The court reporters union in Orange County is protecting a decision by the Orange County Superior Court to cut their pay by more than 10 percent while increasing their health insurance premiums.
Reduced Hours, Increased Health Insurance Premiums
Court reporters protested outside the Central Justice Center in Santa Ana after it was revealed that administrators were ordering court reporters to cut their weekly hours from 40 to 35, thereby deeming them part-time employees. That move meant a nearly 13 percent pay cut. Adding insult to injury, the Santa Ana, California, court reporters later learned that their healthcare premiums would be skyrocketing, thereby putting further strain on their already-reduced paychecks.
One of the court reporter protesters said her monthly health insurance premiums jumped from $400 to $1,200 a month.
Contract Negotiations Stalled
Contract negotiations between county administrators and the court reporters union are ongoing. Negotiations failed after the county said that they will pay 75 percent of the healthcare premiums for full-time employees, but just 37.5 percent for part-time employees. And, given the mandatory reduction in hours for court reporters, this meant that they would all be considered part-time employees and would therefore have to pay the majority of their health insurance premiums.
Court reporters understand that a county budget in the red means that they may have to pay more for health insurance or take furlough days, but they are also saying they are being unfairly singled out, maybe because of the perception that court reporters in Santa Ana earn too much money. An experienced court reporter in Santa Ana can make between $78,000 and $93,000 a year, said one court reporter, but that these salaries are earned through experience and skill.