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Monday, July 16, 2012

San Francisco Court Workers Go on Strike, Disrupt Courts

Posted By on Mon, Jul 16, 2012 at 9:19 AM

click to enlarge The government is melting down
  • The government is melting down

Muni isn't the only government agency melting down today. A press release was just sent out, claiming more than 200 court clerks and other workers walked off the job at 8:30 a.m., effectively shutting down disrupting the entire Superior Court system.

The workers, represented by SEIU Local 1021, say they are striking to demand their legal right to information that would "allow them to negotiate a fair contract that keeps courtrooms open and legal services available to the public, while providing them with reasonable compensation."

Not surprisingly, we've been unable to reach anyone over at the courthouse to talk.

But here's what union workers had to say:

For the past eight years, the Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC), the bureaucracy that manages California's courts, has wasted hundreds of millions of dollars on a boondoggle computer program, the hiring of hundreds of redundant six-figure-salaried bureaucrats, administrators and lawyers and overpriced mega-construction projects. In the meantime hundreds of courtrooms across the state have been closed, legal services for the public have been slashed, and we, the workers who provide those services, have been laid off, furloughed and had our wages cut.

Union officials will hold a press conference later this morning to explain more.

Court workers has been threatening a strike since May when 95 percent of the union voted in favor of striking in the event that negotiations hit a dead end. Workers have been complaining that the AOC has hidden millions in secret accounts for

its "pet projects and personal perks," and then lied about it.

Now, as the union works to try and get a new

contract, AOC officials are forcing more paycuts along with heavier work loads, union reps claim.

"When the Local 1021 asked San Francisco Superior Court management to open the books and show the financial need for the continuing cuts, they refused," the press release states. "When, as part of the bargaining process, the union requested they provide the financial information that federal law requires of them so the union can make reasonable and responsible counterproposals, in the court's tradition of lack of transparency, they didn't. Instead they abandoned negotiations and unilaterally imposed their cuts."

SEIU says the San Francisco Superior Court's actions are a violation of federal labor law.

"We are sorry for the inconvenience our action today causes. But there comes a time when someone must take a stand against this assault on citizens' constitutional right of the access to justice, and for reasonable compensation for the court's skilled and dedicated employees. Someone must say, 'Enough is enough!'"

Hopefully, court workers weren't relying on Muni to make their dramatic exit.

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About The Author

Erin Sherbert

Erin Sherbert

Erin Sherbert was the Online News Editor for SF Weekly from 2010 to 2015. She's a Texas native and has a closet full of cowboy boots to prove it.


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