President’s Update

CFI news on stewards training, meetings, bargaining and other Union business

Meetings for Los Angeles Interpreters

CFI officers and representatives are holding meetings at Los Angeles courthouses to talk with members about union issues.

More than 30 interpreters attended a meeting at the 9th floor conference room of the Stanley Mosk Courthouse on Monday, April 26.  Meetings have also been held in Van Nuys and Compton.

Southern California Field Rep, Alex Abella, along with Secretary Gabrielle Veit-Bermudez, Region 1 delegate Nao Nikeuchi and President Ariel Torrone spoke with members about local union issues, grievances, meet and confer sessions with LA, and encouraged those in attendance to remain vigilant and engaged in our struggles with the LA administration.

We’re planning meetings in other locations and for F status issues. Would you like to get a visit from your representatives? Let us know:  we would love to come see you. There’s a lot going on so stay tuned for more info about LA issues, and be sure to stay active and informed in the coming months.

Stewards Training

Stewards, mobilizers and members interested in participating more, and those who may be considering becoming a steward are invited to attend one of our upcoming steward trainings.

Attorneys from our local’s law firm, Weinberg, Roger & Rosenfeld, will conduct the morning session, followed by a catered lunch and an afternoon session with your local reps/board representatives to discuss pending matters and provide additional training.

Southern CaliforniaJune 11th – 9 am to 3 pm in our Santa Fe Springs Office:
12215 Telegraph Rd. Suite 210, Santa Fe Springs, CA 90670

Northern CaliforniaJune 18th – 9 am to 3 pm at the offices of:
Engineers & Scientists of California – Local 20
810 Clay St., Oakland, CA. 94607 (around the corner from our Oakland office)

Please RSVP by May 21 if you plan to attend one of these trainings by emailing us at [email protected]

Bargaining Update

Multiple bargaining issues are being addressed either through meetings or litigation across the state. Meetings with LA court administration are ongoing to discuss how civil expansion, staffing levels, and assignment issues are affecting interpreter working conditions and language access in the LA court. In connection with these discussions, CFI surveyed LA interpreters and has prepared a detailed report for management of information collected from members. The report will be published once it has been submitted to management.

Preparations are underway for full contract bargaining in Regions 2 and 3, where contracts expire this September, and bargaining committee elections will be held in this summer. Civil expansion, cross assignments, and pension contribution issues are also being addressed in Regions 1, 2 and 4. The courts refused to hold regional negotiations to address the pension issues in Region 2 and CFI is challenging that as a violation of the contract and statutory requirements for bargaining. Litigation is also pending over the same refusal to bargain regionally over the pension contributions in Region 4.

Grievance and Arbitration Committee Update

Several members have asked about the function of our Grievance and Arbitration Committee. This committee evaluates grievances already filed to determine which grievances the Union will take to arbitration and seeks funding from our parent union for those legal costs. The committee also shares strategies for addressing issues across regions and considers PERB charges and other legal matters that arise when enforcing our contracts.

This committee was specifically formed last year _ as we started setting down a process for our new local _ because we faced a significant challenge: TNG-CWA was not funding our arbitrations. Arbitrations are expensive and, particularly in 2015 as we were trying to get on our feet for the first time, a significant drain on our resources.  We needed a system to make sure we received financial assistance from the international.

Then-Vice President Mike Ferreira was appointed to chair the committee along with our field representatives. The president also participates as an ex-officio member of this and other committees.

Protocols were established that have translated into 100% financial assistance from our parent union for these important contract enforcement activities. 

The grievance and arbitration committee is not charged with filing grievances, or determining whether to file grievances. Stewards, in consultation with field representatives, address grievances at the initial stage of investigation and filing.

This year I appointed Juan Ramirez from Orange County to step up as chair and our Santa Cruz steward, Juan José Negrete, was appointed to serve on the committee along with our field reps. The work of this group continues to be outstanding and effective.

For the time being, only stewards qualify to be part of this committee, but if you would like to participate in the future reach out to Juan Ramirez ([email protected]).

The Big Picture                    

It is time we channel our resources and energies into our future. CFI is your union and it will be stronger and will be able to do more with your support.  We invite you to join us in this effort.

Two contracts are up for renewal at the end of September (Regions 2 & 3), and Regions 1 and 4 will follow in less than a year after that. As noted above, we are currently in the midst of meet and confer with LA, as well as PEPRA issues in Regions 1, 2 and 4.

VRI is a threat close on the horizon, civil expansion is rolling out, and there are ongoing issues with assignments and supervisors.

We are also advocating for independent contractors in our brand new unit, and enforcing our contracts on an ongoing basis through grievances and arbitrations.

Union Business

CFI Local 39000 is in the process of complying with numerous requirements that the Department of Labor and CWA Constitution impose on Union Locals. The board also has addressed several complaints from members regarding expenses, and adopted a policy and process on approval of expenses to clarify the authority and procedures issues raised by members. CWA District 9 investigated and rejected the election challenge and complaints about the election process were found to be without merit.

For union members, there’s more information about these and other issues under the Member Center section of our website, calinterpreters.org. Please note that you must log in to access the information, including: Board decisions and policies, CWA decisions and responses to complaints, and financial information. Board meeting minutes are also available once approved by the Board at subsequent meetings. Log in, look for the Members Center tab and select Members Only from the pull down menu.

ariel