District Council 57

Local 2700 Keeps Pressure on Superior Court Over Wage Dispute

Court workers hold lunchtime rally in Martinez. (Photo by Martin Ricard)

Court workers from Local 2700 and other Contra Costa County Superior Court employees held another rally this month as part of an ongoing fight to get a fair wage deal.

The clerks and janitors at the Contra Costa County courts have not had an actual raise in over seven years. During that time, the Bay Area Cost of Living Index has gone up nearly 18%.

Also during that time, the judges have received a raise every year. The Court Executive Officer has received raises. All other State and Contra Costa County employees received a raise last year.

“Our Court Executive Officer, Stephen Nash, is paid $52,000 more than Governor Jerry Brown while some of our employees are having difficult times paying for food and rent,” said Nancy Chertkow, president of the Local 2700 courts unit. “If our employees were absent, the courts would grind to a halt. Criminals would go free because the courts could not try them. Our communities would not have the benefit of the services our courts provide.”

An AFSCME analysis has shown that Contra Costa County Superior Court administrators are not running the Superior Court as efficiently as the other Bay Area county superior courts, and they spend the least on their employees out of all the nine Bay Area courts.

What’s more, the court administrators continually spend their budget on information technology equipment that doesn’t work or never gets used but claims there is not enough to pay the employees who are charged with operating that equipment.

The court unit also has filed an Unfair Labor Practice charge claiming that some of its members’ civil rights were violated when they were denied access to a courthouse for holding protest signs.

After a Union rally on Sept. 9, our sisters and brothers were denied access to three Superior Court buildings, and they were told their paper signs violated security protocol. An unnamed judge threw the signs away. A sheriff’s lieutenant later apologized to our Union.

Chertkow said our members are dedicated to their jobs, and they take immense satisfaction in performing vital job functions well to make the courts run smoothly.

“But we cannot sit by any longer while our court administrators ignore our suffering,” she said. “We deserve fair wages.”

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