Superior Court Negotiations Update: Sept. 12, 2022

Dear OCEA member,

On Friday, Sept. 9, the OCEA coalition bargaining team met with the Court for our second official negotiations session. You can read the recap of our Aug. 29 negotiations session here.

During our Sept. 9 session we presented the Court with our initial proposal, which clearly targets the unique economic and workplace challenges you and your families face in today’s environment. The proposal is based on your responses to the 2022 Negotiations survey, regional market research, inflationary pressures, past negotiations history, and the ever-changing current labor market. Consistent with member input, the proposal has base building wages as its centerpiece.

We have proposed a multi-year term with meaningful general wage increases each year. The specifics of this and all proposals are kept confidential within the negotiations team. This is critical to protect the collective bargaining process, permit each side to build trust and have open dialogue with the other, and avoid having sensitive information fall into the hands of those who might have motives harmful to your best interests.

During the Sept. 9 meeting OCEA’s Lead Negotiator Charles Barfield—our General Manager—led the Court team through a presentation of facts and conditions that impact OCEA members. First, he reviewed the past 10 years of bargaining history with the Court. This encompassed periods of outright hostility and attempts to defund Court workers. He underscored the lack of raises, attempts to streamline the layoff procedure, and other anti-worker positions the Court took over the past decade. Then he detailed the market pressures facing OCEA members which led to the unsurprising conclusions that our wages have fallen further behind our peers, made worse by double digit inflation. It is time for the Court to face the facts and address these realities.

CB also presented data reflecting our society’s fundamental workplace changes which have resulted in a record number of workers leaving their jobs, a record number of workers are disengaged from their work, and a record number of workers demanding positive change at work. This yearning for change is reflected by the record setting popularity of unions in America. A recent survey found that 68% of the American public support unions, reflected in the increasing willingness of workers to take aggressive direct action to reclaim their economic security. We know that momentum is on our side. The community stands with us in our fight for a better life.

The Court bargaining team received our proposal, took a brief caucus, and returned to ask a few clarifying questions. The Court team indicated they will respond to at least some of our proposals at our next negotiations session on Sept. 16. Our team remained at OCEA the rest of the day and worked on our internal organizing strategy.

The fight for fair wages needs you. We are currently building our Union Action Team—a group of workers who support the bargaining team by leveraging our strength in numbers. UAT members work with our bargaining team and Stewards to build internal union power. We need you to get involved!

Click here to see how you can flex your power and fight for a better MOU. Remember, together we are OCEA!

P.S. It is OCEA Health Fair Month, and we will be at multiple locations distributing swag bags. At each Justice Center, we will have a Negotiations Info Booth with members of the bargaining team answering questions and providing workers a chance to join the UAT!!

In Solidarity,

Charles Barfield
OCEA General Manager

Publication Date: September 12, 2022