News

Reforming the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) of the Social Security Act

A number of retiree groups from public employee organizations are forming a push to pass federal legislation reforming the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) of the Social Security Act. WEP adversely affects many of our members who will be retiring under a public employee pension system in that it reduces one’s social security payments (if one had another job and paid into the system before gaining employment in the courts) commensurate with one’s pension payments. Additionally, pensions and social security retirement payments are taxed! So removing this onerous WEP would alleviate to a great degree the economic hardships that retirees face. These groups are asking that we consider participating in this effort.

There is currently a petition drive for public retirees/employees to urge Congress to approve H.R. 2337. It only takes a couple of minutes to do this online; however, one needs to sign the petition before Memorial Day.

Click here to open the petition.

The WEP reduces the Social Security benefits of people who spent part of their working career in a job covered by Social Security and another part of their career in a job not covered by Social Security.

H.R. 2337, introduced by Rep. Richard Neal of Massachusetts, would provide up to $150 a month in relief for those currently impacted by WEP and fixes the WEP for future retirees. Though we would prefer the complete repeal of WEP for all retirees, we are told the current approach is the only one that politically has a chance of passing.

H.R. 2337 holds harmless those retirees and active employees with substantial service under Social Security from an inadvertent reduction in Social Security benefits.

(To read a summary of each section of H.R. 2337, click here.)

Michael Ferreira
President
 

Call for Members to Help Form an Ad-hoc Technology Impact Committee

Over the last decade there have been many technological advances that have brought some fairly significant impacts to our profession, as well as the future interpreters face with respect to having a viable way to make a decent living. Although this local and our colleagues have been generally focused on video remote interpreting (VRI) and how that has brought problematic challenges and changes. There more advances in science and technology on the horizon that could have a similar, if not more profound bearing on the how language access happens in the courts. (Machine aided translation; Multilingual Artificial Intelligence; Multilingual Voice Recognition, etc.) 

It is clear that this local needs a group of dedicated individuals who can sift through data and make recommendations, as well as keep the board advised and informed about the present and upcoming technologies that could affect our profession and our ability to effectively bargain the impacts of such into the future. 

This is a call out to everyone who is interested in collaborating with fellow members from around the state in studying and formulating recommendations about how to address the impact of technology breakthroughs on our work life. 

If you would like to know more and be considered to be part of a new committee that will keep abreast of critical (and exciting) developments in our field, we need to hear from you. Please reply to this email, [email protected], and tell us a little bit about yourself and how you may be able to best contribute to the effort of this committee.

In solidarity,

Michael Ferreira
President
 

 

Office of Communications & Legislative Affairs      
[email protected]

131 M Street NE
Washington DC 20507 
202-921-4191                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       

MEDIA ADVISORY
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 26, 2021

EEOC TO HOLD PUBLIC HEARING ON APRIL 28 TO EXAMINE CIVIL RIGHTS IMPLICATIONS OF THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC IN THE WORKPLACE

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) will hold its first all virtual Commission hearing on Wednesday, April 28, at 10:30 a.m. (Eastern Time) to consider the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on workers, the difficulties faced by employers in navigating potential employment discrimination issues raised by COVID-19, and future challenges the pandemic may present for employees and employers.

            The hearing will be held virtually, as a videoconference, via Zoom for Government and is open to the public, in accordance with the Sunshine Act. The public may observe the livestream or connect to the audio-only dial-in by following the instructions that will be posted on www.eeoc.gov. Closed captioning and ASL services will be available. We anticipate the links and audio-only dial-in information to be posted on Monday, April 26 and no later than 24 hours prior to the hearing.

            The Commission will hear testimony from a wide variety of experts on job discrimination and other barriers to employment during the ongoing health and economic crisis and how to help promote compliance with equal employment opportunity laws as employers and workers navigate unprecedented conditions. The Commission will hear from the following panelists during the hearing:

 Panel 1:                              

  • Heidi Shierholz, Senior Economist and Director of Policy, Economic Policy Institute
  • John Yang, President and Executive Director, Asian Americans Advancing Justice | AAJC
  • Fatima Goss Graves, President and CEO, National Women’s Law Center               
  • Johnny C. Taylor, President and CEO, Society for Human Resources Management 
  • Mónica Ramírez, Founder/President, Justice for Migrant Women, Co-founder, The Latinx House, Poderistas & Alianza Nacional de Campesinas 
  • Damon Hewitt, Acting President and Executive Director/Executive Vice President of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law

Panel 2:

  • Eric Henson, Executive Vice President, Compass Lexecon, and Research Fellow, The Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development    
  • Julie Hocker, former U.S. Commissioner on Disabilities                      
  • Brian East, Senior Attorney, Disability Rights Texas                                            
  • Michael Eastman, Senior Vice President, Policy and Assistant General Counsel, Center for Workplace Compliance                             
  • Laurie McCann, Senior Attorney, AARP Foundation
  • Amrith Kaur, Legal Director, Sikh Coalition                                                                           

        The Commission agenda is subject to revision.  A recording and transcript of the Commission hearing will be posted on www.eeoc.gov after the hearing. For information about the hearing, please contact Christine Nazer, Acting Director of Communications, at 202-921-4191.

         Members of the media are kindly asked to RSVP to [email protected] before April 28.

         The EEOC advances opportunity in the workplace by enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. More information is available at www.eeoc.gov. Stay connected with the latest EEOC news by subscribing to our email updates.                                   

