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Stamford Workers Rally for Fair Negotiations

STAMFORD, Conn. — About 50 city employees were out in front of the Stamford Government Center on Monday evening, rallying for better treatment in the contract negotiations under way between the union and the city administration.

“Mayor (Michael) Pavia isn’t just demanding that city workers make some temporary concessions. The mayor wants to completely gut the contracts of each and every city worker,” Brendan Keatley, president of the Stamford Professional Fire Fighters Association, said during the rally.

“You all are getting the job done despite several years of nothing but negativity from the administration,” said Gloria Kelley, president of the United Auto Workers Union, Local 2377 in Stamford.

The union leaders accused Pavia and the administration of making several threats they find unacceptable during the negotiation process, including eliminating pensions, increasing employee health care costs and freezing wages.

Both the auto workers and fire union have made concessions in recent years as a result of national economic troubles, the leaders said. Kelley said that since 2008, members of the auto workers have received only one raise, which she says was negated when they adopted eight-and-one-quarter furlough days. Keatley said Stamford Fire & Rescue responds to 20 percent more emergencies by helping districts in North Stamford, with fewer employees after a consolidation in 2008.

Anthony Jones, a former member of the United Auto Workers Union, urged the groups to stand together and urged them to chant “One” several times. He added that the work and effort they have put in speaks for itself, and they should not be afraid to have a backbone.

“What we want is fair. What we want is right,” Jones said before closing the rally with a prayer for the negotiations and for the administration.

Employees at the rally included firefighters, 911 public safety dispatchers, social workers, health department inspectors, sanitation department workers and highway department workers, a statement from the union said.

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