Chicago police officers are expected to picket city hall at 11 a.m. today to draw attention to a two-year long contract battle, timing their action with the arrival of International Olympic Committee officials assessing the city's bid for the 2016 games.
Officers are currently working under a contract that expired in 2007, says Mark Donahue, president of the Fraternal Order of Police Chicago Lodge 7.
The union and the city were negotiating the terms of a new contract, which at one point included raises for police officers. But the department pulled that economics package off the table and then leaked the move to the media in violation of a confidentiality agreement, says Donahue.
The economic package was pulled after the union, which represents 11,500 rank-and-file officers, took a vote of no confidence in Police Supt. Jody Weiss last month, Donahue says.
Calls for comment to the Mayor's Office were not returned yesterday.
Donahue says timing of the picketing has "nothing to do with the IOC and everything to do with the mayor's actions."
Donahue says he's hopeful that three meetings scheduled this month with negotiators will reach a positive resolution.
Patrick Sandusky, a spokesman for Chicago 2016, says the officers' picket had nothing to do with the city's Olympic bid and would have no impact on the officials' visit. The officials are scheduled to arrive in Chicago tomorrow and meet internally before touring sites for potential venues Saturday, Monday and Tuesday.
The union has exhausted its options with a mayor who is "blinded and obsessed with the Olympics," says former Chicago Police officer John Casta who retired last month and plans to join the picket today.
Staff Writer Fernando Diaz covers labor and unions for the Daily News. He can be reached at 773.362.5002, ext. 14, or fernando [at] chitowndailynews [dot] org.