Why do I need to be a member of a Union as well as a member of a Professional Association?

20140721-122019-44419062.jpgMariella Reina qualified as a BSL interpreter in 2008. She feels strongly about the need for the interpreting profession to always demonstrate integrity, and to be united in pulling together to effect positive change.
Mariella holds the NUBSLI role of joint Equalities Officer (along with colleague Brett Best).
In the other part of life she likes long walks, time with family/friends, listening to Radio 4, films, art exhibitions, attending a tap dance class and dabbling with learning Italian and Spanish.
A Union and a Professional Association support you and your profession in different ways.

The focus of a Professional Association is aimed more generally at offering a supportive environment to its members and maintaining the standards within the BSL interpreting profession:
An example, of this would be:
• To encourage good practice in sign language interpreting.
• To work in collaboration with other organisations within the field, to benefit the profession as a whole.
Professional Associations will work to establish best practice, networking and CPD opportunities, to name but a few. In addition, they often do a lot of work representing members and the profession, meeting and advising external organisations. Your Professional Association is valuable to support you in maintaining and enhancing your practice.
The focus of a Union is that of workers’ rights: safeguarding the profession and individual members from threats to erode fair and appropriate working conditions.
A Union’s key aims are:
• Representing the workers’ interests and protecting their rights (e.g., job security, standards of working conditions, quality of life etc).
• Establishing effective relationships with key influencers including Government.
• Fighting for fairness.
With a good strong membership the National Union of British Sign Language Interpreters (NUBSLI) will provide the opportunity for the BSL interpreting profession to have a powerful collective voice, to be recognised and heard in negotiations. With the backing of legal advice, support and representation from Unite, NUBSLI can campaign and galvanise organised action if necessary.
NUBSLI, your Union, has more strength as a lobbying and negotiating entity. As a branch of Unite, the largest Union in the UK, it has the backing of an organisation with a long history of successfully getting the Government to sit up and pay attention.
The two types of organisation have distinct and valuable areas of focus and different capabilities, so a decision to chose one over the other might jeopardise the sustainability of the BSL interpreting profession. Join NUBSLI today and be part of that collective.

Clarity over CPD: It remains with the register

Any Sign Language Interpreter up to date in the UK will by now be aware that compulsory CPD has been introduced by the registration body, NRCPD and revalidation starts from registration renewal in 2013.
Many interpreters complained when ASLI members voted in compulsory CPD as part of ASLI membership. Many believed it would kickstart the NRCPD into introducing it. They did and ASLI members voted to drop compulsory CPD at the last AGM in September and leave this, rightly, with the registration body. ASLI has better things to be getting on with. ASLI can get back to supporting the members and providing support for interpreters to gain their structured and unstructured hours with quality opportunities at discounted prices. This blog has previously covered how to ensure you are completing CPD in a way that is value for money.
Any interpreter worth their weight not only knows the value of CPD but why we should prove we are doing it. For consumers, the profession as a whole and protecting it eventually. Not only do we have clarity but the trend that can already be seen a month on from the vote is that the number of ASLI members is increasing already.