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SF Court Clerks Approve Two-Year Contract

SAN FRANCISCO (CN) - Superior court clerks in the city by the bay will receive a $3,000 bonus and three percent raises over the next two years under the terms of a new labor contract with the court.

Approval of the two-year agreement marks the first time in recent years San Francisco clerks did not stage a one-day, walk-off strike, as they did in 2012 and 2014 due to discord over labor talks.

The new contract, approved by a 185 to 21 union vote on Sept. 30, also gives clerks two new floating holidays and added health care benefits.

Court officials originally offered the clerks a three-year deal with a $1,000 bonus and one percent raise in the third year, and "outright refused" to offer a three-year deal with annual raises, according to a Sept. 23 union memo.

"The financial projections for the third year of the contract looked bleak under the current funding formula," the memo stated.

The austere third-year outlook was a major reason the union accepted a two-year contract with hopes that a statewide campaign to boost court funding over the next two years will bear fruit, according to the memo.

SEIU has been the main proponent fighting to reverse the Legislature's trend of slashing court funding since sharp budget cuts were first enacted in 2008, said SEIU spokesman Steve Stallone.

Clerks make up roughly 260 of the 440 employees working for the San Francisco Superior Court, according to a court spokesperson. Clerks belong to the Service Employees International 1021 Union's San Francisco Chapter.

The new contract also ensures that legally protected absences are not counted towards "excessive absences," an issue managers have harassed several court workers over, according to the union's memo.

The superior court's executive committee, comprised of 11 judges plus Presiding Judge John K. Stewart, approved the clerks' labor contract on Sept. 29.

"We're pleased we were able to come to a mutually agreeable agreement," said Megan Filly, the court's deputy press secretary.

The executive committee also approved new two-year contracts for the court's other two unions - the Municipal Executives Union, representing supervisors, and the International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers, Local 21, AFL-CIO, which includes staff attorneys and information technology workers.

The new labor contracts are set to expire on Sept. 30, 2017.

Members of the SEIU 1021's San Francisco Chapter did not immediately return requests for comment.

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