With the clock counting down to the Democratic National Convention in Boston, Democratic leaders are starting to sweat. The mayor and the police union are locked in a labor dispute that threatens to derail the convention. From The Boston Globe:
Democratic officials have postponed a tour of the FleetCenter for the national media as contractors try again to start renovating the convention arena amid police union contract protests – this time with U.S. marshals monitoring the picket lines.
Yesterday morning, U.S. District Court Judge Joseph Tauro ordered the head U.S. marshal, Anthony Dichio, to monitor activity around the FleetCenter and ensure picketing did not block people or vehicles from entering the job site to begin the $14 million retrofit for the Democratic National Convention.
“This is what I expect – no blocking. I take two words to say it. I’ve got colleagues who would take 100 pages to say the same thing,” Tauro said. “No impeding access. Get out of the way. Make sure no one is in the way. Don’t slow them down.”
Tauro called his guidelines for picketing “good, plain English” and warned that violators would be arrested for contempt.
The edict could be a blow to the Boston Police Patrolmen’s Association and unions backing it, which, by preventing work at the FleetCenter, have ramped up pressure on Menino to give ground on wages or risk having the prized July convention turn into a fiasco.
If work inside remains halted, the elaborate design for the convention will be in jeopardy – all under the national media spotlight.Democratic delegates are going to have hard choices to make if there are picket lines outside the convention. For Democrats, especially those bankrolled by labor unions, crossing a picket line is sacrosanct. When high profile Democrats meet picket lines they either cross and face the wrath of organized labor or honor the line and look like organized labor’s lackeys – either way they loose.
Thomas Keane, in the Globe, paints the nightmare scenario for Kerry:
And so, imagine if you will that you’re a moderate voter living in Arkansas – a swing state where just under 7 percent of workers are unionized – and you turn on the television one evening in late July. The convention is on and, predictably, it’s boring. Second-rate luminaries, thrilled to be in the national spotlight, are giving snoozer speeches. Everyone knows Kerry will be nominated. You’re just about to turn the channel.
But wait, there’s some excitement. The Boston police are holding a massive demonstration! Picket lines have been set up! Delegates are refusing to attend parties and events around the city!
Wow. The Democratic convention brought to a standstill by a small cadre of union members. The mayor of Boston humiliated. The entire Democratic Party caving in to the demands of a few.
And for you, the bewildered citizen of Arkansas, the idea of a Democratic president is suddenly a lot scarier.