California Federation of Interpreters

Candidates' Statements for Executive Board Positions

Statements - Candidates for the President Position

Michael Ferreira

The pandemic has tested this local and our profession, bringing us to the brink of ruin more than any other event in our history. Our local is steadfast and we are looking towards moving forward.

I am asking you to cast your vote for me; I want to continue contributing to the local’s leadership roster. No one person alone makes for a successful, functional local. We need a combination of different individuals, with varied skillsets, knowledge, experience, and a commitment to unionism. Teamwork between board members and between the board and membership is key. 

I have been a steward almost 15 years; a board member (president and vice president) for three terms; and an elected member of my region’s bargaining team. I have represented CFI not only as a delegate at two CWA international conferences, but also on several Judicial Council working groups, also contributing on several legislative projects for the local, and our profession. I know and understand my duties and responsibilities as president, steward, and representative of our local. I embrace them and take them seriously.  

The following are important items to drive forward in the upcoming term and throughout the life of the local:

  • Counter the anti-union tactics employed by the Courts and the impact of Janus objectors by creating more opportunities for everyone to participate in attaining goals imperative for both present members and those who have left; increase outreach to new hires who have not made the commitment to “be union.”
  • Continue to grow and train the steward base; it is the backbone of any union, and critical given our wide geographic dispersal, with each employer having multiple sites.
  • Continue building teamwork and collaborative decision making on the board, and with the membership.
  • Improve and amplify partnerships/alliances with the other unionized units our workplace, as well as have a presence and participate in the local labor councils throughout California.
  • Put into place standing committees as required by our CWA Constitution and local bylaws, among them a committee to review and offer improvements to the local’s bylaws, and one to track and advise on new technologies coming into the profession, such as linguistic application of artificial intelligence. Basically, guide the local’s policies through a grassroots approach.
  • Focus our local’s legislative efforts toward developing and passing legislation to channel VRI into appropriate uses, promote the employee model of delivering language access in the Courts, and move toward a single, statewide general contract for court interpreters.
  • Connect with our wider CWA-TNG union international; plug into programs, funding, and movements within the greater union international. 

Begonya De Salvo

My name is Begonya De Salvo, and I am running to be President of the California Federation of Interpreters, Local 39000. 

I am a native of Spain who immigrated here 16 years ago. I began my career as an interpreter in 2009, in Washington, D.C. It was there, in our nation's capital, where my passion for social activism and politics bloomed. I later moved to Los Angeles, and I joined the Superior Court in 2016. I became a union member on my first day of employment. 

I am a solid unionist; it is in my DNA. My grandfather was President of the National Confederation of Workers in Spain and imprisoned by Franco’s government. His commitment has inspired me to fight for the solidarity of our union and seek much-needed improvements in our working conditions, pay, and benefits. 

I have a proven record of getting things done. As a union steward, I led successful efforts to obtain safer working conditions during the COVID-19 pandemic: 

  • I am the whistleblower who reported to Cal/OSHA the Superior Court's workplace violations of COVID-19 protocols and the deaths of our three colleagues, Sergio Cafaro, Daniel Felix, and Policarpo Chaj. Cal/OSHA investigated and found the Superior Court at fault and fined the court $25,000. 
  • I advocated for telework accommodations for court interpreters in order to minimize exposure to COVID-19. We succeeded in obtaining the telework option for all at-risk interpreters and those with dependents. 
  • I reached out to news reporters and, our union was
    prominently featured in the media – in newspapers, television, and radio – regarding our fight for safer working conditions. This publicity pressured the Superior Court to take seriously our demands. 
  • I helped to successfully lobby against provisions in Senate Bill 241, which sought to increase availability of remote hearings. I persuaded leaders of indigenous peoples to join forces with us to oppose the bill, as remote interpretations may hamper communication with speakers of indigenous languages. We succeeded in having the remote hearing provisions removed from the bill. 

