PRESIDENT POSITION – CAMPAIGN STATEMENT BEGONYA DE SALVO
I want to be your President, because our Union needs new leadership, new ideas, and a new direction where everyone feels welcomed and nobody is held back.
We want HERO PAY because we are essential workers and risk our lives in the line of duty.
We want a SIX-FIGURE SALARY because that should be the base and not the ceiling. It is time to close the 40-year pay gap.
We want PEACE OF MIND with a decent pension plan that gives us a comfortable retirement, not one that forces us to keep working well into our seventies.
I clearly remember the day I decided to speak up and fight for court interpreters. It was three days after the passing of my dear friend and colleague, Sergio Cafaro. Sergio's death was 100% preventable. Court administrators were not following CDC guidelines and doing little to prevent the spread of the virus. I was overwhelmed with grief, anger, and outrage for what had happened to Sergio. MOVED TO ACTION My grief moved me deeply and pushed me into action. That is why I wrote to Presiding Judge Eric C. Taylor on behalf of my 17 colleagues impacted by the lethal outbreak at the Criminal Courts Building in downtown Los Angeles. When I wrote to Judge Taylor, another tragic and devastating event, unbeknownst to us, was unfolding at the Bellflower Courthouse. There, interpreters suffered another 100% preventable outbreak that took the life of Daniel Felix, an interpreter who was a few months shy of retirement. BECOMING A UNION STEWARD That is why I decided to become a Union Steward. I joined forces with Marina Sastre, a veteran interpreter who helped me organize a vigil for our fallen colleagues. When I learned that Marina and other interpreters in high-risk populations were still being required to work in person, I was furious. THE PUSH FOR TELEWORK I didn’t want another interpreter to die. That is why I pushed for safer working conditions and telework for all at-risk interpreters.
I filed and personally signed a grievance against the Court.
I filed a Cal/OSHA complaint.
I filed a SECOND Cal/OSHA complaint on behalf of our Union colleagues, assisting the attorney and Cal/OSHA investigators with identifying witnesses and putting together a timeline of events. Cal/OSHA found the Superior Court at fault and fined the court $25,000.
I reached out to the media, and wrote and distributed press releases on behalf of the Union. I gave media interviews to advocate for telework for ALL at-risk interpreters, and for those with dependents. These communications were crucial to our cause.
Having a robust media and social media presence, gaining support from political organizations, and building our community are critical to getting our demands met. I am a strong writer, with abundant public relations experience. I know how to run an attractive social media campaign that can make a difference. Developing a strong voice will help ensure WE ARE HEARD. TOGETHER, WE CAN DO IT I am a person of action. I make things happen. I welcome challenges. Together, we can achieve whatever we set out to do. Let's aim for better pay that reflects our professionalism and allows us a better retirement. I want to know more about you. Let’s connect! My social media handle across the board is Coco De Salvo (Coco is my nickname) on Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and TikTok. On Twitter, you can follow @BegonyaDeSalvo. You can find a summary of my union activities at www.begonyadesalvo.com. I can’t wait to hear from you. In solidarity, Begonya De Salvo 2nd CAMPAIGN MESSAGE
Dear Colleagues: I am Begonya De Salvo, and I humbly ask you to vote for me as your new Union President.
Our current Union leaders have done an abysmal job. They have kept substandard financial records, excluded members from union participation, weakened the union's bargaining position during the pandemic, and have not complied with labor election laws.
Examples: ■ The Union has not disclosed proper financial statements since 2019, and failed to issue "Income and Expense Declarations" four out of the last five years. Union President Michael Ferreira and bonded officers bear responsibility for this appalling recordkeeping. Please read the email statement of Gloria Lindemann [attached], my running mate for Secretary-Treasurer, for more details. ■ Region 2 interpreters are up in arms over the Union's subversion of rank-and-file participation – and allege that President Ferreira and Vice President Janet Hudec excluded their elected representative from contract bargaining, "contrary to Union bylaws and past practice." These allegations are serious – and illustrate the chasm between Union leadership and rank-and-file interpreters. ■ President Ferreira and VP Hudec endorsed an outspoken anti-vaxer for "Lead Steward for Region 1." This person is no longer an employee and the steward position now remains unfilled. How can management take us seriously in negotiations when a main player refused to comply with the vaccine mandate and opposed widespread vaccination so critical to workplace safety? ■ President Ferreira and VP Hudec entered into a temporary agreement with the administration that surrendered, until August 2022, all bargaining power during the pandemic. It has now handicapped our efforts to obtain "hero pay" for the health hazards we risked while working in court during the pandemic – even as other court and county employees receive such bonuses. The Union made this decision unilaterally, without consultation from the membership. ■ President Ferreira and VP Hudec excluded me – a Union steward – from "Meet and Confer" negotiations for telework. I was an early advocate for telework – but Ferreira and Hudec claimed I was "not experienced enough" to join the bargaining. But Union leaders have shown that their "experience" doesn’t come hand in hand with good judgment. ■ Ferreira missed the deadline for filing his election statement – and then the election board (comprised of fellow executives) granted him an unwarranted extension. The Union bylaws provide no grounds for bending election rules in such a way. ■ Union leaders have illegally refused to release to me a list of all CFI members – in violation of the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act, 29 U.S.C. § 481(c). Under this federal law, I have the right to obtain this information, to enable me to reach out to Union members and campaign. For more on how Union leaders are flouting the labor election law, see my website, www.begonyadesalvo.com. Rank-and-file members are awakening. Members who have never voted before in a union election, or who in the past haven't paid much attention, are going to have a say in our upcoming election. We should no longer tolerate this terrible leadership.
