California Federation of Interpreters

CFI Local 39000 Letter Sent to All Courts re: COVID-19 Preparedness Response


RE:       COVID-19 Pandemic Protocols for CFI Local 39000 Members

Our Local is concerned with the health and safety of our membership. Our goal is to provide our membership — your employees — the most comprehensive safety and prevention measures. This must be done in an environment that encourages open and free communication without fear of reprisal or negative impacts on pay or continued employment.

To ensure that CFI Local 39000 is aware of the Court’s protocols in place to protect and prevent spread of the Coronavirus, the Local needs answers concerning the questions listed below. 

  1. What are the Court’s protocols in place?
  2. Are safety teams trained on the protocols?
  3. What specific safety measures are in place to prevent infection while at work?
  4. Is there a contact tracing process in place?
  5. Is there a symptom or exposure reporting protocol or process?
  6. Do you have a business/work contingency plan in case of a required closure, or partial closures of courts? Are furloughs a part of the plan?
  7. What safeguards are in place to protect interpreter employees who interface with prisoners and the public?
  8. How will wage payment to employees be handled in case of closures and people cannot fill out their online timecards from a dedicated court terminal?
  9. How will wage payment to employees be handled in case of employees with positive tests, or have confirmed exposure, or have been quarantined?
  10. How will attendance absences/occurrences be handled as a result of any of the incidents in #8 and #9 above? Will employees have an order of priority of accrued time to be used in case of illness, quarantine, or furlough? 
  11. How has the above information been communicated to employees?
  12. Do you have working wireless interpreter equipment and the accompanying sanitizing wipes available to all interpreter employees who may request to use them?

Can employees opt-out to any work assignments at locations identified as high risk without discipline?  Please provide the information by March 13, 2020. If any part of this request is denied or if any materials are unavailable, please state so in writing and provide the remaining items by the above date, which the Union will accept without prejudice to its position that it is entitled to all documents and information sought in this request. In the event that this inquiry should result in a grievance, which then goes to arbitration, the Union will oppose the introduction of any non-disclosed information. 

The Union remains available to discuss further issues or concerns that arise in the future regarding protocols or processes as events change. Thank you for your cooperation and prompt attention in advance.



Resolution in pay increase processing error

February 27, 2020

Dear Region 3 court interpreters, 
As you all already know we have ratified a new agreement assenting to an increase in pay as well as a signing bonus that was expected to take effect this past pay period which commenced on February 3, 2020.   Everyone in Region 3 was supposed to receive their increase in the paycheck that was issued on February 21, 2020 along with one-time taxable payment bonus.   The Union –CFI- recently learned that not all employees in Region 3 received this increase or the bonus as parties concurred.  Our court interpreter-employees in Kern County were among some of the employees that did not obtain the raise or their bonus.  Kern County employees were the most affected as none of the court-interpreter employees received their increase in pay nor their bonus as promised after the contract ratification.   
 The court interpreter employees in Kern County  notified their Steward of this inaccuracy;  she immediately notified the union therefore the team could start working on this matter and address it with the proper parties.   Kern County’s Human Resources was contacted by the Steward on-site and on Tuesday February 25th 2020,  this issue was resolved; assuring that the court-interpreter employees will not only notice their raise in pay in the next paycheck but also the retroactive pay plus their one-time bonus.   
On behalf of the bargaining committee and CFI we would like to express our gratitude for bringing this to our attention and for giving us the opportunity to work on this.   This resolution could not have been accomplished in such rapid time without the help of the Steward in Kern County and other members of the bargaining committee –Thank you.  
 Moving forward, should you notice any discrepancies in your pay or if you need to contact one of the board members or someone in the bargaining team in Region 3 please do not hesitate to reach out to any of us.   
In Solidarity, 
Carmen Ramos
Janet Hudec
Joey Tobin
Rosa Trevizo  


Calling all CFI Local 39000 members interested in protecting the MOU and supporting your colleagues in the workplace! …  

