California Federation of Interpreters

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:




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:

Vice President


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.



A Message from Frank Arce, President of District 9

California Recall Election, Gavin Newsom 

Hello fellow members …

Usually, the local does not send out any sort of requests for supporting candidates in the state or federal elections; for people who wish to participate in the political activity of the union, CWA has a fundraising arm, separate and apart from the dues that are collected. None of your dues is used to make donations to political candidate campaigns. However, our District 9 office has asked us to share the following with all members in all locals. I pass it on for your consideration…

There is a Threat: Well-heeled millionaires who want to roll back worker protections in California are funneling big money into a campaign to recall Gov. Gavin Newsom. Let’s be clear: If they are successful, unions will lose many of the hard-fought gains made on higher wages, pensions, funding for public education and other services, laws against discrimination and more. 

To protect union contracts and the ability to provide the services our community needs, the District 9 Headquarters is asking union members to join together in voting NO on the Recall!

Who is behind this Recall?  It is a national network of very rich anti-union funders who are taking aim at union pensions, wages, health care and voting rights. They have spent millions to put this Recall special election on the ballot. Funders like real estate developers, corporate CEOs and anti-union politicians.  

Why? Because they couldn’t win with a union-busting candidate in the last election. They want to control California by pulling a fast one on California’s working folks by trying to steal the governor’s office in a low-turnout special election. [1]

How does the special election Recall work? There are two questions on the Recall ballot. 

First: Should Governor Newsom be recalled?  We urge every union member to select “NO!” 

Second: Who do you vote for to replace Governor Newsom? NONE of them! All the candidates trying to replace the Governor have one thing in common: A long history of attacking unions. Moreover, the candidate with the most votes wins, even if it’s only 10% of votes cast! One of the leading replacement candidates, radio talk show host Larry Elder, even said it’s a “big myth that unions help workers” and said there should be NO minimum wage! 

California’s laws to protect workers are the strongest in the nation. Under our state’s present leadership, coalitions of unions have secured major gains for our members and all workers. But this Recall isn’t really about Gavin Newsom or any one individual. It’s about millionaire funders trying to strip away union wins on wages, health care and pensions just to make themselves even richer. 

We can’t afford to allow wealthy anti-union special interests to seize control of California. The Recall risks undermining the values we share as Californians. Join the union effort in saying NO to the anti-worker Recall! Learn more at

We can stop the power grab. Ballots will be mailed out around August 16. Watch your mailbox for your ballot and join other union members by returning your ballot right away (no postage necessary) to vote NO on the Recall! To do otherwise is to condemn union collective bargaining rights and right to representation at the workplace to the dustbin of history. It eliminates the safeguards between you and your public employer … your voice and vote on matters in the workplace will be no more, should Gavin Newsome be recalled.

That said, there is an organizing group within CWA’s District 9 who are sending out a clarion call for members to help turn back this recall, and thereby turn back the subsequent anti-union legislation and state level policies that remove union representation in the public sector in California. Please get in touch with one of the three regional coordinators to find out how you can be of service to yourself and others in this endeavor:

Southern California Regional Coordinator
Vanessa Meza
Local 9509 San Diego
 [email protected]

Central Valley Regional Coordinator
Fidel Andrade 
Local 9333 Modesto 
[email protected]

Northern California Regional Coordinator
Heladio Salvídar 
Local 9421 Sacramento
(916) 601-9525
[email protected]

The Regional Coordinators are urgently searching for volunteers in their areas who could help them recruit volunteers for phone banking and text banking CWA members on Mondays and Wednesdays, phone banking with the California Labor Fed on Tuesdays & Thursdays, and Literature dropping with CLC's on Saturdays.  Please return their calls as soon as possible if they leave you a message.  There is a very short window between now and Election Day to get this work done and it can't be done without the help of every union member in the state.  

Please click on this link to volunteer to phone bank our CWA members on Mondays and Wednesday.

Click here  to volunteer for Saturday Lit Drops at a CLC near you.  



Not Going Quietly

Although this may be mostly for our members in the Los Angeles area, and even though this is a bit last minute, we wanted to share that one of our CWA member-organizers is the subject of a documentary that speaks to social justice issues … one of the three points of our CWA union triangle. We invite you to click on the links and attend the film’s opening, if you are confident to go out at this time. If you are unable to get to a showing of the film, like many other documentaries and entertainment films, it may soon be on streaming services and other outlets. We encourage everyone to watch and be inspired by our brother, Ady Barken.
In unity, 
Michael Ferreira


Dear Local Presidents,
I apologize for the last minute notice, but I wanted to let you know about a new film that is premiering tomorrow, Thursday, August 12th and will run all week.  The film will be shown at the Town Center 5 (17200 Ventura Blvd UNIT 121, Encino, CA 91316).  You can purchase tickets here
Not Going Quietly is an inspiring documentary about community organizer, activist, and CWA member Ady Barkan. After being diagnosed with ALS, Ady committed himself to using what time he has left to travel across the country on the Be A Hero Tour to fight for healthcare access for all and encourage voter turnout.  Click here to see the trailer on  Not Going Quietly
In unity,
Liz Sorenson, Area/Political Director
CWA District 9
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