New York Daily News

May 29, 2015, 10:53 PM

  

 

NYPD cops, firefighters rally in front of City Hall for more disability benefits

BY JENNIFER FERMINO

PBA
“This is an issue and a moral obligation that the city has had for 75 years and let drop,” said PBA President Patrick Lynch as NYPD cops and firefighters rally for more disability benefits.

Hundreds of cops, firefighters and their supporters rallied in front of City Hall Friday calling for an increase in disability benefits, the latest battle with the badges for Mayor de Blasio.

The huge rally came just ahead of a contentious City Council hearing in which Council members — who overwhelmingly support the cops and firefighters — grilled the administration about the mayor’s opposition to an Albany bill boosting the benefits.

Labor Commissioner Robert Linn, testifying before the Council, said the city couldn’t support the bill because of the cost, which the city claims is $400 million through 2019.

“Pensions (for cops) are currently some of the most expensive in the country,” he said.

He said the city’s compromise costs just $47 million for the same time period and still provides a modest boost to benefits.

The police and fire unions oppose the mayor’s plan.

“This is an issue and a moral obligation that the city has had for 75 years and let drop,” said PBA President Patrick Lynch.

Lynch — who famously said de Blasio had “blood on his hands” in the deaths of two cops last year — said the mayor’s plan was “nothing but a press release.”

At issue is the disability benefits for uniformed workers hired after a change in the law in 2009.

If those workers are injured on the job and can’t work, they are entitled to 50% of their salary, compared to 75% for workers hired before 2009.

De Blasio’s plan continues to give those workers 50% of their wages, but pays them at the maximum salary for their job title, even if they are newly hired and making well below that.

The Albany bill — which must get a “home rule” of support from the City Council to move forward — gives all cops benefits at 75% of their salary, the same they used to get before the change in the law.

Because of all the foot-dragging, some state legislators are pushing a bill that would circumvent the City Council and reinstate the benefits.

“There’s almost unanimous support (for boosting the benefits) throughout both houses,” said Assemblyman Peter Abbate, chairman of the Governmental Employees Committee.