The Seventh Circuit recently upheld a local ordinance in Grande Chute, Wisconsin that banned all private signs on public rights-of-way despite challenges from a local labor union.

In 2014, the town of Grande Chute passed a zoning ordinance that banned all private signs on public rights-of-way.  Under the authority of the zoning ordinance, two town officials ordered a local chapter of the Construction and General Laborers’ Union to remove the labor union’s large, 12-foot inflatable rat, which, like other unions across the country, had become a longstanding feature of the Union’s strike tactics.  Specifically, the Union had placed the inflatable rat in a median across from a car dealership that it was targeting.

Continue Reading The Seventh Circuit Upholds City’s Ban on Union’s Inflatable Rat

The National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB”) handed down an opinion last month, in Sheet Metal Workers International Association, Local 15 (Brandon Regional Medical Center), 361 NLRB No. 162 (2011), that constitutes a victory for union members and giant inflatable rats everywhere.  Inflatable rats have been used by unions to protest employers’ use of non-union (or “rat”) workers since as early as 1991.  Giant inflatable rats have been the subject of lawsuits in the past, and a previous case has made it all the way to the Supreme Court of New Jersey.  See State v. DeAngelo, 197 N.J. 478 (2009).  The inflatable rat in question was 16 feet tall and 12 feet wide.  It was located 100 feet from the entrance of a hospital, run by a neutral company, whose independent contractor subcontracted work to a company which utilized non-union workers. 

Continue Reading National Labor Relations Board Finds Use Of Giant Inflatable Rats A Legal Form Of Protest