Court interpreters stand strong on full day’s pay

CFI winningCourt administrators in Region 2 proposed to withdraw a proposal to send interpreters home up to two hours early without pay, but only if the California Federation of Interpreters agrees to accept a proposal on video remote interpreting. During bargaining this week, the court administration also continued to reject any wage increase for interpreters.

Courts in Region 2, which includes the Bay Area, want to implement video remote interpreting for assignments without bargaining over the decision to use it, and without limitation. The Region’s court administrators are unwilling to agree in advance on where and how VRI would be used. The courts would only bargain over the effects of VRI on CFI members when they have an implementation plan.

Studies and pilot programs elsewhere in the country have shown that VRI is inappropriate for most court purposes and is no substitute for live, onsite interpreters. VRI has been shown to be slower, more stressful and fatiguing, less accurate, and more prone to confusion, complications, and delays.

Region 2 also revived a proposal to use CFI members at public counters and self-help centers at the court’s discretion, but without making such assignments exclusively interpreter unit work. The proposal would not create new assignments, and the work would be on an ad hoc basis.

The CFI bargaining committee will present a response to the Region’s proposal on May 22, when negotiations resume.

Court administration has made the same proposals on VRI and early release without pay in Region 3, which includes the Central Valley and Sacrament. They will go to mediation later this month.

Interpreters in Regions 2 and 3 have been bargaining since July 2012 and recently approved a strike authorization in response to the detrimental proposals.

Interpreters in courthouses throughout Northern California and the Central Valley are wearing red on Wednesdays to show their support for CFI’s bargaining committees. (Check out all the photos here.)

CFI, a unit of the Pacific Media Workers Guild, represents more than 900 interpreters who provide services in California courts in more than 55 languages.


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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.