News

Region 4 Bargaining Update

December 18, 2018 San Diego County

This morning’s negotiations started off with our lead spokesperson, Ed Venegas, addressing a big challenge your Bargaining Committee has been facing throughout these negotiations, which is release time for your Bargaining Team to prepare for the bargaining sessions, this has been and continues to be a challenge throughout these negotiations.  The region is refusing to give the committee paid time off in order to prepare for negotiating a fair and equitable contract. 
 
Ed’s opening statement: 
 
“I can go negative with this but I’m just going to lay out the facts.  Under the MOU, CFI has the ability to request time to put together proposals, analyze them and then present them for consideration. 
This committee has been working very hard and we take this job seriously. We sometimes work late into the evening from early morning. When the requests for time off are rejected or not handled in a timely manner, we then have no time to figure out other alternatives. This then presents other problems. We need to be able to get some kind of workable format. 
 
Monna Rodalouch was the lead spokesperson during this bargaining session and this was her response:
 
“You have gotten 3 paid release days, and we have very little to show for it. We are not inclined to give you more paid days. You can prepare over the phone, or through emails, or on the weekends or evenings, other units have done that” 
 
So far, your Bargaining Committee has presented proposals on 11 articles of the MOU, we presented an economic proposal and are working on VRI, and they consider this very little to show. The courts clearly do not understand that our profession is not like the other units or professions in the court. We are representing members from 5 counties. Not just one. Some of us on the committee travel almost 7 hours in one day just to get to the bargaining sessions or to the caucuses to prepare for negotiations.  Other units are only bargaining on behalf of one county. We have some very important issues to research that include legislation that other units don’t have to deal with. We have civil expansion and VRI, these are very important issues that will have a great impact on our future profession. It is not in the best interest of our profession and our members if we rush through these issues without first making sure that we dot all the “I’s” and cross all the “t’s”. We take our job very seriously and will continue to do so but it’s important that our members are well informed of the challenges we are facing throughout our efforts. 
 
During this session CFI rejected the Region’s proposal on Article 17: Intermittent Interpreters. 
 
The Courts’ proposal was to add language that would terminate an intermittent from their employment if they rejected work from the Court 5 consecutive times. 
 
Your Bargaining Team presented strong arguments on behalf of intermittents. The courts have refused to give them benefits because they claim intermittents are not committed to the courts and yet here they proposal asking for commitment from them with no promise for any benefits in return. 
 
Your Bargaining Team also argued that a lot of intermittent employees are being used full-time with no hopes for a full-time position. We presented an argument that some intermittents are not intermittents because they chose not to be. But rather, because a full-time position is not being offered to them. Even they are being used on a full-time bassis.
 
CFI also presented our economic proposal. 
The following was our proposal:
 
All employees in the bargaining unit shall receive a total 26% increase to their base wage over the life of the contract. 12% upon ratification of the contract and 7% each consecutive year. 
 
Intermittent employees shall be paid at step 5 for the duration of the agreement. 
 
Mona, Region’s spokesperson, said, “Can’t say I’m thrilled with this” 
 
Your Bargaining Team presented our arguments to support why we believe this is a fair proposal. We also added that the burden of work caused by civil expansion and VRI as well as the fact that the Governor has authorized millions of dollars for civil expansion supports our wage proposal. 
 
We also indicated that employees from San Diego and Orange County have lost wages due to the retirement offset. While the reverse-pick up in Orange County continues to go up. It will go up to 6.743% in 2019. Add to this the cost of living which continues to go up and is projected to go up some more it is evident that interpreters will then be earning  a pay rate below what is required to survive in these counties.
 
We also informed the Region we are aware they have been willing to pay the independent contractors a higher wage rate while demanding that loyal employees continue doing all the extra work. This includes the added work load coming up with civil expansion and VRI. The courts’ loyalty should be with their employees and not a nonemployee independent contractor.
   
Aritlce 50: Volunteers and Interns
 
During a previous session your Bargaining Committee presented a proposal on Article 50, which was to remove this article from our contract. 
 
 We filed a request for information regarding how may volunteers and/or interns the Courts are using or have used. Their response was that at this time the courts are not using any volunteers or interns. It is your bargaining team’s position that if they aren’t using any interns or volunteers then there is no need to have this article in the contract. They replied that they would like to keep it in for recruitment purposes in order to introduce interns to this career by shadowing with interpreters and improving their skills. 
 
This article continues on the table for further discussion. 
 
Article 36: Workspace and Supplies
 
The Region mentioned this article during the afternoon session to remind us that our proposal on this article had been rejected and continues to be rejected. 
 
