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

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  •  An ambiguous symbol... (2+ / 0-)
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    Mentatmark, Dirtandiron

    The rat was always problematic as a tool for union action.

    It is great for drawing attention, and McGarvey's desires  notwithstanding, I don't think it will go away. Some union locals seem to have a genuine affection for their rat, and I  don't think they'll give it up on McGarvey's account.

    On the other hand, they symbol lacks a desirable clarity.

    Is the rat supposed to symbolize the non-union workers, or the non-union contractors, or the builders? I've also heard of instances where the rat is used by Laborers International Union to protest against the actions of competing unions. The lack of clarity impedes its effectiveness in many cases.

    It's pretty small stuff in any event. If McGarvey wants to  eliminate labor confrontation in the construction industry, then he can do that by negotiating the sweetheart deals that the contractors demand. If he wants to rebuild the power of the Building Trades, he's going to have a think a lot bigger than retiring the rat.

    •  Building trades is always the most reactionary (0+ / 0-)

      They organize in favor of things like prisons and Walmarts and casinos, they negotiate construction contracts even when the employer pledges to break any employee unions, they are the "machine" in "machine Democrats" in places like Philadelphia and Baltimore, they regularly pledge support for Republicans/corporatist Democrats who support more development, environment/economy/labor be damned.

      What building trades does with its inflatable balloons will have little impact on the labor movement, or most other labor organizers.

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