Springfield officers picket over stalled contract negotiations

(Western Mass News photo)

More than 100 Springfield police officers are publicly protesting Mayor Domenic Sarno, who they said walked away from their contract negotiations.

Police officers took to the streets of Springfield today in protest. They want a contract and they want the mayor to come to the table to negotiate.

The Springfield Patrolmans Union got together at the corner of State and Main Streets today to tell the public that they think Sarno is wrong for walking away from contract negotiations.

Western Mass News spoke with union president Joe Gentile. He said it's about more than the contracts.

"I hope people understand that the men and women of the Springfield Police Department are committed to serving the people of the city. We want to do that, but we also want to have some certainty in our lives. We want to have our contract done and we don't want to have these kinds of fights. We want to be on the same page with the city, with the mayor and have us all working in the same direction," Gentile explained.

The union has been working without a contract for 20 months

In a statement to Western Mass News, Sarno said:"Public safety has always been a number one priority of my administration. The vast majority of our officers do a wonderful job protecting our citizens, many a times, at personal risk.

However, unprofessional behavior before our community police hearing board is unacceptable and must be resolved.

Once resolved, we'd be pleased to go back to the negotiation table. We believe we have a very generous offer on the table."When asked about the unprofessional behavior referred to in the mayor's statement. Gentile said whatever happened should be addressed.

"Unprofessional behavior in front of the community police hearing board, I agree, should be resolved. I don't know of any and he hasn't told me of any, but if there is any, then it'll be resolved," Gentile said.

The union is hoping this demonstration gets the mayor's attention, so they can move forward and put this behind them.

Copyright 2018 Western Mass News (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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