New York Firefighters, Cops Stage Angry Rally

July 29, 2004 -- Scores of boisterous cops and firefighters marched to City Hall yesterday loudly demanding a new contract that offers a substantial pay hike.

But Mayor Bloomberg blew off the ranting on his doorstep as "counterproductive" and said the city had made its best offer.

Chanting "No contract, No work!" the crowd made its way through lower Manhattan to City Hall where the chanting changed to "No contract, no convention." Both groups have threatened to picket the Republican National Convention next month.

Patrolmen's Benevolent Association president Patrick Lynch said frustration fueled the protest.

"The firefighters and police officers of this city are tired of accepting zeros [for pay raises], and they're tired of being disrespected by City Hall.

"All city workers deserve a fair contract, but we also deserve respect," added Stephen Cassidy, president of the Uniformed Firefighters Association. "We want the city to negotiate fairly, or go to arbitration."

Bloomberg said, "I think rather than try to intimidate the city - which is just not going to happen with all of these protests - they'd be better off coming to the table trying to find productivity savings so we can give them the extra."

On Monday, a van adorned with a large billboard urging a new contract drove up to a mayoral event on Staten Island.

"The strategy of following me around and yelling and screaming is just counterproductive," the mayor said. "There's no way that we can allow that kind of behavior to set labor policy."

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