A giant inflatable rat that is commonly seen at union demonstrations made an appearance at the Sport and Medical Sciences Academy Tuesday.
The occasion was yet another Hartford Teachers Federation rally against Superintendent of Schools Steven Adamowski.
The aptly named Ratso, who sported a placard that contained a stick figure hanging from a yardarm and the words "Adamowski AKA Termite," loomed nearby as the rally went on.
Union president Andrea Johnson said the rat was brought to the rally as a courtesy by the Teamsters and that "we had a fitting personality for it."
Tuesday's rally was to protest the latest volley in what Johnson called ongoing "union busting activities.
In August she and two other union officers were placed on unpaid, unapproved leave in a dispute over a long held practice that allows union officers to be detached from their regular duties to work on union business for the district's 2,200 employees.
Now Johnson said, he is refusing to implement increased union dues withdrawals from teachers and staff members paychecks.
In a letter to Johnson, Adamowski asked for written confirmation of the union's legal basis to implement 8.2 to 9.5 percent increases in paycheck deductions and confirmation that the increases are appropriate and that staff have been notified.
Johnson, who said the rank and file have been notified, added that the rally was to "reiterate our position that he's continuing to add to his union busting activities."
The next school board meeting is scheduled for Oct. 20. Could hanging Adamowski in effigy be next.