News

July 23, 2019

IF YOU ARE AN INTERPRETER UNIT MEMBER WORKING IN THE LOS ANGELES COURTS, AND YOU WANT TO CONTINUE WITH THE CAPE/BLUESHIELD HEALTH PLAN, YOU NEED TO READ THIS

 Interpreter unit members who work full-time in the Los Angeles courts have received two letters from  the Coalition of County Unions (CCU)[1]indicating that there was a change negotiated with Los Angeles County that impacts interpreter unit member eligibility to qualify for the CAPE/Blueshield option in our Choicesbenefits plan.

To qualify for CAPE/Blueshield there are two conditions:

  1. Your unit’s union (in this case CFI Local 39000, TNG-CWA) must be a member in good standing with the Coalition of County Unions (CFI has joined and is a member of CCU);
  2. The unit member (that means you) must be a member in good standing with the interpreter unit’s representative union. In other words, one must be a member in good standing with CFI Local 39000, TNG-CWA.

Interpreter unit members who have been and continue to be members in good standing will be automatically qualified by virtue of CFI Local 39000 being a member of the CCU. However, if you are not a member of the local, you will not be qualified to elect the CAPE/Blueshield medical plan for 2020.

You may ask why this happened. According to the Region 1 MOU, our benefits and those held by other represented units in LASC are tied to what is negotiated between the CCU and Los Angeles County. 

If an interpreter unit member wishes to continue eligibility in this program, and you are not a member of CFI Local 39000, we encourage you to fill out and sign the membership and dues deduction cards, scan them, and email them to [email protected], with the originals to follow by US mail to:

California Federation of Interpreters
Local 39000, TNG-CWA
11823 East Slauson Ave, Unit 7
Santa Fe Springs, California 90670
 

It is imperative that the local receive these two documents before the close of business on Friday, July 26th, 2019, since the list of members in good standing must be sent to CCU no later than noon on Friday.

In solidarity,

Michael Ferreira, President
CFI Local 39000

 

 

Region 3 Bargaining

 

July 22, 2019

Dear Region 3 Members,

The Local and your Executive Board announce that Region 3 has a new Bargaining Committee elected by acclamation; the bargaining process will soon be prepared to begin. The Bargaining Committee Members are:

Rosa Trevizo, San Joaquin 

Carmen Ramos, San Joaquin 

Joseph Tobin, Sacramento 

Janet Hudec, Madera 

Spokesperson and legal counsel assisting in the process will be Laurie Burgess of Messing Adam & Jasmine LLP Law Firm.

Although there is going to be a trained labor attorney in the mix, it bears reminding ourselves that the real strength in bargaining comes from unity among the membership and a sound, if not vigorous mobilization plan. 

To that end, I am sending out a call to members to contact your bargaining committee and indicate your willingness to serve on the bargaining mobilization committee, insofar as planning, organizing, and carrying out the activities necessary to build unity and create actions on behalf of bargaining. Additionally, I invite the Region 3 members to email the Bargaining Committee with ideas that will help further their efforts, as well as include issues you feel should be addressed at bargaining[email protected]

In solidarity, 

Michael Ferreira
President

 

 
Thoughts on Union Membership

 

Region 4:

Against all odds, we have recently taken the lead in terms of union membership. Region 4 is holding tight, but we need to grow stronger as we approach the end of crucial bargaining, especially because we will also need to consider all options on the table. Our message to Administration must be louder and more united than ever before. Why? Because real salary increases are still being denied and VRI application and technology remain highly questionable. Court interpreters are not being treated as the true professionals we are. 

Your Bargaining Committee needs every single one of you to help us build a powerful and inclusive movement where all voices can be heard. Please read the following excerpts from letters recently sent. And feel free to forward to anyone who seems unsure:  

Why I decided to stay/re-join the union 

From Imperial Valley, Josh Allen: “I feel at this time of uncertainty for our profession, with the courts showing their desire to replace us with VRI, and the blatant disregard they are showing towards us, that we must stand united. To me this is very important, lest we lose our profession by disunity. . . I used to feel that the union was not really sensitive to the needs of its members. That perception has recently changed, and I feel the union has taken concrete positive steps to be more accessible and proactive with the needs of individual counties and interpreters.” 

From San Diego, Delia Castro: “It is possible that Administration is being so hard on Region 4 because, especially in San Diego, there is poor participation in the union by interpreters. This has made me reconsider my decision to put distance between me and CWA and I have decided to renew my membership to CFI. I believe it is important to show unity at this crucial time of negotiations and I urge all of you out there who have renounced your membership to reconsider too.”

