Interpreters strike courts in 3 counties

first_imgMore than 400 court interpreters walked off their jobs Wednesday at courthouses in Los Angeles, Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties. The walkout began at 8 a.m. with striking interpreters picketing five Los Angeles County courthouses, blowing whistles and chanting “No equal treatment.” Some of the estimated 75 strikers at the downtown criminal courthouse hoisted signs reading “Interpret this.” County court spokeswoman Patricia Kelly said the walkout wasn’t disrupting court business. “All of our courtrooms are operating normally today and we don’t anticipate anything other than that,” she said. The California Federation of Interpreters, representing the striking workers, said low wages and poor working conditions have led to a shortage of courtroom interpreters. The federation said there is a shortage of 20 to 40 interpreters each day in Los Angeles. Additionally, according to the union, wages are one-third to one-half what interpreters are paid by other employers. “Interpreters have only had two cost-of-living increases in eight years,” federation chief Silvia Barden said in a statement. “We’re excluded from the salary-step system other employees have that provides regular increases based on years of service.” The interpreters, who want a step salary system giving them a 5 percent raise each year for seven years, have been negotiating over pay since May. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more