News
In Memoriam Mary Elliot

 

When I started court interpreting about 30 years ago, Mary Elliott was one of a few exemplary interpreters whom I admired. 

She was such a natural-born interpreter that her flawless renditions on the witness stand made her the most requested CCB interpreter for important trials by prosecutors and defense attorneys alike. 

Even though she seemed approachable, I was afraid that there might be a hidden diva quality to her that would rear its ugly head around a young pipsqueak like me. I was mistaken. Mary was authentically warm, funny and unpretentious. When she warmed up to me, she would whisper things to me like, "You don't say things like that around that crowd." Or she would exclaim in true Mary-style, "Don't be a ding-dong!" She became a guru to me. With time, I am proud to say that I thought of her as a friend as well. 

Uri Yaval, Mary and I had a bond as like-minded activists for the profession and we were faithful to our weekly lunches at the now-closed Colima Restaurant on the corner of then-Sunset and Broadway. We were joined by other friends such as Joaquin Chan-Sanchez and Eric Valdez later on. There, Mary taught us to squeeze fresh lemons on our tortilla chips to enhance their flavor, something I still do today.

Mary was a beautiful, intelligent and classy lady. There was a soft elegance to her that became more apparent to me when she married Charlie. I remember her always beaming with joy and blinding us with the flashes of light reflecting off of her enormous wedding ring. We made many jokes about it. This is how I want to remember her. She was so happy living in her beach house with Charlie, traveling with him, and enjoying all the friendships that Charlie and she had with attorneys, judges and interpreters. She was fulfilled. 

She was a guiding light to many people. She, along with Sara Krauthamer, whom I must mention here, laid the groundwork for us finally to force the County to recognize us as employees. Both Sara and Mary taught many of us the art of interpreting as instructors as well. 

I am grateful for how Mary enriched my life and I know she also made many of you better people. May You Rest In Peace, Dear Mary. 

Roxana Cardenas 

 

 

Dearest Colleagues,

It is with a profoundly heavy heart that I inform you of the passing of one of our profession’s most outstanding and beloved colleagues, Mary Elliott. Although the local was waiting for a commemorative or obituary from colleagues who knew her best and longest, we feel it is important to get out the information concerning funeral services as soon as possible for people to plan ahead, if they wish to attend. 

On a personal note, I will miss Mary and always remember all of her key contributions to California Federation of Interpreters, our local, and her lifetime of promoting our profession as teacher, mentor, and exemplary wordsmith. Mary Elliott, Anne McGinn, Yuri Yaval, Sarah Krauthammer and I were in the basement of the Metropolitan Courthouse when during our transition out of GLAC Yuri came up with the name of California Federation of Interpreters … Mary was the first to second the idea, and she was an energetic and supportive founding member of what was later to become who we are today. Peace be upon Mary and solace to her family’s bereaved hearts. 

If there is any person or group of people who would like to submit an obituary, or commemorative for publication on our webpage, please send it to [email protected].

In solidarity, 

Michael Ferreira
President

 

CWAers Build Skills to Fight For Gender Justice and Equity

Last week CWAers in District 9 participated in our union's first ever pilot training on Fighting for Gender Justice & Equity. This training is designed to provide the knowledge, tools, and skills needed to effectively prevent and combat gender-based harassment and discrimination in our workplaces, our union, and our communities.

Over 35 members from across CWA District 9 participated in this training. They had honest and critical discussions around broader systemic issues such as patriarchy and sexism, the intersection of various identities with gender in the context of harassment, and the role they play as union leaders in building a broader movement for gender justice and equity. Participants also gained valuable skills on bystander intervention and how to address the different ways gender-based mistreatment shows up in the workplace and the union.

CWA District 9 Vice President Frank Arce welcomed participants to the training and Maggie McCormack, the National Women's Committee representative for District 9 and President of Local 9588, helped facilitate the training.

 

CFI Local 39000 members Silvia San Martín (R4 Board Rep) and Gabrielle Veit-Bermúdez participated and are shown in the screen shot! Your local doing its part for social justice and gender issues!

 

 

 

Fundraiser: Victims of the VTA shooting

Just yesterday there was a mass shooting that occurred within steps of where our members in San Jose work in the Juvenile Court. The persons killed were at a union meeting when this senseless tragedy happened. 
 
Our local has been asked to consider helping the victims and their families. To that end, I pass along the information and link for any member who may wish to help … in the words of labor activist David C. Coates: An injury to one is an injury to all.
 
In solidarity,
  
Michael Ferreira
President

Fundraiser: 

Wednesday many of us read or viewed the tragic news story regarding the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) shooting involving nine essential workers.  Reports conveyed the workers were meeting when the shooting began.   

Louie Rocha, Staff Rep, thanks for sharing.  A fundraiser was established on behalf of the victims' families.  For more details please utilize the link below. 

Please keep those who lost their life in your thoughts and if you are of faith in your prayers.     

  • Paul Delacruz Megia, 42
  • Taptejdeep Singh, 36
  • Adrian Balleza, 29
  • Jose Dejesus Hernandez, 35
  • Timothy Michael Romo, 49
  • Michael Joseph Rudometkin, 40
  • Abdolvahab Alaghmandan, 63
  • Lars Kepler Lane, 63
  • Alex Ward Fritch, 49
 

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
 
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