Region 1 Bargaining Update

February 28, 2018

Your Bargaining Team met with Region 1 today at the Stanley Mosk Courthouse.  Special thanks goes out to Lorena Pike (Full-time, Santa Maria), Hernan Vargas (A), Ana Plasencia (A), and Sandra Rodriguez (A) for showing your support by observing the negotiation process in action. 

This update is going to be brief, which unfortunately mirrors today’s bargaining session. Not only did the Court’s spokesman Joe Wiley and the rest of the Court’s team not arrive until 11:30 am, but Court Counsel Ivette Peña was not present during any part of the session. The minimal content of the two paltry proposals that the Administration offered us today would suggest that there was not a real intention to work through a full session, perhaps owing to the absence of Court Counsel.

Despite asserting that interpreter assignments are one of their top priorities, the Court notified us that the new computerized interpreter assignment system may not be implemented until July of this year, at the earliest.  We requested time to preview this system and the Court agreed to present “screenshots” of the new software system at our next session.
The only other two topics of note were:

  1. A discussion of cross-assignments during which the Court asked a series of questions and presented different possible scenarios as to whether or not an interpreter would be paid or given equivalent work in the event of a missed/cancelled cross-assignment.
  2. A lengthy exchange about the half-time coordinator position in Santa Barbara (CFI unit member Lorena Pike). Although this coordinator is paid for four hours a day as an interpreter, and the other four hours as a coordinator, her coordinating duties often extend well beyond the four hours allotted for this purpose. We are hoping to get her additional compensation for the double duty she performs.

CFI members demonstrated to the administration that we are united and willing to fight for a fair contract by holding a noontime rally in front of Stanley Mosk Civil Courthouse.  We thank all those members who participated and made your voices heard!

The next bargaining session will be held on March 21st, 2018, 10:00 am, at the CWA District 9 Office, 12215 Telegraph Road, Suite 210, Santa Fe Springs, California 90670. We are expecting the next session to be of particular interest, as the Court will be sharing more detailed information about the new computerized assignment system. To those of you for whom this is a crucial issue, your team encourages you to attend and support. Get your Requests for Time Off into the office today!

In solidarity,

Your Region 1 Bargaining Team
Pedro Ramirez-Navas
Doris Vick
Robert Guerrero
Daniel Kaufman
Michael Ferreira
Caren Sencer, Spokesperson


Region 1 Bargaining Update

February 21, 2018, Santa Fe Springs, District 9 Office

Your Region 1 Bargaining Team met with Court Administration today at the CFI Santa Fe Springs location.  Thank you Ramona Rodriguez (F), Maria Ruiz (A) and Alicia Grubic (A) for showing your support by observing the negotiation process in action.

Our apologies for this update coming out a couple days later than it normally does, and for those of you who asked, “No update?,” it’s heartening to know there are interpreters who keep themselves in the know regarding the progress of our contract negotiations.  It is important to remember that each one of you is an essential part in securing and upholding a contract which is favorable to interpreters.

It has become apparent that management does not discuss bargaining issues until the day of the meeting; their bargaining team spent over two hours caucusing before they met with our team.

There was some positive movement, albeit small.  Management withdrew their proposal on Article 17 that dealt with the way seniority is calculated when an employee moves from full-time (“A”) to as-needed (“F”) and then back again to full-time.  They had proposed to change the language in the description, although not the method.

They accepted the chart that we proposed that would illustrate the employee designations used in each county: Los Angeles: “A”, “C” and “F” status; Santa Barbara: regular full-time; regular part-time and “Extra Help”; and San Luis Obispo: regular full-time; regular part-time and “As-Needed”. 

Management was also willing to have a discussion about Article 19 which deals with Cross Assignments. Until now, they had not done that, but would just reject our counter proposals with little or no discussion. 

Court Administration rejected our last wage proposal and modified their last salary proposal. This modification dealt with the timing of the increase not the amounts.  They proposed 2% after the ratification of the contract, 2% July 2019 and 2% July 2020.  No retroactive, no signing bonus, no COLA (Cost of Living Adjustment).  Our team was understandably upset.  Caren Sencer our attorney spoke up and told them we were disheartened and found it difficult to move forward when we know there is no movement in other areas.  Their attorney (Joe Wiley) responded that they were "not suggesting that there would be no more movement right now". He said that in bargaining he always prefers to first deal with as many of the easier issues as he can, and to leave the harder issues until last.  The issues he considers "hard" are Art. 21, Salary, and Art. 18, Assignments.

The fact that he admitted that that was not their last offer was encouraging.  However, after we caucused, we agreed that we could not move forward with the "easier" issues because some of those are contingent on the wage issue.  If they are willing to concede on some of the things we are asking for (COLA, retroactive pay, etc.), we may be willing to withdraw our proposals on some of the "easier" issues and leave them for the next contract negotiations.  One example of these is our request for a yearly sum of money ($750.00) to cover the cost of our CIMCE credits and California certification.

