New York Daily News

August 12, 2004

Mike hints at 8% hike

Wants cop, firefighter givebacks

BY MAGGIE HABERMAN
DAILY NEWS CITY HALL BUREAU

Vowing he won't be cowed by protesting cops and firefighters, Mayor Bloomberg said yesterday their unions could win raises of 8% "or even more" if they agree to givebacks.

"Some of the uniformed services could get 8% or even more in terms of raises, but it requires productivity savings," Bloomberg told reporters at Fort Hamilton in Brooklyn, where he was again greeted by jeering union members who have been following him around to events in recent days.

Productivity savings generally mean requiring longer work weeks.

The city has offered cops and firefighters roughly the same deal as in a recent pact with District Council 37, the city's largest municipal union. The three-year DC 37 contract included a $1,000 bonus payment in the first year and a 5% raise over the next two years in exchange for working longer.

But police and fire union leaders say that the city's last offer had no $1,000 bonus, and that they have not been offered a raise anywhere near 8%.

The mayor spoke a day after police and firefighters said their negotiations were at an impasse and dangled the possibility of wildcat strikes during the upcoming Republican National Convention.

It's extremely unusual for a mayor to reveal a specific raise, and some observers questioned whether it was a tactic to get the unions back to the table.

But union leaders said the givebacks would essentially eat away about a third of an 8% raise — and they would rather enter arbitration.

"We're not interested in working any" more hours in givebacks, said Uniformed Firefighters Association President Stephen Cassidy. "I would think that a responsible leader would recognize a stalemate when he sees one."

Bloomberg also responded to veiled threats from the unions to walk off the job during the convention, saying, "Anybody that thinks that there is pressure on the administration ... just doesn't seem to understand what New York's all about."

"We're not trying to intimidate him or ask for any favors," said Patrolmen's Benevolent Association spokesman Joe Mancini. "We just want to put the spotlight on this unjust situation."

Meanwhile, a federal lawsuit was filed yesterday by two groups looking to rally on the Great Lawn, hoping to force the city to issue permits for large-scale demonstrations there.