Most business owners would shudder at the thought of rats being on their premises, but one rat is particularly unwelcome to employers – “Scabby the Rat.” This red-eyed, rather vicious looking rat-shaped balloon (sometimes as tall as 25 feet) has become a symbol used by labor unions across the country to publicize that they have a dispute with an employer.
No stranger to the courts, Scabby has been the subject of many legal challenges from the business and property owner communities. Nonetheless, in 2011, the National Labor Relations Board held that labor unions’ use of Scabby during strikes and protests is permissible. Other cases have firmly held that unions’ deployment of Scabby in labor disputes is a form of speech protected by the First Amendment. Continue Reading