California Federation of Interpreters

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




Region 1 Bargaining Session Update

January 9, 2018

The Bargaining Team met with Court Administration today at the CFI Santa Fe Springs office.    Thank you Gabrielle Veit-Bermúdez (A) and Inson Oh (A) for showing your support through your attendance!  
CFI and Court Administration reached a tentative agreement on Article 2 which protects Bargaining Unit members' unit work rights, regardless of the type of medium through which language access services are provided.
Article 19 (Cross Assignments)  There has been lively discussion regarding interpreters receiving a timely response from the Court concerning authorization to cross assign when such requests are made from an away court. Presently, the Union is asking that this happen two days before the cross assignment date.
Article 18 (Interpreter Assignments) Both sides made proposals on interpreter assignments in advance of the implementation of an automated assignment system for LASC.  Our priority continues to be the preservation of employee seniority rights, and using employees first before independent contractors.
Article 26 (Employee Benefits) The Court presented a proposal to align court interpreter employees' vacation accrual rate with that of all other Los Angeles County employees. The numbers seemed to show that a significant number of our members would lose some accrual days in the realignment. Today the Court's spokesperson, Mr. Joe Wiley, stated that that no current employee's vacation accrual will be adversely affected by the Administration's proposal to align LASC interpreters with County policy. The group that previously appeared to be in danger of losing days would remain steady in their accumulation, and other groups would move to the appropriate level and may even gain accumulation days.
The CFI Bargaining Team presented an updated wage proposal which continues to include five wage steps, and which also includes a raise in the present hourly salary.
The next bargaining session is scheduled for January 22nd in Santa Fe Springs (12215 N. Telegraph Road, Suite 210).  Remember to fill out your RTOs requesting this day off to observe! The Bargaining Team is asking everyone to send their RTO to attend the next session as early as possible. Even though not everyone will be approved, the fact that you send in an RTO is a show of support for the team and the Union's bargaining efforts. If you are approved and your situation changes, such that you cannot attend, you can give the day back and let someone else attend. 
We look forward to seeing as many of you as possible on January 22nd!

Your Bargaining team

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