San Francisco Superior Court clerks have voted overwhelmingly to authorize a strike during contract negotiations, saying court officials have $16 million in their reserve fund but refuse to offer them a raise.
Out of 186 clerks who cast ballots over the last week, 169, or more than 90 percent, voted to authorize their negotiating team to call a strike at their discretion, Steve Stallone, spokesman for Service Employees International Union Local 1021, said Tuesday. He said the union represents 251 clerks, “the lowest-paid workers in the court.”
Trial courts statewide have been reeling from $1 billion in state funding cutbacks over six years. The San Francisco Superior Court laid off 69 employees in October 2011, closed 11 of its 63 courtrooms at 400 McAllister St. and reduced operating hours at the clerks’ offices.
Gov. Jerry Brown’s budget for the fiscal year that started July 1 included a $129 million increase for the trial courts, about half of what court officials said they needed to maintain services. But Ann Donlan, spokeswoman for the San Francisco courts, said last month that they expect to avoid further reductions through next June. She said San Francisco courts have earmarked their remaining reserves to cover retired employees’ health care.
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