Drive by the administration building for the Princeton Public Schools and it’s hard not to miss the giant inflatable rat sitting on top of a pickup truck, its arms extended and its teeth jutting out.
The local chapter of the Laborers’ International Union of North America has placed the giant rat on Valley Road in Princeton to protest a contractor’s use of non-local, non-union labor for a renovation project at Princeton High School.
According to the union, contractor DCG Construction is not using local workers for demolition and concrete work at Princeton High School. The work is part of the recent bond referendum. The union argues that the district could make hiring union workers a requirement in contracts.
School district officials declined to comment when asked about the rat and the union’s complaint on Wednesday. A flyer being distributed by the union asks people to contact school district officials to express their concerns about the district’s contractor not using local union labor.
The inflatable rat, known as Scabby the Rat, is used to call public attention to companies employing non-union labor. The rodent is used by unions around the country during demonstrations as a sign of opposition against non-union contractors and the companies that hire those contractors.
Under President Trump, the National Labor Relations Board tried to deflate Scabby the Rat, arguing that such labor protests are not protected under the First Amendment. Under the Obama Administration, the board said such protests were protected.