Staten Island Advance
updated April 28, 2015 at 5:52 PM

Firefighters, police officers plan march on City Hall

By Anna Sanders | 

CITY HALL -- Firefighters and police officers will march on City Hall next week to pressure lawmakers to support higher disability pension benefits. 

The Uniformed Firefighters Association and the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association have planned a joint May 6 demonstration. The unions expect hundreds of cops and firefighters to "join forces," according to a press release. 

"The city has a moral obligation to protect and support police officers and firefighters who are injured in its service," PBA President Patrick Lynch said in a statement. "We are asking our city leaders to honor that obligation by equalizing disability pension benefits for all." 

The unions want state lawmakers to pass legislation increasing line-of-duty retirement benefits for police officers and firefighters who were hired after July 2009 and matching them to the level of those hired before. The law was changed by then-Gov. David Paterson. 

Before bills in the state legislature can move forward, the City Council must pass a "home rule" resolution supporting them. 

Such a measure from Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley has 38 co-sponsors, including Staten Island's two-member Republican delegation. Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito (D-Manhattan/Bronx) does not have a position, a spokeswoman said. 

The event next week is intended to pressure both the Council as well as Mayor Bill de Blasio, who does not have a formal role in the authorization process but has cited the high cost of the change. 

The demonstration will begin with a rally and march to City Hall from Battery Park's northeast corner at 11 a.m.