Boston officials, in an attempt to salvage the Democratic convention’s opening festivities, have launched a public relations offensive against the city’s police union in its intensifying battle over a new police contract. The Boston Globe says convention organizers invited small business owners to a press conference to accuse the police union of putting its own concerns before the needs of struggling small firms, including those owned by minorities. They said their businesses would lose an opportunity if the union goes ahead with threatened picket lines. Several state delegations have pledged to boycott the parties, raising the possibility that some of the 30 welcoming receptions hosted by Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino on the eve of the convention would be canceled.
As the Boston Police Patrolmen’s Association lobbied state Democratic leaders and delegations to stay away from Menino’s receptions, city officials distributed a letter from Boston’s hotel and restaurant workers union that endorses Menino as a prounion mayor. Another flier contended that the police union’s political action committee has given $7,000 to Republican state legislators since 2001. “Before Democrats respect the BPPA’s protests, isn’t it time the BPPA showed our party some respect,” said the flier, which did not indicate who had written it. Association president Thomas Nee said the union has given $97,500 to Democrats statewide since 2001, compared with $12,000 to Republicans.