Judicial Branch Contract Signed

Chief Justice Linda Dalianis, seated at left, and State Employees' Association President Diana Lacey, seated at right, sign the contract for Judicial Branch workers Tuesday, Oct. 2, 2012, as members of the Judicial Branch bargaining team and others look on.

State Employees’ Association President Diana Lacey and Chief Justice Linda Dalianis signed the contract for Judicial Branch workers Tuesday, but members of the bargaining team aren’t wasting too much time celebrating: They’re already preparing for negotiations on their new contract.

Ratified in July, the deal covers fiscal 2012-13, which means it will expire in around a year.

Kearston Crutchfield, who worked on the bargaining team, said she was elated to have the bargaining agreement wrapped up, and she credited the creativity of the bargaining team.

“Everybody worked so hard … everybody thought outside the box, they were creative,” she said, referring to a change in health care that ties premiums to salary. “We wouldn’t have signed this if people hadn’t stepped outside the norm. I’m super excited about it.”

As the team prepares for negotiations again, Crutchfield said they would continue to bring in new ideas.

“I think with the economy the way that it is, that’s the only way we’re going to move forward is if we can be innovative and work out those numbers and see what we can get,” she said.

Before signing the deal, Dalianis complemented the work of the negotiating team.

“It’s not easy in the best of times to work out collective bargaining agreements because there are always competing interests, we all understand that,” she said.

“Coming together under these conditions is quite a feat and the whole judicial branch thanks you all for your efforts.”

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