Two-Day Strike Planned at Sacramento Superior Courts

     SACRAMENTO, Calif. (CN) – Sacramento Superior Court’s largest employee union is planning a two-day strike next week at the county’s four courthouses after rejecting the court’s latest employment offer.
     The United Public Employees Local 1, which bargains for the court’s reporters, clerks and court attendants, voted Friday to dismiss a three-year contract offer proposed by a mediator. The proposal would have given union employees 3 percent raises for the first two years of the contract and additional raises as assumed increases in court funding happen.
     The court’s public information officer said the court has been notified that approximately 200 technical unit employees are planning to strike on Dec. 15 and 16 but that courts will stay open if the clerks and reporters don’t show up for work.
     The union claims its members waited patiently as the court froze raises and forced employees to take furloughs because of massive budget cuts during the recession. Now that the state and court’s budget have recovered, it’s time to reimburse the employees’ “sacrifices,” the union said in a statement.
     “Today the members have spoken and demanded that Sacramento Superior Court invest in their employees versus spending hundreds if not millions of dollars on insufficient IT case management systems,” Ted Somera, union executive officer, said of Friday’s vote.
     Meanwhile, the court says it’s reached similar deals with the other two unions representing its workforce, the Teamsters and the United Public Employees Professional. Under the accepted deals, court workers belonging to those unions will receive 3 percent raises in the first two years and longevity pay for workers with more than 20 years of service.
     The court’s public information officer said in a statement that the court conducted salary surveys throughout various state courts and that its rejected proposal would have made its court reporters the highest paid of any surrounding court. Only Riverside County court reporters would be paid more under the proposal when compared to similarly sized California Superior Courts.
     The officer reiterated that the court is only allowed to carry over 1 percent of its funding from one fiscal year to the next and that it can’t make retroactive budget decisions.
     Sacramento Superior Court has three case management system projects underway, but funding for the projects was cut by the state in 2013-14 and it hasn’t spent money intended for employee raises on the CMS projects, according to the public information officer.
     The union did not respond to several interview requests Tuesday.

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