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Labor dispute leads to inflatable rats at Barclays Center

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Jason Szenes

Don't be surprised to see huge inflatable rats outside Barclays Center Tuesday night when the Hornets come to town.

It's more a dispute between labor unions rather than a classic dispute between management and labor. Arena employees who do the floor conversions at Barclays Center are represented by the Service Employees International Union. Those who do the same job at Madison Square Garden are represented by the Carpenters Union and reportedly get higher pay. Some Barclays Center employees want to switch unions, but thus far, have failed to get the needed votes.

So the Carpenters Union has set up informational picketing at the arena including the inflatable rats. Bruce Ratner has had union support, most importantly the construction trade unions, both in the approval of the arena and now in an agreement to permit modular construction of three residential buildings on the arena periphery.