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Government Affairs December Update

Posted By Bill Rivers, Friday, December 8, 2017

Dear Colleagues,

As the holiday season approaches, we await final confirmation of Cheryl Stanton as the Director of the Wage and Hour Division of the Department of Labor. We are also tracking the tax reform bill, although its impact on our industry is at present unclear; the repeal of the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate

We’re also getting ready for Language Advocacy Days, February 15-16 at the Hyatt on Capitol Hill: https://languagepolicy.org/language-advocacy-day-2018/. Join more than 150 language advocates as we make the case for the Language Enterprise! In February, we will continue to press our case for improvements in the following areas:

As always, let us know what issues you face, and how we might help!

With Best Wishes,

Bill Rivers
 

William P. Rivers, Ph.D.
Executive Director
Joint National Committee for Languages – National Council for Language and International Studies

 

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ASTM--December Missive

Posted By Victor Hertz, Thursday, December 7, 2017

Dear Colleagues,

It’s the time of year for gift-giving, and so I present, in the spirit of the holidays, a gift which will keep on giving: the next (and I hope final) ASTM ballot on our language company foundation standard.

The voting on this last ballot of 2017 begins on December 13, so please be sure to participate.

This ballot, as I mentioned in my November note, focuses on outstanding negative votes. The F43 drafting committee has reviewed and responded to the feedback provided by voting members. Now, per ASTM procedure, those responses must be ratified by voting members via ballot.

In effect the three remaining negatives need to be found Non-Persuasive.

Read the ballot carefully and the well-reasoned responses of the drafting committee and then cast your vote (if you agree with me) to find the negative comments Non-Persuasive.

A brief note on voting, since some of the terminology in use can be confusing: Please be aware that if you do find the comments Non-Persuasive, you should cast an Affirmative vote. A Negative vote denotes agreement with the dissenting arguments. In other words, Affirmative votes will move the standard toward publication, whereas Negative votes will not.

Once we pass this stage of voting, the standard can be adopted in full, just in time for 2018. I am excited by the prospect of officially publishing the standard (at long last!), and encouraged by the thoughtful discourse and suggestions offered by many of you.

Your contributions have been invaluable throughout this process.

I appreciate your continued support.

On a related note, I’d like to invite you to attend the ALC UnConference in Amelia Island, Florida! We will be holding an ASTM meeting on January 25, 2018 from 1pm to 5pm (Eastern time).

If you can’t make the meeting in person you can access the proceedings remotely via WebEx or Zoom.

Of course, if you have any questions regarding your eligibility and/or details of the ballot, I encourage you to get in touch with me by email at vhertz@accreditedlanguage.com.

Finally, I want to wish everyone a happy holiday season, and a Happy New Year!

Respectfully submitted,

Victor Hertz
President
Accredited Language Services

 

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Government Affairs November Update

Posted By Bill Rivers, Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Dear Colleagues,

With fall in the air in Washington, D.C., our thoughts turn (naturally) to lobbying. On October 25, the American Translators Association (ATA) and the National Council for Languages and International Studies (JNCL-NCLIS) held the first-ever Translation Advocacy Day. Fifty delegates went to more than 75 meetings on Capitol Hill, to argue for better federal contracting policies, improvements to the prevailing wage calculations made by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and clear federal guidance on the use of raw machine translation in language access. The position papers prepared by JNCL-NCLIS are posted to the ATA website:

With regard to federal contracting, we are supporting efforts to restrict the Department of Defense's use of lowest-price, technically acceptable, and reverse auctions in the procurement of professional services, including language services. A section was added to the 2017 National Defense Authorization Act to that effect (read about it here), and it will be strengthened in 2018.

On the employee classification front, we still await Senate confirmation of Cheryl Stanton as the director of the Wage and Hour Division of the U.S. Department of Labor. Our collective state-level messaging and the hard grassroots work being done by a great many ALC member companies across the country will feed into this effort.

Finally, as always, we welcome your ideas and feedback. I look forward to seeing you at the UNConference in Amelia Island!

With Best Wishes,

Bill Rivers
Executive Director, JNCL-NCLIS

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ASTM--November Missive

Posted By Victor Hertz, Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Dear Colleagues,

I don’t know about you, but it seems to me that 2017 has simply flown by. And, though it may seem hard to believe, November is well underway, with the holiday season just around the corner.

But, before we can break out the turkey (to say nothing of the holly and mistletoe), ALC must take part in observing another November rite of passage: heading to the polls.

