For Release April 28, 2015
Police-Fire Coalition May 6 "March For Equality" Demands Equal Disability Pension Benefits For Officers And Firefighters
Hundreds of New York City police officers and firefighters will join forces May 6 in a rally at Battery Park, a march up Broadway's "Canyon of Heroes" and a press conference on the City Hall steps to pressure city and state legislators to do the right thing by police officers and firefighters hired since July 2009, who receive a lower level of disability pension benefits than colleagues hired earlier and every other police officer in New York State. In some cases, this benefit may be as little as $27 a day.
"Do they deserve less?" asked PBA President Patrick J. Lynch, referring to the more than 8,000 police officers and 1,400 firefighters hired since July 1, 2009, who come under the Tier 3 pension plan and receive woefully inadequate disability benefits if they are injured in the line of duty and are unable to return to duty. "The city has a moral obligation to protect and support police officers and firefighters who are injured in its service. We are asking our city leaders to honor that obligation by equalizing disability pension benefits for all."
UFA President Steve Cassidy said, "The City of New York is failing 1,400 of its newest firefighters, sworn in after a federal court mandated greater diversity in the FDNY's hiring practices. Should these new firefighters be permanently disabled in the line of duty, the mayor and city council speaker believe that these, the best trained firefighters in the world, are able to survive, feed their families and pay their rent on just $27 per day. The position of the mayor and city council speaker is wrong. We are holding a 'March for Equality' because the UFA believes all New York City Firefighters and Police Officers require equal disability protections, should they be permanently disabled protecting the lives of New Yorkers. Protecting New York City Firefighters and Police Officers who run into harm's way is a societal and moral imperative."
The firefighters and police officers participating in the May 6 events are scheduled to gather at Battery Park's northeast corner of between 10 and 10:30 a.m. and begin their march at 11 a.m., tracing the steps of generations of other New York City heroes. Their City Hall press conference is scheduled for noon.
Bills pending in the New York State Legislature (S4269 Golden / A 6046 Abbate) would grant police officers and firefighters hired under Tier 3 the same disability pension protections as those hired earlier under Tier 2. State lawmakers need the City Council to pass a "home rule" resolution in support of the bills before it can bring them to the floor for a vote.
The PBA cited three examples of hero police officers who would suffer from the injustice of the lower pension benefits:
As the NYPD currently has a handful of officers on a potential disability list and the FDNY zero, it is clear the de Blasio Administration statements that fixing this would cost millions in 2015 are false and misleading. While the Administration refuses to allow a public hearing, the public fully expects police and firefighters to be there when needed. Does anyone really believe that new cops and firefighters will respond and take the risks the heroes of 9-11 did, if they are left unprotected?
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