California Federation of Interpreters

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
 

Region 1 Bargaining Session Update

November 28, 2017

Our bargaining team met with management on November 28 at the Mosk courthouse. We didn't have a smooth start.  We were supposed to have a room available at 9:00 am for our team to caucus before meeting with management at 10:00 am.  Three different team members were given three different room numbers.  We ended up in a room with no electrical plugs and poor internet access even though the conference room where we met before was available. 

Our bargaining team was missing Kathleen Sinclair and Robert Guerrero. We also had the following observers: Karen Klebingat, "A" status Spanish interpreter assigned to Norwalk; Ramona Rodriguez "F" status Spanish interpreter; Eliza Chavez Fraga "F" status Spanish interpreter; Maricarmen Belver "F" status Spanish interpreter; Susie Zollinger "A" status Spanish interpreter assigned to Long Beach; Alessandra Harbin "F" status Spanish interpreter; Patricia Sanchez, "A" status Spanish interpreter, Michelle Stevens "F" status Spanish interpreter and Gabrielle Veit "A"status Spanish interpreter. We appreciate interpreter observers and we encourage everyone to file their RTO early and attend one of our sessions.

Management presented us with a "comprehensive" list of the Region's counter to our outstanding proposals.  The court was dismissive of most of our proposals. They made an insulting counter proposal on wages. Their proposal fails to even keep pace with the cost of living and rejects the step scale we had presented. They proposed a 1.5% increase to current base hourly rate on the first full pay period after ratification. After July 1, 2018 a 1% increase and after July 1, 2019 another 1% increase. The Court's proposal provided neither retroactive pay nor a signing bonus.

We made some adjustments to some of our proposals, countered the rejected ones and continued to insist on some of our original proposed changes.

We were able to reach an agreement on future bargaining dates. There are no more dates this year.  Our dates for next year will be January 9, January 22, January 29, February 6 and February 21st. Will keep you posted as to the location. Hope to see many of you there.

Sincerely,

Your Bargaining team

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

 

CFI Local 39000 Update

November 21, 2017

Election News
PERB Hearings
Oakland Office
Annual Conference
 
Election News
 
The election for new Local Officers and Executive Board Members will be starting within a couple of weeks.  We have identified a balloting company (Ballotpoint) which will conduct the election process, this company is run by former Department of Labor agents and will handle the mailing of the ballots.
 
What we do need is members of the Local (who are not running for office, or campaigning for any candidates) to be on the election committee for this election.   A few people who were trained or possible members have decided not to participate.  So, we are opening this to all members of the Local who want to volunteer.  There will not be a need to attend meetings in person until we have the actual ballot count. 
 
The election rules will be the first task (we have samples from other parts of the union to look at), then the timeline for nominations and the election.  The election committee will meet via electronic meetings with me as we set these details and coordinate the election.
 
If you are interested in serving on the election committee – send an email no later than close of business on Monday November 27th, to: [email protected]
 
PERB Hearings
 
Two cases over the changes in benefits (in Regions 4 and 2) have been wending their way through the PERB process and we now have 2 cases in the middle of Administrative Law Judge hearings.  Both hearings have had 2 days of hearings, and are being continued for another 2 days in the New Year.  There will be post hearing briefs, so we are many months away from resolutions.
 
The problem at the core of these cases is that the Law says wages are bargained at the regional level and benefits are provided at the county/court level.  This limits our bargaining power in the case where there are changes outside of the periods when we are bargaining a contract.  A resolution may well require a change in the interpreter law so that we have more power and a way to resolve these matters that is not delayed by years of PERB hearings.
 
Oakland Office
 
The Oakland office is no longer staffed with clerical support, as Eva Vargas resigned after her work on the annual Conference.  We appreciated Eva stepping up and making the event possible, and she was honored for her service at the end of the Conference.
 
The financial and membership files have been moved to the Santa Fe Springs office of the Local which will remain our main location.  The lease on the Oakland office is not being ended, but the incoming Executive Board will deal with the question of maintaining offices in both parts of the state.
 
Annual Conference
 
We had 135 participants in the Conference last month, and are wrapping up the very last accounting details so that we can show exactly what the event cost.  The Oakland Airport Hilton contract had obligated the local to pay $58,000 (plus taxes and occupancy fees) for the event when it was signed by former leaders.  Thanks to Eva, Monse, and all the volunteers who helped make the event happen.
 
Happy Thanksgiving, our office in Santa Fe Springs will be closed from Wednesday November 22nd through the weekend, reopening Monday November 27th.
 
Sincerely,
 
 
Carrie Biggs-Adams
Temporary Administrator

 

Region 1 Bargaining Session Update

November 8, 2017

Bargaining team today at the Santa Barbara Courthouse with the Region 1 Administration committee.
 
In addition to the Bargaining Committee and Region 1 administration attendees, we were pleased to have several employees present to participate in the Watch & Support committee during the AM and PM sessions.  Local interpreters in attendance were: Lucila Ritterstein (F), Jose Navarrete (A), Lucinda Aragón (A).  Michele Stevens (F), Martha Paredes (A), Adela Herrera (A), and Maria Ruiz (A) drove in from San Luis Obispo and Los Angeles Counties!  We continue to invite Members to these sessions so that they can see firsthand what is happening and to show their support!
 
Bargaining committee presented a proposal regarding release time for employees traveling to Union negotiation sessions and is requesting a release of five days to prepare for negotiation meet and confer sessions.
 
We presented a wage proposal that includes steps.  They were unprepared to respond to our wage proposal as it "took their breath away.."  Our goal is to make the Court wage rates competitive with other providers of language access services.  We also proposed changes to improve the current mileage  reimbursement policy and wage adjustments specifically for those registered/certified in multiple languages.   In addition, they received a proposal on cross assignments.
 
Martha Paredes, Kathleen Sinclair, and Pedro Ramirez made a presentation regarding employee waiting areas and the effect that having too many people in very enclosed areas affects employee health, storage of personal belongings, noise levels, F employee access to employee waiting areas, and peer working relationships.
 
Region 1 Administration rejected CFI's proposal relating to:

  • reimbursement for CIMCE credits, a proposal to an increase in hours taken for leaves of absence to attend training, and for the cost of our yearly certification.  They want to "focus on wages". 
  • participation in the cross-assignment system when on an unpaid leave of absence and on leave.
  • to strengthen team interpreting and continuity in interpreters on trials/long cause matters.  They insist that the "Court will make reasonable efforts to provide a second interpreter" but would not accept our language saying that they "would" do so.  They indicated that the final decision is at the discretion of the judge.  They did agree the language we inserted relating to interpreting of text messaging language and communication via digital and social media.

The next bargaining session will take place on November 28th at the Stanley Mosk Courthouse (Room 428). Get your red-clad road trip crew together and we'll see you there on 11/28! Please be sure to fill out your RTOs requesting this day off (and email a copy of the response to [email protected]) and remember to wear red on Thursdays and on bargaining days!
 
Be sure to read your CFI emails for Bargaining updates and for opportunities to demonstrate your commitment to fight for the best possible contract.

Your Bargaining Team,

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

 

 

 

 

 

 
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