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About 200 Police Picket Over Lack of Contract : Labor: Small protest was the second in two months. The union is seeking a 9% pay increase over four years.

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TIMES STAFF WRITER

Chanting “No contract, no police,” about 200 off-duty Los Angeles police officers marched down Fairfax Avenue on Saturday, protesting what they contend is city officials’ unwillingness to negotiate a new wage agreement with the LAPD.

The protest--considerably smaller and less vocal than a demonstration last month, in which about 2,000 off-duty officers ringed City Hall--drew mostly support from passing motorists, and more than a few stares from bewildered diners at Farmers Market, where sign-carrying officers quietly handed out leaflets as they snaked throughout the market’s sprawling food courts.

“We have to keep reminding (City Hall) that we’re here without a contract,” said Danny Staggs, a director of the Los Angeles Police Protective League, the department’s largest union. “If the priority is public safety, like they keep saying, then they should settle this thing.”

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Officers have alternately threatened the possibility of a massive sickout, known as blue flu, or a work slowdown, although union leaders said they condoned neither action. Staggs and other league directors said they planned to organize similar demonstrations, perhaps as often as twice a month, until city officials and the LAPD come to terms.

City officials were scheduled to offer a tentative proposal this week in hopes of hammering out a contract, union leaders said.

The department’s 7,600 sworn members have been working without a contract for nearly two years. The union is seeking a 9% pay increase over four years--similar to one recently granted to Los Angeles Department of Water and Power workers.

As they demonstrated Saturday outside Fairfax High School and walked the one-half mile south to Farmers Market, several officers said they were embarrassed at having to picket, but stressed that they believe morale within the LAPD will plummet to dangerous levels if a new contract is not reached soon.

Several spectators honked their horns in support of the protesting police officers, or patted their backs as they marched. Not all, however, were willing to endorse the officers’ methods.

Karl Schmitz, a Spokane, Wash., limousine dealer in Los Angeles on business, found himself sadly shaking his head as the officers marched by.

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“What they’re doing is not appropriate,” Schmitz said. “If the police did this in Spokane, I think it would turn me against them.”

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