As President, I will seek to re-negotiate our salary so that it fairly reflects our status as interpretation professionals. I also will seek to further improve our working conditions, strengthen communication between union leadership and rank-and-file members, and protect our pension system. 

I also vow that I will uphold the highest ethical standards and transparently lead as your President. 

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Statements - Candidates for the Vice-President Position

Janet Hudec

I am Janet Hudec and I am running for re-election for Vice President

I've been working on organizing interpreters and improving our profession since I started working as an employee interpreter in 2011. I've played a lot of parts in this journey— CFI Chair of Nominations, Judicial Council Court Interpreter Advisory Panel (CIAP), member of the California’s Language Access Plan and Implementation Task Force of the Language Access Plan— and I am currently serving on the Advisory Committee on Providing Access and Fairness, Language Access Subcommittee, and Judicial Council Legislative Committee. I have had many accomplishments throughout my journey but my greatest accomplishment has been serving CFI members as Vice President.  

During my tenure as Vice President, and in collaboration with Michael Ferreira and Carmen Ramos, I have been responsible for member representation, legislative and policy issues, and been involved in bargaining in region 3 – achieved 12% wage increase— and currently bargaining in in region 2. My achievements during my Vice President tenure include: obtaining the highest interpreter budget increases ever; obtain $30 million additional money to promote employment; fought hard to defeat harmful legislation; during the pandemic we met and conferred with all courts in region 1, 2, & 3 to obtain PPE and paid leave; obtain telework in various courts; successfully fought furloughs in region 2 and 3; successfully won grievances regarding work conditions, VRI, cross assignments, use of non-certs over certified, and refusal to offer employment. Won unfair labor practices over courts refusal to provide contractor expenditures, courts refusal to confer regionally over pandemic impacts, and about to go to trial against the courts on 4 more ULPs. I fought for members to get free CIMCE’s through CFI and succeeded in getting CWA to reimburse the ongoing cost.  

I am very hard working and dedicated to our collective success of all interpreters. I am knowledgeable with the legislative process, state budget, interpreter budget, state interpreter expenditures, the interpreter act, all 4 MOU’s, and other labor laws. I understand state, regional, and local issue that affect our profession. I am a visionary with a focus in improving our working conditions, livable wage, strengthening representation, and promoting a healthy future. 

I pledge my solidarity and ask for your vote to continue to work rebuilding this union. Together, we can do better. Vote for me Janet Hudec Vice President, Michael Ferreira for President, and Carmen Ramos for Secretary-Treasurer.  

Gabriela Mejia 

I am Gabriela Mejia, and I am running for the Vice-Presidency of the California Federation of Interpreters, alongside Presidential Candidate Begonya De Salvo. 

Originally from Uruguay, I had always dreamed of living in the US. I studied hard to become fluent in English so that when the dream became a reality, I knew my ideal job – interpreter. I immediately enrolled in an Interpretation Program at Union County College in Cranford, New Jersey, and since then, it has been my life.

Fast forward to now, and I have been an interpreter for 24 years. As a passionate learner, I have never stopped developing my skills and accreditations. I am a Federally Certified Court Interpreter (FCCI) in Spanish, Certified in the State of California and New Jersey to Master level.

I know the profession intimately and passionately, having worked across a range of positions and various institutions. My long career has included:

- Working at the Superior Court of New Jersey and the Superior Court of California

- An interpreter in numerous fields and specialties, including medical, criminal, forensic, depositions and arbitrations

- A worldwide conference interpreter

- President of the ATISDA (Association of Translators Interpreters in the San Diego Area)

I feel strongly about my role and care about those in my field. Therefore, I constantly strive to improve our status as professionals and an essential part of the workforce. 

I share a similar vision and dreams with Presidential Candidate Begonya De Salvo – to strengthen the union and drive beneficial change for members.  

Being Vice President is the challenge my 24-year career path has been building towards. My integrity, knowledge, and experience are integral parts of my leadership capabilities. 

