New York Daily News

July 29, 2004

NYPD, FDNY in strike cry

BY MICHAEL SAUL
DAILY NEWS CITY HALL BUREAU

Cops and firefighters gathered at City Hall yesterday, demanding pay raises and raising the specter of a strike.

As chants of "strike, strike, strike" and "Bloomberg must go" echoed behind them, union leaders refused to dismiss the possibility of a work stoppage.

"The UFA and the PBA will not rule out anything for our members," said Patrick Lynch, president of the Patromen's Benevolent Association. "Our objective is to get a contract - this city has not dealt with us fairly."

Stephen Cassidy, president of the Uniformed Firefighters Association agreed.

"The level of frustration for our police officers and firefighters is so high, I don't think anything can be ruled out," Cassidy said.

Bloomberg quickly dismissed talk of a strike as nonsense.

"A strike is illegal," he said flatly. "There won't be a strike."

Bloomberg said his administration has offered cops and firefighters "the best we can afford."

"Rather than trying to intimidate the city, which is just not going to happen, with all of these protests, they'd be better off in coming to the table and trying to find productivity savings," Bloomberg said.

Bloomberg said the unions' strategy of "following me around and yelling and screaming" is counterproductive and ultimately pointless.

The cops have been working without a contract since July 31, 2002. Firefighters have been working without a contract since May 31, 2002.

"We're not asking to be millionaires, we're just asking for a fair raise," said Officer Brian Kenny, 38, a PBA delegate. "He's a billionaire mayor treating us like he has no concept of the dollar."