Sara Steffens, CFI try to ignore bylaws proposal

CFI appoints Aranguren, Ferreira and Taira to bylaws committee

The CFI and Executive Director Sara Steffens have performed an abrupt about-face on member participation in the process of drafting bylaws for Local 39000. At first, Torrone claimed that they welcomed members’ input, writing on April 15,

Your unit council has been communicating with both Sara and Bernie and has appointed a committee that will be putting out an outline and a rough draft of the new bylaws.  We should have something for you to sink your teeth into within a couple of weeks.  Remember, this process belongs to us all, and the CFI Board is only facilitating it––the ultimate decision rests with you, the members.

Your input is VITAL.

It was Torrone who capitalized the word, vital, which means “necessary,” “key,” “imperative,” “critical,” “indispensable,” and “crucial.” But in less than a week, the CFI not only was not inviting input, they were trying to keep the entire process under wraps.

What happened to make them change their minds? What happened is some interpreters took them up on their invitation and submitted their own proposal. On April 18, they sent Sara Steffens the Draft Bylaws for a Worker-Run Local and asked that it be posted to the CFI Web site and submitted to the membership for a vote. However, in a subsequent phone call, Steffens indicated that this was not going to happen. In other words, the union was going to censor their proposal.

Torrone did send out the following message on April 23:

Message to Members on Bylaws

Good morning everybody,

There seems to be some confusion out there about our new bylaws.

The CFI Unit Council, working closely with Sara Steffens and Bernie Lunzer of TNG-CWA, is drafting a new set of bylaws, which will be presented to all members for their approval.

However this document is not yet ready. We hope to have a draft for you to review in a matter of days. These bylaws will be distributed through official CFI channels once available.

Maybe the confusion lies with Ariel’s understanding of the word, VITAL. Maybe he thought that it meant, “NOT NECESSARY, THANK YOU.”

At a Region 1 question-and-answer session on April 25, the CFI leaders didn’t even mention the bylaws process until someone brought it up. Mary Lou Aranguren did admit that they had already appointed her, Mike Ferreira and Camille Taiara to the bylaws committee. However, Aranguren, Ferreira and Silvia Barden declined to  comment on the rank-and-file proposal.

Follow this link to sign a petition to Bernie Lunzer if you agree that members should have a say in the kind of local they are going to have:


  1. Anonymous says:

    Why are you guys trying to add fuel to the fire? Does it bother you so much that CFI decided to go their own way? Instead of causing more conflict why don’t you lend a hand to your sister union? Your “if you are not with me you are against me” attitude is really sad. Let it go… Move on… Live and let live… Just back off!

  2. I think all interpreters are glad that the CFI is going to be a local. The issue is not the split with the PMWG, but how the CFI leadership went about it. They never consult the membership on anything and only inform us of their activities after the fact. A case in point is Ariel Torrone’s and Mike Ferreira’s secret trip to Washington, paid for out of funds from the Professional Division. They were never going to tell members about this trip.
    Now we are trying to have a say in the structure of our new local, but the same small hand-picked group of insiders have rejected our proposal and are pretending it doesn’t exist. This is undemocratic. They need to stop patronizing the membership and open up the process.

    • Carmen Ramos says:

      Please move on. This no longer concerns you. And why sign Admin? Does Admin have nothing better to do than throw cheap shots at our CFI leaders?

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