Access to vacation remains a major issue for many Court employees. To address this, UPE has been attempting to meet with the Court about the vacation policies since the start of June. UPE targeted the Courtroom Clerks Downtown as one of the first groups to review since they have over 70 clerks but only allow 4 clerks off at once. This makes vacation very difficult. At UPE’s first meeting with the Court on June 12th, UPE asked why only 4 courtroom clerks are off at a time and what sort of data the Court uses to determine how many workers are allowed off at one time. No one from the Court side knew why it was only 4 or how that number was determined. UPE asked then what criteria would be used to determine the number allowed off and if the number could be increased. The Court said they would look into it.
The parties set a follow-up meeting for June 27th. At this meeting, the Court stated they still did not have any further information.
They assured UPE they were conducting a thorough review of staffing levels and workload over a number of months to determine how many Courtroom Clerks could be allowed off on vacation. They asked for more time so they could complete a complete review. UPE offered to meet the following week, but the Court needed more time because Michelle Jeremiah had a vacation planned (lucky for her, she isn’t a Courtroom Clerk). The parties agreed to meet on July 21st.
At the meeting on the 21st, the Court provided UPE with information about the number of employees off work for a 3-month period and offered to increase the number of employees off from 4 to 5. UPE asked why 5, and the Court stated it was a standard that felt manageable.
What the Court did not do was actually analyze the workload during the three-month period they investigated time off.
UPE is confident there were no Courts dark during that period due to a Courtroom Clerk shortage. UPE believes the workload and staffing can support more than 5 employees off at one time.
Since the Court is unwilling or unable to actually do a complete analysis, UPE requested the necessary data for ourselves. This will allow UPE to match the workload, as shown on the daily schedule, with absences already provided by the Court and show once and for all how many staff can be allowed off at one time.
UPE will continue to meet with the Court about vacation and push for more workers to be allowed off whenever the workload and staffing support it.
Thank you to our Board members,
Nancy Wallace, Lizette Sweezer-Morris and Christina Arcuri for their participation in these meetings.