Tuesday, July 25, 2006
Union Authorizes Strike by Superior Court Interpreters
By a MetNews Staff Writer
Members of the California Federation of Interpreters have authorized the union’s bargaining committee to strike, the union’s president said yesterday.
In a vote held Saturday, Los Angeles Superior Court interpreters empowered their union to initiate a strike if necessary to elicit further dialogue from the court, which closed labor negotiations by declaring an impasse after offering the interpreters a 2.5 percent raise, Silvia Barden said.
Barden would not comment on whether strike plans were pending. She told the MetNews simply that the bargaining committee now has “overwhelming authority” and a vote of confidence from the members to exercise its authority to strike if necessary.
“We want to make every effort to resolve this, and our members recognize that we need the authority to act in case a resolution is not reached,” she said.
Barden also said that members present at Saturday’s meeting expressed “puzzlement” and extreme anger over the court’s approach to labor negotiations.
The interpreters, who haven’t had a raise in seven years, are seeking to secure a more significant pay increase akin to those offered to other court employees—4.5 percent each of the next two years.
“There’s just a lot of wondering why the court is choosing to behave this way,” she remarked, explaining that the court declared an impasse when there was none, and simply “imposed” the 2.5 percent offer.
The union’s attorney, Stewart Weinberg of the Alameda firm Weinberg Roger & Rosenfeld, told the MetNews that he has not spoken with the court since Saturday’s vote, but that the union intends to pursue administrative remedies with the Public Employment Relations Board.
“We think that the court has acted peremptorily. As far as the court is concerned, the matter is overwith and they unilaterally have taken whatever action they intend to take. Now it’s up to us to follow up on that as soon as possible.”
Copyright 2006, Metropolitan News Company