Begonya and I will strengthen our great Federation, improving working conditions and prospects through communication and strength of purpose.

Silva San Martin 

Region 4, mostly employees, has grown strong during the last three years I have been Representative: We were first to introduce monthly steward calls, which has allowed us to become highly independent and organized. This practice was later adopted by other regions due to its success. Our membership is up, anti-unionism down, and our progress shows almost everywhere. The mics are always on in R4.

Those who know me will tell you that I offer and expect genuine dialogue. This is the approach I bring in during conversations with colleagues and Admin. Much has been resolved or is being discussed at management level in my area, including working conditions, VRI, and assigned space in the courtrooms. I don’t hesitate to file grievances when necessary, and with the collaboration of San Diego stewards and Mike we have not lost one since 2019. Goal? Changing the way we are perceived.

My central motivation throughout my career as a contractor, employee and union player has always been the redefinition of the state court interpreter as the professionals we are, through gradual but firm change in the court’s culture. Reality is we have not advanced much during the past fifteen years. What good comes from running to the Governor’s office and requesting more millions, or having a surplus in the Interpreter’s Budget, if we don’t see it in our wages and working conditions? That’s not where the real fight is, and failure to recognize that inevitably results in lousy gains at each negotiating table: The courts always find a way to devalue us. We need a fresh approach: A movement that explores the possibilities of a professional classification system and specializations. Only then will our salaries reflect what we do and who we are. I am committed to fight for exactly that.

Steps needed:

·       Immediate hiring of a Business Representative, voted down repeatedly by current board, yet funds are available.  

·       Reestablishing/Creating committees—not one person in charge: legislative, educational, technological, and social justice are urgent.

·       One VRI approach for California.

·       Reexamination of the decision to expel members for life.

·       Higher dues paid by IGA members for increased benefits.

·       CFI conference in 2022.

The vital step where everything can begin? A board that believes in democratic dialogue, finds time to meet regularly, operates openly, innovates, and is committed to the advancement of our profession, as I do. 

First Endorsement: 

Jackie Ruiz—Next R4 Rep.

Statements - Candidates for the Secretary-Treasurer Position

Carmen Ramos

Dear members,

I decided to continue to serve as Secretary-Treasurer of the Local so I can make sure the changes I proposed, and the current E. Board accepted and implemented, stay in place. Some of my achievements are:

  1. A strike fund, which was never instituted as part of the budget in our Local. In my opinion, a strike fund is a core foundation to work actions that will empower the members to mobilize to obtain a fair wage and working conditions. 
  2. A Legal Defense fund and a Fluid Legal Fund for Bargaining. The institution of those two items in our budget, has enabled us to fund many charges against the courts for unfair labor practices, arbitrations on unresolved grievances, and a top notch attorney aiding us at the Bargaining Table. 
  3. Streamlining of our budget, and necessary cuts in our expenses to achieve a healthy, financially sound Union. When I took office as Secretary-Treasurer, our Local was in the red. I can proudly report our Local is now healthy and sound-thank you to my current E. Board colleagues for their support in achieving this great accomplishment. 
  4. Bargaining of Covid-19 safety protocols in Region 2 and Region 3, with Janet Hudec, VP, and the support of Mike Ferreira, our current President.
  5. Health and Safety Grievances in LA County with the assistance of Mike Ferreira, President, Janet Hudec, VP, Monica Almada, LA lead steward and future R1 Delegate, Roxana Cardenas, LA Steward.
  6. With the help of Maya Fonseca, the lead steward and Chairwoman of our F interpreters in LA Court, we were able to achieve getting health coverage for our F interpreters after LA Court Administration denied them coverage during the pandemic.
  7. With the help of VP Janet Hudec, we were able to achieve pay and benefits for IPT interpreters in R2 during the first month of the pandemic emergency order that shut down our courts.

I believe Mike, Janet and I need to stay on as a team, to lead CFI into achieving the goals we have set to reach. COVID-19 was a huge setback for all of us in many ways, but it also taught us that working in unity, we can prevail.  

