News

Los Angeles Superior Court receives a COVID-19 violation notice as a result of a CFI complaint on behalf of LA Court Interpreters

Dear members,

CFI filed a complaint with the California Department of Industrial Relations because of serious safety issues that were reported to the Union. As you are all aware,  dear colleagues passed away from COVID-19 in LA Court. These tragic losses shook the entire interpreter community in California. Two Health and Safety Grievances were also filed, and settled, as LA Superior Court heard CFIs request to keep interpreters safe. We are sharing with you the citation issued to LA County Superior Court, as well as the letter sent to our attorney, Laurie Burgess. Laurie assisted us in this process, as she coordinated and filed this complaint on CFI's behalf.  We will keep you updated on this issue. It is important you keep reaching out to us with any issues so we can continue to assist you in any way we can.  

In Solidarity,

Carmen Ramos
Secretary-Treasurer, CFI Local 39000

Citation and Notification of Penalty
State of CA Dept. Industrial Relations Letter

 

Termination of remote work 

Dear members currently on Remote Work,  

Some of you have begun to receive a letter from LA court Management ending your telework assignment. The Court has a right to do this. The Union will, however, meet and confer with Administration about impacts and a safe return to work. CFI is asking for modifications and/or temporary extensions of telework for interpreters who have COVID-related impediments to returning to on-site work by the date indicated in the return-to-work letter, either due to health or child/dependent care issues.

You will each soon receive a survey from CFI regarding any impediment you may have to returning to on-site work. Please fill out the survey and return it to CFI as soon as possible so that when we meet and confer with the Court, we’ll know both how many people will be impacted and what types of issues are involved, so that we can most effectively negotiate possible modifications.

Although the Court lifted social distancing requirements and capacity limits, they haven’t changed any protocols regarding mask wearing in the public areas. The public must wear a mask to enter courthouses and the entire time they are inside any area of the courthouse. 

At this point, all employees are required to wear masks in both public areas and non-public areas, whether they are vaccinated or not. This may be relaxed for vaccinated employees in non-public areas in the future, but as of now, it’s all masks everywhere, all the time. 

Stay tuned for more information re: returning to work safely. Thank you all! 

In solidarity, 

CFI. 

 

 

Urgent Message Region 2 VRI

RETALIATION!!!

Dear Region 2 Colleagues,

Late last night we received 2 letters from T. Michael Yuen Region CEO Chair and Kim Turner, Region 2 Administrative Chair stating that regardless of the fact that we are addressing VRI in bargaining, they will impose starting September 1st. This is an obviously retaliation for our mobilization that killed their remote hearing legislative bill. As you all know, the Governor reopened California on June 15, 2021. This means that all courts have 90 days after June 15, 2021 to transition away from remote access per the Chief Justice Pandemic Emergency Order.

The Courts can threaten all they want. WE WILL NOT STAND FOR THIS! It is time to show the Courts that they will not bully us. We will not accept something that is not right for us. We have all experienced firsthand from using remote platforms the difficulties, the miscarriage of justice when technology fails, the breakdown of meaningful access to justice when there is connectivity lags or when all participants do not allow time for interpretation. We will not be placed in a position post pandemic where the quality of work is threatened. Our primary purpose is to be the conduit of access to justice. We should not allow anything to compromise that.

It is not a coincidence that the JC suddenly decided to update contractor rates! This was a smoke screen to establish VRI pay for hours worked only. The JC’s argument of contractors are too expensive and their adamant persistence of VRI is not by accident. Most courts in Region 2 are operating with employee skeleton crews. So who do you think will be doing VRI? Certified or registered contractors? Wrong. No certified or registered contractor will be accepting the $44 an hour for VRI. As the code states, when no qualified interpreter is NOT available, the court can find good cause to use “an interpreter who does not hold a court interpreter certificate” to provide services. Setting rates that it is fully known will be rejected by certified or registered interpreters is an excuse to say that there is “good cause” to use a non-certified or non-registered interpreter.

By now many have heard the rumors about the JC trying to create a lower employee tier with non-certified interpreters. This is not a rumor. The JC has been trying to do this for years. The Union has been the reason it has not happen. The JC’s continuous attempts to erode our profession by making employment less and less attractive is the strategy to make this a reality. We cannot let this happen.

Although we are filing a record number of unfair labor practices, we now need to use our voices and work actions to send the message. Current VRI proposal takes away the 25% stipend if courts choose to use VRI locally with employees and will only apply for cross assignments. We all know that the possibility for any employee cross assigning remotely are very slim. VRI should not be used without carefully throughout limitations. Uncontrolled VRI is dangerous for justice, places LEP’s at a disadvantage, places our quality of work in peril, and should not be the preferred method of delivering interpretation services. With the letters we have received, it is evident that the courts care nothing about access to justice. Convenience is the driving force. 

Lastly, there is no uncertainty regarding our budget. The legislature and Governor understand and support the importance of language access and is supportive of the labor force. Strong show of work action is the path to take if we want to obtain an adequate livable wage. We are as strong as our weakest link. Don’t let differences be the obstacle to secure your livelihood. I, Carmen Ramos, Secretary Treasurer and Maria Cruz, Santa Clara Steward will lead the mobilization. They will be organizing and setting up meetings soon.

We are including the letters we have received form the Region for your review. 

