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Thread: Police and Firefighters Rally in Times Square for Higher Pay

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    Police and Firefighters Rally in Times Square for Higher Pay

    Police Rally in Times Square for Higher Pay

    By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

    NEW YORK (AP) -- Off-duty police officers and firefighters turned out in force in Times Square on Thursday to demand higher pay in the wake of the massive recovery effort at the World Trade Center.

    "All of these politicians were at ground zero talking about how much we were worth,'' said Brooklyn firefighter Kevin Roth. "Eleven months later, it's business as usual.''

    Roth was one of thousands of demonstrators at the "rally for heroes'' organized by the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association and the Uniformed Firefighters Association.

    The PBA's 14,000 uniformed officers have been working without a contract since July 2000. PBA spokesman Al O'Leary said police union officials were upset over recent reports that a state arbitration panel might sign off on a two-year contract that includes an increase in work days.

    Reports said the contract would also include annual 5 percent raises; the police union wants a 23 percent pay hike over two years.

    The police union argues that the $31,305 starting salary for New York City police officers is far lower than that of other departments, such as Seattle ($46,146), Fort Lauderdale, Fla., ($39,686) and Jackson, Wyo. ($37,079).

    The firefighters have been without a contract for 27 months and without a pay raise in 40 months.

    "Our firefighters are not given a living wage; our firefighters cannot afford to live in New York,'' said Tom Butler, a union spokesman. "These men and women risk their lives every day for a pauper's wage.''

    O'Leary said his office had gotten calls from officers complaining that their requests to take a vacation day to attend the rally had been denied.

    Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said some requests had to be turned down to maintain an adequate force.



    http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/nati...-Contract.html

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    HEROES ROAR FOR THEIR RAISE

    HEROES ROAR FOR THEIR RAISE

    By LARRY CELONA and ADAM MILLER

    August 16, 2002 --

    Chanting, "Give the heroes a raise," more than 15,000 off-duty city cops and firefighters descended on Times Square yesterday to demand better pay in the wake of sacrifices their colleagues made on 9/11.

    A sea of New York's Bravest and Finest screamed their lungs out during the "Rally for Heroes," in which NYPD and FDNY officials, along with several politicians and celebrities - including "Sopranos" star James Gandolfini - pressured the city to loosen its purse strings.

    During the spirited two-hour lunchtime rally, cops and firefighters chanted, "Too much praise, too little raise."

    They also waved placards, one of which said, "They say,

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    Firefighters and Police Hold Protest for Raises

    Firefighters and Police Hold Protest for Raises

    By WILLIAM K. RASHBAUM


    About 10,000 firefighters and police officers crowded into Times Square yesterday to demand larger raises from the Bloomberg administration, which they said had forgotten the sacrifices they made rushing to fires, cutting crime and responding to the horrors of Sept. 11.

    Firefighters far outnumbered police officers at the carefully orchestrated noon rally, which was organized by the police union, the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association. The embittered, frustrated throng of mostly men stretched five blocks down Broadway from West 42nd Street in the scorching sun.

    Surrounded by hundreds of police supervisors who helped patrol the peaceful but raucous rally, they listened behind barricades to union leaders, politicians and celebrities who spoke of how two forces, known nationally as New York's Bravest and New York's Finest, were instead now functioning as New York's Poorest. Many brought their wives and children and carried signs complaining about miserly pay.

    Several times breaking into chants of "Strike! Strike!" and "Shut It Down!" the crowd reflected the anger and disbelief of many speakers, who charged that the city had failed to reward them for their work and sacrifice. While some union officials have talked privately about a strike, which could land union leaders in jail and officers suspended, others say a work slowdown is more likely.

    Union officials estimated the crowd to be at 15,000, while police officials said the rally was attended by between 8,000 and 10,000 people.

    Images of the speakers on stage were projected onto two giant television screens, as about a dozen union leaders and others

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    Hero's welcome from crowd

    Hero's welcome from crowd


    By KERRY BURKE
    DAILY NEWS WRITER

    New Yorkers enthusiastically backed the thousands of cops and firefighters who jammed Times Square yesterday to demand pay raises.

