Yonkers Fire Dept. officers protest Spano dinner
Officers of the Yonkers Fire Department crashed a celebratory dinner for Mayor Mike Spano to demand a new contract.
They rallied outside Spano's "Pay to Play" inaugural dinner at Castle Royale as hundreds of his supporters came together inside to mark his election to a second term in office.
The roughly 130 fire officers, who supervise rank-and-file firefighters, say they have been working without a contract for years.
Regular firefighters signed a new contract last year.
The protesters say they're being punished for not endorsing Spano for re-election last year. The mayor says the city needs to cut costs.
"This is the most generous compensation package of any fire department in North America," Spano says. "The average fire officer makes three times the salary of the average person in Yonkers -- we need to give them a contract that the taxpayers can afford."
Fire officers say it's not about money, but about their disability protections being taken away.
"Firefighting is one of the most hazardous jobs in the country, and there's no way we can send people into buildings with good conscience, knowing that if they are injured or disabled that they might not be covered," says Robert Antulov, of the Yonkers Uniformed Fire Officers.