Inflatable rats used at union protests protected by National Labor Relations Board ruling

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A giant inflatable rat makes its way down the street in midtown New York City November 26, 2019 where it will sit outside a company’s office in New York. – American unions have been using ballooned rodents to highlight unfair labor practises since the 1990s. But the National Labor Relations Board, a US federal agency, is going to the courts to try to stop them, in what unions say is an attack on free speech. (Photo by TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP via Getty Images)

Scabby the union rat is here to stay.

The National Labor Relations Board ruled Wednesday that unions have a right to display the rodents near work sites.

Inflatable rats have been a union tool for decades to protest construction companies and developers that treat workers unfairly or hire non-union workers.

After a union displayed a 12-foot inflatable rat with red eyes, fangs and claws outside the public entrance to a trade show, Lippert Components, Inc. alleged the blow-up rodents violated the National Labor Relations Act.

The NLRB turned to precedent in determining their rodent ruling.

“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,” the ruling reads.

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