California Federation of Interpreters

Local Update

February 22, 2018

Dear Member of CFI Local 39000,
Ballots will be mailed to all members in good standing of Local 39000 on Friday, February 23rd.  The election involves the following offices:
Local President
Local Vice President
Local Secretary
Local Treasurer
Executive Board Representatives:
Region 1
Region 2
Region 3, and
The ballots are being handled by Ballotpoint (a nationally recognized company that handles elections for unions and other organizations).  The ballots will be mailed from their mailing house in Michigan on Friday February 23rd.
825 individuals are on our rosters as members in good standing – and will be getting their ballots from the Local (via Ballotpoint).  In order to be counted, members must follow the instructions in marking their ballot and returning it via the small secret ballot and large return envelope.  BALLOTS MUST BE MAILED BACK TO THE POST OFFICE BOX – they cannot be accepted at the Local office.  Please be sure that you vote and get your ballot in the mail in time to be in the box when the mail is picked up the morning of March 15th.
The Election Committee and a representative of Ballotpoint will pick up the mail at 10am on March 15th, and those ballots will be counted in the Local office in Santa Fe Springs that morning.  The results will then be certified and released that day.
Mail should arrive early next week.  If your co-workers say they got their ballot and yours has not come – email us – [email protected] with your:
Phone number (in case we need to discuss this with you)
If the address is different from the one in the Local’s records – we will have a duplicate ballot sent to you by Ballotpoint at the new address (note we have sent mail to all addresses in the last couple of months about this election and corrected any addresses on mail that was returned).
If your envelope didn’t appear in the US Mail – a duplicate ballot will be sent by Ballotpoint.
Any duplicate or replacement ballots will be marked (by Ballotpoint) to ensure that only vote is cast by each member in good standing.  The secrecy of the ballot process is one more reason that you must mail these back in the envelopes provided by Ballotpoint.  The return envelopes already include the return postage, so that will not delay your vote.
Note your replacement ballot packet will be sent from Ballotpoint in Portland, Oregon.  Please recognize that it will take a couple of days for your replacement ballot to arrive, and then a couple for your return ballot to arrive at the Post Office Box in Santa Fe Springs.  Don’t delay in making your request for a replacement ballot.  Please email so that we have a record of your request and our response to your request.  You may call the office, but it will not be as efficient as we will only get the voice mail when the office is open (562) 944-2341.
Please mail your ballot as soon as you get it, so you don’t misplace it.  Ballots should be mailed back in time to be in the Post Office Box by March 14th – we will pick up the mail on Thursday morning March 15th and only ballots in the post office box at that time will be counted.
REGION 4 Executive Board Representative
Only one candidate stood for the nomination when the process was concluded, therefore Silvia San Martin was declared elected by acclamation.  Ms. San Martin has now taken office and is starting to represent the members of the Local in her region.
The race for Region 4 Bargaining Committee ended in the committee being elected by acclamation when some nominees decided not to stand for election.  The Committee is starting to plan meetings and collection of members’ suggestions for proposals. The Committee members are:
Silvia San Martin (also ex officio member as Region 4 Board Representative) – San Diego
Ana Fuller – San Diego
Rebeca Vera – San Diego
Jackie Ruiz - Riverside
LouLou Tovar - Orange
Juan Ramirez – Orange
The contract expires on June 30th.
REGION 4 PERB Retirement Case:
The hearing in the San Diego Retirement Case concluded on February 1st.  Our case in chief had been submitted last fall, and our attorney Anne Yen, feels that the case went very well.  She was assisted by Jackie Ruiz who had been on the bargaining committee and testified in rebuttal.
Jackie provided this recap:
“The following people testified:
Susan Rhode (not sure on the spelling)
-Was employed by Orange County Superior Court/HR Analyst
-She testified regarding OC's retirement system/reverse pick up. 
-the fact that CFI has always been tied to the General Unit 
-Notice of changes to benefits were always sent to CFI.
-CFI never asked to meet and confer
Monna Radulovich
-Region's attorney
-She testified that CFI had requested to meet and confer regarding the impacts of PEPRA.
-that although the Court was not conceding they had to M & C, they did. 
-Courts position was that it was not a PEPRA issue, but a state provision instead. 
-She stated that Mary Lou was frustrated that it was not dealt with at bargaining.
- She said that Stephen Cascioppo stated that it was discussed at the table and that the 9% raise was given because of retirement changes. 
-She discussed the details of the San Diego meet and confer and the fact that they didn't agree on anything other than having the EPMC phased in. 
Stephen Cascioppo
San Diego Asst. Executive Officer
-He testified regarding the PEPRA changes and the agreement they reached with LIUNA.
-He said they were aware that CFI was in negotiations with San Bernardino and Riverside for a side letter. 
-He said that the elimination of the EPMC was discussed at the Region table and that Joe Wiley said it was a local issue. That local issues such as retirement couldn't be discussed at the table.
-He said they didn't agree to a side letter because they didn't want to give CFI "more than what they had given the rest of the employees."
The judge had great questions for Cascioppo:
Q: When looking at CFI proposals you said that the Court wouldn't agree because CFI would be getting more?
A: Yes
Q: LIUNA got an 8% offset plus a wage increase?
A: Yes
Q: What did CFI get?
A: 9% over term of contract
Q: Did you discuss at the table that the 9% was an offset?
A: No
Lyn Bell
San Diego County Superior Court- HR Director
-She only testified to changes in health benefits that CFI was tied to the General Unit. 
* part of the complaint included bad faith bargaining re: health benefits.
Rebuttal witness:
Jackie Ruiz
-was asked if proposals included EPMC offset. 
Jackie said yes, at first.
Things changed when Riverside had a private Caucus with Ernie Durazzo, Silvia Barden, and Jackie. Riverside informed them that they would not discuss PEPRA/EPMC at the table, but that Riverside CEO was willing to offer interpreters a (non-wage) equivalent offset. Riverside imposed PEPRA increase and interpreters were FORCED to accept. 
After this conversation, CFI's proposals did not include offset, only cost of living increase.
Joe Wiley flipped!! Was insisting proposals DID include offset. 
Jackie stuck to her guns saying it didn't. Wiley go crazy & judge asked for a recess. Joe Wiley stormed out calling Jackie a liar saying "Lies, lies, lies! Judge could hear him in the hallway. Jackie told the judge that that's his demeanor at the bargaining table.
Joe Wiley took the stand at the end to state that the Court ALWAYS considered all of the wage proposals but declined them. He stressed that the raise that was given took I to account PEPRA. 
The Judge asked a lot of great clarifying questions that left Jackie feeling confident that he understood CFI's position.”
NOTE: Jackie has apologized for the delay in a report-back – she has been dealing with a family emergency, in addition to serving the Local on the Election Committee.
Briefs and reply briefs will be filed in this case.  And the Region 2 case continues on March 5th and 6th. Anne Yen is representing CFI (paid for by the TNG Legal Services Program) in both cases.
Please be sure to vote.
Carrie Biggs-Adams
Temporary Administrator


