The struggle to safeguard translators and interpreters from policies that misclassify us did not end in California with our victory in September 2020. Now there is federal legislation that would undermine the status of independent contractors who serve any hiring entity that does the same kind of work. It is called the PRO Act (for Protecting the Right to Organize), or HR 842 and it must get fixed. In the current session of Congress, it has already passed the U.S. House and is now pending in the Senate.
CoPTIC America is now stepping up to protect the professional livelihoods of interpreters and translators, language access for the millions we serve, and the civil rights of ALL. We are working hard to apply the lessons learned from the victory in California: to educate federal lawmakers, build the winning coalition, and rectify the bill now lodged in the Congress.
The Coalition of Practicing Translators & Interpreters of California, CoPTIC, was formed by a group of professional, working interpreters and translators in the state of California concerned with defending the independence of language professionals.
We are composed of court, administrative hearing, and medical interpreters; conference and community interpreters; translation and interpretation educators; and translators. We are all practicing professionals.
AB 5, aimed to rectify the misclassification of workers in several industries in California. Workers in some occupations deserve to be protected through AB 5. However, professional interpreters and translators prize the long-standing independence that has defined our occupations. Lawmakers learned of the serious risks from applying a cookie-cutter standard to our profession amid our lobbying to respect the autonomy that is a hallmark of our fields throughout the 2020 legislative session.
We worked with a proven, professional policy advocate who represents our desire to remain autonomous and be included in the list of occupations already exempt from AB 5. And we earned it!
Translators received a full exemption under Professional Services in AB 2257, the AB 5 clean-up bill, and interpreters a conditional one under the category of Referral Agency Relationship.
Winning the exemptions in 2020 preserved our livelihoods, protected the users of our services and language access requirements that afford people equal standing under law.
This is bigger than just us. The PROAct will affect every translator and interpreter in the country this time if not fixed.
Can CoPTIC America count on you to chip in, so that linguists everywhere and all the people we serve have a chance to win once again?
Because your contribution goes to support our strategic policy advocacy to protect the independence of our professions, it is NOT charitable or tax-deductible. It IS much appreciated.
Lorena Ortiz Schneider
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