What are the New York City inflatable rats?

A GIANT, inflatable rat is a mascot no New York City business wants to be associated with, and not for just obvious reasons.

These large balloon rodents are symbols of protests for frustrated employees who are not pleased with their working conditions.

As a part of free speech and the right to protest, disheartened employees contact their labor unions and place Scabby the Union Rat in front of their place of work to symbolize their discontent with their working conditions, the practice is common in New York City

What are the New York City inflatable rats?

It’s common knowledge that any business infested with rats is sure to be condemned and closed down.

For the city’s employee unions, using the likeness of a rat is allegedly a way to bring negative press to an establishment.

For anyone strolling along the streets of New York City, an enormous, blow-up rat is hard to miss.


How do New York City unions use the inflatable rats?

To express dissatisfaction with their place of work, New York City employees who are also labor union members, place a huge, mischievous-looking blow-up rat in front of their employer’s storefront.

Where there’s an enormous, evil balloon rat, there’s a frustrated staff member with a labor union to back them.

More or less, the actual presence of the rodent is not indicative of an infestation lingering at the establishment.

Without knowing this, people walking by could assume there actually is a rodent infestation at the business.

Are the inflatable rats an effective measure?

Scabby the Union Rat, which is what the labor union rodent mascot is known by, garners attention simply because the giant prop is hard to ignore.

The effectiveness of Scabby as a protest tool varies case by case.

Businesses typically dislike when the labor unions that protect their staff go to these lengths.

However, Scabby was deemed a representative of free speech in July of 2021 by the National Labor Relations Board.

“Accordingly, the courts have consistently deemed banners and inflatable rats to fall within the realm of protected speech, rather than that of intimidation and the like,” said the NLRB.

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