Region 1 Bargaining Update

February 6, 2018, Santa Fe Springs, District 9 Office

So, it was another day of truth and beauty at Santa Fe Springs, and here’s a recap of all the goings on.

On the wages horizon, Court Administration offered interpreters yet another wage proposal: an increase of 1.5% over their last proposal made on January 22nd totaling 6% over the life of the contract.  Once again, they rejected CFI’s proposal that included steps; the team countered with a proposal which calls for a 2% yearly wage increase above COLA (Cost of Living Adjustment), and which additionally provides for a “longevity increase” at intervals of five years over a fifteen-year period.

Other points of note during our collective tête-à-tête include:

The proposal by CFI to create a program and classification for rehiring annuitants (retirees who return to work for the courts) was resoundingly rejected by the Region. Their spokesman, Mr. Wiley, again firmly restated their position that rehiring retired employees is of no benefit to the courts, citing the “laborious” complexity of record keeping for payroll regarding the 960-hour limit per year that a rehired annuitant is permitted to work and still receive retirement benefits.[1]

Regarding the Assignment article (Article 18), although CFI has shown good faith toward seeking compromise, there still exists a significant divide between the two positions. In fact, there may be no possible resolution to this issue until we get closer to the rollout of the new software-based automatic assignment system. To date, there has not been even so much as a manual with screen shots offered to the team to consider; it may well be that we need to see a test run of the system before we can find common ground to sign off on this article.

