New York Daily News

July 8, 2004

Mike: Pickets at Garden bad union tactic

By David Saltonstall

City unions that picket around Madison Square Garden during the runup to the Republican National Convention will be hurting only themselves, Mayor Bloomberg warned yesterday.

The city's police, fire and teachers unions plan to put informational pickets around the Garden from July 18 through Aug. 29, the day before the convention begins, to protest their lack of contracts with the city.

Organizers said the unions' intent was not to shut down the convention — which has already negotiated a no-strike deal with convention workers — but to send a message.

"It's not a great picture to have emergency workers and teachers outside, begging for a fair contract," said Al O'Leary of the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association. "And we recognize that this is an opportunity to share that information with the entire nation."

Bloomberg said he was not worried about the pickets — but hinted that the unions' strategy may backfire.

"If they disrupt our ability to have a growing economy," Bloomberg said of the unions, "we are not going to have the revenues to pay them. So they really would be very much hurting themselves if they wanted to do that."