    Whether they were midtown office workers on their lunch hour, curious passersby or a group of grateful survivors of the World Trade Center attack, they agreed: New York's Finest and Bravest deserve what they're asking for.

    Isabel Mu

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    Uniform Demands

    Uniform Demands
    Police and firefighters rally in midtown for pay raises


    By Leonard Levitt and Peter Bailey
    STAFF WRITERS

    August 16, 2002


    Pumped up with pride and indignation, thousands of police and firefighters turned up the heat yesterday on Mayor Michael Bloomberg for proposing a pay raise they denounced as paltry.

    The orderly, boisterous two-hour demonstration packed six city blocks from Times Square almost down to Herald Square. It brought out upward of 15,000 from departments that have garnered national recognition for their response to the Sept. 11 attack and heavy casualties in their ranks.

    With fierce speeches and hand-scrawled signs, the crowd demanded larger annual pay raises than the 5 percent a year for two years that the cash-strapped city has recommended.

    "Pump up the paychecks!" the crowd roared.

    Weathering the blistering heat, the demonstrators swigged from Gatorade bottles, talked on cell phones and kept things from getting too somber for too long.

    In one part of the crowd, a dozen or so officers wearing shirts emblazoned with a mock slogan "Be Poor: Join NYPD 212-RECRUIT," chanted: "Bloomie wears Bloomers."

    "Bloomie You're Made of Money - We're Not," read a sign carried elsewhere by Officer Vinnie Ewart, 35.

    Other signs targeted Bloomberg's law-and-order predecessor, Rudolph Giuliani, who held police salaries steady in 1996 and 1997 in light of budget pressures and in spite of contentions by the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association president at that time that officers should be rewarded for the sharp drop in crime.

    The state Public Employee Relations Panel recently recommended pay raises of 5 percent a year for officers, emphasizing the city's arguments about its hard-pressed financial condition. The panel also recommended that cops work an additional 10 days a year. Negotiations continue, with PBA president Pat Lynch calling for a 23 percent pay hike over two years.

    Bloomberg has said he would like to pay police and firefighters more but is hampered by the city budget.

    Uniformed Firefighters Association spokesman Tom Butler, meanwhile, said his union had been without a contract for 27 months and without a pay hike. The union's leaders tentatively agreed to a 5 percent annual wage increase last year, but they decided not to put it out to a ratification vote after Sept. 11.

    Yesterday's rally began on an emphatic note.

    A clutch of construction workers, perched atop a high-rise on Broadway, unfurled a banner that announced: "More Money for FD-PD."

    A stage was set up at 42nd Street and Broadway for appearances by James Gandolfini, who plays New Jersey mob boss Tony Soprano on the HBO series "The Sopranos," the Radio City Rockettes, and politicians.

    While some elected officials who were invited skipped the event, according to the organizers, one who did attend, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, drew a roar of boos as she approached the podium.

    That changed when Clinton called it "unconscionable" that, despite the Sept. 11 attack, the police, who lost 23 officers, and firefighters, who lost 343 from their ranks, have not received raises since then. "I don't think there should be zeroes for heroes," she said.

    The senator was followed by firefighters' union head Stephen Cassidy. "We're tired of politicians coming to our funerals and telling our widows how great we were," he said. He added, in error, that a rookie firefighters made only $425 a day.

    "A week!" the crowd called back, referring to the correct weekly salary.

    "All of these politicians were at Ground Zero talking about how much we were worth," said Brooklyn firefighter Kevin Roth, who was part of the throng. "Eleven months later, it's business as usual.

    Reaction from City Hall last night was muted. A Bloomberg spokesman, reading from a prepared statement, said, "We have the best police officers and firefighters in the world and the mayor has no problem with the peacefully exercising their First Amendment right to freedom of expression."

    The PBA's Web site recently has linked to law enforcement job openings from around the country. Starting salaries listed are generally higher than the $31,305 rookie NYPD officers earn.


