I don't know if the "Union Rat" is used in other cities, but it is a common sight in the New York metropolitan area. There are several "rats" in use... ranging from large to gigantic. This is one of the larger "rats." Unions use these "rats" to bring attention to strikes or other labor issues. In this case, a "rat" is stationed in front of Phipps Plaza West, an apartment complex on Second Avenue and 28th Street in Manhattan, in order to bring attention to the landlord's hiring of a "substandard" asbestos removal company -- presumably a non-unionized company. Incidentally, the buildings shown in this photo have been my home for the last 20 years. Photo taken 01-19-2007.
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