Scabby the Rat and Sabo-Tabby have long, rich history in the labor struggle

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!

CSO: A Union that Supports Your Union

CSO members walk the picket line with CTA members at the recent New Haven TA strike.

Being a member of CTA is a mark of distinction. Being an active member or a leader even more so. It shows a passion for the profession, an understanding of the value of a strong union and what it takes to keep it thriving.

More than money or slogans or mission statements, it takes people—like you. Did you know there is a union within your union? One comprised of people just as dedicated and hardworking as you who heard the call, and made it a profession?

For certain you know us…we work behind the scenes, beside the leaders, building and advancing the cause of public education. We are at your bargaining tables and training your members at every conference.  We are in the state capitol. On every State Council committee. At every Service Center and Regional Resource Center. When your members run afoul, we are there. You see us getting after it at every NEA RA. We are the 275-strong California Staff Organization.

Our union is much like your local chapter. We have a governing structure, rep council, bargaining team, committees, and a contract with CTA that we negotiate with management just like you do with your districts.

There are a few differences between our union and yours: While CTA chapters are recognized under the state Educational Employment Relations Act, CSO is recognized under the federal National Labor Relations Act. While most California educational employers have separate unions for certificated and classified employees, we have a sister union called the California Associate Staff.

Your local Primary Contact Staff person who is always just a call or text away, the C4OB staff who prep you for bargaining, the regional organizers who swoop in for a crisis, the political organizers who help you flip your school boards when they do you wrong, the Human Rights, Governmental Relations, Legal, Communications, Member Benefits, ISSD, TID, Instruction and Professional Development staff who work tirelessly to bring value to membership…we are CSO. Even some of your associate staff in your local office are CSO members!

We are proud of the work we do on behalf of our members, leaders, and the students of this state. Say “hi” to one of us and ask us about our union!