Police, firefighter and teacher union members rally for raises and contracts

Thousands of police, firefighter and teacher union members rallied outside of City Hall Tuesday. They are demanding higher wages and new contracts.

Officials say teachers have been working without a contract for about a year. Police officers and firefighters have been working without a contract for about two years.

Some of the unions present at the rally were the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association, the United Federation of Teachers and the Uniformed Firefighters Association. Officials say Mayor Michael Bloomberg recently signed a contract with District Council 37, the city's largest union. DC-37 members received retroactive three percent increases and $1,000 cash payments during the first two years. In the third year, employees will get additional two to three percent raises. New hires will receive lower pay and benefits.

The unions say the DC-37 raises are insufficient for their members. Mayor Bloomberg says the city cannot afford to offer municipal unions greater than the contract agreed to by DC-37. According to the mayor, the unions need to come up with ways to provide better services to the city while saving money.

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