New York City's two largest uniformed unions are promising to fight Mayor Bloomberg's plans to drastically overhaul the city's pension rules, accusing the mayor of trying to shortchange cops and firefighters on their retirement benefits.
At a press conference outside City Hall on Wednesday, the presidents of the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association and the Uniformed Firefighters Association accused Mayor Bloomberg of ignoring the sacrifices and diligence of city workers.
"Word that are coming out of this office are outright lies. To call our variable supplement benefits a Christmas bonus is a lie," said Patrolmen's Benevolent Association Patrick Lynch.
Last week, Bloomberg outlined a series of reforms that would require most new municipal workers to work at least 10 years to qualify for a pension. The proposal, subject to state lawmakers' approval, would also raise teacher retirement ages for new hires to 65 and eliminate a $12,000 yearly payment received by many current police and fire department retirees known as the varialbe supplement.
"It's outrageous. What this man has done, what the mayor has said, is an absolute 180 degrees from the truth," said Firefighters Union President Steve Cassidy.
"We are here saying this is our rightfully negotiated money and he cannot just unilaterally take it," Lynch said. "We will do everything in our power, media-wise, lobbying-wise, talking to public community groups, to make sure we put fact to the fiction they are putting out," he said.
The Hizzoner said changing pension rules will save the city billions of dollars. It is unclear what fate the reforms will come to in Albany. A spokesman for Gov. Andrew Cuomo said last week his administration was reviewing the proposal.