Angry Members Of New York Police And Fire Unions Take Their Complaints To The Mayor's House

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(Upper East Side-WABC, August 18, 2004) -- It is one thing to picket City Hall but the stakes are upped measurably when you camp outside the mayor's bedroom window.

The cops, weren't called---they were already there, as were firefighters. Both unions looking for new contracts and a new way to get under the mayor's skin.

Mayor Bloomberg says he has a thick skin, but the last night's protesters did disrupt many of the residents of the Upper East Side neighborhood. This is has turned into a bitter contract dispute. The mayor is offering police and fire a four percent raise which is the same as other city employees. But union members have consistently voiced their frustration. They have been heckling the mayor at public events and on Tuesday night, they staged a very noisy demonstration.

In the wee hours of the morning, hundreds of New York City firefighters and police officers tried to disrupt Mayor Bloomberg's sleep, by protesting outside his Upper East Side home. The 1:00 a.m. demonstration is the latest act by union members to resolve their contract dispute.

Protestor: "NYC firefighters deserve a fair wage that will allow them to support their families. "

What began as a quiet, candlelit vigil quickly evolved into a noisy protest.

Protestors: "We are desperately seeking a contract and we are trying to get the mayor to come back to the table."

That desparation has led to escalating protests. Over the past couple of weeks, union members have followed mayor Bloomberg all over town with picketers and demonstrations. So far, Bloomberg says he won't back down.

Mayor Bloomberg: "We are not going to go and commit this city to settlements that we just cannot afford because one group thinks they can embarrass the mayor. The mayor is a little tougher than that."

Firefighters and police are promising this fight will continue.

Protestor: "When the mayor is sleeping, we're on patrol! We're out here without a contract!"

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