Court interpreters: in their own words

Court interpreters in the Bay Area (Region 2) reached a tentative agreement that would give interpreters bonuses and delay implementation of Video Remote Interpreting subject to meet and confer over its effects.

Meanwhile, court interpreters in the Central Valley (Region 3) continued their fight for a contract in mediation Thursday. Interpreters there still face court proposals to send them home early without pay or advanced notice and implement of Video Remote Interpreting without input from the California Federation of Interpreters.

CFI has questioned court administrators’ interest in implementing Video Remote Interpreting since research shows it has limited use, requires slower interpreting and does not ensure better language access. Study after study has concluded that in-person interpretation is more effective and efficient.

These proposed changes in the way we work represent an attack on job security and threaten to dismantle the profession and meaningful access to qualified interpreters.

Interpreters are talking about uniting to defend our jobs and the profession overall, well beyond these negotiations, recognizing that employees and contractors alike are vulnerable if the courts succeed with their agenda.

Here’s what interpreters are saying about the threat to guaranteed pay for guaranteed hours…(1st in a series of videos):

Court Interpreters: In Our Own Words

Region 2 interpreters faced the same proposals as Region 3 until Wednesday’s deal. In exchange for CFI Region 2’s  compromise to allow Video Remote Interpreting, the court administration withdrew the proposal to release interpreters at 3 p.m. without pay or advance notice.

The tentative agreement in Region 2 includes:

  •  Full time members would receive three $1,000 bonuses, one upon ratification, one in fall 2013, and one in fall 2014. Bonuses on the same schedule would be $750 for part timers and $500 for intermittent interpreters.
  •  Dual-language interpreters would receive a 10% pay differential for each day they are assigned to provide services in two languages in which they are qualified to work.
  •  Continuing education reimbursements would go up to $750 every two years (and remain prorated for part-time employees).
  • Any layoffs would be by strict seniority.
  • Modification of unit work language stating courts can assign additional “interpreter services as required.”

CFI’s Region 2 will schedule a ratification meeting with members to discuss and vote on the tentative agreement.

CFI’s Region 3 bargaining team will return to mediation on June 17 in Sacramento.

A unit of the Pacific Media Workers Guild, CFI represents about 900 court interpreters employed by Superior Courts of California. The unit is divided into four regions, with each bargaining separate contracts with the courts.


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Pacific Media Workers Guild

We are the Pacific Media Workers Guild, Local 39521 of The Newspaper Guild-Communications Workers of America. We represent more than 1,200 journalists and other media workers, interpreters, translators, union staffs and freelancers.