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Endorse July 25 Protest at Democratic Convention

by ANSWER Boston Friday, Jul. 09, 2004 at 4:44 AM
info@answerboston.org

Bring the troops home now! Sun. July 25 12 Noon, Boston Common

Tell John Kerry & George W. Bush:

Money for Jobs and Education,

Not for War and Occupation!

Endorse the July 25th Protest

at the Democratic National Convention

Gather 12 noon Boston Common

The attacks by Bush and the Republicans on affirmative action, equal marriage rights, immigrant rights, women's rights, social programs, unions, health care, and Section 8 housing could not happen without the support of the Democrats.

Time and time again the Bush Administration has been caught lying to the people--about Halliburton, Enron, the invasion of Iraq, the torturing of prisoners, the kidnapping of President Aristide, the list goes on--and the Democrats stand by and allow it to happen. Worse yet, they support and collaborate with the Bush Administration.

Why? Because the Democratic Party and the Republican Party are cut from the same cloth. They both represent the interests of the wealthy and the corporations.

This is why the July 25 demonstration at the DNC in Boston is so important. We need to build a movement that represents the people--a movement that does not rely on the Democratic Party for handouts--a movement that will stand in solidarity with those struggling against imperialism.

Get involved!

Come to Boston on July 25 and March in oppostion to the Democratic Convention and in August, join us in marching against the Republican Convention.



To endorse or for more info call: 617-522-6626

email info@answerboston.org

or visit http://www.answerboston.org/2004dnc/endorse.html



***********************



[NOTE: Local 8751 is part of the coalition working with ANSWER Boston on the July 25 March on the DNC and has been involved with ANSWER in all permit negotiations.]



Bus drivers, monitors set to picket convention

By Rick Klein, Globe Staff | July 7, 2004

Boston's school bus drivers and monitors are planning a picket line outside the FleetCenter during the Democratic National Convention, reviving the specter of labor unrest outside the convention arena.

The nearly 1,200 bus drivers and monitors lack the political clout of the 1,400-member Boston Police Patrolmen's Association, which dropped its threats to picket at the FleetCenter last week, and it is unclear

how many drivers would turn out for picket lines. But labor demonstrations at the convention arena could present a difficult choice for convention delegates and Senator John F. Kerry, who last week honored the police union's picket line at the US Conference of Mayors meeting in Boston. "I don't cross picket lines," Kerry told reporters at the time.

Now, the unions representing the bus drivers and monitors are calling on Kerry and delegates to do the same at the convention later this month. "We appreciated John Kerry's position that he wouldn't cross a picket line," said Steven Gillis, president of the bus drivers' union, which has gone a year working without a contract. "Hopefully, local and national Democrats will do the same."

A Kerry campaign spokesman, Michael Meehan, declined to comment yesterday, saying that he did not know the details of the unions' contract situations.

Kerry hoped to have put to rest the issue of FleetCenter protests last week. After he honored the police picket line at the conference of mayors, the patrolmen's association said it would confine its protests to Menino's convention events, such as the delegation welcoming parties. Union leaders said they would not put Kerry or delegates in the position of having to cross a picket line to enter the

FleetCenter.

But the school bus drivers and monitors are among a number of advocacy groups applying to the city for permits to protest on Causeway Street, directly in front of the FleetCenter, from July 25 through July 29. That period encompasses the convention.

Mayor Thomas M. Menino said he remains hopeful that all city unions can be brought under contract before the convention. Yesterday, Boston firefighters had their first bargaining session since Memorial Day weekend. On Friday, a state board will begin considering whether to order the patrolmen's association into arbitration with the city.

"I'm always hopeful," the mayor said, adding that about 75 percent of city workers are now under contract.

Menino is only tangentially involved in talks with the school bus drivers and monitors; drivers are technically private-sector workers because they work for a contractor hired by the city, while monitors work for the School Department. The mayor's attention has been focused on the police and fire unions, which have led demonstrations that delayed convention preparations at the FleetCenter.

Gillis said the union is seeking a pension plan for drivers, dental and eye insurance, and wage increases that ``keep up with the cost of living." He said First Student, the drivers' employer, has so far only offered 2.5 percent annual raises in a five-year contract, and wants to hire more part-time workers without union protection and force drivers to have global positioning devices in vehicles.

First Student referred calls to the School Department. A spokesman for the school system, Jonathan Palumbo, declined to comment on the specifics of contract talks, but noted that nine of the 13 bargaining units that negotiate with the School Department have been able to sign pacts.

The bus drivers and monitors are among a range of smaller unions that are planning to use the convention to win concessions at the bargaining table.

Newton firefighters, working without a contract for a year, are planning pickets at hotels reserved for delegates in their city during the convention. Employees of the Pilgrim Station nuclear power plant in Plymouth are scheduled to go on strike July 13, with an eye on using the possibility of power disruptions at the convention as leverage.

Citing security precautions, convention organizers want to shut down Causeway Street and confine protesters to a designated zone south of Causeway, a situation that would prevent delegates from having to physically cross picket lines. But the American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts is threatening a lawsuit if access to Causeway Street is denied.

Richard M. Rogers, executive secretary-treasurer of the Greater Boston Labor Council, said the possibility of picketing should persuade Menino and the School Department to intensify efforts to settle contracts with bus drivers and monitors. The School Department negotiates directly with the monitors and often sends representatives to meetings between the bus drivers and First Student.

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