SAN FRANCISCO (CN) A group of 25 court workers in San Francisco’s state courthouse have been spared from a mass layoff that resulted in pink slips for 200 workers last month at the low end of the seniority ladder.
The reprieve comes on the heels of an announcement last week by the court’s top administrator, Michael Yuen, who said the court will cut hours in the clerk’s office and close 25 civil law courtrooms.
“We simply will not have enough staff to handle the filings or staff the Judges on any given day,” said Yuen. “Employees will need time to process and file documents that pile up due to the lack of adequate staffing – and even then, backlogged filings will persist for many months and civil cases will languish for up to five years.”
The court’s reserve fund contains only $4.6 million, which Yuen said “only gets us through two weeks and three days of salaries and operations.” It was three years ago that the court had 591 employees, but with layoffs effective September 30, it will leave the court with a mere 280.
In reaction to the layoffs, a court employee authored an anonymous letter to Presiding Judge Katherine Feinstein, saying lower-level employees were unfairly being given the ax while the better-paid management was left unscathed.
That letter has apparently been disavowed by the local leadership of the Service Employees International Union, urging its members to complain instead to the Legislature. That disavowal in turn has brought complaints about the adequacy of the union’s representation.
A court spokesperson said the 25 employees were spared layoffs based on seniority and they will be notified this week that their layoff notices are being rescinded.