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Rat Squad....I don't get it

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I was coming through Hammonton, NJ (Blueberry Capital of the World) this morning, and I passed a giant inflatable rat. I also saw at least twelve, but maybe even as many as twenty guys with signs hanging around their necks protesting a road construction project. I couldn't read the sign, as I was driving at the time, but was amazed at how many guys were there instead of working.


What's the deal with these rat squads? I think I heard that the union will pay the protesters for their hours while protesting, but I'm not 100% sure about that. Is the protest something that is in your union contract; ie....if they want you to protest, you have to do it? What about the company that you work they have to give you the time off to protest as part of their contract with the union?


There was also a police car there, with at least one officer that I saw as I drove past. Who is responsible for paying for the officer's time; does the city just pick up the tab as part of the day-to-day operations of the town, or does the union reimburse the city for that officer's time?


My last question is what is wrong with using non-union companies? It's a free market society, so you can choose to pay any company that will do the job that you need to your specifications, correct? If a non-union company is able to do this cheaper, yet still meet the specifications that you set, shouldn't they be able to do the job without fear of intimidation by a union? Aren't the non-union workers entitled to make a living as well?


I know that a lot of folks talk about illegals taking their jobs, or non-union workers not having the same skills as union members, but how much of this is accurate, and how much is just hot air? It seems that the days of illegals being able to work on a job that is put out to bid by a municipality, county, or the state or past, so is this argument now defunct?

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