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    "The fight is never about grapes or lettuce. It is always about people."
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    :: Saturday, December 31, 2005 ::

    Labor's Huge Rubber Rat, Caught in a Legal Maze - By Alan Feuer, New York Times
    Some labor leaders said they could not comment publicly on the case because it has not been decided, though they acknowledged that the rat is a surefire weapon in the union arsenal that would be dearly missed.

    'It's a thing that's widely used,' said Thomas Van Arsdale, the business manager of Local 3 of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, which is embroiled in its own dispute with the labor board, partly due to a rat.

    'It's only real purpose is to attract attention,' Mr. Van Arsdale said. 'Beyond that, what's the harm?'

    At any given moment, labor leaders say, as many as 35 rubber rats are at work around the region. They come in different shapes and sizes. One rat, cited in Judge Davis' ruling, is actually a gorilla with the head of a rat.

    =======
    Union protest rat faces extinction - By Lisa Shidler, Gary Post Tribune, IN
    Jerome Davison, president of the Northwest Indiana Federation of Labor AFL-CIO, said the rat is almost a form of street theater.

    “I’ve never known a balloon rat to be intimidating. It’s not a breathing thing. It’s full of hot air. It’s a great symbol and it calls attention to our cause,” he said.

    Davison said if the National Labor Relations Board rules against the rat, union workers will find another symbol to use.
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