California Federation of Interpreters





June 25, 2020

Hello Colleagues, 

Just a heads-up to let you know that tomorrow, Friday, June 26th, you should be receiving an email from the Judicial Council of California with information about a new online access portal they are implementing for interpreters to have a direct online link to the Judicial Council.

While this portal will allow interpreters the convenience of online certification renewal, uploading CIMCE compliance, and contact information updating, it is also designed for interpreters to directly report the daily case information that, up to now, we have reported on Daily Activity Logs (DAL’s) to our individual Courts. DAL’s handed in by our members to their corresponding Courts have aided the Judicial Council comply with its responsibility to meet the reporting and study mandate found in California Government Code §68563[1]. The Union has always maintained that this practice has never been our unit work, but in the spirit of cooperation, interpreters have done it as a courtesy to the Court.                                                                                                      

The Union has met and conferred with Los Angeles Superior Court regarding impacts of this change that adds data entry to our duties, and learned that the decision to make this change in practice came from the Judicial Council, not the Court. Douglas Denton of the Judicial Council confirmed this in a conversation with Local President Mike Ferreira yesterday. In addition, Mr. Denton indicated that various Courts are handling this change regarding the reporting duty in a variety of ways. 

Los Angeles Superior Court (LASC) considers this reporting duty to be something between the interpreters and the Judicial Council; LASC has indicated that they will not be tracking or overseeing the process of data entry/reporting in any way. LASC has made it clear that they do not consider any issue related to this process to be subject to discipline or dismissal. 

Los Angeles Superior Court will be leaving the data entry/reporting responsibility completely in the hands of the individual interpreter; however, the Union expects that Courts in other counties throughout California may require varying, as yet undefined levels of accountability to Court management in the data entry/reporting process. 

Your Union’s concern is that the decision to add this data entry responsibility which is not part of our unit work nor mentioned in our MOU’s, comes not from the Courts, but from the Judicial Council, an entity which we have no contractual labor relationship. Normally, and legally, any change in our unit work or duties is subject to Regional bargaining during contract negotiations.

Your Union and the Judicial Council are arranging a meeting in the near future with their Labor Relations Division regarding this matter. We have sent out letters requesting to meet and confer with the Courts at a Regional level as well.

Please stay tuned for updates. 

In Solidarity, 
CFI Local 39000 Executive Board and Stewards

[1] California Government Code 68563: The Judicial Council shall conduct a study of language and interpreter use and need in court proceedings, with commentary, and shall report its findings and recommendations to the Governor and to the Legislature not later than July 1, 1995, and every five years thereafter. The study shall serve as a basis for (1) determining the examinations, and (2) establishing these programs and examinations through normal budgetary process. The study shall also serve as a basis for (1) determining ways in which the Judicial Council can make available to the public, through public service announcements, testing, application procedures, and employment opportunities for interpreters, and (2) establishing and evaluating these programs through the normal budgetary process.



Paul Son 

It is with profound sadness to inform the membership that our beloved colleague and a friend, Paul Son, a Korean interpreter, has passed away on June 13, 2020.

This news came as such a blow and so unexpectedly. Unfortunately, we are still in the midst of pandemic crisis and not able to see him off with the respect we want to pay him, and to which he is due.

Mr. Son has been with the court since the early part of the 1970’s and he is well known for his turtleneck worn with sartorial fashion sense.  His love for the profession enabled him to work until just before the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.  

His wife, Rosarina, said she had been telling him to retire for years, but he was unwilling and felt himself still full of vigor to continue his profession. His love for his job was so great, it became a part of his life, she said.  He was very proud of his younger brother, a Catholic priest serving in Peru. Being a devout Christian himself, Paul was a treasured volunteer at his church.

Paul was a founding member of the Korean Professional Interpreter's Association.  He was eager to participate in all the activities the association offered. His positive presence and great humor will be missed always. 

Paul is survived by his wife, two sons and two loving grandchildren. All of us here at CFI Local 39000 wish peace be upon Paul, and upon the saddened hearts of his family and friends. 

In solidarity, and respect to a dear colleague,

Inson Oh


Announcing Interim Elections for Vacant Executive Board Positions


Today marks the announcement of Interim Elections for three vacant Executive Board Positions:  

Region 1 Board Representative, Region 2 Board Representative, Freelance Chair

The CFI Local 39000 Bylaws are clear that any position that becomes vacant must be filled if there are more than six months left in the term. The present Board’s term expires in December of 2021; therefore it is incumbent upon the Local to run Nominations and Elections to fill the positions. (Bylaws Article 8, Section 5)

The date set for officially receiving nominations will be July 1, 2020; officially closing by 5:00 pm on July 7, 2020. 

