June 26, 2019

In a response to inquiries from Region 2 members, the following is a brief history of events that have occurred with respect to bargaining/meet & confer issues that are being addressed by your union.

In a formal letter dated December 21, 2018, CFI Local 39000 received a request to bargain over the impacts of VRI; the Region’s intention was to begin meetings in January of this year.

The Union responded to the Region on January 25, 2019, explaining that meet and confer would be premature since the report on the Judicial Council’s pilot project would not be released until March. 

The Judicial Council approved the use of VRI in judicial proceedings and related VRI guidelines for the courts on March 15, 2019. (Get link to the report; get letter from Janet Hudec that was sent by our Legislative Committee) Your local responded to the report with a letter outlining the flaws in the Pilot Project; the interpreters who participated (Sacramento and Merced) in the VRI Pilot Project had many misgivings and were witness to a mounting evidence of failures, all of which was conspicuously left out of consideration in the final study presented.

Over the last several months Union staff has asked for information on interpreter usage and VRI usage information. We are still waiting on a response from the Judicial Council, which maintains those records.

Throughout this period the members charged with anti-union activity were precluded from serving on the committee during the investigation and trial. In April and then June, the remaining three committee members for Region 2 declined to continue as part of the team. It should be noted that in the Bylaws for our local, we need a minimum of three members on the team; the MOU’s specify a maximum of 5. Had they offered to continue in their service to their colleagues, we would be further ahead of the curve on this. 

Our local’s temporary administrator, Ed Venegas, has announced nominations and elections to form a new bargaining committee for Regions 2 and 3 after some of the committee members declined to continue serving. However, in Region 3 both Janet Hudec and Rosa Trevizo have indicated that they are fully willing to continue at their post, and during this present period of nominations & election of additional bargaining committee members in Region 3, two other members have been nominated and have accepted to run and serve. The two additional candidates are Joseph Tobin and Carmen Ramos.

On May 30, 2019, Region 2 asked for dates to bargain and threatened to impose if the local did not provide dates by the end of June. President Michael Ferreira called Kim Turner, Regional Chair, and in the conversation reconfirmed that CFI Local 39000 is accepting the region’s request to bargain over the impacts of VRI, as well as asserting our right to the reopener on the financials of the present contract; a follow-up email was sent to Ms. Turner in confirmation.  We plan on providing dates and will update members as this develops. 

The newly-sworn board and staff have made efforts to form a new bargaining committee for Region 2. A call for nominations went out for both Region 3 and Region 2 on June 18th of this year, specifying a time frame until the 28th to nominate, and for nominees to accept. It is expected that committee members will be announced after the electronic ballots are counted (should there be more than five nominees per regional committee) on July 5th, or shortly thereafter. If there are no more than five, then those will be deemed elected by acclamation, sworn in immediately, and begin the preparations for bargaining.

Bargaining is one of the cornerstonesof union representation; this union has not shrugged it’s duty to bargain collectively for the interpreter units in Regions 2 and 3; both for affiliated members in good standing, as well as non-members. Now is the moment when we need to work together to safeguard our unit work, our right to a wage commensurate with our skillset, and the professional best practices and ethics. We are experiencing an onslaught from every region in the form of Video Remote Interpreting and court administration’s drive to decrease the number of employee interpreters, raising the workload for all who are left. 

In closing, it bears mentioning Region 2 has a proud history of activism and has been the touchstone of accomplishment to which all the other Regions strive in terms of mobilization and outreach to community and justice partners. Their unity of action (rallies, outreach, rolling strikes, etc.) is an example to emulate throughout the state. It is what helped them secure the best level of representation and bargaining for interpreters. 

We need that same energy as we face our future. It’s your contract, it’s your decision to unify, mobilize, and act to get the best you can out of it.  

In solidarity,

Michael C. Ferreira
CFI President 

 

Judicial Council formed the Interpreter Act Working Group