California Federation of Interpreters

Bargaining Bulletin #7

Talks Progress Slowly as Pay Checks Shrink

SAN FRANCISCO (Dec. 2, 2016) _ Region 2 Courts made no improvements to their wage proposal during the latest bargaining session Wednesday. The Region continued to hold out on providing interpreters an offset to address increasing retirement contributions that have been imposed, or will soon be imposed, leaving a majority of interpreters in the Region with smaller paychecks.

The Region has reiterated several times it has more money to offer, but remains focused on resolving non-economic issues first. Your bargaining committee maintained its wage proposal to bring pay parity to interpreters and address the separate and unequal treatment of interpreters within the court system, as well as the huge disparity between court wages and the market for our skills. See our chart, which tells the story of what we're fighting for. 


Pay Parity

Interpreters take message for competitive compensation to Judicial Council task force 

SAN FRANCISCO _ Bay Area Court interpreters currently in negotiations took their fight for pay parity before the task force implementing California’s Language Access Plan.

About twenty court interpreters from Region 2 attended a public meeting of the group charged with advising the Judicial Council on improving language access. More than a dozen interpreters spoke before the panel, emphatically calling for action to address below market wages and pay disparities. Interpreters spoke passionately about how wage stagnation and rising cost of living is affecting their career choices. Watch and listen to their comments, starting at 1:27.


Region 3 Bargaining Bulletin #6

Bargaining Team Exposes Pay Inequities and Makes the Case for a Remedy

SACRAMENTO (Nov. 15, 2016) _ Region 3 Courts persisted at Monday’s bargaining session with proposals to restrict employee priority for work. In addition to completely eliminating employee priority for cross assignments, the Region’s most recent proposal clarified they also intend to limit an employee’s priority in their own home court.

This would have devastating consequences for affected interpreters and would set a dangerous precedent for all of us, reducing the rights granted to employees by law. The bargaining committee’s position is firm: Waiving our statutory rights and employee protections at the bargaining table is not a reasonable demand from the Region. Employee priority is at the heart of the employment system that provides job security, protections and access to work and benefits to all interpreters.

CFI’s bargaining committee also laid out a case for equity in compensation in a presentation on the disparities in the treatment of interpreters compared with other court employees, and compared with federal court employees. We made our second wage proposal which would substantially increase compensation through new and improved steps and wage increases. The Union's proposal would go a long way to making these jobs much more competitive in the interpreter market. Committee members collaborated in researching, preparing and presenting this critical and compelling information. 


Video Remote Interpreting

ASL VRI Shows Need for Mandatory Limits

OAKLAND (Sept. 2, 2016) _ CFI has issued a report that found the Judicial Council of California promoted Video Remote Interpreting (VRI) for courtroom proceedings based on doctored results that exaggerated the success of its American Sign Language (ASL) VRI program while omitting evidence of VRI’s detrimental impacts on the due process rights of linguistic minorities.

If anything, the ASL VRI pilot project and subsequent program “proved that the courts cannot be relied upon to exercise ‘appropriate controls’ over VRI without mandatory rules and procedures and rigorous, independent oversight,” CFI's report noted.

The report, titled Video Remote Interpreting (VRI) for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing in California: A Fabricated Success Story, was the result of a year-and-a-half long, in-depth investigation by CFI.


Interpreter Budget

Governor Signs Budget Bill that Restricts Funds to In-Person Interpreting

SACRAMENTO (Sept. 18, 2016) _ Governor Signs Gov. Jerry Brown has signed a budget bill that explicitly prioritizes using state funds for in–person interpreters. 

“Interpreter services shall be provided by an in-person interpreter. After all reasonable options for an in-person interpreter have been exhausted, a court may utilize other approved means to provide interpreter services from a certified or registered interpreter until an in-person interpreter is available,” reads AB 1623, which was signed Tuesday.

The new language replaces wording that was less restrictive on courts that wanted to use interpreter funds for Video Remote Interpreting.