The next Bargaining session is scheduled for Wednesday, February 28th at the Stanley Mosk Courthouse (Room 522).  Remember to fill out your RTOs to ensure your participation in this session.  We are also planning a noontime rally in front of the Courthouse (Grand Street entrance), and strongly encourage those nearby to attend.  Let's show the Administration that we are united and willing to fight for a fair contract!

In solidarity…

Your Region 1 Bargaining Team
CFI Local 39000, CWA-TNG

Pedro Ramírez-Navas  
Daniel Kaufman 
Doris Vick 
Michael Ferreira 
Robert Guerrero 
Caren Sencer, Spokesperson


Local Update

February 22, 2018

Dear Member of CFI Local 39000,
Ballots will be mailed to all members in good standing of Local 39000 on Friday, February 23rd.  The election involves the following offices:
Local President
Local Vice President
Local Secretary
Local Treasurer
Executive Board Representatives:
Region 1
Region 2
Region 3, and
The ballots are being handled by Ballotpoint (a nationally recognized company that handles elections for unions and other organizations).  The ballots will be mailed from their mailing house in Michigan on Friday February 23rd.
825 individuals are on our rosters as members in good standing – and will be getting their ballots from the Local (via Ballotpoint).  In order to be counted, members must follow the instructions in marking their ballot and returning it via the small secret ballot and large return envelope.  BALLOTS MUST BE MAILED BACK TO THE POST OFFICE BOX – they cannot be accepted at the Local office.  Please be sure that you vote and get your ballot in the mail in time to be in the box when the mail is picked up the morning of March 15th.
The Election Committee and a representative of Ballotpoint will pick up the mail at 10am on March 15th, and those ballots will be counted in the Local office in Santa Fe Springs that morning.  The results will then be certified and released that day.
Mail should arrive early next week.  If your co-workers say they got their ballot and yours has not come – email us – [email protected] with your:
Phone number (in case we need to discuss this with you)
If the address is different from the one in the Local’s records – we will have a duplicate ballot sent to you by Ballotpoint at the new address (note we have sent mail to all addresses in the last couple of months about this election and corrected any addresses on mail that was returned).
If your envelope didn’t appear in the US Mail – a duplicate ballot will be sent by Ballotpoint.
Any duplicate or replacement ballots will be marked (by Ballotpoint) to ensure that only vote is cast by each member in good standing.  The secrecy of the ballot process is one more reason that you must mail these back in the envelopes provided by Ballotpoint.  The return envelopes already include the return postage, so that will not delay your vote.
Note your replacement ballot packet will be sent from Ballotpoint in Portland, Oregon.  Please recognize that it will take a couple of days for your replacement ballot to arrive, and then a couple for your return ballot to arrive at the Post Office Box in Santa Fe Springs.  Don’t delay in making your request for a replacement ballot.  Please email so that we have a record of your request and our response to your request.  You may call the office, but it will not be as efficient as we will only get the voice mail when the office is open (562) 944-2341.
Please mail your ballot as soon as you get it, so you don’t misplace it.  Ballots should be mailed back in time to be in the Post Office Box by March 14th – we will pick up the mail on Thursday morning March 15th and only ballots in the post office box at that time will be counted.
REGION 4 Executive Board Representative
Only one candidate stood for the nomination when the process was concluded, therefore Silvia San Martin was declared elected by acclamation.  Ms. San Martin has now taken office and is starting to represent the members of the Local in her region.
The race for Region 4 Bargaining Committee ended in the committee being elected by acclamation when some nominees decided not to stand for election.  The Committee is starting to plan meetings and collection of members’ suggestions for proposals. The Committee members are:
Silvia San Martin (also ex officio member as Region 4 Board Representative) – San Diego
Ana Fuller – San Diego
Rebeca Vera – San Diego
Jackie Ruiz - Riverside
LouLou Tovar - Orange
Juan Ramirez – Orange
The contract expires on June 30th.
REGION 4 PERB Retirement Case:
The hearing in the San Diego Retirement Case concluded on February 1st.  Our case in chief had been submitted last fall, and our attorney Anne Yen, feels that the case went very well.  She was assisted by Jackie Ruiz who had been on the bargaining committee and testified in rebuttal.
Jackie provided this recap:
“The following people testified:
Susan Rhode (not sure on the spelling)
-Was employed by Orange County Superior Court/HR Analyst
-She testified regarding OC's retirement system/reverse pick up. 
-the fact that CFI has always been tied to the General Unit 
-Notice of changes to benefits were always sent to CFI.
-CFI never asked to meet and confer
Monna Radulovich
-Region's attorney
-She testified that CFI had requested to meet and confer regarding the impacts of PEPRA.
-that although the Court was not conceding they had to M & C, they did. 
-Courts position was that it was not a PEPRA issue, but a state provision instead. 
-She stated that Mary Lou was frustrated that it was not dealt with at bargaining.
- She said that Stephen Cascioppo stated that it was discussed at the table and that the 9% raise was given because of retirement changes. 
-She discussed the details of the San Diego meet and confer and the fact that they didn't agree on anything other than having the EPMC phased in. 
Stephen Cascioppo
San Diego Asst. Executive Officer
-He testified regarding the PEPRA changes and the agreement they reached with LIUNA.
-He said they were aware that CFI was in negotiations with San Bernardino and Riverside for a side letter. 
-He said that the elimination of the EPMC was discussed at the Region table and that Joe Wiley said it was a local issue. That local issues such as retirement couldn't be discussed at the table.
-He said they didn't agree to a side letter because they didn't want to give CFI "more than what they had given the rest of the employees."
The judge had great questions for Cascioppo:
Q: When looking at CFI proposals you said that the Court wouldn't agree because CFI would be getting more?
A: Yes
Q: LIUNA got an 8% offset plus a wage increase?
A: Yes
Q: What did CFI get?
A: 9% over term of contract
Q: Did you discuss at the table that the 9% was an offset?
A: No
Lyn Bell
San Diego County Superior Court- HR Director
-She only testified to changes in health benefits that CFI was tied to the General Unit. 
* part of the complaint included bad faith bargaining re: health benefits.
Rebuttal witness:
Jackie Ruiz
-was asked if proposals included EPMC offset. 
Jackie said yes, at first.
Things changed when Riverside had a private Caucus with Ernie Durazzo, Silvia Barden, and Jackie. Riverside informed them that they would not discuss PEPRA/EPMC at the table, but that Riverside CEO was willing to offer interpreters a (non-wage) equivalent offset. Riverside imposed PEPRA increase and interpreters were FORCED to accept. 
After this conversation, CFI's proposals did not include offset, only cost of living increase.
Joe Wiley flipped!! Was insisting proposals DID include offset. 
Jackie stuck to her guns saying it didn't. Wiley go crazy & judge asked for a recess. Joe Wiley stormed out calling Jackie a liar saying "Lies, lies, lies! Judge could hear him in the hallway. Jackie told the judge that that's his demeanor at the bargaining table.
Joe Wiley took the stand at the end to state that the Court ALWAYS considered all of the wage proposals but declined them. He stressed that the raise that was given took I to account PEPRA. 
The Judge asked a lot of great clarifying questions that left Jackie feeling confident that he understood CFI's position.”
NOTE: Jackie has apologized for the delay in a report-back – she has been dealing with a family emergency, in addition to serving the Local on the Election Committee.
Briefs and reply briefs will be filed in this case.  And the Region 2 case continues on March 5th and 6th. Anne Yen is representing CFI (paid for by the TNG Legal Services Program) in both cases.
Please be sure to vote.
Carrie Biggs-Adams
Temporary Administrator


