More than 100 San Francisco Superior Court workers and their supporters gathered today outside the State Building to again protest a 5 percent pay cut imposed by the court at the start of this month.
The rally by members of Service Employees International Union Local 1021, which represents the court’s clerks, comes after the union members held a strike on Monday to protest the contract, which went into effect at the start of the new fiscal year on July 1.
San Francisco Superior Court management imposed the contract after negotiations and mediation were unsuccessful, as is allowed by state law.
Court officials have said the 5 percent cut was necessary to offset ongoing court budget reductions made by the state. Three other unions, representing about 180 managers, supervisors and court reporters, have already accepted the pay cut.
But the crowd of SEIU Local 1021 members gathered outside the State Building on McAllister Street this afternoon said court management had not provided the necessary financial information during negotiations that ultimately failed.
“They’ve never provided any proof they need the cut,” said Julie Rumsey, vice president of the local chapter of the union.
The court “thinks it need not abide by the same rules it enforces on everyone else,” Rumsey said.
During the one-day strike on Monday, which forced the closure of many courtrooms and all of the Superior Court’s clerk’s offices, Court Executive Officer Michael Yuen disputed the union’s claim.
Yuen said the court’s final budget for the current fiscal year cannot be known until a meeting of the state’s Judicial Council next week.
“I can’t show information I don’t have,” he said.
Michael Diles, a member of the union’s bargaining team, said at today’s rally that union and court officials met on Wednesday to discuss possible alternatives to the imposed contract, and that the issue might be brought up at the upcoming Judicial Council meeting.
“Imposition is not acceptable,” Diles said.
Court spokeswoman Ann Donlan said Wednesday’s meeting “was cordial and productive and we look forward to continued discussions.”
Several members of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors joined the union members at today’s rally.
“Courts cannot have the credibility for justice if they don’t treat their workers justly,” said Supervisor David Campos, who was one of five members of the board who encouraged court officials to renegotiate with the union.
Board President David Chiu and Supervisors Eric Mar, Jane Kim and Christina Olague were the other four city officials at the rally.
The San Francisco court’s annual funding has fallen $20 million in the past three fiscal years, according to court officials. Donlan said the court is expecting further reductions for the 2012-2013 fiscal year.
Dan McMenamin, Bay City News