California Federation of Interpreters

Region 4 Bargaining Update

October 22, 2018 Orange County

This morning’s negotiations started off with our “Watch & Support” getting an eye opening experience as they witnessed the court’s lead negotiator, Joe Wiley, try to bully and lash out on one of our bargaining team members, LouLou Tovar, for questioning him on his position regarding litigants having a right to bringing their own interpreter. He insisted that these interpreters do NOT need to be certified.  Our lead negotiator, Ed Venegas, requested a caucus to give Wiley time to cool off. 
This discussion was a result of CFI’s proposal from 9/25/18 Article 50; Interns & Volunteers. Your bargaining team requested information regarding any and all interns and volunteers that are being used to do any of CFI’s unit work. The court’s position is that they have stopped using volunteers 2 years ago and are no longer using any, anywhere in the region. 
The courts also proposed adding a new provision in our MOU for Union Business Leave. 
There was a Tentative Agreement on:
Articles, 22; payday- only change was employees will be required to authorize automatic deposit 
Article 25; Health Care- only change was the name of the General Unit in Imperial 
Article 28; Sick Leave- intermittent employees shall be provided sick leave under the California Healthy Workplaces, Healthy Families Act consistent with the employer court’s policy or practice. 
Article 35; Safety– only change was to change the word “prisoner” to “inmate” 
The court rejected CFI’s proposal from 10/10/18 on Article 36; Workspace & Supplies
CFI proposed to add language to this article that would require the courts to make reasonable efforts to provide workspace for unit employees in the each courtroom. 
On October 10, 2018 the courts response to our proposal was “ We don’t think there’s a need for interpreters to have a workspace in the courtroom, since all they do is stand next to the defendant.” 
Your bargaining team presented some compelling counter arguments to this statement and mindset in hopes of educating the court, as a result, they agreed to put it back on the table for further discussion, on October 22, 2018, they didn’t follow through with the agreement for further discussion and simply rejected the proposal. 
The court insist that they treat interpreters exactly the same as they do all the other court unit members, but if that were the case, they wouldn’t have had a problem with giving us what the other unit members have in the courtroom, which is work space. 
Your bargaining team has been working hard and will continue to work hard at putting together more proposals to strive towards a righteous contract. 
Our next bargaining session will be in the afternoon, November 9, 2019 in Riverside. 
If you will be participating in the “Watch & Support” by taking time off to observe the negotiations, please request time off today. 
The team continues to encourage members to support negotiations by attending the bargaining sessions. We hope to see you there. 
A big “THANK YOU” to Nancy O’toole, Erica Ibarra, Adrienne Trunk , Ben Sanchez, Richard Barrientos, Frances Marin, Pam Santos for sitting in to observe our session by participating in the “Watch & Support” 


Also, “THANK YOU” to interpreters in Indio, San Bernardino and Orange County for showing your support and sending us your pictures. 

Your Bargaining team needs all of your support to achieve the best contract possible for ALL! We are in this together.  UNITED we BARGAIN… DIVIDED we BEG. 
Our unity is our strength by presenting a united front before administration we show our power. 
“In union there is strength. It’s the “U” and “I’ in union that makes us strong” 
In solidarity, 
Your Region 4, Bargaining Team 
CFI Local 39000, CWA-TNG
Maria Benitez
Jackie Ruiz
Silvia San Martin 
LouLou Tovar
Rebeca Vera
Ed Venegas- Spokesperson 


Region 4 Bargaining Update

October 10, 2018 San Diego

There was good open dialogue during our negotiations today.  There was discussion and proposals on the following: 
The Courts presented proposals on Art. 24; Health Care, Art. 32; Local Retirement System, Art. 35; Safety, Art. 28; Sick Leave, Art. 22; Pay Day
After caucusing among the team, the bargaining committee countered with the following proposals: 
Art. 2; Unit Work, Art. 15; Seniority 
We also presented proposals on Art. 32; Local Retirement System, Art. 36; Work Space & Supplies. 
Our proposal on Art. 36; Work Space & Supplies , was rejected by the Courts, but after your bargaining team presented our position on why we consider this an important proposal they agreed to put it back on the table for further discussion. 
We want to give a big “THANK YOU” to all of you who showed your support by wearing red, and also to the Orange County interpreters in West, North and Harbor for sending in your pictures showing your support. 
We appreciate you standing by your bargaining team. We will continue to need your support to achieve the best contract possible for ALL. 
Our unity is our strength by presenting a united front before administration we show our power. 
Our next bargaining session is scheduled for October 22, 2018, in Orange County. 
Please support your bargaining team by wearing red on this day. 
If you will be participating in the Watch & Support, please submit your time off request today, and email us at [email protected] to let us know you will be attending and to reserve your spot. 
In Solidarity, 
Your Region 4, Bargaining Team 
CFI Local 39000, CWA-TNG
Maria Benitez
Jackie Ruiz
Silvia San Martin 
LouLou Tovar
Rebeca Vera
Ed Venegas- Spokesperson 



