Was that a rat on Contra Costa Boulevard?

Yes, that was a giant, 15-foot-high inflatable rat you saw Friday morning on the sidewalk along Contra Costa Boulevard in Pleasant Hill.

The trademark rodent’s appearance along with more than a dozen sign-carrying protesters is the latest salvo in the long-standing animosity between the Contra Costa Building and Construction Trades Council and the nonunion Associated Builders and Contractors.

Watch video of the rat here.

Watch interview with trades council chief Greg Feere here.

The trades were protesting Erik Bruvold’s appearance at the Contra Costa Taxpayers Association breakfast. Watch video of Bruvold’s presentation here.

The National University System Institute for Policy Research president co-authored a 2011 study that found the use of union-supported project labor agreements had increased California public school construction costs by 13-17 percent.

UCLA Labor Center and Michigan State University researchers subsequently challenged the findings on several fronts but Bruvold defended the analysis on Friday.


Lisa Vorderbrueggen

  • Wendy Lack

    Oh, man. 15-feet high, you say?

    Boy, we’d better take a closer look at the budget for county vector control:


  • Publius

    The union rat is offensive to the hard working non-union men and women in this country. As I watched the video I see an all white mostly male host hoisting signs that have nothing to do with the topic being discussed inside. In essence people who do not support government mandated discrimination are against veterans, are evil greedy Scrouges, and are Rats. Nothing can be further from the truth.

    The fact is that non-union shops employ more minorities than union shops. 80% of all construction shops are non-union. To exclude these shops from bidding government work is not only wrong, but bad policy. Greg Freere’s arguments are wrong and built on lies. Organized labor is not entitled to tax dollars.

    Thank you to the ABC and Contra Costa Tax Payer Association for standing strong and not being deterred by these slurs.

  • Wendy Lack

    @ Publius:

    The fact that the Contra Costa Building and Construction Trades Council went to the effort to plan and execute Friday’s street demonstration suggests a high level of sensitivity and defensiveness — esp. since the protest signs, etc. had nothing to do with the taxpayer group’s program.

    Greater public awareness of these issues is a good thing and is likely to continue, no matter how much the Council might prefer to intimidate taxpayer and other citizen groups into silent submission.

    Methinks they do protest too much.