City Comptroller John Liu — who worked out with New York City firemen Saturday
yesterday and donned a helmet at their conference today – got a standing ovation when he vowed to protect union pension benefits.
Liu, who is likely to run for mayor in 2013, told the audience gathered at the Hilton this morning, “There are some people in New York City and across the country who have talked about how we can’t uphold the deal we made with our workers.”
“When people talk about we have to eliminate some of the pay that many years ago were bargained and fought for by our fire officers and fire fighters, I say no,” said Liu. “A deal is a deal.”
In response, the attendees of the conference — representing firemen from across the country and Canada — gave Liu and immediate standing ovation.
Liu went on to describe the pension deal the city made years ago with firemen as “sacred” and should not be “messed with.” The comptroller said undermining firemen’s confidence in the city’s ability to protect them and their families in case they get injured on the job could “undermine” their confidence “and put the greater public at risk.”
This is, basically, the opposite reaction the union had to New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. The union screened a video which showed footage of Christie as an announcer described politicians who were “phonies with an extremist political agenda.”
Liu spoke after President Bill Clinton’s keynote speech slamming Texas Governor Rick Perry, the newly announced Republican presidential candidate.