Will the National Labor Relations Board save Scabby the Rat from extermination? 🐭


Scabby the Rat, the infamous union picket line protest symbol, fears no cat — especially not this one. Scabby feared no man either, except for Peter Robb, the former General Counsel of the National Labor Relations Board.

GC Robb, you see, was on a mission to deflate and exterminate ‘Ol Scabby for good.

Back in October, the Board went so far as to ask the public for input on whether Scabby the Rat should ride or die. But then we got a new President who fired Peter Robb a few weeks ago.

And that changed everything.

Scabby, it seems, has a new lease on life.

Shout out to Law360’s Braden Braden Campbell who reported here that the Board’s new acting general counsel Peter Sung Ohr filed two motions earlier this month with the Board seeking to let him withdraw two separate lawsuits alleging that unions violated federal labor law by inflating Scabby the Rat as part of a union protest.

You can read the motions to dismiss here and here.

Citing two recent federal court opinions (here and here) in which judges concluded that the use of inflatables did not violate federal labor law, the Acting GC believes that there is no reasonable basis upon which to convince the Board otherwise.

What now for Scabby?

Now, the Republicans still control the Board for now. And the Board does not have to grant the motions to dismiss. Heck, this Board may eventually put the kibosh on Scabby.

For now.

For if that happens, when the Democrats regain control, they will most certainly breathe new life — err, air — into the most controversial inflatable in organized labor.

Join me tomorrow on Zoom.

The Employer Handbook Zoom Office Hour returns this tomorrow at Noon ET  with special guest Abigail Morrow. Abigail is Assistant General Counsel at Staffmark Group, a family of specialty staffing and recruiting brands.

Among other things, we’ll tackle staffing/recruiting issues that impact HR-compliance and employee mental health.

As always, we welcome your questions, which you can email me in advance. We’ll do our best to answer them without saying it depends too much. Either way, we’ll do so in a way that doesn’t create an attorney-client relationship, and no rational person would mistake for legal advice. (My clients pay me for that.)

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