California Federation of Interpreters

Update on Region 2

Tentative Agreement 

SAN FRANCISCO (Sept. 12, 2017) _ Region 2 Courts and CFI reached a tentative agreement yesterday that the bargaining team is recommending for ratification. If ratified by the membership, the three-year contract will implement wage steps and a salary structure for interpreters for the first time in Region 2, and now also includes a wage reopener in July of 2019.

The salary range has 5 steps with 5% between the steps, with existing employees entering into steps 2 and 3 depending on years of service. This will provide 21% in wage growth for all unit members by the end of the three-year term. The wage reopener in July of 2019 means that before the MOU expires, it will open and we will negotiate again on wages only. Rather than getting a COLA upfront, we will have the opportunity to bargain for a COLA less than 2 years into this contract.  Improved language preserving our legal position and remedies related to the pension changes is also part of the agreement. 

The deal came toward the end of the day. The Region started the session by rejecting our counter proposal for an across the board COLA of 4%, and actually asked CFI to take back the very same offer members had just rejected, and to recommend it. They offered nothing to sweeten the deal, saying a majority of the Region’s CEO’s remained firmly against providing any economic improvement to the proposal that the members just rejected. They did not come to bargain to agreement, and the lead negotiator threatened again to withdraw the three-year deal and present a one-year offer without a salary range.

The bargaining team introduced a number of options, including a wage reopener, to reach a settlement and secure the gains we’ve achieved over the past year. The Region wanted a clause preventing work actions during the wage reopener. We rejected that and the deal was struck when the Region dropped that demand and agreed to a full reopener that gives us the opportunity to pursue further wage improvements during the term of this contract.

The Bargaining Committee is endorsing the deal because it guarantees wage growth, establishes wage steps for the first time in Region 2 and-- for the first time in the state-- it establishes a step range that's comparable to what the vast majority of court workers have always enjoyed. We did not want to risk that and put our membership or the public we serve through a longer battle given the Region’s entrenched position and an uncertain outcome.

We are disappointed of course that a majority of R2 CEOs (and the judges who ultimately direct them) resist recognizing the pay inequities that have kept our wage growth so low. We are disappointed to see that court leaders aren’t motivated even by their own recruitment problems to make staff compensation more competitive in the labor market standards for our skills. This attitude is rooted in institutionalized discrimination based on gender and national origin. That’s a a bigger battle we’ll continue to fight together as a profession, to change the  mindset that undervalues interpreters and get the judicial branch to accept and act on the facts: it takes a high level of skill and knowledge to make meaningful access a reality for LEP court users and anyone who relies on their testimony. It takes a workforce of highly qualified and fairly compensated professionals. Without true and accurate interpretation there can be no justice for all in California.

Your Region 2 bargaining team believes getting all we could out of this round of bargaining, as we have, will strengthen us and increase our collective resolve to continue that fight. 

Details on voting will follow shortly. The bargaining committee plans to carry out the vote quickly, with our recommendation to accept, so that members will receive their pay increases as soon as possible if the deal is ratified. 

Local Update

September 11, 2017 

CWA Strong Training*

Stewards, those who want to be stewards, and those who want to take a more active role in leadership in the Local are invited to RSVP for one of the trainings below:

Southern California – Saturday September 23rd  Or Saturday October 21st 

Session will take place at CWA District 9 Offices in Santa Fe Springs from 10am to 4pm – Lunch will be served. 

Northern California – Saturday September 30th           

Session will take place in Bay Area.  We are confirming a location in Oakland which is both near BART and has parking.

10am – 4pm – Lunch will be served. 

If you are interested in helping with new employee Orientation – this is the meeting/training for you.  As of July, there is a new law in California giving unions access to new employees during their orientation.  We have been asked by the lawyers and the State Federation of Labor to be careful about how we launch this orientation – since we don’t want to make bad precedents as the law is getting into effect.

We would like to have stewards and others trained in every Region (and Court) to be able to reach out and welcome new employees and invite them into joining the union.

RSVP to [email protected]

We need to have your RSVP at least 72 hours in advance of the training to be able to print materials and order the food.

*  This is the CWA Strong Resolution from the CWA Convention in August 2017 

*CWA STRONG is a challenge to all of us, to create a shared understanding of the forces that seek to derail the gains we’ve made. We’ll use the smarts we’ve acquired in decades of organizing, bargaining and mobilization to reach every member, strengthen our union and protect good jobs, wages, benefits and retirement.



Please Register here to participate in the October 6-9 Annual Conference

Remember we rolled back the rate to 2014 prices for registration. 

If you would like to volunteer to help with the Conference – contact Eva Vargas at [email protected] 

Sincerely in Solidarity,

Carrie Biggs-Adams
Temporary Administrator

Region 2 Update

Members Reject Region’s August 10 Proposal

The vote on the Region's last offer has concluded and members voted to reject the courts’ proposal.

Members met to discuss the proposal and voted in large numbers throughout the region, with 74% of eligible voters casting a ballot.

Vote results:  57% to Reject and 43% to Accept

This is a decisive outcome and the bargaining team has notified the Region and proposed dates for a return to the table. The moratorium on work actions ends September 11 in accordance with our agreement to put the Region’s proposal to a vote. 

The San Francisco Labor Council has granted our request for strike sanctions. Strike sanctions requests are also in progress from CWA and central labor councils around the Bay.

