New York Post
August 11, 2004

COPS & BRAVEST HINT AT CONVENTION STRIKE

By FRANKIE EDOZIEN

    BADGE FEELINGS:
  BADGE FEELINGS:
PBA chief Pat Lynch (left) and fire-union boss Stephen Cassidy blast Mayor Bloomberg yesterday at City Hall.

Police officers and firefighters said yesterday they have reached an impasse in their contract talks with the Bloomberg administration — and refused to rule out a strike or sickouts during the Republican National Convention.

"Everyone has a limit, and the mayor needs to know we're close to our limit," said Stephen Cassidy, president of the Uniformed Firefighters Association, at a press conference at City Hall.

The cops and firefighters — insisting they deserve a bigger raise than other municipal employees — vowed to continue pestering Mayor Bloomberg for a new contract by crashing his events around town.

"Just three short years ago we lost 340 firefighters," Cassidy said.

"Over 1,100 firefighters in the history of the FDNY have died protecting the city of New York — and Mike Bloomberg says we're no different than people that push paper. That's a joke."

He added, "It's a disgrace. It's an insult to firefighters and police officers who risk their lives every day."

For weeks, off-duty cops and firefighters have been trailing the mayor to his public events — including Monday night in Greenwich Village.

They've also picketed outside Madison Square Garden, site of this month's Republican National Convention, which begins Aug. 30.

Mayoral spokesman Ed Skyler said the city had offered them a fair deal and branded the protesters' tactics shortsighted and ineffective.

He maintained that the city didn't have unlimited funds and was facing budget gaps in the near future.

"The mayor is not going to be intimidated into making a deal that's bad for the city and if they think that's the way . . . They'll find out they're sorely mistaken," he said.

Pat Lynch, president of the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association said, "We will continue to wake the mayor up in the morning and put him to bed at night. We will follow him wherever he is."

Several other city unions have already accepted a 5 percent raise plus $1,000 over three years, with 2 percent coming from productivity enhancements such as lower pay and benefits for new hires.

The city's last offer to the police and fire unions was a $1,000 lump-sum payment plus an 8 percent pay hike — though 5 percent of the raise would come from productivity enhancements, a Bloomberg spokesman said.

Police have been without a contract since July 31, 2002, and firefighters since May 31, 2002.

With Post Wire Services