You might wonder why a large inflatable rat was stationed near Thomas Middle School on Arlington Heights Road in Arlington Heights this week.
The symbol marks a union protest over the fact that Arlington Heights Elementary District 25 hired a nonunion contractor to do masonry work this summer, said Superintendent Sarah Jerome.
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Under law the district's responsibility is to hire the lowest competent bidder, and there is no mandate to hire union labor, said Stacey Mallek, assistant superintendent for business.
Several district schools will receive masonry repairs this summer.
A spokesman for International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Craft Local 21 could not be reached for comment.