The Superior Court of Mendocino County’s sole foreign-language interpreter walked off the job Monday in protest over the position’s pay and benefits.
Court interpreter wages are currently being disputed by the state union amid contract negotiations for Region 2, including the Bay Area and Mendocino County. The union and the courts have struggled for a full year to come to an agreement, according to the union’s lead negotiator, Mary Lou Aranguren.
Mendocino County court interpreter Tim Baird, who makes $36 an hour, is at the center of an unfair labor practice charge, filed by the California Federation of Interpreters union in October, after the court decreased his take-home pay by 7.8 percent (about $500 a month), taking the money for pension without bargaining, according to Aranguren.
Baird and other court interpreters started receiving benefits 12 years ago, when a Senate bill required courts to employ them instead of hiring them as independent contractors. For Baird, that meant 16 years of working for the court with no benefits.
However, Baird had only good things to say about his coworkers, and stressed that his cause was not personal.
“The courts here in Mendocino County have always treated me very well,” he said. “Hopefully, they’ll be able to treat all interpreters with equity.”
Judicial Court Executive Officer Michael Yuen, also the chairman of court administrators for Region 2, described their contract offer as “generous” during a one-day walkout in April, SFGate reported. Kim Turner, Mendocino County’s interim Court Executive Officer and lead negotiator, was not immediately…
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