Region 1 Bargaining Update

February 6, 2018, Santa Fe Springs, District 9 Office

So, it was another day of truth and beauty at Santa Fe Springs, and here’s a recap of all the goings on.

On the wages horizon, Court Administration offered interpreters yet another wage proposal: an increase of 1.5% over their last proposal made on January 22nd totaling 6% over the life of the contract.  Once again, they rejected CFI’s proposal that included steps; the team countered with a proposal which calls for a 2% yearly wage increase above COLA (Cost of Living Adjustment), and which additionally provides for a “longevity increase” at intervals of five years over a fifteen-year period.

Other points of note during our collective tête-à-tête include:

The proposal by CFI to create a program and classification for rehiring annuitants (retirees who return to work for the courts) was resoundingly rejected by the Region. Their spokesman, Mr. Wiley, again firmly restated their position that rehiring retired employees is of no benefit to the courts, citing the “laborious” complexity of record keeping for payroll regarding the 960-hour limit per year that a rehired annuitant is permitted to work and still receive retirement benefits.[1]

Regarding the Assignment article (Article 18), although CFI has shown good faith toward seeking compromise, there still exists a significant divide between the two positions. In fact, there may be no possible resolution to this issue until we get closer to the rollout of the new software-based automatic assignment system. To date, there has not been even so much as a manual with screen shots offered to the team to consider; it may well be that we need to see a test run of the system before we can find common ground to sign off on this article.

Joe Wiley, Court’s spokesman, made it clear that the Court was rejecting our proposal concerning benefits in Article 26. He explained that the benefits package was determined by Los Angeles County, and the Court had no control over what that package would be, and therefore, the Court could not commit as to how our members would be affected. CFI countered with a modified proposal stating, “Any changes to the benefit package would not result in an increase in costs.” As our spokesperson, Caren Sencer, commented to Administration: The Court can’t control the package offered, but it can control the costs to our members.

