New York 1 News

January 11, 2001

Police Union Holds Contract Rally At City Hall Park

RallyThousands of police officers rallied for a pay raise at City Hall Park Thursday. The Patrolmen's Benevolent Association says at least 15,000 off-duty officers attended the peaceful demonstration. The police union says officers deserve a salary comparable to their counterparts in other large cities. While contract negotiations between the PBA and the city are at an impasse, guest speakers took their turn at the podium Thursday to send a message to Mayor Rudolph Giuliani. Among them, family members of police officers killed in the line of duty. "On that dreadful night in the hospital, Mayor Giuliani was there with the police commissioner and other dignitaries and said to me, 'If there is anything I can do for you, all you have to is ask,'" said one police widow. "Well guess what Mayor Giuliani? I am asking you to give surviving officers enough money to live on. In that way you also honor those who gave their lives in the line of duty." "The reason tourists are coming to this town is because New York City police officers made it safe," added PBA head Pat Lynch. "All we want is our fair share of our money — the money that is in the city surplus." The PBA is asking for a 39 percent increase over three years. The city issued a statement Thursday saying, "The demands being made by speakers at the rally go way beyond anything the city can afford. Moreover, the PBA has thus far been unwilling to agree to any productivity increases, and has refused the city's repeated offers to resume negotiations. At a time when inflation is at 2.5 percent, the 39 percent raise being demanded by the PBA not only makes no sense, it would send the city into bankruptcy." Giuliani added, "It's easy to pander and tell people what they want to hear. It's harder to be mayor and do what's tough. But when you're talking about billions and billions of dollars, I'm not going to do that to the next mayor." The PBA held a similar protest rally in 1992. In fact, Giuliani supported that rally in protest of then-Mayor David Dinkins.