I respectfully ask you to vote for me to stay on as Secretary-Treasurer, and to give your vote to Mike Ferreira as President, and Janet Hudec as VP.

In Unity,

Carmen Ramos

Gloria Lindemann

My name is Gloria Lindemann, and I am running to be Secretary-Treasurer, of the California Federation of Interpreters, Local 39000, as part of a slate with Presidential candidate Begonya De Salvo.

I am originally from Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico. I have been an interpreter for 13 years, and prior to becoming an interpreter I was in business administration and finance, where I worked for international corporations, such as Motorola, and Kodak.

At Kodak, I was assistant to the Director of finance and had the opportunity to travel to different Latin American Countries to assist in many corporate audits and fraud investigations for the Latin American Region. It was a great experience, and a blessing because I visited many different Latin American countries and was able to experience first-hand all the different cultures, and gastronomy that our rich continent has to offer.

I currently work for the Riverside Superior Court, where I’ve been working for almost seven years. Before becoming an employee, I worked as an independent contractor for six years. 

As an immigrant myself I sympathize with the immigrant community and while I was an independent contractor, I enjoyed donating my time and skills in several asylum cases. It fills my heart with joy when I have assisted attorneys who are also working pro-bono for many women escaping violence, and even children. I always strive for excellence no matter how small or how big the task at hand might be. I have experience in all court settings, I have done from a simple traffic ticket, up to murder trials. I LOVE my job and helping others.

I am honest, honorable, hardworking, dependable, and most importantly, I always look out for the best interest of the people that I love.

I share a similar vision and dreams with Presidential Candidate Begonya De Salvo- to strengthen our great Federation, improve working conditions, and seek better pay that is appropriately commensurate with our professional training and experience.

I believe I can be of service to you and our industry, and I would appreciate your vote.

Sincerely,

Gloria Lindemann

  

 

 

Nominations

CFI Local 39000 Officer Elections

The Elections Committee has received confirmation that the following members, in good standing, have accepted nominations:


President:   

Mike Ferreira
Begonya De Salvo

Vice President:   

Janet Hudec
Gabriela Mejia
Silvia San Martin

Secretary-Treasurer:

Carmen Ramos
Gloria Lindemann 

Regional Unit Representative 1:   

Monica Almada – Elected by acclamation (unopposed)

Regional Unit Representative 2:  

Rosario del Pilar Espinosa – Elected by acclamation (unopposed)

Regional Unit Representative 3:   

Tyler Nguyen – Elected by acclamation (unopposed)

Regional Unit Representative 4:  

Jacqueline Ruiz – Elected by acclamation (unopposed)

Freelance Unit (IGA)

Johanna Valle Sobalvarro – Elected by acclamation (unopposed)

Congratulations to the candidates. Additional information from the candidates will be forthcoming. 

Your Elections Committee,

Susana Valencia
Robert Guererro
Gary Curtis
 

Los Angeles UPDATES

September 19, 2021 

The pandemic has been difficult for all of us and continues to be a challenge. We have all experienced stress from rapid life changes to keep us safe, impacts to our health (physical and mental), loss of loved ones, and with new Covid-19 variants, we continue to experience those challenges. 

On the labor front, Covid-19 has been and continues to be a never ending roller coaster ride. The complexity of Covid-19 ever changing mandates, rapid health and safety procedures and guidelines from the CDC and state and local health departments, and our employer trying to implement changes that many times resulted not best for interpreter interest. 

In April 2020, in order to protect the health and employment of its members, CFI President Mike Ferreira and the Region 1 bargaining team initiated a painstaking Meet & Confer process with LA Superior Court requesting the implementation of Telework for interpreter employees. After a series of negotiations CFI ultimately succeeded in getting Telework for members that identified as high risk. Throughout the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, additional colleagues with dependent and elder care issues also requested Telework, and ultimately all interpreters who were faced with problems brought on by the pandemic were offered the option of working from home via Telework.

