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KPFA Lemlem's Ambush Of Flashpoints Producer Nora-Barrows-Friedman
KPFA manager Lemlem Rijio violated the union contract in her sneak attack on the Flashpoints program staff.
Nora Barrows-Friedman's post to Facebook Notes,
Don't know where else she may have published this. I doubt Nora's LSB endorsements, the ICR I believe, were popular with management.
My public statement on KPFA's attempt to destroy Flashpoints
Today at 4:26pm
Dear Flashpoints supporters and community,
On Wednesday, December 9th, two days after KPFA management eliminated
Flashpoints' Technical Producer position without notice, I was emailed
by Lemlem Rijio (KPFA's General Manager) to "discuss my concerns." I
had expressed the night before, in an email, the fact that without a
Technical Producer (TP), who also is our engineer and board-op, the
show was being put in danger. And it was going to be an extreme burden
to absorb the TP's responsibilities as well as those of my own. It was
inferred in an earlier email written by Lemlem on Tuesday that I would
become the editor, engineer and board-op on top of my regular content
and hosting duties.
This is the email Lemlem sent me at 9:50am Wednesday morning:
Pacifica HR director Ahmad Andreson and I will meet with you today.
Can you be here at 11:30am? You can discuss your concerns at that
At 11:30, I went into the KPFA conference room to meet with Lemlem and
Ahmad. I asked them why they had eliminated the TP position, and let
them know that it was going to be a nightmare for the show to operate
at this capacity. They said that it was an across-the-board cut, and
that everyone was going to share in the burden. I told them that it
was unreasonable for them to assume that I would absorb the TP
position on a daily basis on top of my own responsibilities. And then,
casually, Lemlem remarked that I was also going to be affected -- they
had decided to cut my pay in half, bringing my hours to 20 a week.
I'm not one to get emotional easily in front of people in assumed or
appointed power. But I was so shocked that I burst into tears, and
explained to them that it was already an extremely difficult situation
for my family -- my partner is having a terrible time finding work and
we have been barely making ends meet as it is. With a young child,
we've been pushed to the limit in terms of our ability to buy
groceries and pay the rent, let alone the utilities, credit card
bills, student loans and medical bills that are piling up to no end.
And I also took this as a sign of extreme disrespect for the job that
I do, and have put my body on the line for.
This was an ambush. I was not told beforehand that this would be the
focus of our meeting (see Lemlem's email above), nor was I given ample
time to prepare myself. Also, I believe this was a violation of the
Union contract because a Shop Steward was not present. I am filing a
grievance as we speak.
By eliminating the TP position on Monday, and slashing my hours to
50%, KPFA has made a decision to destroy the show. There is no way
that we can survive at this level. We have been amputated.
In the nearly 7 years that I have been a part of the Flashpoints team,
I have proudly put my blood, sweat and tears into this show. I am
privileged to have been mentored by Dennis Bernstein, who has nearly
killed himself for the last two decades to put this show on the air
day after day after day, with nothing but contempt and disrespect from
the KPFA power structure. Over the last six years, I have been honored
to take on the brutal beat of Palestine, and have covered it for
Pacifica listeners from the ground, oftentimes taking vacation hours
to leave, and raising my own money (or putting it on a credit card) to
get there and work for weeks at a time, dodging bullets and risking my
This story especially is one that I carry a great amount of respect
for, and I know that tens of thousands of listeners all across the
world depend on our Palestine coverage because there is no parallel.
Dennis and I have put our hearts and souls into this story, and all
other stories we cover on Flashpoints, because we feel that we owe it
to the people to make this show a platform for the voiceless and to
act as a beacon of truth and dissent against the powers that be. We
have survived death threats, verbal attacks, physical attacks, and
literal bullets. But we cannot survive the evisceration of our
production staff without a fight from the greater community.
As well as destroying Flashpoints, KPFA has also attacked Hard Knock
Radio, a show that, like ours, was already running at a stretched
capacity and also answers to the community. There will be more cuts in
the next few days to programs that we depend on. KPFA has taken their
actions, let's now take our own. I thank you in advance for defending
Flashpoints' right to exist and flourish as we press forward, at a
time when the White House prepares to send thousands more soldiers to
their deaths and traumas, and as millions of indigenous people in the
Middle East and here in our own backyard face expanded, lethal
I'm not sure what the next step should or could be, but I think it is
a good idea to formulate some sort of sustained, growing yet peaceful
outrage at KPFA's actions.
Onwards and forwards,
Senior Producer and co-Host, Flashpoints on Pacifica Radio