Backgrounds Online just learned that over 200 court clerks and other employees of the San Francisco Superior Court walked off the job this morning at 8:30 am (PST). The workers have been threatening to strike since May of this year, and finally shut down the entire court system as of this morning.
The court clerks and employees are represented by SEIU Local 1021 and according to their press release, they are on strike in order to demand their right to information that will “allow them to negotiate a fair contract that keeps courtrooms open and legal services available to the public, while providing them with reasonable compensation.” They believe the Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC) in California has been hiding millions of dollars in secret accounts for “pet projects and personal perks” and lying about the funds.
The union workers stated, “For the past eight years, the Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC), the bureaucracy that manages California's courts, has wasted hundreds of millions of dollars on a boondoggle computer program, the hiring of hundreds of redundant six-figure-salaried bureaucrats, administrators and lawyers and overpriced mega-construction projects. In the meantime hundreds of courtrooms across the state have been closed, legal services for the public have been slashed, and we, the workers who provide those services, have been laid off, furloughed and had our wages cut.” The Superior Court’s management recently imposed a 5% pay cut on the workers effective July 2.
The spokeswoman for San Francisco Superior Court, Ann Donlan, said that courthouses would be open today and essential functions would proceed; however, the district attorney’s office spokesman countered that, stating that only a few courtrooms are handling cases. As such, we are anticipating delays in this area and will keep you notified of any updates.