And what an election season it’s been! I’m of course referring to the ASTM ballot on new standards for language companies. As of today, we have passed the second of our three hurdles to adopting the new standard, but we have one more ballot to go.

First, the very good news: on the recent ballot, we received more than 60% participation of all eligible voters—in fact, we hit a high water mark of 84.62% participation in our subcommittee and 75.51% in the full committee. More importantly, we achieved the required 90% affirmative voting totals for both groups, with 95.23% affirmative in the subcommittee and 93.75% in the main committee. Congratulations to all my friends in ALC for a job well done!

Now we face a new (and no less important) third ballot regarding four outstanding negative votes. As you may know, ASTM’s procedures require these negative responses be found Non-Persuasive or to be withdrawn for us to adopt the standard. Once this vote succeeds, the standard may—after six years and counting—become a vehicle for enhancing professionalism in our industry.

If and when you receive notification of the new ballot, please consider voting to find the negative comments Non-Persuasive.

Meanwhile, I draw your attention to a second ballot and ask you to support three of our very own ALC members, Kathleen Diamond, Steve Lank, and Bryan Montpetit, for the Executive Committee of ASTM F43.  

The ballot will be open and accepting votes on the web until Tuesday  November 22, 2017. Please review the ballot sent directly to you and submit your vote before the closing date. We are not able to provide a link for this ballot because each link is personalized to your account.

As always, if you have any questions regarding your eligibility and/or details of the ballot, please feel free to reach out to me by email at vhertz@legallanguage.com.

I also wanted to take this opportunity to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving.

I’m looking forward to joining you all in taking major steps forward as we move into 2018.

Respectfully submitted,

Victor

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Government Affairs October Update

Posted By Bill Rivers, Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Dear Colleagues,

JNCL-NCLIS extends its sympathy and concern to all of the people of Puerto Rico, and to those in Northern California affected by the wildfires there.

In news of the Department of Labor, the President’s nominee to lead the Wage and Hour Division, Cheryl Stanton, had a brief nomination hearing before the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee on October 4. View her prepared testimony. In her short remarks, she notes the role that the recession played in sending many state unemployment programs into debt. In conversations with colleagues in partner organizations in the business advocacy community, Ms. Stanton’s nomination is viewed favorably; she is seen as knowledgeable, experienced, and fair towards businesses and workers. She most recently served as the Executive Director of the South Carolina Department of Employment and Workforce, to lead the Wage and Hour Division at the US Department of Labor.

As you’ve a seen in the media, the Congress and the White House must pass a number of critical bills before the end of the year. Funding for the remainder of 2018, an extension to the debt limit, among other items, will occupy Congress’ attention for the coming months. We will be advocating for our programs in the appropriations process, as well as pushing national solutions to the 1099-W2 issue. I expect that effort will gain momentum once Ms. Stanton is confirmed.

With Best Wishes,

Bill Rivers
Executive Director, JNCL-NCLIS

 

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ASTM--October Missive

Posted By Victor Hertz, Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Dear Colleagues,

A funny thing happened on the way to the standard.

Granted, that title would never make it on Broadway. It does, however, illustrate the sometimes-circuitous nature of ushering a standard through the approval process. Frustrating though the process can be, it is amusing (in hindsight) to note that the re-balloting was necessary for several reasons. Chief among these is the discovery that the ballot published had as its base a draft written almost three years ago--a draft which did not incorporate many of the changes made as a result of stakeholder feedback. I have no idea how this happened, but such are the mysteries of bureaucracy.
 
The new ballot (Draft 32, if you are keeping score at home) has been updated to incorporate a number of critical changes that, I hope you'll agree, are major improvements compared to the previously-balloted measure.

The ballot will make its debut on the ASTM website October 12, and I urge all members of ALC to vote in favor of adoption. If you have any questions as to your eligibility and/or details of the ballot, please feel free to reach out to me by email at vhertz@accreditedlanguage.com.

Respectfully submitted,

Victor Hertz
President
Accredited Language Services

 

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ASTM--September Missive

Posted By Victor Hertz, Thursday, August 31, 2017
Updated: Tuesday, September 19, 2017

To my esteemed colleagues:

As Labor Day approaches here in the United States, our labors in bringing professional standards to our industry are still not complete. After considerable time and effort, it is the conclusion of the ASTM drafting committee that the Standard for companies will be slightly revised and will again be going to ballot after this Monday’s holiday.

