Public defenders handle criminal cases for those accused of crimes who cannot afford to hire a private attorney. The majority of the accused cannot afford private counsel which means that most criminal court work is handled by our public defenders. Public defender work is grueling, caseloads are huge, public defenders have to work long hours just to barely keep up with caseloads and their clients. Even with the unpaid extra hours not all of the cases get the time and attention they need.
More money needs to be put into the system to hire more public defenders and support staff to get the caseloads down, and public defenders need to at the very least, receive comparable salaries to the prosecutors who handle the same cases that they do every day from the other side of the table. A Public Defender is sometimes the only thing standing between an innocent person falsely accused of a crime who does not have money, and an unjust conviction.
A strike is likely if the state does not provide adequate funding. I hope it does not come to that, but, if it does, I will support our public defenders.