California Federation of Interpreters

CFI Interpreters Support Their Colleagues in Region 2

When we fight, we win! 

Below are groups of members throughout the state who are spontaneously sending us photos to voice their support for Region 2 work actions. 

 

In solidarity,

CFI Local 39000 TNG-CWA

 
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Press Release

Interpreters in Region 2 WALKOUT!

In light of the Region’s failure to provide any wage increase at all during our current contract negotiations, court interpreters will be taking work action. Region 2[1] Interpreters will be walking out starting March 11, 2022, as a sign of unity protesting the systematic discrimination they face by their employer while simultaneously fighting for livable wages and fair working conditions. The money is there however, courts refuse to make interpreting a viable profession.   

Interpreters are critical to ensuring that all members of our diverse community have meaningful access to justice and receive culturally competent support by providing linguistic services to our limited English proficient Californian in the state courts. They are vital in empowering and listening to victims and survivors of crime, litigants, and are equally necessary to the fulfillment of the rights and dignity of the criminally accused. Our system fails to fulfill on its promise of justice for all when we don’t adequately compensate and support our interpreters. It is our immigrant and disabled populations who suffer the most and experience disparate treatment such as longer courtroom waits, denial of interpretation services in civil proceedings, or not receiving regular, thorough communication from their appointed lawyer’s.  

Courts are working hard to eliminate court interpreting as a viable profession and eviscerate due process for limited English Californians. Currently, staff interpreters earnings in region 2 fall within the the low income level. Low wages for the specialized skill set  is discouraging employment and is the root of the interpreter retention problem.

The current economic troubles— rising inflation and high cost of gasoline— has exacerbated the situation. While other court employee units have continuously received wage increases and cost of living adjustments, court interpreters have not. Region 2 court interpreters have not received a raise or cost of living adjustments since 2017. Interpreter pay in the state’s courts is far lower than in other sector’s that compete for certified interpreters and lags behind salaries of other court professionals with comparable level of education and specialized skill set.

The Governor and Legislature understands the importance interpreters play in social justice and as a demonstration to their commitment to language access in the state courts, they continuously fund a separate budget for interpreter expenditures. State courts receive full interpreter expenditure reimbursement from that budget. Consequently, interpreters are not an added expense to courts. In the 2021-22 fiscal year (June-June), the Governor and Legislature earmarked $132 million for reimbursement for language access as well as, set aside an additional $30 million grant for recruitment of employee interpreters.

Recently, the California Federation of Interpreters (CFI) Local 39000, learned that region 2 courts have over $14 million combined unspent funds from their 2021-22 annual allocation. That amount is not factoring in the amounts courts have received from the $30 million interpreter recruitment grant. Additionally, in July, region 2 courts will receive another lump sum to cover interpreter expenses for the new fiscal year. This lump sum will be similar or higher than the previous year. 

Low wages have gravely affected recruitment and retention of staff interpreters. Courts refusal to make court interpreting a viable  profession demonstrates their lack of commitment and investment in ensuring meaningful access to our limited English proficient community. Fewer interpreters in the courts means reduced meaningful access for everyone: victims, defendants, litigants, witnesses, judges, lawyers, and other justice partners. Interpreters have been met with comments such as “you already make enough” or “we can get an app to do interpreting” from court administration and their counsel. 

Professional interpreters don’t just speak a foreign language — they have mastered it! Competent interpreting requires the highest level of proficiency in at least two languages, extensive professional training, knowledge of a broad spectrum of specialized subject matter, and cultural understanding. They interpret complex vocabulary, grammatical structure, and elements of specialized and cultural meaning, and transform them into equivalents in another language as they are spoken. They must pass one of the toughest professional certification exams and over half hold a masters degree or higher. 

Providing a competitive compensation structure and a professional work environment are indispensable for attracting and retaining enough interpreters to meet the California courts’ growing language access needs while maintaining acceptable standards of service. Honoring, valuing, and acknowledging the humanity and expertise of interpreters is the only solution for the courts to fulfill their constitutional and civil rights promises. By doing so, courts will truly fulfill the dignity, rights, and needs of ALL people, especially our immigrant populations. 

