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Thread: 50,000 firemen to rally for raises

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    Registered User SeaBreeze's Avatar
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    50,000 firemen to rally for raises

    50,000 firemen to rally for raises


    By MICHELE McPHEE
    DAILY NEWS POLICE BUREAU CHIEF

    More than 50,000 firefighters from around the world are expected to cram Times Square next week to rally for higher pay for their New York brethren, the Daily News has learned.

    The Uniformed Firefighters Association is organizing the demonstration for Friday - the day before a massive memorial service for the 343 FDNY members lost on Sept. 11, 2001, is held at Madison Square Garden.

    Union President Steve Cassidy said his members want to call attention to the fact they have been working without a contract for 28 months.

    The UFA wants a "substantial raise, similar to what the teachers received," Cassidy said. City teachers won increases of 16% to 22%.

    "We want to let the politicians know it is time for them to do the right thing," Cassidy told The News. "Firefighters are sick and tired of being told how special they are - and being paid a salary that does not allow them to feed their families."

    Probationary firefighters earn $31,000. Top pay for a firefighter with five years' experience is $49,000.

    UFA officials took part in a similar rally in August, when the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association was in contract arbitration. The PBA's pact was later settled with an 11.5% raise spread out over two years.

    "The eyes of the world will be on New York City this weekend with so many firefighters here to pay respect to the FDNY. We also want the world to know we've been working without a contract or a raise," said Firefighter Brian Harvey of Engine 236 in East New York, Brooklyn.

    "The city is notorious for dragging its feet when it comes to contract negotiations, and we're frustrated that the city never settles a contract within a reasonable amount of time."


    http://www.nydailynews.com/news/stor...4p-23146c.html

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    Registered User SeaBreeze's Avatar
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    City Hall slams Bravest on rally

    City Hall slams Bravest on rally

    Push for pay is tied to big 9/11 ceremony

    By MICHAEL SAUL
    DAILY NEWS CITY HALL BUREAU

    The Bloomberg administration blasted the Uniformed Firefighters Association yesterday for organizing a rally seeking higher pay one day before 50,000 firefighters from around the world attend a massive memorial service in New York.

    For months, the mayor's office has been working with the union to organize Saturday's memorial at Madison Square Garden. On Friday, the union surprised the administration by applying for a permit to hold a rally in Times Square the day before the Garden event.

    "The city has organized Saturday's event to pay a solemn tribute to those we lost on 9/11 and in other tragedies over recent years, and it's unseemly to use the occasion to get a better labor contract," said Ed Skyler, Bloomberg's press secretary.

    Tom Butler, a union spokesman, said the two events are separate.

    "The rally has nothing to do with our memorial day," Butler said. "For them to imply otherwise is purely politics on their side, and we shouldn't be surprised one bit about that."

    The salvo from City Hall, which is reminiscent of the Giuliani administration, is unusual for the Bloomberg camp, which generally avoids inflammatory attacks. The nasty exchange also reflects the mounting tension over salaries.

    Unfinished business

    In the summer of 2001, the Giuliani administration offered the union an 11.5% pay increase over 30 months. The union's executive board quickly endorsed the proposal, but the rank-and-file members never voted on it because of the Sept. 11 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center.

    Elected representatives from each of the firehouses are finally scheduled to vote on the proposal Thursday.

    Union President Stephen Cassidy, who took over the 9,000-member group Aug. 1, said yesterday through a spokesman that the proposal was "unacceptable" and that he expects it to be rejected.

    A rookie FDNY firefighter earns $32,724 a year, compared with $54,211 for a first-year firefighter in Yonkers. After 20 years, an FDNY firefighter earns $49,023, compared with $60,111 in Yonkers. "Firefighters cannot afford to feed their families and to pay their rent," Butler said.

    Skyler said the mayor believes the firefighters should accept the contract.

    "The city made its offer. The union [leadership] accepted it. And it's in the hands of its members," Skyler said.



    http://www.nydailynews.com/news/stor...1p-23300c.html

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