CFI President urges interpreters keep informed; give courts a message of unity

California Federation of Interpreters President Michael Ferreira urged interpreters to actively support their bargaining teams and remain informed about what is going on in the profession statewide during Saturday’s membership meeting.

CFI President Michael Ferreira urges interpreters to remain informed and show solidarity during the 2012 CFI Conference.

One of the best ways to get involved, Ferreira explained, is by joining a Watch and Support Committee in your region to observe negotiations. These teams, first used by Region 4 while undergoing its negotiations, help change the tone of the court administration spokesman during negotiations, Ferreira said, and shows both sides that the membership supports their bargaining committee.

“Members are saying we’re part of this, you’re negotiating with all of us here,” he said of the message the Watch and Support Committee gives the court administration.

Currently, CFI’s Regions 1, 2 and 3 are in the midst of negotiations. While proposals by courts in Regions 2 and 3 seek to cut interpreter wages by 10 percent and take away benefits from as needed interpreters, so far administrators haven’t sought the same economic measures for Region 1. Despite variations in the proposals presented at each bargaining table, it’s important to see the influence one region’s measures can have on the others, Ferreira explained.

“I’m telling you we have to worry about what is going on everywhere,” he said.

Leadership from the three regions currently bargaining are collaborating on common concerns and  the president has visited each region’s negotiating table. Region 1 has been negotiating since May and is about to present some of its last few proposals. Regions 2 and 3 began negotiating in July.

CFI also provided the following updates:

  • State officials are restructuring the Administrative Office of the Courts, which oversees court interpreters, after a report found the agency lacked efficiency.
  • CFI continues lobbying and seeking support from stakeholders to encourage the Judicial Council’s to use funds available in the court interpreter budget item to address ongoing civil rights issues of language barriers to justice.

Some 350 interpreters attended the annual convention presented by CFI, a unit of the Pacific Media Workers Guild. CFI represents nearly 1,000 members who provide language access services in more than 50 languages in California 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.