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SEIU puts Fresno court on notice of planned strike

Fresno County Superior Court
Fresno County Superior Court

The Service Employees International Union Local 521 on Thursday put the Fresno County Superior Court on notice of its plan to strike beginning Tuesday over labor negotiations.

SEIU sent a letter to Sheran Morton, court executive officer, making the court aware of the planned “Unfair Labor Practice strike.”

SEIU didn’t return repeated calls Thursday and Friday seeking comment.

Court spokeswoman Suzanne Abi-Rached on Friday said there were no further details available. According to a court letter, dated Thursday, the labor negotiations have been ongoing since July 18.

Those negotiations pertain to court office assistants, judicial assistants, account clerks, court reporters and child custody recommendation counselors.

“We have limited money to offer to these various classifications but also must continue to function in an effort to serve the public,” the letter states. “We have offered all of the money and benefits within our budgets.”

The offer the court has put on the table includes increasing work hours for court reporters up to 37.5 hours per week from 35 hours.

The offer also includes a 3 percent cost-of-living increase for all classifications — except for court reporters — for an average annual pay increase of $1,698.66 per employee.

The court has also offered increased benefits, such as a one-time $200 cash payment per employee and four hours of personal paid time off.

It also offered an increase on the biweekly health insurance premiums. For example, it offered to increase that payment up to $374, from $350 for employee only, and up to $513, from $480 for employes with spouses and children.

“The court apologizes in advance for any inconvenience this anticipated strike may cause,” the letter reads.