Guild Interpreters vote yes on strike authorization

STOCKTON _ An overwhelming 96 percent of Region 2 and 3 members who voted this weekend said yes to authorizing the bargaining committees call for a strike.

More than 100 court interpreters _ including full time, part time, and as-needed employees _ attended the strike authorization vote meeting this Saturday in Stockton. Carpool and vanpools of interpreters drove in from Regions 2 and 3, which cover a swath of twenty-six counties from the Central Valley to the Oregon border.

“Don’t lose the opportunity to defend yourself,” CFI member Álvaro Desgives-Más told interpreters before the vote.

Court interpreters represented by the California Federation of Interpreters have been bargaining since July and are up against proposals to send them home early without pay and allow implementation of video remote interpreting without input from CFI.

Interpreters at the meeting shared their concerns that these proposals would undermine the profession as well as standards of meaningful language access for everyone using the courts’ services.

A number of independent contractors attended the meeting in solidarity, and expressed their concern that what happens in these negotiations could have far reaching implications for all interpreters in the courts and in the private sector.

“This is not just about Spanish interpreters, and this is not just about full time employees,” bargaining committee member Andy Ta told the assembled group. “This is about all interpreters.”

During the meeting dozens of interpreters volunteered to serve on strike committees that will carry out the strike mobilization plan.

“I would not want to live the rest of my career – a career that’s being diminished – knowing I did nothing to stop it,” bargaining committee member Katy Van Sant told interpreters this weekend.

What’s Next?

  • Start talking to people you work with to let them know what the Regions and Administrative Office of the Courts are trying to do to interpreters’ livelihood and the quality of language access.
  • Get involved. Contact your rep or members of the bargaining committee if you’re interested in working on a local committee in your county. Meetings will be ongoing to build momentum and organize for success.

CFI, a unit of the Pacific Media Workers Guild, represents about 900 interpreters 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.