Notice of planned adoption of VRI in Region 2 - June 21, 2021

VRI planned adoption of VRI in Region 2 - December 8, 2020

In unity, 

Carmen Ramos
Secretary-Treasurer
 

Revised CalOSHA Emergency Temporary Standards (ETS)

The Local has recently received the information concerning the revised CalOSHA Emergency Temporary Standards (ETS) below; this should clarify a lot of questions members have concerning the new relaxation of COVID rules for the workplace in California. We should pay particular attention to the vaccination status when considering what will be the requisites in the workplace. Most importantly to notice is that in order to allow employees to go without a mask indoors, the employer must document their vaccination status. Therefore, the employer is permitted to ask one’s vaccination status for the purpose of allowing that person to go without a mask indoors. From the information that courts around California are sending to the local, most are indicating that if a person has not been vaccinated, or does not respond to self-identify as vaccinated or not, those persons will be required to wear masks indoors at the workplace. 

We encourage members to directly contact our local, or even the CalOSHA links in this communication for further information. We will update as we become aware of any changes that may impact you in the courts. Still to be determined is if the courts will allow the public in without masks en masse, or only those who can show they have been fully vaccinated. For the time being all custodial entities are continuing with the previous set of protocols.

Again, if you feel that you are in a situation or setting that is unsafe or unhealthy, remember that you have a health and safety clause in your MOU. Immediately inform your supervisor or interpreter office of the unhealthy or unsafe condition, request that it be rectified, and keep yourself safe (but in contact with your supervisor) indicating that you are ready and willing to continue working once the situation has been made safe. Be sure to advise us at the local ([email protected]) and cc us on any communications you may have with management concerning health and safety issues … 

In unity,

Michael Ferreira
President 

 

Release Number: 2021-62                                             

Date:  June 17, 2021

Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board Votes to Adopt Revised COVID-19 Prevention Emergency Temporary Standards

Revisions Account for Rising Vaccination Rates, Offer Guidance to Help Businesses Reopen while Maintaining Strong Worker Protections 

Revised Emergency Temporary Standards Effective Today

Sacramento—The Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board today adopted revisions to the COVID-19 Prevention Emergency Temporary Standards that account for recent guidance from the California Department of Public Health based on increases in the number of people vaccinated. Governor Gavin Newsom today signed an executive order enabling the revisions to take effect without the normal 10-day review period by the Office of Administrative Law—providing clarity and consistency for employers and employees as California fully reopens its economy. The revised standards took effect today.

The revisions include the following:

  • Fully vaccinated employees do not need to be offered testing or excluded from work after close contact unless they have COVID-19 symptoms.
  • Fully vaccinated employees do not need to wear face coverings except for certain situations during outbreaks and in settings where CDPH requires all persons to wear them. Employers must document the vaccination status of fully vaccinated employees if they do not wear face coverings indoors.
  • Employees are not required to wear face coverings when outdoors regardless of vaccination status except for certain employees during outbreaks.
  • Employees are explicitly allowed to wear a face covering without fear of retaliation from employers.
  • Physical distancing requirements have been eliminated except where an employer determines there is a hazard and for certain employees during major outbreaks.
  • Employees who are not fully vaccinated may request respirators for voluntary use from their employers at no cost and without fear of retaliation from their employers.
  • Employees who are not fully vaccinated and exhibit COVID-19 symptoms must be offered testing by their employer.
  • Employer-provided housing and transportation are exempt from the regulations where all employees are fully vaccinated.
  • Employers must review the Interim guidance for Ventilation, Filtration, and Air Quality in Indoor Environments.
  • Employers must evaluate ventilation systems to maximize outdoor air and increase filtration efficiency, and evaluate the use of additional air cleaning systems.

Cal/OSHA is updating its resources to assist employers with understanding their obligations required by the revised emergency standards. The webpage contains an updated fact sheet and Frequently Asked Questions about proposed revisions to the emergency temporary standards. In addition, Cal/OSHA is currently updating its model COVID-19 Prevention Program in English and Spanish and information on planned webinars hosted by its Consultation Services Branch.

The Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board, a seven-member body appointed by the Governor, is the standards-setting agency within the Cal/OSHA program. The Standards Board's objective is to adopt reasonable and enforceable standards at least as effective as federal standards. The Standards Board also has the responsibility to grant or deny applications for permanent variances from adopted standards and respond to petitions for new or revised standards.

The California Division of Occupational Safety and Health, or Cal/OSHA, is the division within the Department of Industrial Relations that helps protect California’s workers from health and safety hazards on the job in almost every workplace. Cal/OSHA’s Consultation Services Branch provides free and voluntary assistance to employers to improve their health and safety programs. Employers should call (800) 963-9424 for assistance from Cal/OSHA Consultation Services.

Media Contact[email protected], (510) 286-1161 

Employers with Questions on Requirements May Contact:[email protected], or call your local Cal/OSHA Consultation Office

Stakeholders Who Wish to Comment on the Rulemaking Process May Contact: [email protected]

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Go fund Me for Myrna Marks

The Local has been approached by some members from the Los Angeles Superior Court with a request to share this Go Fund Me page for our dear colleague, Myrna Marks. As some may already know, Myrna and her family are facing a very difficult time both financially and in terms of Myrna’s physical and emotional recovery from injuries sustained while a pedestrian in a traffic accident this month. Although there are positive signs in her condition, this is a long haul and the well-being of her family and her ability to fully return to work are difficult to ascertain at this moment. There will no doubt be co-pays and other expenses, as well as the possibility of the extended sick leave compensation coverage (100%, 65%, and 50%) running out, should this take longer than her accruals can support.

We encourage everyone to contribute as best they can. In the words of labor leader David Coates: An injury to one is an injury to all.

 

Make a donation!

 
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