New York Daily News

August 25, 2004

Unions send widows at Mike


Parents, wives and children of fallen police officers and firefighters gathered on the steps of City Hall yesterday to urge Mayor Bloomberg to reconsider his tough stance on salary increases.

"Every time there is a threat, you put them out there like targets and they never complain," said Judy Hansen, who lost her son, Kenneth Hansen, a 26-year-old harbor unit officer, during a drill in 1991. "Mayor Bloomberg, you need to let them know that they are worth more."

"Officers have to work two and three jobs," said Marge Darcy, whose husband, John Darcy, was killed in 1967.

"It's time to give to them what they gave to all of you," she said, her voice cracking with emotion.

It has been more than two years since city contracts with both firefighters and police officers expired. The Uniformed Firefighters Association and the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association are in binding arbitration with the city.

That process moved forward recently as the PBA and city were asked to select members of an arbitration panel.

Uniformed labor has been stepping up the pressure on the mayor lately, heckling him at events around the city and even organizing a raucous early-morning protest outside his upper East Side townhouse last week.

Bloomberg, who raised and donated money for police and fire widows before he was elected to office, declined to fire back yesterday.

"Unless you lost somebody in the tragedy of 9/11, you can't really feel the way they feel," he said.

But Bloomberg has said the city does not have money for large raises.

"It would be great if we could pay all our municipal workers more," Bloomberg said.

The mayor has said that the unions could get more money by agreeing to productivity givebacks, such as working longer hours.