 


[1] Region 2 is compose of the following counties: Monterey, Santa Cruz, Santa Clara, Contra Costa, San Mateo, San Francisco, Alameda, Marin, Sonoma, Napa, Mendocino, Humboldt, Lake, Del Norte, and San Benito 

 

Study finds remote hearings take longer, but improve access

Thumbnail of Texas remote hearings reportRemote proceedings take about a third longer than in-person hearings largely due to technology-related issues and lack of preparation by participants, according to an NCSC exploratory study of Texas courts. But the study also found that remote proceedings take longer because they increase access to justice, as litigants can more easily attend and participate in hearings.

This first national review of data confirms what judges have anecdotally shared about remote hearings before and during the pandemic. The 12-month study analyzed both 1.25 million minutes of judicial data and focus group feedback from judges and court leaders in eight counties across Texas.

https://www.ncsc.org/newsroom/at-the-center/2022/texas-remote-hearings

 

Notice:

Candidates have requested that the below distribution be made to you via our website.   CFI does not endorse candidates for its offices. This distribution is not an endorsement of a candidate by CFI, nor is CFI responsible for the content of the candidate's campaign literature.

Questions or comments should be directed to the candidate’s email address.

Region 1 Representative for Executive Board Statements

 

Begonya De Salvo

 

Dear colleagues—

My heart is full of gratitude for the individuals who have nominated me, and those who have asked me to accept the nomination to be their Region 1 Representative. I feel blessed for those who see me for who I am.

It is my sincere belief that all Region 1 members are aware of our need for a strong yet sound voice to face the many challenges ahead. I believe we can all recognize that this is a pivotal moment for all of us—for those about to retire, and those who will remain in the workforce. 

We deserve a brighter future, and I can help.

I hope to put my forces and talents to work to support our Union and make things happen. I am a relentless advocate who will not stop as a result of any bump in the road, who will fight fiercely for your interests, and who will use all tools available to represent you successfully.

I am doing this not out of any personal ambition, but simply because I love my fellow interpreters and want to serve them. I am a fighter, and I will work hard to make the Union better for us all. But I also am a peacemaker. I do not hold grudges, and I do not take things personally. Those who know me well can tell you one thing: that no matter what, I will always be fair. These are the values that I am bringing to the table.

Nevertheless, I cannot be neutral in situations of injustice. Our profession has been wronged and mistreated long enough. We have also been discriminated against as a group long enough. I do not take no for an answer, and I always find ways to get what is needed. You can trust me to ensure that all of our needs and wants are taken care of.

I plan to continue my advocacy for safer work conditions and fair compensation. We deserve hazard pay, flexibility to telework based on our special needs, and hero pay. We also deserve steps, and this is my main priority along with a big fat raise. To achieve this, you need a good bargaining team, supportive board, active stewards, involved members, and a strong Region 1 Representative with good communication skills and a direct line with the media.

I hope you can join me in this fight so we can make history together, because making our profession better benefits us all.

In solidarity,

Begonya De Salvo for CFI Region 1 Representative

Roberto Villalta

Hello fellow CFI union members,

I have been nominated to run for the open position of Region 1 Representative. To get your support and your vote, I have put a few words together in the following statement.

I have been a Court Interpreter for the past eight years, I have met a few of you as I work at different courthouses and at a couple of seminars and maybe a few rallies and Union meetings. Three years ago I decided to take a more collaborative roll and started helping as a Union Steward and participated in a few interviews and other situations with favorable results, I have also been invited to participate in meet and confer sessions with management and strategy sessions to organize and facilitate communication with membership.

As Region 1 Representative, I will be coordinating work and scheduling meetings among the Union Stewards of the Los Angeles, Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties. I will serve as a conduit between the Board and the Stewards and more importantly to you.

There is a lot of work to be done with the continued and apparently never ending pandemic, we must continue to confront issues arising out of new protocols which are impacting and threatening our work. As Region 1 representative I will do my best to be there for you, I will work hard to protect interpreters rights and work conditions.  

 Vote for me.

 Looking forward to serving,

 Roberto Villalta

R1 interpreter, candidate for Region 1 Board Representative

 

Region 1 Representative and Region 4 Representative Elections

 

Elected by Acclamation (unopposed)

Region 4 Board Representative - Claudia Morales

Nominees for Region 1 Representative

Begonya De Salvo

Roberto Villalta

The Ballots will go out by regular mail on February 16, 2022 and the Ballot count will take place on March 26, 2022 at 12:00 p.m.

 
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