Federal court holds that union’s use of inflated rat is constitutionally protected free speech

In a decision issued October 27, 2014, the federal court for the Eastern District of New York held that a union has a constitutional right to install an inflated rat at an employer’s jobsite in order to publicize a labor dispute.  See Microtech Contracting Corp. v. Mason Tenders District Council, 14-CV-4179 (E.D.N.Y.)  Judge Joseph Bianco rejected the request of the employer, Microtech Contracting Corp., for an injunction against Laborers’ Union Local 78, reasoning that the union’s use of the rat was not “disruptive activity” within the meaning of the collective bargaining agreement’s no-strike clause.

Cohen, Weiss and Simon LLP partner Joseph J. Vitale represented Local 78.

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