It is the Region’s position that there is no space in the courtroom for a chair or desk for interpreters. They indicated that they have offered alternatives such as: to wheel carts into the courtroom by the interpreter or to rope off a section in the courtroom. But, those alternatives have been declined by someone, they didn’t indicate who declined these alternatives. 
 
LouLou Tovar asked, “Isn’t there a requirement to provide ergonomic chairs to all employees including interpreters? Or are interpreters excluded from this requirement?”
 
Mona’s response was that they don’t have that requirement and that they would be willing to make accommodations if there’s a disability. 
 
Article 16: Assignments 
 
The court rejected our proposal to pay employees who are certified/registered in more than one language pair an annual 3% base wage adjustment per each additional certification/registration. 
 
Silvia San Martin argued: You are saving yourself 97% when you pay these interpreters an additional 3% because you don’t have to hire another interpreter and pay 100% of the rate and 3% is too much? Wow! 
 
Your bargaining team has been working hard and will continue to work hard at putting together more proposals to strive towards a righteous contract. 
 
We are putting up a strong fight, but we need ALL of your support to achieve the best contract possible for ALL! Our unity is our strength by presenting a united front before administration, we show our power.
 
Our next bargaining session will be on, January 17, 2019, Location TBD 
 
If you will be participating in the “Watch & Support” by taking time off to observe the negotiations, please request time off today. 
 
The team continues to encourage members to support negotiations by attending the bargaining sessions. We hope to see you there. 
 
A big “THANK YOU” to Shalom, Georgette and Gemma from San Diego for showing your support by sitting in to observe our session and participating in the “Watch & Support” 
 
 
We are in this together. UNITED we BARGAIN… DIVIDED we BEG
 
“In union there is strength. It’s the “U” and “I’ in union that makes us strong” 
 
 
In solidarity, 
 
Region 4, Bargaining Team 
CFI Local 39000, CWA-TNG
 
Maria Benitez
Jackie Ruiz
Silvia San Martin 
LouLou Tovar
Rebeca Vera
Ed Venegas- Spokesperson 


Comments from the "Watch & Support" observers - Georgette James and Shalom Solomon

Hi to our interpreter colleagues!

Shalom Solomon (North County San Diego Court Interpreter) and I (same courthouse and job) both had the opportunity, (much to our chagrin, for the VERY first time), to observe our Region 4 contract negotiations last Tuesday, Dec. 18. at the SD Hall of Justice. We are writing this because we want to give a shout-out to the team of negotiators working on our new contract which will ultimately affect our entire San Diego interpreter region and community.

Shalom and I were humbled and in awe of the immensity of the task and at the huge stacks of binders of previous contracts, current research, etc. that they all lugged in. Several of the negotiators representing  region 4 have done so previously and Ed Venegas, who functioned as spokesperson, has decades of experience in contract negotiations, and as a bilingual, bicultural person he seemed especially tuned into interpreter issues. Silvia San Martín, was equally formidable along with the rest of the negotiating team. 

In the afternoon, when the session truly took off, we especially took notice of how each member of our negotiating team, seamlessly segued from one to the other to elaborate and build upon different points as well as with the ease and command that Ed Venegas showed in handling inquiries and responses from the opposing side. 

Kudos, especially, to our local negotiating representative, Silvia San Martín, who took on this daunting task for our San Diego interpreter community and also for the other members of the Region 4 team who are all pushing hard to bring us home a strong contract!

As a side note, many of our North County Public Defenders, are now sporting red buttons that say “I Support Court Interpreters”. They asked for them! 

Best Wishes!

Georgette James and Shalom Solomon

 

 

The news images and stories that have come out of the recent California wildfires has been the subject much on the minds of everyone in both Northern and Southern California. Wildfires have devastated over 200,000 acres in Northern and Southern California and destroyed thousands of homes. 

During CFI’s CIMCE seminars event of November 17-18, President Bernie Lunzer informed the membership of CWA District 9’s Disaster Relief Fund which is specifically rendering aid to members, and others who are California wildfire victims.

Local 39000 would like to encourage all members to visit the link below to get informed about the scope of the disaster, and to contribute whatever you can to ameliorate the suffering of our members, and others in the communities that have hit by the worst fires in memory.

This site also has information about how to request assistance, should you be a member who has been impacted by the disaster.

This is what Union Strong is all about.
District 9 Disaster Relief Fund Webpage


[https://district9.cwa-union.org/news/disaster-relief-assistance-and-information-for-district-9-wildfire-victims]


 Sisters and Brothers-

 Let's be prepared for the next disaster, please sign-up for our training on Sat Dec 15th, 8:30 am-1 pm, if you are not able to participate, please refer someone to join our Resiliency Team, Thank you: 

I’m following up on the email your received from the President of the LA Fed, Rusty Hicks, regarding our efforts to create a Labor Resiliency Response volunteer team.

