MIDTOWN MANHATTAN — A giant inflatable cat is in a standoff in Manhattan with an even larger inflatable rat.
Local 1 of the Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers Union, contending that MDB Development Corp. underpays, placed a rat outside Grand Central Terminal last week in protest. Empire State Realty Trust, which hired MDB for the construction work, responded with a cat. Local 1 fired back with an even larger rat.
“We are not running away,” said Jerry Gozdyra, an organizer with Local 1. “We bought a bigger rat. We are not running away from anybody and I don’t see a reason to run.”
Inflatable rats have been a union tool for decades to protest construction companies and developers that treat workers unfairly or hire non-union workers.
“We think it’s unfair and we need to inform the public over this matter,” Gozdyra said.
Gozdyra said the construction company arranged their cat so its paw was resting directly on top of the initial rat’s paw.
“They tried to bully the rat,” Gozdyra said. “They tried to bully us.”
Local 1 doesn’t know if the company will respond with a larger cat. But if they do, the union is prepared. They’ve already ordered an even larger rat.
An Empire State Realty Trust says the company won’t be getting a bigger cat.
“Our friendly, pretty kitty makes humor out of an ugly symbol of one union’s protest against another union,” the spokesperson said.