Holy rat mobile! What's with that vehicle parked on Chestnut Street?

Please note: This article is published as an archive copy from Philadelphia City Paper. My City Paper is not affiliated with Philadelphia City Paper. Philadelphia City Paper was an alternative weekly newspaper in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The last edition was published on October 8, 2015.

We're used to seeing the inflatable rat, not this stretch rodent.

Holy rat mobile! What's with that vehicle parked on Chestnut Street?

    A van outfitted like a huge gray rat was parked in front of Giovanni’s Pizza in the 1500 block of Chestnut Street at lunchtime today.

     What’s with the rat van? When labor has an issue at a site, the unions usually bring out the big inflatable rat to call attention to the dispute.

     Charles Murphy, special projects coordinator for the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 98, who was handing out leaflets, had the answer.

     Someone at the IBEW had seen online that four Aerostar vans were being turned in by a Canadian company. Can you guess what animal this van used to be? he asked.

   So, I checked it over, from front to back, taking note of the pointy ears and the bared teeth. “A cat?" I guessed. "The fat  tail on top looks like a cat’s tail.”

    Turns out that was right, and that rat mobile had a previous life as a Purina Cat Chow van. How many more lives it has left is unknown. The union has had the van for about a year and a half, Murphy says.

     As for Giovanni’s Pizza, the IBEW is unhappy that the shop chose a non-union electrical contractor for renovations to its new pizza shop and that's why the rat mobile was brought out.


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