   

Domonique Thomas, Assistant to the Vice President

CWA District 9 

 

Region 1 Call for Nominations

The Region 1 MOU will expire at midnight on August 6th, 2021. To get a head start on preparations, we are officially opening a call for nominations for five members in good standing to be the Region 1 Bargaining Team. The Bargaining Team’s main term of office will be until the end of the new contract that is negotiated. Thereafter, the elected team members, together with the Executive Board, may be called upon to negotiate meet and confers that may arise during the interim period until the next bargaining team is elected.

We are encouraging people to first contact anyone they wish to nominate and ascertain if they are willing to run and serve on a bargaining team. Nominations close at 5:00 PM on April 30th, 2021.

Candidates must accept or decline their nomination no later than 5:00 PM on May 5th, 2021. This ballot will be conducted via electronic vote, so make sure that the local has your correct email on file. If there is any question as to the local having your correct email, please call or send an email to [email protected], and be sure to put “Email Update” in the subject line. 

The deadline for casting the electronic ballot is set for 5:00 PM, May 26th, 2021.

If there are only five nominees, and they accept the nomination, they will be declared to be the bargaining team by acclamation, and there will be no ballots sent out for voting.

We look forward to meeting the new team soon. 

In solidarity,  

Michael Ferreira

President 
CFI Local 39000 TNG-CWA
 

California Gov. Gavin Newsom has signed SB 95 legislation

You Have A Right to an Additional 80 Hours of

Emergency Paid Sick Leave for COVID Issues: Vaccinations and Reactions to Them Included!

  • California Gov. Gavin Newsom has signed SB 95, legislation reestablishing statewide supplemental paid sick leave for reasons related to COVID-19 and expanding the covered reasons that qualify an employee for the leave.
  • The new law, which takes effect on March 29, 2021, is retroactive to Jan. 1, 2021 and sunsets on Sept. 30, 2021.

In a long-forecasted move, on March 18, 2021, the California Legislature passed SB 95, reestablishing supplemental paid sick leave for COVID-19-related reasons. A day later, California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed the law, which takes effect on March 29, 2021. The requires employers with more than 25 employees nationwide to provide up to 80 hours of supplemental paid sick leave to their California employees.

Qualifying Reasons

Under SB 95, employers of more than 25 employees will be required to provide supplemental paid sick leave to employees (bold text indicates additional qualifying reasons):

  • If you are in a COVID-19-related quarantine or isolation period per order or guideline of the State Department of Public Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) or local health officer who has jurisdiction over the workplace
  • If you have been advised by a healthcare provider to self-quarantine due to concerns related to COVID-19
  • If you are attending an appointment to receive a COVID-19 vaccine
  • If you are experiencing symptoms related to a COVID-19 vaccine that prevent the employee from working or teleworking
  • If you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and seeking a medical diagnosis
  • If you are caring for a family member who is subject to a COVID-19-related quarantine/isolation order or who has been advised by a healthcare provider to self-quarantine
  • If you are caring for a child whose school or place of care is closed or otherwise unavailable due to reasons related to COVID-19 on the premises

Amount of Leave

The amount of supplemental paid sick leave is determined by the employee's status as full-time or part-time employee.

  • Full-time employees are entitled to 80 hours of supplemental paid sick leave, including those who work, on average, at least 40 hours per week in the two weeks preceding the date that COVID-19-related leave was needed.
  • Part-time employees working a normal weekly schedule are entitled to supplemental paid sick leave in an amount equal to the number of hours scheduled to be worked over two weeks.
  • Employees who are F category (LASC), intermittent, or as-needed are entitled to supplemental paid sick leave equal to 14 times the average number of hours worked each day in the six months preceding the date that leave was required.

Maximum Monetary Benefit

Each hour of supplemental paid sick leave must be paid at the employee's regular rate of pay unless an alternate statutory calculation provides for a higher payment. The maximum payable benefit is $511 per day or $5,110 in the aggregate. These monetary caps will automatically increase if the federal government passes a federal supplemental paid sick leave bill that provides for payments at an amount exceeding the benefit payable under the now-expired Families First Coronavirus Response Act.

Setoff for Already-Provided Supplemental Paid Sick Leave

If any courts paid supplemental sick leave benefits for any of the reasons covered under SB 95 between Jan. 1, 2021 and March 29, 2021, they are entitled to count the previously provided paid benefit towards the total benefit required under the new law. For example, a court that provided a full-time employee 40 hours of supplemental paid sick leave in February 2021 pursuant to city or county ordinance can deduct the already-provided 40 hours toward the new 80-hour obligation.

Retroactive Effective Date

Critically, the law is retroactive to Jan. 1, 2021. Therefore, courts should review any requests for unpaid leave of absence between Jan. 1, 2021 and March 29, 2021, to determine whether any such requested leaves of absence were taken for qualifying reasons under SB 95. If so, payment of supplemental paid sick leave will likely be required for the time spent on unpaid leave. 

There is a time limit for retroactive payment. Retroactive payment must be made on or before the payday for the next full pay period after the employee requests, orally or in writing, a retroactive payment for time off for qualifying reasons. Of course, any retroactively paid sick leave would count toward an employee's paid sick leave allotment under SB 95.

This is good news for our members; if you have any questions or need help with any aspect of accessing this additional Emergency Paid Sick Leave under SB95, contact your local steward or board representative for your region. Of course, you may directly call the court administrative department that handles COVID issues, leave requests, and/or human resources.

In solidarity,

CFI Local 39000 TNG-CWA

 

 
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