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Buyer’s Remorse II: The Wrath Of Cops

As Kevin pointed out earlier, the city of Boston is having a bit of a kerfuffle over the upcoming Democratic National Convention. For those of you just joining us, I’ll give a quick recap and update.

When Boston put in it’s bid for the convention, one item that troubled the Democratic National Committee was that several public-sector employees were working without a contract – in particular, the Boston Police Patrolman’s Association. Mayor Thomas Menino assured the DNC that the contract WOULD be settled before the convention.

Fast forward. It’s now barely a month before the convention, and still there’s no contract. The BPPA decides to hold an “informational picket” at the site of the convention, the Fleet Center, and ask other unions to not cross their lines and go in to prepare the center for the convention.

One of the unions (I think it was the Carpenters) spent their meeting last week discussing whether or not to cross the line (the BPPA doesn’t exactly have a distinguished record of supporting other unions, especially outside the public sector). When they came out of their meeting, for the first time in years, their cars (admittedly illegally parked) were all ticketed. An astonishing coincidence, I’m sure.

Then the “informational picket” went on. Trucks of supplies were turned back by shouting, angry off duty cops (among a rather large selection of illegally-parked but unticketed cars).

Then the mayor took the offensive. Menino, so inarticulate he’s been tagged with the nickname “Mumbles,” went to the airwaves to make his case.

“We offered them 11.8 % over four years, and they refused. We offered to go to binding arbitration, and they refused. They won’t tell us what they want, just that what we offer isn’t enough,” he said, or thereabouts.

Then Federal Judge Tauro got involved. He’d authorized the picketing in the first place, but he’d specifically said it was NOT to involve blocking access to the Fleet Center. When it became clear that people and trucks were being turned away, he grabbed Boston’s police commissioner and personally took her down to the Center. There, he showed her in absolutely unmistakable terms just where the police could and could not stand and protest, and informed her that he would be sending in Federal Marshals to monitor the situation, literally acting as his “eyes and ears.”

Friday the police ended their picketing at the Fleet Center, moving on to City Hall. There’s still no contract, but at least the $14 million in preparations have begun.

So there you have it. You have a public employee labor union fighting with a liberal Democratic mayor in one of the most liberal cities in one of the most liberal states in the union, all revolving around a convention that will essentially shut the city down for the entire week, just to confirm the nomination of a senator who’s been recognized by several sources as one of the most liberal among that august body.

I tell ya, a couple more complications like this and I might have to start wearing Depends.

J.


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