gavel.jpgAbout 240 San Francisco Superior Court clerks have ratified a labor contract that would repeal a 5 percent wage cut, but are awaiting approval from the judges on the court’s executive committee.

Members of Service Employees International Union Local 1021 approved the proposed contract, which was negotiated with court representatives, by a vote of 215 to 1 in late October, according to union spokesman Steve Stallone.

Stallone said the unit is made up of about 240 court clerks who work in courtrooms, stand behind public counters and maintain files.

The agreement must be approved by the court’s executive committee, which has 11 of the court’s 46 judges as its members.

Court spokeswoman Ann Donlan said the committee has tentatively scheduled a meeting Dec. 4 “to consider labor issues” but said she could not give any details.

In the meantime, the 5 percent cut was suspended beginning on Sept. 14 as a negotiating gesture by the court, Stallone said.

The pay reduction was imposed by the court at the start of the new fiscal year on July 1 at a time of deep funding cuts for courts statewide.

In San Francisco Superior Court, the budget crisis resulted in the layoff of 67 court workers, the closure of 11 courtrooms and an emergency loan of $2.5 million from a state agency last year. The court repaid the loan to the California Judicial Council in June, Donlan said.

The clerks held a one-day strike on July 16 to protest the cut.

In addition to rescinding the cut, the proposed contract would include a $3,500 bonus for each worker this year, a 3 percent raise next year, two more floating holidays in each of the next three years and in addition, one extra floating holiday this year.

Asked how the clerks achieved the proposal at a time of budget crisis, Stallone said the workers were able to negotiate with the court representatives to draw on a $12 million court reserve fund.

“It’s a matter of workers organizing. We went out on a strike. We showed them we were serious,” Stallone said.

The pay restoration “means a lot to them,” Stallone said.

“In the past four years, they had no raise. Then they were hit with another 5 percent decrease. It was a big deal” to repeal that reduction, he said.

Donlan she could not comment on why the court’s negotiators agreed to the proposal.
Local 1021 represents the majority of the court’s staff. Three other unions represent 129 other workers, including managers, court reporters and staff attorneys, Donlan said.

Those workers also had their pay cut by 5 percent on July 1. Donlan declined to say whether the executive committee will also consider proposed contracts with those unions next month.

Julia Cheever, Bay City News

Want more news, sent to your inbox every day? Then how about subscribing to our email newsletter? Here’s why we think you should. Come on, give it a try.

Please make sure your comment adheres to our comment policy. If it doesn't, it may be deleted. Repeat violations may cause us to revoke your commenting privileges. No one wants that!