January 11, 2001

NYPD Officers Rally for Pay Raise

by Staff Writers

AP Photo  

With negotiations between their union and the city at loggerheads, thousands of police officers braved blustery winter winds to demonstrate outside city hall today for a pay raise.

The demonstrators – who City Hall numbered at 3,500 and who police officials estimated as ranging from 4,500 to 8,000 – carried signs that read, "Crime is down and so is our pay;: "Hey, Rudy, thanks for nothing;” and "Guiliani the Backstabber.”

To drive home the point about salaries, some protesters walked pretended to panhandle by walking around the demonstration holding Styrofoam cups and asking passersby for change.

Speaking to reporters as the demonstrators massed on Broadway outside City Hall Park–whose iron gates were locked shut–Patrolmen's Benevolent Association president Patrick Lynch said, "We are hoping this sparks negotiations with the mayor.”

The union's formal contract proposal currently seeks raise of 39 percent over two years, which union officials say would give them parity with officers of the Newark, N.J. police department, though it would still lag behind Nassau and Suffolk.

While the city has made no formal counteroffer, Giuliani has indicated that the city could accept raises for police, who earn a starting salary of $31,705, of 2.5 percent for each of the two years.

In contrast to the PBA demonstration outside city hall in 1992, now etched in city political lore after cops taunted then Mayor David N. Dinkins with racial slurs, today's demonstration had a festive air.

Participants included the actor Jerry Orbach, who plays an NYPD detective on the television show "Law and Order” and who told the demonstrators, "All I can do is try and represent you guys on a TV screen and make you look as good as I can. I could never go out and not know if I'm coming home that night the way you do.”