From Chula Vista, Cristina Oliva: “Why do I remain a union member? I remain a member because I’m in it for the long haul, and because I believe we need to protect our profession. I have heard interpreters who have left the union express their disappointment in their past experiences with the union and I can understand that. But I also believe we need to look forward and pull together to make things right. We can’t change the past, but we can change the future. Only together we will achieve what we all want, fair wages and practices. Ultimately, we will all benefit from this, members and non-members alike. Whether we are in this for a few more years or decades to come, a united front benefits and protects all of us as professionals. Let’s support our colleagues who are working so hard on our behalf. Let’s support one another in union.” 

Read full letters here

If you have made the decision to remain a union member, or join us, thank you. If you have not, the time is now.

Silvia San Martín

Region 4 Representative and CFI Executive Board member

 

Dear members, 

On Saturday, August 17th, CFI Local 39000 will be hosting a training session for all members wishing to become stewards and/or update and refine their skills. Even if you are unsure as to making a commitment to become a steward, you are invited to find out what the “front line” of the labor movement looks like. 

The training is mandatory for anyone who wishes to be added to the steward lists for their Region/County. Some of the topics to be covered are:

-      Union structure, guiding documents, and protocols.

-      Role, Rights, and Responsibilities of a union steward.

-      How to memorialize, share communications, and collaborate on representation issues.

-      Grievances and their processing; arbitrations and their preparations; unfair labor practice filings (Public Employee Relations Board).

-      Open discussion about any issue of interest or concern..

The training will take place at the Local office between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m.  Please be on time. We ask that interested members respond to this email no later than the close of business on Thursday, August15, 2019.

For those who are based in Northern California and unable to come to the Santa Fe Springs office, the Local is planning for a steward training in Northern California.

Sincerely,

Michael Ferreira
CFI President
 

Dear Region 3 members:
 
As we gear up to start our Bargaining, we are faced with the difficulties the Janus decision brought to our Federation. We have been hit especially hard as a result of the internal turmoil we have endured these past years and the courts have “tried” to take advantage of our situation. We are only as strong as our weakest link and although many might think we are down in our luck, we have proven to be stronger than what was expected and that the best is yet to come. 
 
The power of unions comes from the number and strength of its members. The passing of Janus was a direct hit against workers with its sole intention of eroding the power of collective bargaining. As interpreters, we are especially vulnerable. Should we lose our Local, we would be in danger of losing our wages as they are now, our benefits, accruals, retirement benefits, and the right to collectively bargain. As we are all aware, when negotiating, court administration always plays hard ball and proposals are disadvantageous to our livelihood. Without union protection, courts will always have the upper hand and take full advantage of the opportunity to take away what we have worked hard to accomplish. 
 
For the upcoming round of negotiations, we have hired the Law Firm of Messing, Adam & Jasmin. This law firm focuses on representing the public sector and specializes in bargaining.  Messing, Adam & Jasmin is well known for their successful bargaining strategies, mobilization approaches, media connections, no backing-down attitude, expertise in PERB (including the interpreter act and PEPRA), and has successfully gone up against Wiley Price & Radulovich Law Firm. They have helped our colleagues in Region 4 turn the negotiations around since recently joining their Bargaining Team. Please take a look at the link below so you can see who they are and their achievements in the public sector. 
 
On another note, our lobbying efforts have paid off tremendously. In the past few months CFI members along with our lobbyist (Ignacio Hernandez) have been diligently and tirelessly been advocating for our profession at the state capitol. We are happy to report that Governor Newsom has heard our request and has awarded us with an additional ongoing $10 million dollars to the interpreter fund. Our interpreter fund now holds a robust $120 million for wages and civil expansion. No funds from the interpreter fund are earmarked for VRI. Governor Newsom also awarded $2.35 million to the courts innovation fund for signage ($1 million) and technology ($1.35million). The innovation item funds will be distributed on need basis using a grant system. Legislatively we are also working on several bills that will empower our professions in both the public and private sectors. More information will be coming soon. 
 
With negotiations at our doorstep, I ask you to please step up and participate. Please nominate, volunteer and mobilize. In the next coming weeks we will be asking for wage increases, wage steps, longevity, limit to the use of VRI, me too clause, full time employment for OTS interpreters, and more. How will we be able to protect our interests, and the interests of people we serve if we don't have collective Bargaining? In order to win a fair contract we need to unite and stand together. We are the Federation. We are CFI, Local 39000. 

http://majlabor.com

In Solidarity,

Carmen Ramos                                  Janet Hudec
Secretary/Treasurer CFI 39000        Vice-President CFI 3900
R3 Steward                                       R3 Steward  
 
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