large inflatable rat to dramatize their opinion of the non-union contractors.

      Wiki claims the practice started in the 1990s, but I personally attended mass pickets in the early 1980s in SF with the rat.  

      Many workers object to the term rat, feeling it disrespects the fellow worker, who, regardless of affiliation, also work in their craft.

      BTW, When the police charged our mass picket lines, the rat would block their momentum and split their ranks and that was very useful.

      During the anti-apartheid demonstrations at the UC campuses, the students carried a  "shanty" and utilized it similarly, charging the police ranks and using the shanty to push through the police barricades.  For a brief moment.

      Orly, it isn't evidence just because you downloaded it from the internet.

      by 6412093 on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 05:32:08 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

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