The giant balloon rat is the unique weapon of the New York labor movement. The Laborers’ Union started it all by parking rats in front of non-union construction sites. Local 802 has often borrowed other union’s rats, most recently for last year’s campaign against the non-union off-Broadway show Reefer Madness.
Last October, 802’s Executive Board authorized the purchase of our own rat, but just before the union signed the check, the Organizing Department announced that a member, who wished to remain anonymous, had donated $6,000 to buy a 15-foot rat. Since then, 802 has loaned out our new rat to CWA Local 1034 (Trenton, NJ), Tenants and Neighbors and, pictured above, to Jews for Racial and Economic Justice (JFREJ) who picketed the home of Aaron Nutovics on Sept. 4.
Nutovics owns Tuv Taam, a kosher food manufacturing plant in Williamsburg. Workers at Tuv Taam have been treated unfairly by management; the company is being investigated by the Attorney General’s office for wage violations. For more information, call Sarah Eisenstein at JFREJ at (212) 647-8966.