On Saturday, March 21st, 2020 CFI Local 39000 will be hosting a training session for all members wishing to become stewards and/or update and refine their skills. Although the training is geared to newcomers, any and all present stewards are invited as well! Even if you are unsure of making a commitment to become a steward, you are invited to find out what the “front line” of the labor movement looks like. 
The training is mandatory for anyone who wishes to be added to the steward lists for their Region/County. The presenters will be President Mike Ferreira, and CWA steward trainer Louis Rocha from District 9 Sacramento. Some of the topics to be covered are:
-      Union structure, guiding documents, and protocols. How our Local fits into the larger CWA union and the labor/union/social justice movement.
-      Role, Rights, and Responsibilities of a union steward.
-      How to memorialize, share communications, and collaborate on representation issues.
-      Grievances and their processing; arbitrations and their preparations; unfair labor practice filings (Public Employee Relations Board) … starting with your Memorandum of Understanding.
-      Open discussion about any issue of interest or concern..
The training will take place at:

CWA Local 9511 
1525 Simpson Way
Escondido, CA 92029

The training hours are 9:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m.  A modest lunch is included. We ask that interested members respond to this email no later than the close of business on Tuesday, March 17th, 2020. Please be on time, and we are encouraging folks to carpool; if you wish to carpool, or be a driver for a carpool, please specify such in your email to [email protected] . 

A vigorous and well-trained steward group is the most important element in enforcing the contract, vigilance for member abuse, and creating a communication and rallying point for interpreter employees throughout California. This Board has made a commitment to bring as much training, expansion, and mentoring to the steward pool as is possible. We have the full support in trainers and material from our parent union, CWA. 

We look forward to seeing as many as can make it to this Region 4 Southern California training session.

Best regards, in solidarity,

Michael Ferreira
CFI President


Information about JC's New And Improved Way to Decertify Interpreters

February 10, 2020

Dear Fellow Colleagues,

The beginning of 2020 has brought the start of a new regulation for certified and registered interpreters in California. The California Court Interpreter Credential Review Procedures is the procedure that reinforces the professional standards for certified and registered court interpreters. This regulation establishes for Judicial Council to review allegations of professional misconduct or malfeasance filed against certified and registered court interpreters, defines the due process protections of procedures governing the credential review, ensures that certified and registered court interpreters meet and maintain minimum professional practice standards, and safeguards the quality and integrity of credentialed court interpreters. 

The Judicial Council Court Interpreting Program (CIP) will be the entity that will be charged with credential reviews and may impose sanctions or up to revocation of interpreter’s credential. Grounds for sanctions may include:

  • Violation of Rule of Court 2.890;
  • Gross incompetence[1];
  • Deliberate misrepresentation of a certified court or registered interpreter credential, including failure to notify relevant parties of a suspension or revocation of a court interpreter credential;
  • Knowing and reckless disclosure of confidential or privileged information obtained while serving in an official capacity;
  • Fraud, dishonesty, or corruption related to the functions and duties of a court interpreter;
  • Conviction of a felony or misdemeanor;
  • Violation of California or Federal law, including discrimination and harassment laws;
  • False or deceptive advertising after receipt of notification to discontinue; and
  • Violations of duties imposed by these procedures.

Any individual, whether court user, judicial officer, attorneys, court staff, colleague interpreters, among others, can file a complaint against an interpreter. The Credential Review Procedures applies to ALL interpreters regardless of employment status. 

If any employee is faced with a credential review complaint, please notify CFI Local 39000 as soon as possible. Your Union is committed to providing the best representation possible for its members. 

For more information regarding the California Court Interpreter Credential Review Procedures, please click on the link.

In Solidarity,

CFI Executive Board

[1] At this moment, it is unclear how this will be determined; there are no specifics as to whether there would be convened a panel of experts in the language, or certified interpreter colleagues, or any body whatsoever to determine whether there was “gross incompetence” in the interpretation, other than the word of the complainant. The criteria for “gross incompetence” have not been outlined, so far. The Local has filed a PERB charge against Orange County for discipline being imposed on an employee interpreter for a complaint of “incompetent interpreting” filed by a bilingual attorney. The Union is fighting the issue specifically because of the process, and the fact that there are no evaluation criteria on the performance review for this.


News from Region 4:

 - Facing Arbitration Over Unit Work Violation, San Diego Superior Court Offers Settlement. 

-  R4 initiated monthly zoom calls with all stewards. Contact yours for updates, questions and work related concerns.

-  Maria Benitez, long time interpreter and R4 steward retires in March. Thank you Maria for your dedication and your many contributions to the Union.



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