Joe Wiley, Court’s spokesman, made it clear that the Court was rejecting our proposal concerning benefits in Article 26. He explained that the benefits package was determined by Los Angeles County, and the Court had no control over what that package would be, and therefore, the Court could not commit as to how our members would be affected. CFI countered with a modified proposal stating, “Any changes to the benefit package would not result in an increase in costs.” As our spokesperson, Caren Sencer, commented to Administration: The Court can’t control the package offered, but it can control the costs to our members.

Article 31 – Office Space and Supplies: Videos, photographs, and supporting information which we presented to Administration regarding what we consider to be inadequate office space was resoundingly disregarded. The comment was, “Reasonable minds can differ on what is unsafe,” and the Court further stated that if the Union has any concerns about an unsafe situation in the interpreter waiting rooms, or other facilities, we can file with OSHA. To this our team’s spokesperson replied, “Well, maybe not OSHA, but the Fire Department.”

The entire bargaining team would like to thank the following members who sacrificed a vacation day to attend this bargaining session and lend their support to our efforts: Sonia Cruz (A), Claudia Longo (A), Susana Hernández (A), Brenda Oliver (A), and Oscar de la Llera (A). It was fantastic being able to sit and talk with all of you after the afternoon session; it was a good conversation answering your questions and hearing your concerns.

Please be aware, if benefit time on an RTO is specified as Vacation, instead of Sick Personal, there appears to be a higher likelihood of approval to observe bargaining. 

The participation of every interpreter is even more crucial now as we continue to negotiate key labor and professional issues which uphold the mainstays of our contract. The Court needs to know that interpreters really care about matters such as seniority, assignments, vacation, and wages.

 We look forward to seeing as many of you as possible at our next bargaining session on February 21st in Santa Fe Springs, home to hardscrabble heroes!

In solidarity…

Your Region 1 Bargaining Team
CFI Local 39000, CWA-TNG


Pedro Ramírez  
Daniel Kaufman 
Doris Vick 
Michael Ferreira 
Robert Guerrero 
Caren Sencer, Spokesperson

January 30, 2018

Dear Members:

I write to update you about the nominating and election process for CFI Local 39000.  Based upon a complaint received Monday morning, the Election Committee has decided to pause the entire election to give Freelance Members the opportunity to nominate not only Freelance Executive Board Representative(s), but also candidates for the four top officers (and run for those  five spots as well). 
The problem initially arose when we discovered that Freelance members of the Local had not been sent the announcement of the election back in December.  The Election Committee agreed to send the notices to the Freelancers and pause the election of the Freelance Executive Board position until they could nominate themselves (and others).  The effect of the complaint is that we are going to pause the entire election, allow the 81 Freelance members to participate. 
Nominations which have already been submitted, confirmed and for which the nominees have already submitted their candidate’s statements will not change (or re-open).  But we will accept additional nominations from the Freelance Members – who may nominate any member in good standing in the Local for any of the 4 top spots and the Freelance Executive Board Representative:
Vice President,
Treasurer, and
Freelance Executive Board Representative are the races affected.
The timeline is as follows:
1/30    Nominations open for Freelance Members to nominate (and run for) 4 top officers & Executive Board Representative (continues from 1/25)
2/15    Nominations by Freelance Members close at 5pm
2/16    New candidate’s statements of 400 words maximum, including header with name and position for which the person is running Due by 9pm.   Candidates may only run for 1 position during this election.
2/17    Full list of Candidates for Office will be posted on the Local’s Website by 5pm.
2/23    ALL Ballots will issue by mail from Ballotpoint IN all Contested Races
            All Candidate’s Statements will be posted on the Local’s Website by 5pm.
3/13    ALL Ballots must be returned by mail at post office box
3/15    The ballots to be counted at Santa Fe Springs office beginning at 10am – candidate with most votes will be declared elected, a majority of the votes cast is not required.  Observers are allowed but may not touch the ballots.  Counting will be conducted by Ballotpoint and the Local Election Committee.
3/24    Training for new Local Officers at Santa Fe Springs Office Saturday March 24.
This has been a frustrating situation, but our goal is democracy and an open election.  The Local had never paid per capita dues on the Freelance Members to the CWA in the past, that was remedied with submission of the list for December and payment made to CWA on January 29th.  Those Freelance Members have been submitted to CWA to be added to the CWA’s rolls.
We had a situation where one candidate had not paid monthly dues during 2017, and we sought guidance from CWA’s General Counsel as to eligibility.  The ruling was that with the payment of $1.90 in back inactive fees the person was eligible to run in the election. The Local Bylaws do not require that a candidate be in good standing for the previous 12 months to run in these races, although they do for election to regional bargaining committees.
We then found the situation of the Freelance Members, and their status, participation. We believe that that is now fully corrected.  As they could not run for Regional Representatives, we have re-opened the nominations for the offices for which they are eligible to nominate AND run.
Hopefully we are now back on track.  But we will continue to keep you informed of developments in the election process. 
In hopes that you will participate and vote to elect your new representatives.
Carrie Biggs-Adams
Temporary Administrator




January 29, 2018

Message to the Membership:

Due to a challenge to the Election the nomination list will not be post it today.


