Scabby the Rat is known worldwide as a labor icon, a symbol representing the unfair and unsafe practices of employers and union busters. Scabby, an inflatable rat balloon ranging in size from 6-20 feet, is the brainchild of two union organizers from the International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers.
Scabby first took to the picket lines in Illinois in 1990. Since that time, Scabby has appeared at strikes and protests from coast to coast. You may have recently seen Scabby on the line with teachers in Oakland or recall a yellow version of Scabby from the historic Chicago teachers strike of 2012.
When Scabby appears on a picket line, at an informational leafleting, or at a rally, you can be sure labor unrest exists between the workers and management. Scabby sends an unmistakable message that the union is ready to fight the boss for better working conditions.
The courts recently ruled that the use of Scabby is protected free speech.
Employers must learn that if they don’t want negative attention from Scabby, they must respect workers and honor their contracts! Rest assured – when bad management and union busting tactics infest worksites, Scabby the Rat will appear!
The labor mascot representing employees engaged in the struggle for workplace dignity is Sabo-Tabby, or Sabotage. Sabo-Tabby was originally a mascot of the International Workers of the World (IWW), most likely the creation of Ralph Chaplin, author of Solidarity Forever. Sabo-Tabby is a symbol for direct action at the point of production – a work slowdown or strike. Often seen on union buttons, flyers, and posters, Sabo-Tabby’s message is an injury to one is an injury to all. Over the years, bosses and their politicians have portrayed Sabo-Tabby as too radical, but today’s workers of the world, whether baristas, bricklayers, or CSO, know Sabo-Tabby’s message of solidarity is the only way to rid the workplace of Scabby infestations!