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Inflatable Rats Approved for Union Protests by NLRB


Posted by Cory Eucalitto on Tuesday, May 31st, 2011, 2:22 PM PERMALINK


Originally posted at WorkerFreedom.org

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has certainly made a name for itself in the last few years as one of the most biased federal agencies. Soon after filing a complaint against Boeing for setting up shop in the right-to-work state of South Carolina, NLRB has issued one of its most anti-business and, quite frankly, strangely terrifying decisions in some time. Musophobes beware: NLRB has approved the use of giant, fanged, red-eyed, zombie-like rat balloons as a legitimate, non-disruptive form of union protest.

The balloons themselves are not new to union protests. What is so shocking about NLRB’s decision is that it allows the use of the blow-up rattus rattus at businesses not directly involved in any kind of union dispute. Now, even the secondary suppliers and customers of an employer at odds with a union are open to inflatable infestation.

The case at hand involved a metal company, Massey Metals, Inc., that chose to use non-unionized workers for the construction of a hospital addition in Florida. The Sheet Metal Workers International Association chose to protest the hospital itself, using the inflatable rat, in hopes of persuading them not to do business with Massey Metals.

The National Labor Relations Act expressly prohibits any behavior that might “threaten, coerce, or restrain” a secondary employer not involved in a union dispute. NLRB Chairman Wilma Liebman, along with Members Craig Becker and Mark Pearce, found the 16-foot-tall rat to be merely “symbolic speech,” which did nothing to “frighten” or “disturb” the hospital’s patients or their families. Because nothing says quality healthcare like the creatures responsible for, among other things, the bubonic plague.

This decision is just another on the long list of NLRB’s blatantly pro-union actions, which includes the radical Boeing reprimand. The Board may be on the verge of overturning its 2007 Dana Corporation decision, which created procedures for workers to decertify representation imposed upon them by an employer-union agreement. In March of this year, NLRB issued a decision that effectively eliminates employer’s property rights, preventing them from restricting union access to property unless there is significant interference with business. Finally, in the case of Specialty Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center of Mobile, NLRB may allow the creation of “mini-unions” within groups of employees who opt against representation. These cases and decisions have stoked further employer uncertainty, preventing the growth of jobs so clearly needed for a robust economic recovery.

NLRB’s radical agenda should, unfortunately, come as no surprise. Chairman Liebman and members Becker and Pearce have all spent time in their careers representing the interests of Big Labor in the courtroom. Liebman and Becker were both directly employed by some of the largest unions in the country. Board Member Becker was such a controversial choice that his placement on the Board required a recess appointment by President Obama, a tactic the President plans to use again before Becker’s term is up in December. With so much on the line, and so much damage already done, stopping NLRB’s extreme pro-rodent, anti-business agenda is now more important than ever.

As a side note, courtesy of Labor Union Report, Big Sky Balloons & Searchlights, the maker of the rat balloons, is a non-union company. Concerned unions are currently searching for unionized makers of inflatable rat poison.

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