Bargaining Update Reg-2

Region’s Wage Move Not Enough Given Elimination of Pension Benefits

SAN FRANCISCO (Feb. 17, 2017) _ Region 2 moved its wage proposal up to provide a 14% increase over 3 years by implementing a salary range for interpreters. That’s 2% more than their last offer, but the Region still refuses to address the loss of pay interpreters across the region have felt due to the elimination of certain pension benefits paid by the employer. This makes the actual wage improvement for the majority of interpreters in the Region significantly lower.
There was no movement from the Courts during Wednesday’s bargaining session on other issues that the Union has identified as critical, including:
  • No wage offset or bump to the bottom pay step to recognize the pension issue (as granted to other employees);
  • No change in the hours required to work before moving to the next step (a year at full time), significantly diminishing the wage growth of part timers; and
  • No solution to the problem with changes in benefits that impact interpreters, such as cost of living adjustments (COLAs) for future years.

As a result, a significant divide remains on compensation. The Region says it wants to treat interpreters like other employees, but in reality, that is only the case when it is detrimental to us and not when it benefits us.

We want to be treated like other employees, which would mean:

  • a wage offset to mitigate the impacts of pension contribution increases;
  • 5% between each pay step (their offer to us is only 3.5%);
  • bargaining with us over economic impacts of benefit changes as they do with other employees; and
  • receiving the same COLAs and wage increases as other employees (we’ve gotten far less).

Your bargaining team has pointed out the many ways in which interpreters are disparately impacted due to the courts’ stance on overall compensation (wages and benefits) in the regional system.

The Region’s positions are self-defeating, since their own need to attract and recruit employees and to have a stable workforce is not served by continuing to deny fair wages to staff interpreters.

Court also want to chip away at the assignment and cross assignment work priority employee interpreters currently enjoy in order to provide a raise. The Region has also proposed limiting the distance interpreters can travel for a cross assignment and adding reimbursement policies that would provide coordinators a lot of discretion over what expenses are paid. CFI will counter with proposals to reform and streamline the assignment and cross assignment processes while still preserving interpreter employee rights.

Two sessions are scheduled for next week. The bargaining committee will be in touch with mobilizers following these sessions on next steps and escalating actions that it appears will be necessary given the lack of movement in the Region’s proposals.