Court Mediation Update

Dear OCEA Court member,

As many of you know, effects bargaining between OCEA workplace leaders, OCEA staff, and Court management over the Court’s proposed mandatory furloughs resulted in impasse. OCEA advanced the matter to mediation, which was held on October 7, 2020. During mediation, OCEA continued to propose flexible, worker-friendly, and voluntary furlough options. However, the Court firmly opposed OCEA’s proposals, which were designed to provide workers with greater flexibility to meet COVID-related logistical challenges at home and to accelerate the cost-savings to minimize financial strain on workers. Unfortunately, despite the mediator’s assistance, the Court remained committed to its position that only mandatory furloughs, as proposed, would provide the cost-savings and predictability needed to remain operational. 

What’s next? The Court will likely announce its decision to impose mandatory furloughs and distribute the mandatory furlough program documents. Please review the program documents carefully when you receive them from the Court. Note important deadlines and make sure you understand your options. The Court proposed all Court employees take sixty-four (64) hours of mandatory furlough time, one day per month for the rest of the fiscal year. The program documents will provide you with the eligible furlough dates, establish the request/scheduling process, detail the option to work a reduced work schedule, explain partial ad hoc furlough days, and describe how protected leaves, such as FMLA, will be administered under the program.

OCEA does not support mandatory furloughs. OCEA remains committed to our reasonable belief that the Court’s need for cost-savings and OCEA members’ need for flexibility could have been achieved more effectively through increased voluntary options. Looking ahead, OCEA will monitor the Court’s cost-savings each pay period. If the Court achieves $3.5 million in cost-savings before the end of the fiscal year, the Court has agreed the mandatory furlough program will be suspended and you can return to fulltime hours and fulltime pay.

Please talk to your Steward or OCEA staff if you have any questions.

In Solidarity,

Charles Barfield
OCEA General Manager

Publication Date: October 13, 2020