Striking Court workers represented by SEIU 1021 file unfair labor charges against Sonoma County’s Superior Court
Santa Rosa, CA – More than a hundred workers who keep Sonoma County’s courts running held a two-day unfair labor practice strike to demand respect and to protest the Superior Court management’s failure to bargain. Workers united in SEIU 1021 also claim that understaffing and shortened court hours have resulted in delays to justice.
Court workers in Sonoma County witness the frustrations experienced by the public each day: long lines to file documents, delays to getting a court date to pay traffic tickets, and other access to justice issues. Court managers have failed to hire enough workers to serve the public, while wasting millions on excessive management salaries and multiple Case Management System software that is are not functional. Civil filings at the court are three months behind, and cases have been postponed because of short staffing. The decisions by the court management have cost the taxpayers millions of dollars, left court employees overworked and over-extended, and have limited the public’s access to the court.
“There’s a heart-breaking reality that too many Sonoma County residents face when they come to the court,” says Court Reporter Becky Peterson. “Proceedings are stalled, waiting for available staff from other court hearings to arrive. Our court system is in crisis—and anybody who relies on it or works in it is paying the price. Bad decisions by management and bad faith bargaining are short-changing workers and delaying justice for our community. “
Workers have been in six months of contract negotiations with the Sonoma County Superior Court. During contract negotiations, workers have encountered resistance from the Superior Court to work with employees to come up with common sense solutions to improve access for the public and working conditions for employees. Workers are demanding that the management of the Sonoma County Superior Court negotiate in good faith and begin to address the issues confronting workers and the public.