Please send nominations by email to [email protected]; in the subject line be sure to write “Nomination – Interim Elections.” 

Usually for the Executive Board elections members are allowed up to four nominations: the three officers – President, Vice President, Secretary-Treasurer – and the regional board representative for your region. Members of our Freelance/IGA unit only nominate the Freelance Chair. As the only open positions are regional board representatives and the Freelance Chair, there will be a limit of one nomination per member.
The terms of office will begin upon election and completion of officer training and run through December 31, 2021.
Candidates must be members in good standing, accept the nomination in writing, and agree to participate in training.  
In the event of a contested race for the open regional board representative positions, a secret ballot election will be conducted. Should there be a need for secret ballot, the date for ballot returns would be July 30, 2020 and the count would take place on August 1, 2020 at the Local under the direction of the Local’s Election Committee.



Message for Orange Court Interpreters

June 11, 2020

Dear CFI Orange county members,

We are writing to you to share important information and updates regarding work conditions during the COVID-19 pandemic.

CFI Local 39000 began the dialogue through meet and confer sessions with the Court via video on May 14 and again on June 10, and although the conversation regarding safety is far from over, we believe that progress has been made and hope more will come despite this very challenging period for all. Our next call will be taking place next week as the Court resumes all non-essential proceedings including preliminary hearings and trials and all interpreters and other employees return to their workplace on June 15.

Some of the topics being discussed are masks to be worn by all persons in the courthouse, air quality in the buildings, the need for more equipment and disposable covers, minimizing the amount of time interpreters spend in enclosed settings, the possibility of extending early release through a rotation, and telework opportunities such as telephonic assignments and/or other remote means already contemplated in our latest MOU. Again, the Union will keep the dialogue with the Court and will send you updates.

As all interpreters will be back at work next week, we would like to take this opportunity to remind you that Article 35 of our MOU states that “The Courts and the Union agree that safe working conditions are the responsibility of each employee, supervisor and manager” and that “[t]he Courts will take reasonable precautions to prevent unnecessary exposure that would put an interpreter at risk.” 

Safety is one of our two top priorities, and thus we encourage our members to stand up for their health and safety rights. If, for example, you are asked to stand next to someone who is not wearing a mask and there is not minimum physical distancing of at least six feet, or if you are not provided with wireless equipment to be able to maintain a safe distance, you have a right to bring this to the attention of the Court and your direct supervisor. We always encourage professionalism in pointing out health & safety issues; one could say something like “Your Honor, the interpreter is not able to interpret under the current conditions, as the:

a)     defendant is not wearing a safety mask

b)     interpreter needs wireless equipment to be able to maintain a safe distance

c)     interpreter needs a dedicated microphone for interpreting

d)     other impediment or health and safety issue.

Per our MOU, the incident must be reported to a supervisor so the situation can be addressed immediately. As your Union, we need your participation in reporting any and all incidents to our link  CFI Local 39000 COVID INCIDENT REPORTS (CTRL+Click to follow link). Please include “Health & Safety” in the subject line. You may also contact your steward LouLou Tovar or your R4 representative. 

Your team is working around the clock to keep members safe, encourage the use of remote interpreting, and safeguard wage preservation and continued income. We will stay in touch.

Be safe. Be vigilant.

In Unity, 

Your Orange County team: 
LouLou Tovar, Steward
Frances Marino, ad-hoc Meet & Confer Team
Silvia San Martín, R4 Board Representative



Special Message for Los Angeles Court Interpreters Regarding Resumption of Services

June 9, 2020

Dear LASC Members,

For the last few weeks the Los Angeles Superior Court (LASC) has been working to re-establish all services to the public.  Throughout the COVID-19 stay-at-home orders, essential proceedings have continued in a limited capacity; however, as of today’s date, LASC's plan is to resume all non-essential proceedings on Monday, June 15, 2020 and have all employees, including interpreters, return to their place of employment on Monday, June 22, 2020.  

During this time, CFI has been holding meet and confer sessions telephonically or via Zoom with Court Administration to discuss changes in courtroom procedures and how these may impact interpreters on the job in the courtrooms.  CFI has been instrumental in aiding Court Administration put safety measures in place including the use of masks in the courthouses by ALL persons who enter (originally they had told us that the use of masks by court users would be recommended, but not required), and providing each interpreter who returns to work on site with their own personal interpreting equipment and sanitation products.  Our next meet and confer session will be this coming Thursday, June 11, 2020, and we will continue our dialogue with LASC regarding new policies and procedures as we move forward.

