No one said taking on the all-powerful state judicial system would be easy, and SEIU Local 521 court workers know first-hand it wasn’t.
It took years of sustained effort: thousands of miles on our cars, heading up Highway 99 and I-5 to Sacramento; hundreds of calls to our legislators; rallies in the wind and rain; testimonies in front of skeptical legislators. And we fought against no less powerful a figure than the chief justice of California.
And we won.
The California Case Management System cost half a billion dollars so far, and was slated to cost a billion and a half more. Meanwhile, courts around the state laid off workers, closed their doors, and closed courtrooms. Our courts were unable to serve the public and the businesses that need them.
But now, CCMS has been iced. The Judicial Council, which has fought us on this issue for so long, realized that the system was too expensive to pay for now. Court watchers noted that it was SEIU workers who kept the pressure on.
The battle isn’t over. CCMS was just one way that the Administrative Office of the Courts has spent money on anything but court services. The bloated bureaucracy is still there. The overpriced maintenance contract is still there. And the plans to build the most expensive courthouses in the country are still there.
And we will still be there, fighting for accountability, fighting for our courts.
Join the team that keeps fighting for what is right. If you are not a full member of SEIU, sign up! And remember to contribute to COPE today.
Justice delayed is justice denied, and I’ve seen justice delayed so many times over the past few years. I’m glad the Judicial Council finally listened and decided to make court services the top priority again.
—Susan Jones, judicial courtroom assistant, Kern County
This is a big win for the courts, and it shows what SEIU 521 members can do when we work together. Change doesn’t come easy, but it’s worth the effort. I hope all SEIU 521 members will see what we’ve accomplished and work in their industries to make things better for the public we serve.
—Vickie Jaurigui, court services clerk, Kings County