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EXCLUSIVE: Times Square costumed characters band t
EXCLUSIVE: Times Square costumed characters band t

Elmo and Cookie Monster want a break — and someday, maybe, a union card.

The bee costume for women characters who have overrun Times Square, posing for pictures with tourists, say they’re just trying to make an honest buck, and hope for warmer, fuzzier treatment from the city and its police force.

With the NYPD having launched an informational campaign to explain to tourists that tipping the bumble bee costumes for women horde is optional, and with city regulation a possibility in the future, the workers are taking off their masks and pursuing a strength-in-numbers approach.

“We are here out of necessity,” Claudia Arias, 22, who was dressed as Catwoman, said Monday. “We need to unite so people can see that this is our legitimate way of supporting our families.”

About 50 of the characters are set to meet Tuesday with representatives of immigrant-advocacy group La Fuente to talk about organizing for better treatment.

It could be the first step toward their long-term goal of forming a labor group similar to those that represent taxi drivers or freelancers, organizers told the Daily News.

“They have been here earning tips for several years now. But this is the first time they will need to speak up as a group. United, they are stronger,” said La Fuente’s communications director Alex Gomez.

The NYPD launched the public information campaign after complaints that the characters were harassing people for tips. A handful of the “superheroes” have been arrested on charges including assault and groping. There was the cursing, camera-grabbing Elmo who rampaged through Times Square in 2009 and, more recently, a Spider-Man who walloped a cop last month.

NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton has backed a legislative proposal that would require the workers — many of whom are recent immigrants who speak only Spanish — to register with the city. But the workers say the Police Department’s public information campaign, begun Saturday, is digging into Hello Kitty’s kitty.

“We realized we needed to unite when we started seeing the bad publicity,” said Jorge Luis, 37, of Queens, who dresses as Batman. “People don’t see us with respect. . . . We support our families with the tips they give us.”

Two Elmos wait to pose for pictures with tourists in Times Square.

Luis and other halloween costumes for couples-wearers said tourists have seen the NYPD notices as a green light to smile for the cameras without providing any monetary thanks.

“Ever since they started handing out the fliers, people take photos with us and walk away without even saying ‘Thank you,’ ” Luis said.

“People look at the flyers and they treat us like criminals,” said Yamil Morales, 37, a Queens dad of two who dresses as The Penguin.