New York Post
July 7, 2004

LINING UP TO PICKET AT GARDEN

By HEIDI SINGER

Angry cops, firefighters and teachers are planning a round-the-clock picket at Madison Square Garden — and plan to ask other union members not to cross the line — in a move that could massively disrupt preparations for the Republican National Convention.

Fuming over failed wage and benefit negotiations with City Hall, the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association, Uniformed Firefighters Association and United Federation of Teachers are setting up an "informational picket" around the Garden indefinitely beginning July 19, when the city hands over the site to GOP organizers.

"Many Republicans who are coming to town have no idea that the heroes of Sept. 11 don't have a contract and have been working without one for two years," said Steve Cassidy, president of the Uniformed Firefighters Association. "I think most Americans will find that outrageous."

They're asking other labor unions to join them.

"We certainly know many union members and many elected officials won't cross picket lines," said Al O'Leary of the PBA. "[But] we'll have our pickets there and ask people to consider what they should do."

Cassidy said organizers haven't yet decided whether to ask convention-goers to honor the picket.

Officials from several other unions said they weren't yet aware of the plan.