The mayor’s workout routine was anything but as members of the Police Benevolent Association staged protests at both Gracie Mansion as well as several areas in Park Slope early this morning.
As Mayor Bill de Blasio left the Upper East Side for a workout, about 40 police offers held signs which said “Get to work Mayor de Blasio & pay cops a fair wage,” the Daily News reports.
The PBA is demanding higher salaries and a more robust benefits package than the 1% per year pay raise which the Public Employment Relations Board ruled for in November 2015.
While the mayor stopped in to Colson Patisserie (374 9th Street), one of his Park Slope haunts, protesters assembled outside at the corner of 6th Avenue and 9th Street. As de Blasio walked to the Park Slope YMCA, the cops followed him, shouting “one-term mayor” and mocked his workout with signs saying “Put some sweat into working on our PBA contract.”
“We have the work ethic. And you see it on the street each and every day. We want the mayor to do the same,” PBA president Pat Lynch told Fox 5 News. “So we understand that he’s running government from the gym. So we’ll be over at the gym when he leaves Gracie Mansion.”
According to the Wall Street Journal, the PBA is planning on staging protests throughout the week.
The PBA and rank-and-file police have staged larger and more symbolic protests in the past. During the funerals of officers Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos — who were killed in an ambush in 2014 — cops turned their backs on the mayor as he began his eulogy.
WSJ writes that the union has a history of “large, raucous protests.”
“Officers protested outside the Upper East Side townhouse of Mayor Michael Bloomberg as they sought a new contract. In 1992, when David Dinkins was mayor, thousands of off-duty officers surrounded City Hall to protest additional oversight, knocking barricades over and blocking traffic in a scene that became chaotic. Mr. de Blasio worked for Mr. Dinkins. ‘It was really ugly,’ said Norman Steisel, a deputy mayor in the Dinkins administration.”
Journal Ross Barkan tweeted “Bill de Blasio exits Park Slope Y without incident. PBA protesters mostly gone. One says ‘same time same place tomorrow.'”
While the protest ended quietly today, there seems no end to the animosity between de Blasio and the PBA.
“We know he’s not at City Hall and he’s moseying around the Park Slope Y, so we have to go where he is so he’ll hear our frustrations,” said Lynch.