Enough is enough. Use your voice and make it heard by voting them out. Vote for my slate, vote for the New Union: GabrielaMejia for Vice President, Gloria Lindemann for Secretary-Treasurer, and me as your new President – leaders who welcome all voices and who believe in transparency and inclusion.
Very truly yours, Begonya De Salvo CFI Candidate for President SECRETARY TREASURER CAMPAIGN STATEMENT-- Dear Colleagues, My name is Gloria Lindemann, and I am running for the position of Secretary-Treasurer. I have over 10 years of diverse work experience in business administration with specialization in finance, and I can see clearly that our financials are not in good shape.
I checked the CFI website in mid-November to examine the Union's financial situation and was very surprised to see that the last disclosed financial statement was for2019. We are at the end of 2021, and CFI only had budget projections for 2020 and 2021. This is substandard financial recordkeeping.
In my opinion, any organization with such large membership should have quarterly statements published and have available at least 3 years of financials. In fact, CFI had missing “Income & ExpenseDeclarations” for: 2017, 2018, 2020, and 2021. This situation shows that CFI's bonded officers have not been able to keep up with our financials.
When was the last audit performed? Why did we not get a copy? Is it because they have not been performed? Or is it because they simply have not been disclosed? I requested that the Union disclose their financials; the Union only instructed me to look at the members-only web site, which disclosed only a singleIncome & Expense Declaration,for 2019. There are only budget projections for 2020, and 2021; no further information was provided.
Please take a look at CFI's 2019 Income and Expense Declaration –
Would you like to have more information? Always ask questions, stay informed!
Transparency and accountability matter. I firmly believe that the depth and breadth of my experience makes me a worthy choice for the position of Secretary-Treasurer. A New Union is possible.
Very truly yours, Gloria Lindemann
3rd CAMPAIGN MESSAGE Dear Members, In my final message as your CFI President candidate, I would like to share five goals for my presidency. 1. Changing the tone. We will change the tone of our leadership and its relations with rank-and-file members. It is important that members have trust in their leadership. Without that trust, we cannot mobilize ourselves to demonstrate solidarity. Recently, when Region 2 interpreters sent a critical open letter to the current board, a board officer publicly accused the interpreters of lying. To publicly lob such accusations against rank-and-file members is outrageous and abuse of power. This destructive tone has to stop. I will promote transparency, integrity, and inclusion. 2. Fairer and More Democratic Elections: The union's current bylaws favor incumbents. For example, they provide no right to challenging candidates to access membership lists to order to obtain addresses, emails, or telephone numbers. This policy not only hinders candidates' ability to effectively campaign, but the lack of transparency hinders vibrant debate and fair elections. 3. Increasing Union Membership: Our current membership stands at less than 30 percent of judicial council interpreters. Many have resigned, disillusioned by the current board. We need to regain the faith of our rank-and-file members. Recruitment through outreach and grassroots organizing is critical. Besides regaining the trust of disillusioned members, we also must reach out to independent contractors. My running mate, VP candidate, Gabriela Mejia, a former independent, understands the independent workers that current board is so disconnected from. 4. Increasing interpreter pay—across the state. Our base pay should be commensurate with our professional training, in the range as other professionals – such as reporters – who earn six figures. An interpreter in Region 4 asked if my goal of a "six-figure salary" – which federal court interpreters enjoy – was a "reasonable expectation." My response: "I can't guarantee when we'll receive a six-figure salary. (A beginning interpreter in Region 4 now starts at $85,000.) But I can guarantee you that if elected as your President, I'll work like hell and try." a. Salary Steps in Region 1. Interpreters in Los Angeles, San Luis Obispo, and Santa Barbara Counties are without any step system. A starting interpreter has the same base salary as a 30-year veteran. This is a gross injustice and needs to change. Correcting this will be the centerpiece of Region 1 negotiating when the contract comes up for renewal in 2022. b. How do we achieve the pay increases?First, we need new blood in the leadership. A board officer criticized me for saying salary steps were achievable in Region 1. Why the cynicism? If other regions can achieve it, why can't Region 1? Second, we need to hire experienced professionals to guide us in bargaining. This will cost money – but if the union's bonded officers didn't spend nearly $300,000 on staff and their own salaries (in lieu of working as interpreters), we could use these funds to hire better advisers and bargainers. Third, we won't have sufficient leverage to increase pay unless and until we increase our union membership. 5. Achieving a safe and just workplace during COVID: Workplace safety and hero pay are a high priority. We have suffered great injury, not only with the death of our colleagues, but also those infected with COVID at work, while in the line of duty, and some are dealing with long COVID symptoms. This is a more than recognizable badge of honor and deserves a monetary recognition in a bonus. Vote for our New Union slate: Begonya De Salvo for CFI President, Gabriela Mejia for CFI Vice President, and Gloria Lindemann for CFI Secretary Treasurer.