CFI warns Court Future Commission of VRI misuse and employment system changes

SAN FRANCISCO (Feb. 8, 2016) _ CFI cautioned about the misuse of Video Remote Interpreting (VRI) and pointed out problems in the regional bargaining system for employee interpreters as part of written comments submitted ahead of Monday's meeting of the Commission on the Future of California's Court System.

In the written comments, CFI President Ariel Torrone explained that we are not against the use of VRI to expand language access outside of courtrooms. CFI does not oppose use of VRI for limited purposes and under specific conditions during court proceedings where there would otherwise be no language access and when no in-person interpreter can be provided.

"However, we are against the misuse of VRI in a manner that diminishes meaningful access for LEP court users or violates due process. We are against misuse of VRI for the purpose of cutting costs at the expense of effective and efficient communications..." the comments explain. "Interpretation services in court proceedings should continue to be provided onsite and live, through the approximately 1000 staff interpreters and in-person independent contractors who are already working in the courts providing reliable, efficient, high-quality language access to judges, attorneys, and the ever-growing number of Limited English Proficient court users."

CFI also wrote in support of court employees and unions who oppose altering the trial court employment system that provides for local employment and local collective bargaining. Unlike those court employees, CFI represents court interpreters are employed by local trial courts but negotiate contracts regionally.

"This alternative to the local model has been tried with problematic results for the courts and staff interpreters engaged in regional labor relations under the Trial Court Interpreter Employment and Labor Relations Act (TCIELRA, or the Interpreter Act)," the comments assert. "At the same time, we assert that the Interpreter Act and the regional bargaining system should be examined and adjustments are needed to make collective bargaining and representation of court interpreters on a statewide level more effective, functional, and equitable."

CFI-SEIU Letter to Futures Commission re: VRI

CFI Letter re: Employment System


tags: *language access *vri * union