Sonoma County Superior Court employees continue strike for second day

SONOMA COUNTY (BCN) — Sonoma County Superior Court clerks, legal processors, and reporters on Thursday continued a strike that again closed all but three of 15 courtrooms at the Hall of Justice and courtrooms at the nearby Civil and Law Family Courthouse in Santa Rosa.

Dozens of the 120 courthouse employees who are members of Service Employees International Union Local 1021 picketed again at the Hall of Justice in the County Administration Center. Some court language interpreters who are not on strike also walked the picket line.

Union members chanted, “Court administration, tricky and rude, we don’t like your attitude.”

Court administration personnel have been filling in for some of the striking workers, and members of the public appearing for traffic tickets have been told to return in 30 days, union members said.

Union spokeswoman Irene Rosario said negotiations on a new contract began in August. The old contract expired Sept. 23.

Rosario said court administrators offered employees a 2 percent raise and a one-time $500 stipend. Employees want an extra eight-hour vacation day and a cost of living adjustment whenever other courthouse
employees receive one, Rosario said.

The strike is about respect for the workers, Rosario said.Many picketing union members agreed the strike isn’t about money.

“It’s less to do with money and more about the way we are treated,” said Sydney Ferris of Santa Rosa, a criminal courtroom clerk for more than 10 years.

“We have complained about how we are treated for years and it’s always our fault. Jose (Guillen, Court Executive Officer) is never wrong. Please be kind and show us compassion,” Ferris said.

Guillen did not return phone calls for comment about the strike Wednesday or Thursday morning.

In a written statement, SEIU Local 1021 officials said court management has wasted money on a case management system that does not work and jeopardizes access to personal information.

“There is a massive lack of public access to the court system due to reduced public hours, chronic staffing shortages and cutbacks in basic supplies, all while the Court Administration continues to spend millions of
taxpayer dollars on the Case Management System that does not work,” the union said in its statement.

“Employee morale is low, they are denied basic tools and appropriate training to provide the service the public deserves,” the statement said.

The SEIU voted unanimously Wednesday evening to continue the strike Thursday and will vote again Thursday afternoon on whether to continue it Friday.

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