Article 31 – Office Space and Supplies: Videos, photographs, and supporting information which we presented to Administration regarding what we consider to be inadequate office space was resoundingly disregarded. The comment was, “Reasonable minds can differ on what is unsafe,” and the Court further stated that if the Union has any concerns about an unsafe situation in the interpreter waiting rooms, or other facilities, we can file with OSHA. To this our team’s spokesperson replied, “Well, maybe not OSHA, but the Fire Department.”

The entire bargaining team would like to thank the following members who sacrificed a vacation day to attend this bargaining session and lend their support to our efforts: Sonia Cruz (A), Claudia Longo (A), Susana Hernández (A), Brenda Oliver (A), and Oscar de la Llera (A). It was fantastic being able to sit and talk with all of you after the afternoon session; it was a good conversation answering your questions and hearing your concerns.

Please be aware, if benefit time on an RTO is specified as Vacation, instead of Sick Personal, there appears to be a higher likelihood of approval to observe bargaining. 

The participation of every interpreter is even more crucial now as we continue to negotiate key labor and professional issues which uphold the mainstays of our contract. The Court needs to know that interpreters really care about matters such as seniority, assignments, vacation, and wages.

 We look forward to seeing as many of you as possible at our next bargaining session on February 21st in Santa Fe Springs, home to hardscrabble heroes!

In solidarity…

Your Region 1 Bargaining Team
CFI Local 39000, CWA-TNG


Pedro Ramírez  
Daniel Kaufman 
Doris Vick 
Michael Ferreira 
Robert Guerrero 
Caren Sencer, Spokesperson

January 30, 2018

Dear Members:

I write to update you about the nominating and election process for CFI Local 39000.  Based upon a complaint received Monday morning, the Election Committee has decided to pause the entire election to give Freelance Members the opportunity to nominate not only Freelance Executive Board Representative(s), but also candidates for the four top officers (and run for those  five spots as well). 
The problem initially arose when we discovered that Freelance members of the Local had not been sent the announcement of the election back in December.  The Election Committee agreed to send the notices to the Freelancers and pause the election of the Freelance Executive Board position until they could nominate themselves (and others).  The effect of the complaint is that we are going to pause the entire election, allow the 81 Freelance members to participate. 
Nominations which have already been submitted, confirmed and for which the nominees have already submitted their candidate’s statements will not change (or re-open).  But we will accept additional nominations from the Freelance Members – who may nominate any member in good standing in the Local for any of the 4 top spots and the Freelance Executive Board Representative:
Vice President,
Treasurer, and
Freelance Executive Board Representative are the races affected.
The timeline is as follows:
1/30    Nominations open for Freelance Members to nominate (and run for) 4 top officers & Executive Board Representative (continues from 1/25)
2/15    Nominations by Freelance Members close at 5pm
2/16    New candidate’s statements of 400 words maximum, including header with name and position for which the person is running Due by 9pm.   Candidates may only run for 1 position during this election.
2/17    Full list of Candidates for Office will be posted on the Local’s Website by 5pm.
2/23    ALL Ballots will issue by mail from Ballotpoint IN all Contested Races
            All Candidate’s Statements will be posted on the Local’s Website by 5pm.
3/13    ALL Ballots must be returned by mail at post office box
3/15    The ballots to be counted at Santa Fe Springs office beginning at 10am – candidate with most votes will be declared elected, a majority of the votes cast is not required.  Observers are allowed but may not touch the ballots.  Counting will be conducted by Ballotpoint and the Local Election Committee.
3/24    Training for new Local Officers at Santa Fe Springs Office Saturday March 24.
This has been a frustrating situation, but our goal is democracy and an open election.  The Local had never paid per capita dues on the Freelance Members to the CWA in the past, that was remedied with submission of the list for December and payment made to CWA on January 29th.  Those Freelance Members have been submitted to CWA to be added to the CWA’s rolls.
We had a situation where one candidate had not paid monthly dues during 2017, and we sought guidance from CWA’s General Counsel as to eligibility.  The ruling was that with the payment of $1.90 in back inactive fees the person was eligible to run in the election. The Local Bylaws do not require that a candidate be in good standing for the previous 12 months to run in these races, although they do for election to regional bargaining committees.
We then found the situation of the Freelance Members, and their status, participation. We believe that that is now fully corrected.  As they could not run for Regional Representatives, we have re-opened the nominations for the offices for which they are eligible to nominate AND run.
Hopefully we are now back on track.  But we will continue to keep you informed of developments in the election process. 
In hopes that you will participate and vote to elect your new representatives.
Carrie Biggs-Adams
Temporary Administrator



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