On November 30, 2021, CFI filed a Health and Safety Grievance on behalf of members who were denied Telework although they had health conditions that placed them at risk. The Grievance was filed by Secretary-Treasurer of CFI, Carmen Ramos, with the assistance of Union stewards Roxana Cardenas and Monica Almada.  During our initial meetings, your CFI team asserted that our members should be granted telework despite having requested it after the deadline.  

As we all have learned during this pandemic, things are in a constant state of flux. New information on masks, prevention and long-term side effects of Covid-19 have come to light. 

On January 12, 2021, tragedy struck. We had our first interpreter casualty due to COVID-19. Two more of our dear colleagues would come to lose their lives in the next few months. 

CFI filed a second Health and Safety Grievance. Secretary-Treasurer Carmen Ramos, with the assistance of Roxana Cardenas and Monica Almada presented the Grievance on January 14, 2021. Your CFI bonded officers assigned our counsel, Laurie Burgess, to file a complaint with CalOSHA. Laurie was the spokeperson for CFI during that process, which led to CalOSHA issuing a citation against LA Superior Court.  Roxana Cardenas, Monica Almada and Begonya de Salvo assisted Laurie in the investigation, as Laurie worked tirelessly to push CalOSHA internally to hold LA Superior Court accountable.  

We provided our steward, Begonya de Salvo, with Laurie’s assistance to guide her through the intimidating process of talking to the media. Begonya, Mike and I, reached out to some media outlets, and media outlets reached out to our President, Mike Ferreira, regarding the deaths of our dear colleagues. Both Begonya and Mike did a fantastic job shedding light on the circumstances surrounding the sad events that took place.  

We give a special thanks to our counsel, Laurie Burgess, for the phenomenal job she did in getting CalOSHA to hold LA Superior Court responsible for their negligence in handling Covid-19 protocols and procedures relating to interpreters working on site in court.   

As a result of the Health and Safety Grievances filed by CFI, telework was offered during the meetings to resolve the two grievances.  We also believe this came about because of the CalOSHA complaint filed by Laurie Burgess, and the media pressure regarding the death of our colleagues in LA Superior Court.

During 2020, Maya Fonseca, CFI steward, worked with Carmen Ramos to obtain health benefits for F-status interpreters throughout the pandemic. Initially, LA Court denied F interpreters health benefits. Maya Fonseca, reached out to the Board of Supervisors and discovered that F-status interpreters should be covered. We brought it to the attention of LA Superior Court, and the F’s were able to get health coverage. 

At present, your CFI team continues to work tirelessly to protect your health and employment. Mike Ferreira, Carmen Ramos, Kathleen Sinclair, Roxana Cardenas and Monica Almada, are currently engaged in the Meet and Confer process regarding the recent Vaccine Mandates in LA Superior Court. Our first major achievement: the extension of the 80 hours supplemental sick leave for COVID-19 and vaccine related issues. You will receive more news about that issue later. 

We extend a warm and affectionate Thank You to all mentioned and all who supported us, encouraged us, and collaborated in our efforts. Without teamwork nothing is possible, with teamwork everything is possible. 

In Unity,

Janet Hudec, VP CFI Local 39000
Carmen Ramos, Secretary-Treasurer, CFI Local 39000
 

All Remote Hearing’s Language Removed from SB 241 and Now the Retaliation has Started

WE DID IT! Remote Language was removed from SB 241 but the fight doesn’t end there

The Assembly Appropriation Committee heard our concerns and removed ALL remote hearing’s language from SB 241. Thanks to you, any remote hearing discussion will be handled through the remote hearing joint working group. This would not have been possible without your quick action!

Please send a Thank You email to Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez for listening to our concerns and taking action, as well as send her well wishes and a speedy recovery. The Hon. Gonzalez has been recently diagnosed with a serious ailment and will be undergoing treatment. 