 
Now more than ever, with the wildfires surrounding Los Angeles and the State of California, and other disasters knocking on our door - we need your help to train union volunteers to be prepared to assist in the aftermath of a disaster, here locally or anywhere in the country.
 
The objective of our Labor Resiliency Team will be to assist after a major disaster strikes the Greater Los Angeles Area with staffing a shelter, feeding victims, and/or assisting with logistics and operations.
 
Also, we are asking if you would consider providing your union facilities to be used after a major disaster as a location for a shelter, mass feeding and/or logistics and operations.  
 
If you would like to be a part of our Labor Resiliency Response volunteer team, here is how you can help:  
 
1) Please distribute the attached recruitment flyer to your members, asking them to consider participating in our efforts.
 
2) We would like for you to provide us 3 or more members from your union to be part of our Resiliency Labor Team. We plan to provide training on December 15th at the LA Fed, 2130 W. James Wood Blvd, L.A., CA 90006, 8:30 am-1:00 pm.
 
3) Please consider providing your union facilities to be used after a disaster as a shelter, location for mass feeding or logistics operations.    
 
Please complete the information below and forward it to Armando Olivas, at [email protected] or call him at 213-272-1756.
 
Resiliency Response Team Training
 
Name__________________________Union____________________Phone_______________
 
Email address_________________________________________________________________
 
Name__________________________Union____________________Phone_______________
 
Email address_________________________________________________________________
 
Name__________________________Union____________________Phone_______________
 
Email address_________________________________________________________________
 
Union Facilities
 
Yes- We are willing to provide our union facilities for the usage in a emergency situation. We understand that after the building is inspected and accepted by the LA Red Cross, we may be asked to provide the building for shelters, mass feeding and logistics operations. Our facilities are located at:
 
Address_____________________________________________________________________
 
Staff Contact ________________________________________________________________

 

Armando Olivas,
Consultant:

 

United Way of Greater Los Angeles 
Los Angeles County Federation of Labor,
AFL-CIO 213-272-1756
 

Region 4 Bargaining Update

October 22, 2018 Orange County


This morning’s negotiations started off with our “Watch & Support” getting an eye opening experience as they witnessed the court’s lead negotiator, Joe Wiley, try to bully and lash out on one of our bargaining team members, LouLou Tovar, for questioning him on his position regarding litigants having a right to bringing their own interpreter. He insisted that these interpreters do NOT need to be certified.  Our lead negotiator, Ed Venegas, requested a caucus to give Wiley time to cool off. 
 
This discussion was a result of CFI’s proposal from 9/25/18 Article 50; Interns & Volunteers. Your bargaining team requested information regarding any and all interns and volunteers that are being used to do any of CFI’s unit work. The court’s position is that they have stopped using volunteers 2 years ago and are no longer using any, anywhere in the region. 
 
The courts also proposed adding a new provision in our MOU for Union Business Leave. 
 
There was a Tentative Agreement on:
 
Articles, 22; payday- only change was employees will be required to authorize automatic deposit 
 
Article 25; Health Care- only change was the name of the General Unit in Imperial 
 
Article 28; Sick Leave- intermittent employees shall be provided sick leave under the California Healthy Workplaces, Healthy Families Act consistent with the employer court’s policy or practice. 
 
Article 35; Safety– only change was to change the word “prisoner” to “inmate” 
 
The court rejected CFI’s proposal from 10/10/18 on Article 36; Workspace & Supplies
 
CFI proposed to add language to this article that would require the courts to make reasonable efforts to provide workspace for unit employees in the each courtroom. 
 
On October 10, 2018 the courts response to our proposal was “ We don’t think there’s a need for interpreters to have a workspace in the courtroom, since all they do is stand next to the defendant.” 
 
Your bargaining team presented some compelling counter arguments to this statement and mindset in hopes of educating the court, as a result, they agreed to put it back on the table for further discussion, on October 22, 2018, they didn’t follow through with the agreement for further discussion and simply rejected the proposal. 
 
The court insist that they treat interpreters exactly the same as they do all the other court unit members, but if that were the case, they wouldn’t have had a problem with giving us what the other unit members have in the courtroom, which is work space. 
 
Your bargaining team has been working hard and will continue to work hard at putting together more proposals to strive towards a righteous contract. 
 
Our next bargaining session will be in the afternoon, November 9, 2019 in Riverside. 
 
If you will be participating in the “Watch & Support” by taking time off to observe the negotiations, please request time off today. 
 
The team continues to encourage members to support negotiations by attending the bargaining sessions. We hope to see you there. 
 
