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San Francisco Court Workers Strike Over Contract

| July 16, 2012
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KQED/Ernesto Morales

(BCN) A number of San Francisco Superior Court workers walked off the  job today in a one-day strike to protest a labor contract recently imposed on  them.

Dozens of members of Service Employees International Union Local  1021, which represents the court clerks and other workers, gathered outside  the Hall of Justice and two other courthouses in the city this morning for  the protest.

Superior Court management imposed a contract on the workers on  July 2 that includes a 5 percent pay cut, according to Jacquelyn  Willis-McGhee, a member of the union’s bargaining team.

Willis-McGhee said many of the workers’ problems stem from  wasteful spending by the state Administrative Office of the Courts, which  disseminates the funding for each county superior court.

“They’ve taken money allocated for the courts and funneled it into  their own causes,” including a plan for a computerized court records system  that was scrapped in March after more than $500 million was spent on the  project, she said.

SEIU members, who authorized the strike in a vote in May, also  picketed this morning outside the Youth Guidance Center and the Civic Center  Courthouse.

San Francisco Superior Court spokeswoman Ann Donlan said the  courthouses remain open today and all essential functions will proceed.

However, district attorney’s office spokesman Alex Bastian said  court proceedings are limited today, with only a few courtrooms handling  cases.

Court officials have previously said that the 5 percent pay cut is  necessary to address ongoing state budget reductions, and that SEIU was the  only one of the court’s four unions to reject the proposal.

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