Mystery writers blasted by union
A Baltimore-bound convention for mystery writers -- which will feature Lawrence Block and Laura Lippman -- is taking heat from a hotel workers union. The Bouchercon gathering will be based at the Sheraton City Center, where workers and managers have been squabbling over a new contract since 2006. The union has pressed for a boycott, and has been contacting convention attendees to ask that they not "sleep, meet or eat" at the hotel.
Convention organizers aren't budging. "We are not willing to break the law, dismiss contracts signed in good faith, or jeopardize Bouchercon to do this," says a statement on the convention blog. And Barbara Peters, who with husband Robert Rosenwald will receive a lifetime achievement award, charges the union with harrassment. She told me in an e-mail that union lobbying of attendees "cuts right to the heart of redefining Right to Privacy plus regulating the practices of labor unions who are aggressively seeking to claim or reclaim power. It is wonderfully ironic that the convention they are currently targeting is a gathering of crime and mystery writers, no? This stuff is meat and drink to us, not poison!"
Yolanda Carrington, a boycott organizer, says the union used the convention's publicly available online list of attendees to make contacts. "Nobody is using underhanded methods. ... We have not stolen information. We have not stalked people."