Scabby The Rat
"The inflatable rat idea was first pumped up in 1990, when a Chicago union asked an outdoor advertiser to come up with a flashy way to catch the attention of nonunion employers. The owners of Big Sky Balloons and Searchlights, of Plainfield, Ill., which made the first rodent, called it "Scabby the Rat." Today, they sell rats up to 25 feet tall, charging as much as $8,950.
The rat in New Jersey's debate gets out about 50 times a year. It is inflated by a small electric blower that can be hooked into a car's cigarette lighter. When not on the picket line, it deflates to a storage bag that resides -- fittingly -- in the union's boiler room next to an inflatable pig that goes out when the rat is double-booked.
Union officials say they first try to talk to business owners to resolve the wage issues. The rat is a tool of last resort. "If they say 'Hey, leave us alone' then we bring out our friend," said DeAngelo."
This is the kind of article I always enjoyed reading in the Star-Ledger. Something local and quirky.
Sopranos creator, David Chase, got many of his plot lines from Star-Ledger articles.
Unfortunately the Star-Ledger is in bad financial shape and might be sold.