                        [email protected]

The Fight Continues

Together we have raised our voices in unity to deliver a strong message saying that “we will not go quietly into the night,” which in turn shifted the political dynamics when it comes to remote language access and other interpreter issues. Now we take our fight to Twitter!

Remote proceedings are no longer solely a labor issue. Remote proceedings, remote language access, and the lack of interest in making interpreting a viable career path has become a social justice issue. Over the years, the courts have systematically and strategically implemented maneuvers to reduce the employee pool with the intent of using “lack” of employees as an excuse to use VRI. Although remote language in SB 241 was removed, the Judicial Council is still trying to insert a free for all of unvetted remote hearing language to any bill or budget language that comes along. Additionally, and resoundingly more detrimental to interpreters, is that Judicial Council was and continues to be the driving force to get VRI language into our MOUs. 

We are not the only profession being attacked. Court reporters are also suffering assaults on their profession too. Court reporters have legitimate concerns about remote hearings and their concerns are being silenced for the sake of “savings” and “convenience.” After 31 years of stagnant transcript payment rates, they decided to request the legislature for an increase. All Senate and Assembly members have agreed to the rate increase; however, Judicial Council is holding the increase hostage and will agree to the increase ONLY if the court reporters and their representatives do not voice their concerns and opposition to these sorts of bills. 

Battle Plan

The Judicial Council is very active on Twitter.  Twitter is a microblogging system, which means that all posts on the twitter feed are visible to all. Many media outlets follow Judicial Council. We want all interpreters to join the movement and bring awareness to the harm remote hearings will cause to all court-users, and even more so to the LEP court-users to whom we provide services. 

Please create a Twitter account (if you don’t have one) and join us in posting social justice posters/pictures we are creating; include a short blurb of your experience with remote failures, and your perspective on the dangers and problems remote hearings bring to the fore. 

Here are the twitter addresses where we need to tag when we post:

@CalCourst

@TheCCAInc

@CaJudicial

This is be our first post. 

Post the following image and tag the above 3 entities. 

Write a blurb regarding remote failures you have experienced or observed.

I will be sending more  images in the near future and will be asking you to do the same.  

In Solidarity,

Janet Hudec, VP
CFI-Local. 39000
 

 

Executive Board Elections  

Call for Nominations for CFI Local 39000 Officers and Executive Committee Members

The term of office for the present CFI Local 39000 board members is due to expire at the end of December 2021. As such, nominations are now open for the following Titled Officer and Executive Committee positions:
 

Titled Officers:
President

Vice President

Secretary-Treasurer

Region Board Representatives:

Region 1

Region 2

Region 3

Region 4

Freelance (This is a non-voting position on the board; it is open to Freelance and IGA members in good standing)

  • The term of office will begin upon certification of the election and completion of officer training within the first three months of office; the two-year term begins on January 1, 2022 and runs through December 31, 2023.
  • Candidates for Titled Officers may be nominated by any bargaining unit CFI member in good standing. 
  • Candidates for the regional seats may only be nominated by a bargaining unit CFI member from that corresponding region. 
  • The Freelance position may only be nominated by any freelance member.
     

The nominations period opens on September 08, 2021; please send all nominations to  [email protected]. Be sure to clearly include the name of the candidate and office for which you wish to nominate him/her. Also include your full name and the California county in which you are employed by the court. Candidates must be members in good standing and agree to participate in new officers training to be scheduled by the CWA within 3 months of taking office.

The close of the nominations period is September 17, 2021, and all candidates must indicate accepting the nomination for office in writing no later than 5:00pm on September 22, 2021. 

Ballots will be sent to arrive by surface mail to members on or about the date of December 1, 2021. It is very important to update the local with any change in physical mailing address before the Thanksgiving holiday. The deadline by which ballots are to arrive back for counting will be 5:00pm, December 22, 2021

Please visit our website or contact the local if you need more information.

 

 
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