2005-12-30 / Front Page

Union Rat May Disappear From Rockaway Scene

With new home construction escalating at a dizzying rate in Rockaway, many of the unions have become concerned with the use of non-union labor on those projects. The Union Rat, the symbol of union unhappiness has been seen in Rockaway a number of times in the year just past, including appearances at the Arverne By The Sea project, at the Ocean Grande condominium building on Beach 117 Street, at a number of city housing projects and at 8200 Shore Front Parkway. Now, the courts have determined that the rat may well be a form of picketing, which can be restricted by federal law. If so, the rat may soon disappear from the union arsenal. Union officials, however, say that using the rat is just a matter of free speech. The National Labor Relations Board is now studying the question and is expected rule in the next few months. Meanwhile, union officials do not seem to be deterred by the controversy. They say they have lots of critters in their arsenal. “You don’t like the rat,” one union official said. “Fine, we’re going to use a skunk next.”

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