Sonoma County court workers go on strike

Sonoma County Superior Court executive officer Jose Guillen Thursday afternoon addressed the grievances aired in the media by striking court reporters, legal process clerks and courtroom clerks.

The striking employees have asked for an additional 8-hour vacation day a year, a $500 one-time bonus and raises anytime other courthouse employees receive a cost of living adjustment.

The employees have been on strike since Wednesday.

Guillen said in a written statement today that the Court Administration is now offering the $500 bonus to every employee at a cost of approximately $90,000.

Guillen said the Court Administration also conceded during contract negotiations to a 2-percent raise at a cost of $326,000 and verbally offered a one-time 8-hour bonus of paid time off to each employee represented by the Service Employees International Union if the contract is ratified by Jan. 31 and the 8-hour bonus is used by September 2017.

Guillen said an employee earning $50,000 also receives $35,000 for health, retiree, pension and other benefits.

Court reporters earn $202,036, and courtroom clerks and legal process clerks earn $118,000 in total compensation, according to Guillen.

Guillen said in an email:

“The bottom line is that we have agreed to their request for an ongoing increase, a one-time cash bonus of $500 and an extra 8 hours paid time off for this year.”

Guillen said:

“The Court wants to put this money into our employees’ paychecks now. In any event, by this summer we will be bargaining for the next labor contract.”

The previous contract expired Sept. 23, 2016, SEIU Local 1021 spokeswoman Irene Rosario said.

The court employees were to vote Thursday afternoon if the strike will continue Friday. The job action has closed all but three of the 15 courtrooms in the Hall of Justice in the County Administration Center and courtrooms in the Family Law and Civil Courthouse in Santa Rosa.

Several employees said the strike is not just about money, but about respecting employees.

Guillen said in the statement:

“Our Court is very appreciative of the work and service our employees provide to the public and reaffirms its commitment to work collaboratively through its established process to resolve employees’ labor issues.”