... at the corner of Clinton and
I arrive at my office and Google "giant inflatable rat" for all the Giant Inflatable Rat information I need (like what's that rash on his belly?). I see there's a Flickr group: "The Rat Patrol." I join the group, I upload the picture, etc. etc.
I hope you appreciate my efforts keeping you abreast of what going on here in Brooklyn. Seems to be some labor dispute.
You've seen it around: a giant creature with menacing buckteeth, long claws, and red, beady eyes. It's a regular at union protests and strikes, wherever there's labor tension. If the Rat could speak, it would get right to the point: "So I moved your #@!% cheese. You wanna do something about it?"...
Twelve years ago, Mike O'Connor, owner of Big Sky Balloons & Searchlights in Plainfield, Illinois, created the first rat at the request of a union member in nearby Chicago. Said the union man of O'Connor's first sketch: "It's not mean enough." O'Connor added bigger fangs and a pink belly with "festering nipples." "I love it," the man said. So did other unions. Today, Big Sky sells between 100 and 200 rats a year--even though it is a nonunion shop itself....
Does the Rat work? "Usually, employers go bonkers when they see it across from their property," says Randy Mayhew, organizing director of Laborers International Union of North America, which employs about 20 rats. "It's an effective piece of street theater," says Peter Jones, executive director of the Labor Heritage Foundation.
Festering nipples, eh? That's what it takes to make management cringe. Festering nipples.