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. 


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