BRIDGEPORT - Members of the Bridgeport Police Union took to the picket lines Friday after working more than a month and a half without a contract.
The officers chose to get their message out during a charity golf tournament at Fairchild Wheeler Golf Course, which Bridgeport Mayor Bill Finch attended.
?I understand you're angry, just try to remain dignified,? Finch said to some 75 members of local 1159, who were chanting ?Finch the Grinch. ?We're all in this together.?
Aside from the contract dispute, police officers are also facing other issues brought on by an economic crisis in the city, according to the mayor.
?I hear he's trying to cut the number of officers on the street,? says Union President Frank Cuccaro. ?That is going to hurt our response time and our response to the citizens of our city.?
Cuccaro adds that it has been an ongoing struggle not only with the mayor, but also with his superior, Bridgeport Police Chief Bryan Norwood.
?He's union busting, we're not going to stand for it,? Cuccaro says. ?If he's going to stay here another three years, he better get with the program.?
Every municipal department, including police, will be expected to make cuts in the new fiscal year. The overtime budget for police will be slashed in half.
?These are just financially prudent measures we have to take to keep the city strong financially,? Finch said. ?We're no good to anybody if we're financially weak.?
In the meantime, the union president urged city representatives to return to the negotiations table and come to an agreement in good faith.