A big “THANK YOU” to Nancy O’toole, Erica Ibarra, Adrienne Trunk , Ben Sanchez, Richard Barrientos, Frances Marin, Pam Santos for sitting in to observe our session by participating in the “Watch & Support” 

 


Also, “THANK YOU” to interpreters in Indio, San Bernardino and Orange County for showing your support and sending us your pictures. 


 
Your Bargaining team needs all of your support to achieve the best contract possible for ALL! We are in this together.  UNITED we BARGAIN… DIVIDED we BEG. 
 
Our unity is our strength by presenting a united front before administration we show our power. 
 
“In union there is strength. It’s the “U” and “I’ in union that makes us strong” 
 
In solidarity, 
 
Your Region 4, Bargaining Team 
CFI Local 39000, CWA-TNG
 
Maria Benitez
Jackie Ruiz
Silvia San Martin 
LouLou Tovar
Rebeca Vera
Ed Venegas- Spokesperson 

 

Region 4 Bargaining Update

October 10, 2018 San Diego

There was good open dialogue during our negotiations today.  There was discussion and proposals on the following: 
 
The Courts presented proposals on Art. 24; Health Care, Art. 32; Local Retirement System, Art. 35; Safety, Art. 28; Sick Leave, Art. 22; Pay Day
 
After caucusing among the team, the bargaining committee countered with the following proposals: 
 
Art. 2; Unit Work, Art. 15; Seniority 
 
We also presented proposals on Art. 32; Local Retirement System, Art. 36; Work Space & Supplies. 
 
Our proposal on Art. 36; Work Space & Supplies , was rejected by the Courts, but after your bargaining team presented our position on why we consider this an important proposal they agreed to put it back on the table for further discussion. 
 
We want to give a big “THANK YOU” to all of you who showed your support by wearing red, and also to the Orange County interpreters in West, North and Harbor for sending in your pictures showing your support. 
 
We appreciate you standing by your bargaining team. We will continue to need your support to achieve the best contract possible for ALL. 
 
Our unity is our strength by presenting a united front before administration we show our power. 
 
Our next bargaining session is scheduled for October 22, 2018, in Orange County. 
Please support your bargaining team by wearing red on this day. 
 
If you will be participating in the Watch & Support, please submit your time off request today, and email us at [email protected] to let us know you will be attending and to reserve your spot. 
 
In Solidarity, 
 
Your Region 4, Bargaining Team 
CFI Local 39000, CWA-TNG
 
Maria Benitez
Jackie Ruiz
Silvia San Martin 
LouLou Tovar
Rebeca Vera
Ed Venegas- Spokesperson 

 

 

Region 4 Bargaining Update

September 24-25, 2018 San Bernardino Courthouse

Ed Venegas (our lead spokesperson), started our first session with an opening statement in which he stated that the CFI Bargaining Team is ready to press forward on issues that have been proven to be of significant importance to our profession. 
 
His opening statement also including the following: 
 
  1. The Bargaining Team will expect that every issue we present will be addressed with respectful consideration 
  2. This day and age, past beliefs and practices which relegated CFI personal to that of third class laborers is not acceptable and will not under any circumstances be tolerated. 
  3. We expect wage improvements to reflect a true and realistic compensation for the professional work that all CFI employees proudly perform. 
During our two days of negotiating there was positive movement. We discussed ground rules, and management agreed to withdraw some ground rules that the bargaining team was opposed to. 
 
There was discussion and proposals on Art. 3, Authorized Agents,  Art. 13, New Employee Orientation,  Art. 15, Seniority,  Art. 21, Professional Development,  Art. 44, Dues Deduction/Agency Shop,  Art. 45, Stewards, and Art. 50, Volunteers/Interns
 
We reached a Tentative Agreement on Article13, New Employee Orientation and Art. 44, Dues Deduction/Agency Shop 
 
We want to give a big THANK YOU to Emily Hernandez for being part of the Watch and Support. 
 
Stand by your Bargaining Committee at the negotiations! We need your support to achieve the best contract possible for ALL! 
 
Our unity is our strength by presenting a united front before administration we show our power. 
 
Our next bargaining sessions will be October 10, 2018 (in San Diego), and October 22, 2018 in Orange County. 
 
Please support your hardworking bargaining team.  
 
If you will be participating in the Watch and Support by observing during these bargaining sessions, please submit your time-off request today, and email your team at [email protected]to let us know you will be attending and to reserve your spot. 
 
In solidarity, 
 
Your Region 4, Bargaining Team 
CFI Local 39000. CWA-TNG
 
Maria Benitez
Jackie Ruiz 
Silvia San Martin
LouLou Tovar
Rebeca Vera  
Ed Venegas- Spokesperson

 

 

 

 
<< first < Prev 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Next > last >>

Page 5 of 34