San Francisco News

SF Superior Court workers walk off the job

Monday, July 16, 2012

San Francisco court workers walked off the job Monday, demanding details on a computer upgrade that has closed courtrooms across the state.

The striking workers say they know money's tight and they know other court workers have taken pay cuts. But the clerks claim court administrators statewide have refused to open the books to justify the cuts. The court clerks don't trust the management and they suspect court administrators are demanding a 5 percent pay cut while squirreling money away for pet projects.

"Our governing body, the AOC, has been with holding and hiding a lot of financial information from the courts and as their budgets have grown, the trial courts collectively though out the states have shrank," court clerk Gary Feliciano said.

"The AOC wants to build brand new buildings; they're cutting staff they're going to build a brand new building and it's not going to be staffed, they haven't employees for them, they don't have the budget," court clerk Angelberto Gonzalez said.

Particularly irksome have been the revelation over the past couple of years that a statewide court computer system has proved to be an unworkable boondoggle.

"Six hundred and sixty million dollars, which would've perfectly funded all the staffing needed," Gonzalez said.

In response, a court administrator issued a statement saying, "Many unions statewide have agreed to 5 percent wage cut because they recognize that they need to be part of the solution not a barrier to it. Just like the members of three other court unions, they have accepted the necessity of sacrifice."

Monday, it was people trying to do business in the courthouse that paid a price.

"All the floors are locked down, nothing's happening, they said all the clerks were outside," San Francisco resident Carolyn Jeffery said.

"There's going to be a lot of extra motion work for the law and motion judges here," attorney Russell Robinson said.

Robinson talking about lawyers unable to get time sensitive papers filed.

A spokesperson for the court says time sensitive matters, especially in criminal cases, were given top priority Monday.

"For all of you know the Hall of Justice, that's where your tickets, your traffic tickets are taken care of, those are the lines you're standing in for an hour two hours three hours," court clerk Diane Williams said. "And the reason is we don't have enough people working in the courts."

Monday was just a one day strike, so the clerks will be back at work on Tuesday. There is a meeting set up for Wednesday between the union and the court's management.

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strike, SEIU, san francisco news, mark matthews
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