Lunzer and Steffens promise open process for new CFI

On Saturday, the executive committee of Pacific Media Workers Guild voted to ask Communications Workers of America to take over jurisdiction for the California Federation of Interpreters.

Along with CWA District 9 Vice-President Laura Reynolds, we have forwarded this request for a full vote of the CWA executive board, which has the power to grant the request and to oversee an interim ‘organizing local’ structure for CFI.

Getting to this point hasn’t been easy, and we appreciate the many Guild members who have reached out with questions and concerns.

It feels like a good time to explain why we’re supportive of this transition.

Without divulging the contents of confidential talks, we can say that prior negotiations were not progressing. There was no longer any real hope of creating greater autonomy for CFI within the local, nor toward agreeing on the structure or timing of a member referendum.

That left few options. At this point, the path chosen by the local executive committee clearly offers the best long-term outcome for the largest number of members.

A request to cede jurisdiction is a process driven by a local’s elected executive committee, which in this case, was recently voted into office with a substantial majority among a large number of ballots cast.

It also must be approved by the CWA executive board, made up of elected CWA leaders representing various regions and industry sectors throughout the U.S. and Canada. All have pledged to uphold the greater interests of our union and its members.

While this process does not provide for a member referendum, we assure you that the members of CFI do get a say — and a formal vote — on what comes next.

In the months to come, CFI will be designated an organizing local, overseen by a staffer assigned by the CWA Executive Board. We expect this assignment to go to Sara Steffens.

In consultation with CWA, the former CFI board and others, Sara will work to create the framework of a new, independent local. This process includes drafting new bylaws, which must be voted on by the entire membership before becoming effective. Members will also need to elect leadership to run the new local.

We believe designing the new local should be an open, collaborative process with plenty of opportunity for member input. We are committed to helping build a strong foundation for a healthy CFI local, and to helping Pacific Media Workers continue to adapt and grow.

Bernie Lunzer
Sara Steffens
The Newspaper Guild-CWA

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Michael Applegate

Pacific Media Workers Executive Officer