Boston, Police Union Begin Talks

From Associated Press

Negotiators from the city and a police union that picketed the FleetCenter last week, delaying work at the site of next month’s Democratic National Convention, went into a mediation session Sunday night.

“We’re going in there for the long run,” said Thomas Nee, president of the Boston Police Patrolmen’s Assn., which has been without a contract for nearly two years. “We’re going to get this behind us.”

Mayor Thomas M. Menino, meanwhile, issued a statement announcing that the city had reached a tentative contract agreement with the 294-member Emergency Medical Services division of the police union.


“This is another step toward reaching our goal of having every municipal union employee under contract,” Menino said.

Last week, when the $14-million renovation project to convert the FleetCenter from a sports arena into a convention hall was to begin, angry union members turned away cranes and trucks, and construction workers refused to cross picket lines.

The picketing ended Friday after a federal judge sent marshals to the site to ensure that the union protesters were not blocking access.

The police union wants a 16.5% increase over four years. The city has offered an 11.9% raise over four years and has pressed for expedited arbitration that could lead to an agreement before the July 26-29 convention.

The standoff took its toll on the Democratic National Committee, likely driving up costs by as much as $100,000 for each day of lost work.