Based on the progress we’ve made over the past year, and how close we are to a tentative agreement, we’re confident it is still possible to avert a strike by reaching a tentative agreement at the bargaining table if the Region's decision makers are interested in doing so.  

In discussing the pros and cons of the proposal and our situation, members focused on two shortcomings in the Region's proposal: 
  • the overall wage growth is inadequate considering the four-year period actually covered (from expiration of our contract through the end of 2020); 
  • the lack of any increase to the entry level pay in the new wage scale. 
Both concerns can be addressed by increasing the bottom step or adding a COLA to the economic package. 

Our polling shows we are in a strong position for continuing our work actions. We appreciate the determination and support expressed by interpreters region wide regardless of how they voted.

An editorial published in the Daily Journal last week as this vote was pending tells the full story about why we’re standing up and strongly united for a better deal. 


August 29, 2017

Region 1 Bargaining Update
Region 1 met with the Bargaining team today at the Airport Courthouse.
In addition to the Bargaining Committee and Region 1 attendees we were pleased to have several  employees present during the AM and PM sessions:  Karine Levy (A), Marina Feiguin (F), Claudia Pettit (F), Silvia Barden (F), and Roxana Lopez (F).  We continue to invite Members to these sessions so that they can see firsthand what is happening and to show their support!
We reached a Tentative Agreement on Article 8, Section 1 relating to Discipline and Discharge stating that the Union has the right to respond on behalf of a member.  Additionally, if an employee chooses to not be represented by the Union, the decision shall not set precedent on future disciplinary matters for other Union members.
At the next session the parties will sign Tentative Agreements on Articles 4 and 25 - basically cleaning up language.
We submitted two proposals relating to binding arbitration - we currently do not enjoy this. Region 1 rejected both of these.  When pushed as to why they rejected this they said that other units in LA don't have it and that they make decisions for a living.  When pushed, they said that no judge has been involved in accepting or rejecting an advisory opinion nor have they rejected any advisory opinion by an arbitrator.  The CFI contracts in other regions include this right.
A proposal was submitted  for a Mixteco Pilot Interpreter program asking  Santa Barbara to participate in a joint proposal to the Judicial Council allowing for Mixteco language employee reimbursements.  Region 1 says that they will not be able to accept this proposal given statutory requirements.  We presented this as an access to language issue to address a gap in delivery of language services to a community where there is great need. They do not believe that the Judicial Council will pay for expenses for non Registered/Certified interpreters as employees.
Our counsel put in a demand for an Interest Arbitrator which allows an arbitrator to determine our access rights for new employee orientations.  We further agreed that we would delay the arbitration to allow the parties to resolve the issue at the table. 
In response to our requests for information, we have received several documents relating to seniority for all 3 counties, information on interpreter waiting areas, assignment rotations for the last several years, and mentor volunteer lists.  The Bargaining team will review and analyze the data in order to respond to Region 1 proposals and be prepared for the next set of proposals on their part which we anticipate will relate to staffing, positions, and assignments.
The next Bargaining session is confirmed for September 25th at the Airport Courthouse (2nd Floor Meeting Room).  Please be sure to fill out your RTOs requesting this day off.  
Region 2 Contract Vote
Members in Region 2 are voting this week on a Last Best and Final Offer.  The ballots will be tabulated on Thursday evening 8/31/17.  Results will be released shortly thereafter.  Meanwhile the Local is in the process of affiliating to Labor Councils around the Region 2 area and seeking Strike Sanction in the event of a labor dispute.  The San Francisco Labor Council has granted sanction.
Labor Day Rally – Oakland
The San Francisco and Alameda County Labor Councils are holding a Labor Day of Action:
8:30am: Gather at 14th/Jackson St. Oakland 
9:00am: Fight for $15 Workers Demand a Union
11:00am: Together we Rise Rally at Frank Ogawa/Oscar Grant Plaza 
TOGETHER WE RISE! Labor Unions are under attack! Together our unions and communities must aim to strengthen the Labor Movement and continue our commitment to supporting all workers! Strong unions give us power to raise wages, hold the powerful accountable, and boost the standard of living for all Americans.
Music, food and drinks will be provided! Families and children welcome!! 
If you are in the Bay Area – come on out and show your Solidarity!
Registration is OPEN for the Annual Conference
Please Register for the Annual Conference – this year in Oakland at the Oakland Airport Hilton.  The weekend of October 6-8.  You can register by clicking here:  CFI Conference
Carrie Biggs-Adams
Temporary Administrator

Update on Region 1 Bargaining Session

August 23, 2017, Airport Courthouse

Your Region 1 Bargaining Committee met with Management from Los Angeles, Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo Courts and reached Tentative Agreements on two proposed minor corrections to Articles 25 and 4.  We’re on our way! 

We received substantive proposals from the Region on several articles including, Seniority, Employee Benefits, Employment Status, Grievance Procedure, and Leaves of Absence.  Several requests for information (RFIs) were made on our part to further understand the proposals and to more effectively respond to them. 

In addition to the Bargaining Committee Members and attorneys, we had an observer present. Thank you Claudia Pettit (F Status) for your participation and support!

We encourage and invite all of our colleagues (A, C, F, and OTS) to participate in future sessions.  Our next session will take place at the Airport Courthouse on Tuesday, August 29th.

Your CFI bargaining team,

Doris Vick
Pedro Ramirez
Daniel Kaufman
Roberto Guerrero
Michael Ferreira
Kathleen Sinclair Alternate
Caren Senser from the law firm of Weinberg, Roger & Rosenfeld.

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