The Rat is Back: Union Activism Generates Strong Reactions

From the CSRHub Blog

By Bahar Gidwani

Years ago, the building next to my office tried to get rid of its union staff. A local New York building union set up a picket line and brought in a huge inflatable rat to help tell everyone who passed what was going on. The picketing (and the rat) seemed to work and the building owners backed down.
I hadn’t seen that big rat for years. But, guess what? The rat has returned to New York and he seems to be getting a lot of use. I spotted him recently on Lexington Avenue in the East 50s mearn n near the Citicorp building. The Daily News recently reported that the rat was down in the East Village at Grace Church.

I suspect the resurgent presence of the rat is related to the union-government conflict in Wisconsin. We’ve had more than a month of protests, arguments, and lawsuits, and we are now starting to see a lot of union-related corporate social responsibility (CSR) data published on the web. All sides in the discussion have something to say.

Every day, new information is being published on companies to avoid:

CSRHub already has a list of 198 companies that support labor unions on our site. We tried, at one point, to ingest the AFL-CIO’s boycott list, but it didn’t have many public companies on it, and it wasn’t updated very often. We are happy to have more opinions on unionization, from a variety of viewpoints.

Many of our users will want to know where the rats are and take a stand either for or against union organization.

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Bahar Gidwani is a Cofounder and CEO of CSRHub. Formerly, he was the CEO of New York-based Index Stock Imagery, Inc, from 1991 through its sale in 2006. He has built and run large technology-based businesses and has experience building a multi-million visitor Web site. Bahar holds a CFA, was a partner at Kidder, Peabody & Co., and worked at McKinsey & Co. Bahar has consulted to both large companies such as Citibank, GE, and Acxiom and a number of smaller software and Web-based companies. He has an MBA (Baker Scholar) from Harvard Business School and a BS in Astronomy and Physics (magna cum laude) from Amherst College. Bahar races sailboats, plays competitive bridge, and is based in New York City.

CSRHub is a corporate social responsibility (CSR) ratings tool that allows managers, researchers, consultants, academics and individual activists to track the CSR and sustainability performance of major companies. We aggregate data from more than 90 sources to provide our users with a comprehensive source of CSR information on about 5000 publicly traded companies in 66 countries. CSRHub is a B Corporation. Browse our ratings at www.csrhub.com

Inset Photo: Bahar Gidwani

CSRHub provides access to corporate social responsibility and sustainability ratings and information on nearly 5,000 companies from 135 industries in 65 countries. Managers, researchers and activists use CSRHub to benchmark company performance, learn how stakeholders evaluate company CSR practices and seek ways to change the world.CSRHub rates 12 indicators of employee, environment, community and governance performance and flags many special issues. We offer subscribers immediate access to millions of detailed data points from our 140-plus data sources. Our data comes from six socially responsible investing firms, well-known indexes, publications, “best of” or “worst of” lists, NGOs, crowd sources and government agencies. By aggregating and normalizing the information from these sources, CSRHub has created a broad, consistent rating system and a searchable database that links each rating point back to its source.