District Council 57

Local 2700 Court Workers Win 5% Raise, Extra Cash with New Contract

After going without a raise for over seven years, justice was finally served for court workers in Contra Costa County when Local 2700 recently reached an agreement for a 5% wage increase for senior court clerks and extra cash for all clerks and janitors depending on their years of employment.

The wage increase adds a new top step worth 5% for our members who have worked more than six years for the county courts while newer employees were able to get one-time money ranging from $1,250 to $2,000 depending on how long it takes before they reach the top step.

The bargaining team also successfully won a 4% bonus added on to the pay of courtroom clerks who train others—an additional increase that is long overdue, especially because our members suffered through wage freezes and continuous short-staffing after the 2008 recession.

“We sacrificed when the economy was bad by taking furlough days without pay,” said Nancy Chertkow, president of the Local 2700 Court Unit. “So we fought hard to get this contract for our people.”

The court workers’ contract expired in October 2016. They spent months at the bargaining table fighting for a fair deal. During that time, they kept the pressure on Court Administration by holding rallies outside the courthouse in Martinez, where many of our sisters and brothers work. They wore all black and wore green and purple beads to show solidarity with our SEIU sisters and brothers, who also work in the courts.

They wanted to show the community that they perform hundreds of separate tasks every day and that they take pride in the work they do—working hard to ensure the services they provide are available to Contra Costa County residents.

If they were absent, the workers said at rallies and at the negotiating table, the courts would grind to a halt and criminals would go free because the courts could not try them.

Now that the economy was doing better and the courts were thriving again, they implored management to hold up their end of the bargain, especially because, during tough economic times, judges and the Court Executive Officer—who makes more than Gov. Jerry Brown—received raises.

“It was our goal to get a permanent and sustaining raise for all of our members,” Chertkow said.

In addition to winning the wage increases, the court workers successfully won a change to how their vacation time will be accrued so that newer members can start getting extra vacation one year earlier than before. They were also able to negotiate an additional eight hours of personal holiday time for all members.

The struggle that Local 2700 members endured to get better pay and benefits is one that many court workers have faced throughout California. Many court workers had gone without a raise for eight years and struggled to pay for basic necessities as the cost of living went up in their respective counties.

When the Santa Clara County Professional Employees Association, which represents about 380 court workers, recently held a strike that led to a new contract and raise, our members were hopeful that they could get their foot in the door.

Chertkow said she hopes their collective bargaining victory opens up doors for other court workers.

“We hope this contract will set the bar for our union brothers and sisters in other superior courts who, like us, have surrendered pay and benefits to get their courts through the bad times,” she said. “We have to keep on fighting to make sure all court workers are treated fairly now that times are better.”
 

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