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South Bay courts slowed to a crawl Monday as nearly 650 court clerks, reporters, research attorneys and other staff walked out over soured labor negotiations. Staff, who are members of the Service Employees International Union Local 715, picketed outside San Jose’s criminal and civil courts, while court managers, who are members of a different union, filled in for crucial positions. Union members walked away from the negotiating table again Friday after court management refused to improve its 3-year contract offer, which includes a 2.5 percent raise this year and no guarantees for the next two. Court staff wants 6 percent this year and 3.5 to 5.5 percent in year two — the same raise county employees received. Crucial court matters were handled Monday at San Jose’s Hall of Justice, but many courtrooms were dark. Assistant DA Karyn Sinunu said attorneys were making appearances. “A lot of stuff has been continued. It’s pretty much chaos,” Sinunu said. Outlying courthouses including the courthouse in the city of Santa Clara and a satellite family law courthouse in San Jose were closed. Matters at the Sunnyvale courthouse were continued due to the strike. Some union members crossed picket lines to continue with a murder trial in Judge Diane Northway’s Palo Alto courtroom. But at San Jose’s downtown civil courthouse, most courtrooms were dark as staff rallied outside, waving signs and chanting slogans. Picketers said many of the judges had filed out of the building by 10 a.m. Presiding Judge Richard Turrone, standing outside with Judge Jack Komar, watched the protests. Turrone said some courts were still in session Monday.

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