Los Angeles County Court Reporters Association update 7/3/2012

Posted on July 4, 2012

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From LACCRA (Los Angeles County Court Reporters Association) 7/3/2012

Dear Members:

We have several items of importance to convey in this email, so please read the message to the end.

BUDGET UPDATE

A full report regarding the court budget will be sent in a subsequent email, but please read the flyer from SEIU that will follow this email. We should be proud of our strength and tenacity as union members, and especially thankful for the leadership embodied by the SEIU lobbyist for court issues, Michelle Castro. This year-long fight resulted in positive results. The cut to the budget is significantly less than it could have been – from $844 million down to $385 million for fiscal year 2012-13. Substantial policy changes protecting trial court funding, a legislative prohibition on spending on the last version of CCMS, and a large cut to the AOC budget make this a true win for all court employees. Thanks to all who helped make this significant victory happen. LACCRA encourages all members to attend a noontime meeting in your courthouse to learn more and talk about the next step as we continue to deal with the budget crisis.

In addition to funding issues, SEIU was able to address two matters directly affecting court reporters. First, a new fee has been added to cover civil proceedings lasting less than an hour. SEIU and LACCRA continue to pressure management to encourage the bench officers to utilize our 3/5 reporters so this money is collected.

Second, the AOC has been stopped from unilaterally imposing “Word Count.” Every jurisdiction has a long-standing agreement between the administration and reporters for transcript payment based on a presumed number of folios (100 words) on a page based on the approved format. Our agreement is 2.58 folios per page for criminal; no more than 3 folios for civil. The AOC’s auditors recently concluded that the trial courts were overpaying for transcripts by using these folio multipliers. The auditors claimed the requisite number of words were not on the page, although there was no consistent definition of what a “word” is. As a result, many administrators began implementing Word Count by requiring their reporters to run their transcripts through a program that counted “words.” In some cases, this was resulting in a 30% loss of transcript income – particularly damaging when there has not been an increase in the folio in almost 23 years. Our union, in partnership with CCRA and COCRA, was able to insert language in the budget trailer bill that allows page-folio agreements that were in effect as of January 1, 2012 to remain and not be changed unilaterally.

Sincerely,

The Los Angeles County Court Reporters Association

Los Angeles County Court Reporters Association
111 North Hill Street | Room 606-A Mosk Courthouse| Los Angeles, CA 90012