The Giant Inflatable Rat

Chicago Travel Blog

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The Giant Inflatable Rat

I have finally decided to write an entry about my favourite thing I see every morning, and that is:  The Giant inflatable Rat.  Not just is it fun to say (try saying it outloud, espicially if your in a public place) but it is also a great conversation starter, espicially if you're at like a young republicans conventions:  Picture this conversation:

Me: "I live in a huge highrise in downtown chicago, with a giant inflatable rat""

Cute blonde republican girl: "giggle, does that mean you have rats"

Me: "Why no, it is because my company uses non-union labour"

Cute blonde republican girl: "oh really...."

Me: "Oh yes, I belive that the free market should determine prices, and we should always go to the lowest bidder..."

Cute blonde republican girl: "kiss me now..... outside, in front of the giant inflatable rat".

For those curious on what the giant inflatable rat is all about check out this wikipidia entry:

Inflatable rats, or union rats, or giant inflatable rats, are commonly used by protesting or striking trade unions against their employers or against nonunion contractors, serving as a sign of opposition and perhaps intimidation. As of 2005, unions had been using them for years against companies that employed nonunion labor[1], and employers have filed lawsuits charging that the use of the giant inflatable rats constituted unlawful picketing, which some courts have agreed with. The practice of using inflatable rats in union protests may have something to do with the usage of the word "rat" to refer to nonunion contractors.

Chuck Salter, of, dates the usage of inflatable union rats to 1991, when Mike O' Connor of a Plainfield, Illinois balloon and searchlight firm made a rat due to a request from a Chicago union member. As of 2003, the rats ranged from 6 feet tall to 30 feet tall, but 12 feet is the most popular height due to local laws limiting the height of inflatable objects on display.[2]

Even more interesting, much like gun laws the giant inflatable rat is the subject of many debates about free speach, and the first ammendment to the US constitution, you know freedom of speach and in this case, assembly:


Goodnight!  And Don't Use Scabs, or the giant inflatable rat will get you. 



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The Giant Inflatable Rat
The Giant Inflatable Rat
photo by: mahoney