Region 4 Bargaining Update

September 24-25, 2018 San Bernardino Courthouse

Ed Venegas (our lead spokesperson), started our first session with an opening statement in which he stated that the CFI Bargaining Team is ready to press forward on issues that have been proven to be of significant importance to our profession. 
His opening statement also including the following: 
  1. The Bargaining Team will expect that every issue we present will be addressed with respectful consideration 
  2. This day and age, past beliefs and practices which relegated CFI personal to that of third class laborers is not acceptable and will not under any circumstances be tolerated. 
  3. We expect wage improvements to reflect a true and realistic compensation for the professional work that all CFI employees proudly perform. 
During our two days of negotiating there was positive movement. We discussed ground rules, and management agreed to withdraw some ground rules that the bargaining team was opposed to. 
There was discussion and proposals on Art. 3, Authorized Agents,  Art. 13, New Employee Orientation,  Art. 15, Seniority,  Art. 21, Professional Development,  Art. 44, Dues Deduction/Agency Shop,  Art. 45, Stewards, and Art. 50, Volunteers/Interns
We reached a Tentative Agreement on Article13, New Employee Orientation and Art. 44, Dues Deduction/Agency Shop 
We want to give a big THANK YOU to Emily Hernandez for being part of the Watch and Support. 
Stand by your Bargaining Committee at the negotiations! We need your support to achieve the best contract possible for ALL! 
Our unity is our strength by presenting a united front before administration we show our power. 
Our next bargaining sessions will be October 10, 2018 (in San Diego), and October 22, 2018 in Orange County. 
Please support your hardworking bargaining team.  
If you will be participating in the Watch and Support by observing during these bargaining sessions, please submit your time-off request today, and email your team at [email protected]to let us know you will be attending and to reserve your spot. 
In solidarity, 
Your Region 4, Bargaining Team 
CFI Local 39000. CWA-TNG
Maria Benitez
Jackie Ruiz 
Silvia San Martin
LouLou Tovar
Rebeca Vera  
Ed Venegas- Spokesperson





Obit: Filipino languages interpreter Marcelino Ines

Marcelino Ines, Jr., a beloved Tagalog and Ilocano interpreter in Los Angeles who was a fixture at CFI Conferences and tireless community advocate, passed away on Aug. 20 at his home in Carson surrounded by family. He had suffered a heart attack the previous month. Marcelino was 87.

 Affectionately called “the Mayor of Manila” by his some of his colleagues, he was born in Stockton, Calif., where his father was farm foreman. He and his family returned to the Philippines during the Great Depression. 

 Years later, Marcelino returned to the U.S. and enlisted in the Navy, serving for 5 years, said his wife Maria Luisa, known as Liling. They married in 1954 having first met as children in the Philippines. 

 “He liked saying ‘I’ve been married for 64 years, to the same lady’,” his wife said.

Marcelino began working as an interpreter in the late 1970s after a friend urged him to help with the growing caseload. He had worked for the Los Angeles Superior Court for about 15 years, his wife said. 

At work, Marcelino shared the plumerias grown in his garden with his colleagues. 

“Every time he came to the office he would brighten everyone’s day,” said his colleague Flavio Posse. “He was a very loved person.”

He was a regular at the CFI Continuing Education Conferences, where he always took to the dance floor with his coworkers. An avid photographer, he photographed much of the 2016 conference, and mentioned that if he wasn’t an interpreter he would be a photographer. 

He also enjoyed singing and was a member of the church choir and a choral group, said Liling Ines. Marcelino also served on various city commissions, including senior advisory, citywide advisory and parks and recreation. He was a member of the Lions Club member and instrumental in founding the Carson Sister Cities Association and the Sinaitenians of California.

Marcelino is survived by his wife; their three children Leilani, Eric and Phillip; four grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. 

Viewing and visitation is scheduled for Aug. 31 at Greenhill Memorial Chapel in Rancho Palos Verdes with a service starting at 5 p.m.; funeral mass is scheduled for 10:30 a.m., Sept. 1 at St. Philomena Catholic Church in Carson. Details available at:


Membership Meeting will be held for all members in good standing of CFI Local 39000:

Saturday July 21st– 10am to 12noon

12215 N. Telegraph Road Suite 210
Santa Fe Springs, CA 90670

Voting on the contract will be by E-vote conducted by Ballotpoint Elections.  
Beginning the week of July 23rd.





