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County courts to be hobbled by clerks' strike

Services will be limited, including in Palo Alto, due to work stoppage

More than 350 Santa Clara County Superior Court clerks will stage a work stoppage on Wednesday, Aug. 3, including in Palo Alto. The strike will severely hamper services, according to a court press statement issued on Tuesday afternoon.

The Superior Court Professional Employees Association (SCPEA), which includes clerical workers, legal researchers and court mediators, is protesting failed contract negotiations, which include eight years without a pay raise, unsafe work conditions, reduced hours and staff shortages.

The strike follows picketing that took place on Monday during a judicial conference at the Dolce Hayes Mansion in San Jose, where California's Chief Justice Tani Gorre Cantil-Sakauye was scheduled to speak. The clerks have been negotiating "for over two years while the court is spending over $200 million dollars on a new courthouse in San Jose that includes imported Italian marble," the labor organization said in the press statement.

The strike is expected to affect all court facilities. The number of employees who might strike is unknown, the Superior Court said in the statement.

In Palo Alto, the clerk's office will be closed at the North County Courthouse, located at 270 Grant Ave. Other matters will be heard in courtrooms as staff is available.

Superior Court officials issued guidelines for the public:

• Persons with scheduled hearings should plan to come to court.

• If a hearing cannot go forward, another date and time will be provided.

• Anyone wanting to obtain copies of records or court files will face longer lines than usual, and the court recommends coming on another day.

• Potential jurors called for jury duty should follow the existing directions on their summons to check if they are needed.

Mandated services that will still be offered, include in-custody arraignments for misdemeanors and felonies, juvenile detentions and criminal trials with time not waived.

The full list of curtailed and available services can be found here.

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