Superior Court of Sonoma County
On Tuesday, May 14, court workers from throughout the state met
with fellow SEIU members to talk to elected officials about the
need to continue to devote funds to courts most in
need. Court workers encouraged elected officials to make sure
those who interact with the courts obtain fair,
equitable, and timely access to services. To do this, elected
officials must invest in court hours, staff adequately, and
provide reasonable pay to retain dedicated, experienced
Sandy Walden, a court reporter at Contra Costa Courts explained why she and her coworkers decided to come to Sacramento to speak directly to legislators, “Elected officials need to hear directly from us and the issues that confront us everyday. They need to see and hear the people whose lives they impact with the policies they pass or deny.”
Workers also spoke to elected officials and their staff about closing the pay gap in the trial court industry. Court reporters provide a necessary service to our judicial system, maintaining not only the record, but the sanctity of court proceedings. Court Reporters, which consists of a predominantly female workforce, have not received an increase in their statutorily set transcript rate in 30 years. It is time to close the gender pay gap.
A union is only as strong as its members. Thanks to these four awesome member leaders, the SEIU 1021 Superior Court of Sonoma County chapter is showing up to contract negotiations stronger than ever.
Two new additions to the team are Blanca Santillan Castro and Ashley Olazar. They joined the team a couple of months ago and have already completed their first shop steward training. Their new energy and thirst for knowledge will be vital during this year’s critical contract negotiations.
Recently, SEIU 1021 members in the North Coast region joined hundreds of SEIU members working in Superior courts across California in a letter-writing drive to draw attention to the budget, pay, and staffing challenges facing court reporters and clerks. COVID-19 has had a tremendous impact on our already-strained Superior Courts.
Advocating for Justice in Our Courts
This spring court workers flooded the halls of our state capital to advocate for those seeking justice.
As court workers and advocates for our communities, we know access to justice is directly tied to income. In the trial court system, when court reporters are not provided, only the wealthy can afford to hire a reporter. Low-income workers, juggling multiple jobs, are unable access justice due to restricted public hours and closed facilities. People who cannot afford money bail often sit awaiting a court date resulting in a loss of income to their household.
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