A 7.5% salary increase over the three-year term of the contract distributed in the following manner: a 2.75% base salary adjustment effective the first pay period after ratification; a base pay increase of 2.50% effective the first pay period 12 months after the first increase; 12 months following the second pay increase mentioned there will be a final base pay adjustment of 2.25%.

A one-time, non-base bonus payment of 2% to all regular status employees in paid status as of June 30, 2018 effective the first pay period after ratification; this payment will be prorated for part-time employees, and all intermittent part-time and as-needed interpreters will receive a one-time payment of $500.00.

Example Full-time employee annual salary $77,005.20 x 2%= 1,540.10 bonus

Twelve months after ratification, full-time interpreters in service as of July 15, 2019 will receive the following one-time, non-pensionable, non-base payment based on length of service: 1% for 5-9 years of continuous service; 2% for 10-14 years; 3% for 15 or more years of continuous service.

Example Annual salary $79,227.20 x 1%= $792.27;  2%= $1,584.54;  3% $2,376.82

Interpreter employees who are certified or registered to interpret in two or more language pairs will receive a 1% salary enhancement for all hours paid for each additional language pair.

The Court will make reasonable efforts to make up to 15 hours of CIMCE-qualifying continuing education and training available to each regular status bargaining unit employee at no cost to the employee; this is an increase from 6 hours offered in the previous MOU.

The Court has agreed to reimburse all full-time and regular status part-time interpreters the cost of their annual certification/registration fees required by the Judicial Council of CA for each language pair in which the employee is certified or registered.

A side letter regarding a reopener on Article 18 (Interpreter Assignments) is included in the MOU which states that the Court will notify CFI prior to making any changes to the interpreter assignment process and will make Court representatives available to meet and confer regarding said changes.  Until the parties exhaust the meet and confer process, the Court will continue to abide by the provisions of Article 18, which respects interpreter seniority. 


Other than the one-time, non-pensionable, non-base payment mentioned in the third paragraph above, the Court was unwilling to offer any other kind of salary increase based on length of service (steps) and to negotiate any further on their offer.

We were unable to get binding arbitration language included in Article 9 (Grievance Procedure) or Article 11 (Expedited Arbitration).

The Region rejected CFI’s proposed changes to Sections 37.2 and 37.3 of Article 37 (Stewards) and proposed the status quo; their proposal was incorporated herein by reference in their final Comprehensive Package Proposal. They were unwilling to pay for caucus time for the bargaining team in preparation for negotiations (which has been the past practice), and they did not grant travel time for any bargaining member traveling from the Central Coast.

We were unable to get the creation of a new classification status for retired court interpreters allowing them to be rehired under California Government Code Section 7522.56.  This would have been included in Article 16 (Employment Status).

We were unable to get into the contract language which addresses the issue of the docking of “F” status interpreters if they arrive late to an assignment given to them on the same day.  Said language was hoped to be included in Article 18 (Interpreter Assignments).

The bargaining team feels that there are some important issues that need to be resolved, most significantly recognition of our years of service to the Courts by means of “steps” or a “longevity increase”.  We do not feel that a one-time non-pensionable, non-base payment as mentioned in the third paragraph of this letter reflects true appreciation of our services by the Court, besides which it does not help those interpreters who are near retirement in terms of their pension pay-out.  As a matter of fact, as our attorney Caren Sencer pointed out to the Region, it holds those employees hostage for a year if they want to take advantage of that one-time bonus. As a result, we are not recommending ratification of this contract. However, because the Region made it clear that their offer would expire that same day, June 27, 2018 at 4:30 p.m., the team felt that that the members deserved the opportunity to let their voices be heard.  We believe we have done as much as we can at the bargaining table.  In order to achieve more, the members have to be willing to mobilize and carry out concerted work actions. Before casting your vote, please carefully read the proposed contract and consider what you are willing to do to improve it.

If the members vote to reject the proposed contract, the Committee will notify the court and we will go back to the bargaining table in an effort to improve the offer. We are not at an impasse and we were not told this was the “last, best and final offer”.


Michael Ferreira
Robert Guerrero
Dan Kaufman
Pedro Ramírez-Navas
Kathleen Sinclair
Doris Vick
Caren Sencer, Attorney, spokesperson

Members of the Region 1 CFI Bargaining Committee

Region 1 MOU Draft Document


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