As the ASTM editorial board has not accepted the changes that we previously attempted to make as acceptable within the parameters of a second ballot, we must return to a first-ballot standard. This means, in effect, that we require a 90% vote in favor or abstaining in order to pass the Standard to the next stage. Although the changes that we’ve instituted are relatively small, they do satisfy the concerns of a number of key players in the process, and in my personal opinion do represent improvements in the language of the document. I would urge you to respond positively to the upcoming ballot if you are a voting member of the ASTM. Proximate to the date when this ballot is launched I will, as a matter of courtesy, ask ALC to send an alert to each of you as a further reminder.

Meanwhile, wishing all our colleagues in Texas and Louisiana a speedy recovery from the catastrophic flooding that has inundated that part of the country, and hoping that everyone has a festive and safe Labor Day holiday.

Regards,

Victor Hertz

President

Accredited Language Services

 

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ASTM--August Missive

Posted By Victor Hertz, Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Dear friends and colleagues,

We’ve reached the dog days of August, and as temperatures rise, we are slowly moving toward a critical decision in the balloting of the new standard for Language Service Companies.

As previously noted, we hit a snag when the editorial watchdogs of ASTM deemed one of our edits to be a substantive change in content. When drafting the change (which was included to secure an affirmative vote from one of the voting members), we had considered it a minor clarification in terminology.

However, ASTM’s determination meant that we had two choices: 1) abandon the change, risking the loss of a crucial affirmative vote, or 2) incorporate the change, even though that would require that the entire standard be re-balloted. This, in turn, prompted a discussion of whether the requested change was critical to the standard, or if the document could be agreed to as written.

So at this time, we are wrestling with whether or not to return to a full ballot of the standard before the F-43 committee, which would require a 90% affirmative vote. Alternatively, it's possible that the holdout vote could be persuaded to vote in the affirmative and allow us to move to the second (and hopefully final) round of voting. If this is the case, we would be seeking the approval of two-thirds of the committee members to find any remaining objections to be non-persuasive.

I was hoping at the time of this writing that I could give you definitive word as to whether we’d be voting at the 90% level or the two-thirds level. As it currently stands, the jury is still out. Whichever way the decision goes, I will be calling upon you in the next few weeks to vote in favor of professionalizing and standardizing our industry at the company level.

If a vote is scheduled prior to my next post, I will ask the ALC to send an emergency blast to all members to alert you to the need for your participation in the voting process.

So, my friends, I close with an optimistic note of “stay tuned and hope for the best.”

Respectfully submitted,

Victor Hertz
President
Accredited Language Services
15 Maiden Lane (Suite 300)
New York, NY 10038-4011
p. 212-766-4111
f.  212-349-0964
vhertz@accreditedlanguage.com

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ASTM Update

Posted By Victor Hertz, Friday, July 7, 2017

Dear friends and colleagues,

As Independence Day has come and gone this summer, we have much to celebrate, both individually and collectively in our industry. That said, we still face an uphill battle in creating professional standards for Language Service Companies (LSCs) which will safeguard our future.

As I write this report, we have achieved the required number of affirmative votes to move to the next stage in adopting the ASTM standard for LSCs. However, we have now hit a new snag, which may derail the process and force us to re-ballot the standard.

In particular, the ASTM editorial committee has raised objections to some of the modifications made to the standard. These changes were undertaken to clarify certain points and reassure the voting members that the standard would satisfy their needs. Unfortunately, in some cases the adjustments were flagged as potentially substantial changes (as contrasted with changes that are editorial in nature).

It's incumbent upon me to inform the ALC membership that if those determinations stand, it may be necessary to re-ballot the standard in upcoming weeks/months. If so, you can rest assured that I will alert you to that necessity. With that said, I remain hopeful that this latest barrier to adoption will be remedied in short order, without the need to return to the previous balloting stage.

Meanwhile, I urge you to be patient as the standard wends its way through the consensus process within the ASTM.

In other news, I invite any and all ALC members to notify me of other initiatives that impact LSCs, whether they take place here in the US or abroad. I will also take this opportunity to mention a blog post that I've published on the evolving scope of our foundation standard and what that means for you and the industry.

Respectfully submitted,

Victor Hertz
President
Accredited Language Services
15 Maiden Lane (Suite 300)
New York, NY 10038-4011
p. 212-766-4111
vhertz@accreditedlanguage.com

 

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Labor Department rescinds expanded 'joint employer' rule

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, June 7, 2017

By the Washington Examiner

The Labor Department announced Wednesday that it was rolling back an Obama administration rule that expanded the "joint employer" doctrine, the conditions for when one business can be held liable for employment and civil rights law violations at another company.

The move marks a win for business groups, which had staunchly opposed the Obama rule.

Read more ...

 

 

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