New York 1 News

August 10, 2002

Schumer Proposes Federal Aid For NYPD, FDNY Raises

Senator Charles Schumer wants to use some of the $21 billion in September 11 relief from the federal government to pay for raises for the NYPD and FDNY.

“In the last 11 months, our brave firefighters, our fine policemen have been under enormous physical and emotional strain,” Schumer said in a news conference Saturday. ”To add a financial strain is too much to ask.”

The senator’s request follows the reported threat of a wildcat strike on Labor Day or September 11 by police officers, which, on any day, would be illegal under state labor law. The officers are angry about reports that a state arbitrator, in a binding decision, is expected to grant them annual pay raises of 5 percent in a two-year contract, far less than the 23 percent over two years they wanted.

“Possibly to hear word that they won't make the right decision and not pay New York City police officers is devastating to this police department, absolutely devastating,” Pat Lynch, president of the union, the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association, said at the news conference with Schumer. “These are the men and women that keep this city safe.”

The Federal Emergency Management Agency, which oversees distribution of the federal disaster aid, said it hasn't seen the specifics of Schumer's proposal. But in a statement that seemed to narrow the possibility of approval, a spokesperson said: “In reviewing any request that calls for FEMA to authorize funding, the request clearly needs to be disaster-related, and that means the World Trade Center disaster.”

The Bloomberg administration said it would not comment on labor negotiations while the arbitrator’s ruling is still pending.