Region 2 Bargaining Update #15

Virtual Session 3/16/2022

This is what union power is about: strength in unity…  

After the Courts offered a take-it-or-leave-it offer of no wages and other onerous proposals, they decided their strategy was going to be arguing over whether to allow our members to attend as observers during the bargaining session. There was upwards of over sixty members statewide who connected via Zoom to support the Region 2 interpreters. The courts’ team stated that they were “intimidated” and that the Union had “crossed the line!” The Region’s team was so unsettled they threatened to cancel the bargaining date unless the Union limit the attendees to ten Region 2 observers. Lamentably, this wasted three hours of precious meet time today, as the Region went into isolation to caucus five times over this one issue. In good faith and in an effort to move the

bargaining forward, we agreed to Region 2 members only, and that they be visible on camera at all times. 

We finalized and signed off on four tentative agreements (attached): 

Article 16 – New Employee Information and Orientation. 
Article 26 – Professional Conduct, Standards, and Conditions.
Article 29 – Health & Safety.
Article 36 – Payroll Deductions and Dues. 

The MOU articles that we worked on today are:

Article 8 – Discipline and Discharge.
Article 23 – Benefits.

In Article 8 the Union is proposing that employee interpreters have the right to remove any negative disciplinary write ups after a period of time. Presently suggested, and exactly similar to clauses in Regions 1 and 4, is that after a two-year period without further disciplinary incident, the employee may have the record removed from their personnel file. This was rejected outright, even though the two largest Regions have it as standard in their MOUs. The explanation given is that “it’s not good HR policy to remove any disciplinary record from anyone’s file.” Additionally, the Region further explained that “it has a prophylactic effect to deter future violations.” Geez, even ex-felons get off supervised probation after an average of three years!
In Article 23 there were two proposals: 

1.     Any benefit not specifically covered in this article will be tied to the largest non-managerial bargaining unit.
2.     Any bargaining unit member of a local trial court in Region 2 who is on the local’s Executive Board will be on paid Organizational Leave status for the tenancy of their office. Presently, the term of office for officers of CFI Local 39000 TNG-CWA is two years.
A result of the Region’s panic attack at the table is that our counter wage proposal (Article 22) did not get presented. Contrary to the Region’s offer of nothing, our proposal starts with a base wage with which interpreters can afford one’s basic needs (housing, food, gas, utilities, etc.) … a livable income. For more details, attend member meetings to be scheduled starting next week.
Interestingly enough, and probably out of desperation, the Region 2 Courts suggested mediation. We disagree. In mediation we would be giving away our bargaining power to a third party. It is not a transparent process; parties are not allowed to disclose whatever is discussed. As far as we are concerned, there is still a lot of negotiation to do … and work actions more of every sort to get our point across. 

Stay alert, there will be mobilization meetings scheduled for next week. Plan to attend and lend a hand! 

The next bargaining session dates are still to be determined, aiming for the month of April … we will inform as they become known.

In unity,
Stephany Magaña       Laurie Burgess, Esq.
Rosario Espinosa         Janet Hudec
Michael Ferreira

Region 2 Articles - Tentative Agreements