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    'Can't buy groceries with a pat on the back'

    'Can't buy groceries with a pat on the back'
    NUTThousands of Finest and Bravest crowd into Times Square to demand better pay


    Friday, August 16, 2002

    By REGINALD PATRICK
    ADVANCE STAFF WRITER


    Thousands of off-duty police officers and firefighters from all over the city crowded into Times Square yesterday in the sweltering heat to demand better pay.

    They based their case on two well-known realities in New York City: The record reduction in crime and the well-documented heroics displayed by emergency response workers on Sept. 11 and in the subsequent recovery efforts at Ground Zero.

    "Everybody pats us on the back and calls us heroes," said Firefighter Robert Moran of Queens, the union delegate at Ladder Co. 23 in Harlem. "And we get all the accolades in the world when they're lowering us into the ground. But you can't buy groceries or pay the mortgage with a pat on the back. What I want is a living wage. A wage I can get while I'm living."

    Elvage Jackson of Stapleton, a seven-year Fire Department veteran working out of Engine Co. 211 in Brooklyn, said the union is not looking for anything extraordinary.

    "They use every excuse in the book not to give us an adequate wage," Jackson said. "Did you know that right now a probationary firefighter takes home around $350 a week? You believe that? If he's got a wife and two kids, he's going to need a second job just to pay the bills."

    Veteran Staten Island cop Rob Reid, who's been on the force 11 years, said he "always thought the pay on a job should reflect the risks that job posed."

    "Shouldn't we get a paycheck that at least allows us to live decently? Particularly considering what everybody recognizes we've done for the city," he said, mopping the sweat from his face.

    The Patrolmen's Benevolent Association (PBA), which represents cops, is up in arms over reports a state arbitration panel is prepared to sign off on a two-year contract providing two annual increases of 5 percent each -- and requiring that cops work 10 additional tours each year.

    The PBA is asking for a 23-percent hike over two years.

    "If you do the math on this contract offer, it actually amounts to a pay cut," complained one Staten Island cop, who declined to give his name. "This piddling increase is eaten up by the added hours you've got to work. That's a giveback. This is why cops have to work two jobs to make ends meet."

    For years, this particular officer said, he's been forced to moonlight as a security guard.

    The starting salary for New York City cops -- $31,305 -- falls well short of that in other cities. Rookies in Seattle, for example, get $46,146. Probationary firefighters in New York City come on the job for $32,724.

    Mayor Michael Bloomberg has consistently said he would like to pay cops and firefighters more, but is hampered by a $5 billion hole in the city budget.

    Yesterday's police-fire rally, which slowed traffic on Broadway between 34th and 42nd streets, was aimed at forcing City Hall to find a way to come up with the money, possibly through higher business taxes or federal or state sources. The recent contract with the United Federation of Teachers (UFT), a 23-percent wage hike, was partly underwritten by state funding.

    Speaker after speaker at the rally -- which drew some 15,000 off-duty firefighters and cops, according to PBA estimates -- emphasized that New York City's fledging recovery, including the mini-building boom and the increase in jobs, is a direct result of the improved social climate created by a crime-busting police force and extraordinarily skilled firefighting force.

    "Ten years ago Times Square and many other parts of this city were plagued by rapes and robberies, innocent people were being victimized," said Rep. Vito Fossella (R-Staten Island).

    "No one deserves more credit for this city's turnaround than the men and women of the Police Department. Just look around at the renaissance in Times Square, the investment, the new jobs. That would not have happened if the city were not safe again."

    The only "stain on the city" at this point, Fossella continued, "is the fact that our police officers are still not paid what they should be. For me, the number-one priority of government is to protect innocent people and we need to compensate the people who put their lives on the line to protect us."

    The issue of higher pay for cops is "going to have to be addressed either in the short term or the long term," he said.

    Democratic congressional candidate Arne Mattsson of Tottenville, who recently retired from the Fire Department after 20 years, was in the audience as Fossella, his opponent, was on the stage.

    Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-New York), who was greeted by a mix of cheers and boos, proposed that some of the federal dollars going to federal homeland security efforts be used to help underwrite higher pay for cops and firefighters.

    "It's unconscionable that you've gotten no raise in the wake of 9/11," she said. "I believe police officers are entitled to a raise not just because of September 11th, but because of every single day. We have to do more than just talk about the sacrifices. We've got to reward those who are on the front lines."

    Federal dollars should also be spent to make sure emergency response workers get adequate health coverage and good equipment, Mrs. Clinton said.

    Firefighters have been without a contract for 27 months and without a pay raise in 40 months, said Tom Butler, fire union spokesman.

    Said PBA President Patrick Lynch: "The proud Police Department and Fire Department are on the verge of death -- death from a broken heart, a heart that cried on September 11th. Many expect us to fail, but as we stand here we carry with us the memory of those who have given their lives over the years and those who will perish in the future protecting this city."

    Some 343 firefighters, including 78 Staten Islanders, and more than 20 police officers died in the World Trade Center attacks. Many in the audience chanted, "Too much praise, too little raise," others carried placards saying, "They say, 'Never forget,' we say, 'Already forgotten.'"

    Staten Islander Tom Scotto, president of the Detectives Endowment Association, which has had its own salary skirmishes with the city over the years, said pressure must be applied to Bloomberg to "modify" the proposed police agreement. Failing that, Scotto said, the union could seek a public referendum to get a fair shake.

    "We can always go to the people," he said.

    The rally, played out under a scorching sun and sweltering humidity, was a mix between a labor rally -- representatives from labor groups ranging from the Transport Workers Union to the UFT were on hand -- and a political rally.

    Also present were a number of city and state lawmakers, including state Sen. Vincent Gentile (D-East Shore/Brooklyn) and Assemblymen John Lavelle (D-North Shore) and Robert Straniere (R-South Shore).

    Two actors also showed up -- Bert Young, who played the character Paulie in "Rocky" movies, and James Gandolfini, who plays New Jersey mob boss Tony Soprano on the HBO series "The Sopranos."

    The police had no crowd estimate last night. There were no arrests.


    http://www.silive.com/news/advance/i...0550576371.xml

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    Vent

    After I finished posting the above articles, I had to step away. Here are men and women asking to be paid a decent wage and fighting for every cent.

    I turned the TV on and flipped to the news and guess what's on. Talk about the baseball strike. Talk about one extreme to the other. I enjoy watching sports, but if they were no longer on TV life would go on pretty much unchanged for most people. Here are people being paid high salaries and they are striking.

    Can you imagine if the police or firefighters went on strike? Now there is a very scary thought. Can you imagine watching your house burn down because there were no firefighters to answer the call?

    It amazes me that the people we count on the most - police, firefighters, teachers - are the people who are paid the least. And they are having to fight for every penny.

    I wish I knew the answer. I do know this, next time we think about going to a ballgame, I'll take that money and send it to my volunteer fire department and go on a picnic instead.

    Ok - end of vent.

    Jean

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    second jobs

    something to think about, when we lose a firefighter.... the family doesn't just lose a loved one. They lose an income. And, a lot of times, a second and third income.

    What is interesting is that somewhere along the way, some of the second jobs, which are part time, bring in more than the FD and PD pay. Imagine, having a job where your second job pays the bills.

    This has been the case for a long long time. And, since we love the jobs so much, we tend to not make much noise. Silent dedication. And, it is not a comfortable thing to 'use' the death of our WTC Brothers as a bargaining tactic. It is heartbreaking that there seems to be a need to.

    And to touch on the baseball issue. It has been brought up several times that there never seems to be enough money for PD and FD, even when the money was flowing in the 90's. BUT, somehow money was right after our contracts were settled for a new Baseball stadium. There always seems to be 'found money' for special projects, but nothing for the defense system of the city.
    Brian Shea
    Co-Director of Fallen Brothers Foundation
    (foundation charity dissolved 2006)

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