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Striking Santa Clara court staff are back on the job today after union negotiators and management reached a tentative agreement Wednesday night. Neither side would release details of the agreement pending approval by a majority of the 650 union court clerks, reporters, research attorneys and staff. But Isobel White, spokeswoman for the Service Employees International Union Local 715, said the entire bargaining committee recommended members approve the deal. Members are expected to vote on the offer at 5:30 today. “It’s clear the strike had a good effect because the proposal is significantly better than the one members rejected a few weeks back,” White said. Court members of the Local 715 walked off the job Monday, paralyzing South Bay court operations, after rejecting management’s offer of a 2.5 percent raise this year with no guarantee of raises in the following two years. Court workers were asking for 6 percent the first year and 3.5 to 5.5 percent the next year — the same raise that Santa Clara County employees received — as well as more flexibility in work assignments. Court spokeswoman Debra Hodges issued a statement late Wednesday saying a deal had been reached, but management did not comment further. The two sides met Tuesday night for lengthy talks with a state mediator. The union presented a new offer, which was met with a counteroffer Wednesday. Union members said their position had been bolstered by Tuesday’s ruling on a tempororary restraining order sought by management. Court executives had asked San Mateo County Superior Court Judge Joseph Bergeron to order 59 workers back on the job, but he forced the return of just 16 court reporters to handle time-sensitive criminal hearings. “They can’t run on 16 court reporters. They can barely handle arraignments,” said Sunil Gupta, a research attorney familiar with the negotiations. Staff Writer Shannon Lafferty’s e-mail address is [email protected].

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