Boston’s largest police union, seeking a contract settlment, is asking Democrats nationwide to boycott the Democratic National Convention in July, says the Boston Globe. Police union allies across the country have begun phoning local delegates and party officials, telling them that entering the convention site will be seen as crossing a picket line if Boston police do not have their contract settled by then. Thousands of police from at least nine states and 18 unions will stand beside Boston officers to show their solidarity. “There will be an expectation that the line not be crossed,” Thomas J. Nee, president of the Boston Police Patrolmen’s Association, said yesterday. “I know Democrats do not do that. That’s the protocol.”
The union has vowed to use the convention as leverage in its battle. Several unions recently ran an ad in the Washington Post aimed at party officials; yesterday, the union unveiled a pro-union website that mimics the official DNC site.
A convention picket line could embarrass Massachusetts Senator John Kerry, who will formally receive his party’s nomination at the convention. A display of disharmony among Democrats, with traditional close ties to organized labor, could send a negative message as the party tries to present a unified front against President Bush.
Boston Mayor Thomas Menino hopes the patrolmen’s union contract will be settled soon. He said progress on other contracts should convince even die-hard labor friends that Boston treats public-employee unions fairly. Nee “is making a statement here, and it’s more important to nominate a candidate for the presidency,” Menino said. “We’ve been a labor-friendly city, for the most part.”