It’s not the iconic mutt you’d expect to see outside Philly’s newest gay bar, Boxers, but a giant, inflated Union rat that’s inhabited the sidewalk on Walnut Street over the last two days. Members of Local 19, the Sheet Metal Workers’ Union, have picketed the home of the future bar, claiming that the owners have used non-union contractors on the construction of the site.
The sign that accompanies the rat reads, “Shame on DZO Mech for lowering sheet metal workers wages and standards.”
Tensions were high when I visited the picket line; as a matter of fact, the leader of the line, named Billy (he refused to give me his last name), tried to grab my cell phone when he thought I was recording him. After explaining that I was a reporter, the only response I got was minimal.
“We are protesting wages and standards,” he told me.
One of the other picketers, Joelle Fequiere, was more open to discussing the matter. “The message we are sending here is that they had the choice to be union."
I’ve reached out to the owner of Boxers and have yet to receive a response as of this publication. Stay tuned for any updates.