As we begin to gear up to return to the workplace, many of you have reached out with questions and concerns.  Yesterday, Monday, June 8, 2020, a letter was sent to our interpreter Court Outlook accounts on behalf of Nancy Griffin, Chief Human Resources Officer which includes an attachment entitled “COVID-19 RESUMPTION OF SERVICES FAQS”.  Please take the time to read over this document carefully as it contains answers to many of the questions you may have.  This is particularly important as the Court is in the process of implementing new policies for ALL employees having to do with crucial issues such as telework assignments and childcare. 

For those who need childcare, or adult care due to COVID-19 in order to be able to return to work, please keep a record of the places you call, the answers they give you, and any other problems you may encounter in trying to find a place that is open for business. We may need this information in the future.

Health and Safety in the Courts

Article 30 “Health and Safety” of our MOU states that, “Management will provide and maintain a safe and healthy place of employment.” It contains language which provides protection for our members in cases where they are being compelled to work under dangerous or unhealthy conditions. If, for example, you are asked to stand next to an inmate who is not wearing a mask, or you are not being provided with wireless equipment to be able to maintain a safe distance, you may say to the judge, “Your Honor, the interpreter is not able to interpret under the current conditions, as the:

a)     defendant is not wearing a safety mask

b)    interpreter needs wireless equipment to be able to maintain a safe distance

c)     interpreter needs a dedicated microphone for interpreting, etc.”

We encourage our members to stand up for their health and safety rights, and to report any incidents to our CFI link CFI Local 39000 COVID INCIDENT REPORTS (CTRL+Click to follow link). Please include either “Health & Safety” or “Remote Interpreting” in the Subject Line. 

IMPORTANT REMINDER: If you were exposed to a COVID positive person while working on site, please fill out a work injury report with your court, and definitely report it to CFI at CFI Local 39000 COVID INCIDENT REPORTS. (CTRL+Click to follow link)

Available Federal Programs

While our negotiations are still in progress, and we still have many unanswered questions, it is important that you become familiar with the different Federal programs that are offered for those who cannot go back to work for issues related to COVID-19. These programs may provide a way to get paid if we are not able to extend the telework agreement.  

Below is a link that will take you the U.S. Department of Labor/Employee Paid Leave Rights page, which describes the programs available to you.

FFCRA: Families First Coronavirus Response Act

The following is a short description of the program’s benefits: 

  • 1) Two weeks (up to 80 hours) of paid sick leave at the employee’s regular rate of pay where the employee is unable to work because the employee is quarantined (pursuant to Federal, State, or local government order or advice of a health care provider), and/or experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and seeking a medical diagnosis; or
  • 2) Two weeks (up to 80 hours) of paid sick leave at two-thirds the employee’s regular rate of pay because the employee is unable to work because of a bona fide need to care for an individual subject to quarantine (pursuant to Federal, State, or local government order or advice of a health care provider), or to care for a child (under 18 years of age) whose school or child care provider is closed or unavailable for reasons related to COVID-19, and/or the employee is experiencing a substantially similar condition as specified by the Secretary of Health and Human Services, in consultation with the Secretaries of the Treasury and Labor; and
  • 3) Up to an additional 10 weeks of paid expanded family and medical leave at two-thirds the employee’s regular rate of pay where an employee, who has been employed for at least 30 calendar days, is unable to work due to a bona fide need for leave to care for a child whose school or child care provider is closed or unavailable for reasons related to COVID-19.

Since these programs do not offer 100% of your salary, you would need to use your accruals to make up for the difference. Please remember that the Federal programs would not be necessary if people can work from home (or in an isolated “clean room”) while they continue to draw regular pay.

Your Union is working very hard to accomplish the following:

  1. Keep people safe by insisting on proper protection for interpreters, such as the use of sanitizing wipes, masks and gloves, and social distancing while working in the courtrooms.
  2. Encourage the use of remote interpreting, both video and telephonic during the tenancy of the COVID-19 Emergency Order.
  3. Protect wage preservation and continued income.

It is important to know that the interpreter budget from which courts will be reimbursed for language access is still valid all the way through June 30th, of this fiscal year.

We allowed the Court the right to use remote interpreting during the pandemic. It is in our side letter agreement with Administration, and we will continue to hold to this firmly for our members’ safety and wellbeing. Please cooperate with your Union in providing adequate protections for all interpreters during this unsettling period.

In Unity, 

Your CFI Board and Stewards

<< first < Prev 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Next > last >>

Page 4 of 34