California Court Interpreters End Contract Dispute
San Francisco Chronicle (CA) (09/27/17) Egelko, Bob
The California Federation of Interpreters and Superior Court officials in 12 Northern California counties have reached a wage agreement following a yearlong contract dispute that prompted walkouts in July and August. The labor contract allocates a wage increase of nearly 21% for a four-year period that began in October 2016, when the previous contract expired.
A majority of the 142 members of the California Federation of Interpreters voted to approve the agreement last week, and court officers in 12 counties endorsed it this week. The region includes the Bay Area and coastal counties from Monterey to the Oregon border.
Court officials say the agreement will elevate interpreters’ salaries to $92,888 annually by September 2020, although they will still earn less than interpreters in federal courts or private contractors.
The California Federation of Interpreters, which led the walkouts, says its members had suffered a 4-6% loss in take-home pay this year because of mandatory increases in pension contributions, a loss the courts had offset with raises for other employees but not for interpreters. The agreement does not address this issue, but the union says court officials have agreed to a “re-opener” that would permit a new round of wage negotiations in July 2019.
Officials also agreed to give part-time interpreters the same treatment as full-timers and apply the wage increases uniformly in all counties. “We’re happy to have resolved some of the issues that made interpreters’ pay too low,” says Mary Lou Aranguren, legislative director and bargaining coordinator for the California Federation of Interpreters. However, she notes, “the courts continue to resist treating interpreters fairly based on the market for our skills. The battle is not over.”
Article taken from the ATA Newsbriefs from 9/29/2017.