Region 1 Bargaining Session Update

January 22, 2018

Region 1 Bargaining Update – January 22, 2018, Santa Fe Springs District 9 Office

“It was the best of times; it was the worst of times.”

Today the Court Administration offered interpreters yet another disappointing wage proposal: 1.5% per year, over a period of 3 years for a total of 4.5 % over the life of the contract.  This is an increase of 1.5% over their last proposal on November 28, 2017.  Your team continues to press for a salary system of five steps with increases that keep pace with the ever-increasing cost of living (COLA), which presently is running at about 2% a year for the Southern California area.

The Court also rejected reimbursement to interpreters for costs related to CIMCE credits and maintaining Judicial Council interpreter certification. Nevertheless, your Bargaining Team continues to press for reimbursement, as this is a requisite to continue in the Court’s employ.

Region 1 Court Administration flatly rejected the possibility of having retirees return as part-time employees after the obligatory 180-day wait period required in the California Public Employees’ Pension Reform Act (PEPRA). When Joe Wiley, the Court’s spokesperson, was queried as to their position, he indicated that hiring retirees presents "no advantage to the Court" and the record keeping required by LACERA would pose a "bureaucratic headache" insofar as coordinating Payroll and Human Resources. Administration maintains that hiring our member retirees would not help them with staffing; this, in effect, discounts the value and experience of interpreter retirees.

Court Administration also rejected CFI’s proposal for:

Article 9 – Grievance Procedure, “final and binding arbitration.”

Article 11 – Expedited Arbitration, “binding arbitration.”

Article 22 – Professional Conduct, “continuity in trial” language. The proposal was to have at least one interpreter render services throughout the duration of the trial.

Article 28 – Leave of Absence, the Court continues to assert a cap for Organizational Leave at 130 days for each calendar year. (The present MOU, and all other MOU’s before it did not specify a limit to the number of days granted on Organizational Leave.)

Article 31 – Office Space and Supplies, the Court feels that they cannot guarantee a contagion-free environment for interpreters, nor waiting area space in which interpreters would have sufficient room to sit and/or safely move about.

Article 37 – Stewards, changes to language that facilitates stewards investigating and processing formal grievances.

Your Team has saved the “best of times” portion of this update until the end; we highlight two interestingly positive developments.

  1. We continue to work on language in Article 19 – Cross Assignments, with an eye towards facilitating quicker authorization from the home court. The Court had made it a practice to authorize cross assignments as late as possible, often resulting in employee interpreters losing the job. Today Mr. Wiley stated the following: “If our (the court’s) action prevents you (the interpreter) from getting work, we will pay you or give you work, so that there is no loss to the interpreter." Mr. Wiley clarified further, “If you are told at 3:00 pm one day before a cross assignment that you cannot cross assign, you will be paid or given work,” repeating no less than three times, “no loss to the interpreter.”


  1. Regarding Article 26 – Employee Benefits (Vacation), As to the realignment of our vacation accrual to that of LA County, Mr. Wiley gave assurances that "Interpreters employed prior to the implementation of this Agreement shall not suffer a reduction in their vacation accrual rate as a result of the implementation of this Agreement." (Bold and italics added)

We would like to thank the following members who attended this bargaining session showing your support: Elisa Chávez-Fraga (F), Inés Horovitz (A), Adela Herrera (A), Francisca Valencia (A), Inson Oh (A).

We look forward to seeing as many of you as possible at our next bargaining session on February 6th in Santa Fe Springs!

In solidarity …

Your Region 1 Bargaining Team
CFI Local 39000, CWA-TNG

Pedro Ramírez 
Daniel Kaufman
Doris Vick
Michael Ferreira
Robert Guerrero
Caren Sencer, Spokesperson



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