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View other events for the week of 11/ 4/2010
KPFA Workers/ CWA Local 9415 To Picket Thursday to Oppose Cuts to a Quarter of Staff
Date Thursday November 04
Time 12:00 AM - 1:00 AM
Location Details
offices of Pacifica, located at 1925 Martin Luther King Jr. Way in Berkeley
Event Type Protest
Organizer/AuthorCWA
Union workers at America’s first listener-sponsored radio station, KPFA 94.1 FM, have mobilized to oppose imminent dramatic cuts to KPFA staffing by their parent organization, the Pacifica Foundation. The Morning Show, Against the Grain, Hard Knock Radio, and the Evening News all appear slated for severe program changes and/or decimating cuts, which may include other vital positions at KPFA. The station has already cut nearly a fifth of its workforce over the past year.


(Berkeley, CA – November 4, 2010) Union workers at America’s first listener-sponsored radio station, KPFA 94.1 FM, have mobilized to oppose imminent dramatic cuts to KPFA staffing by their parent organization, the Pacifica Foundation. The Morning Show, Against the Grain, Hard Knock Radio, and the Evening News all appear slated for severe program changes and/or decimating cuts, which may include other vital positions at KPFA. The station has already cut nearly a fifth of its workforce over the past year.

Pacifica’s executive director, Arlene Engelhardt, claims a budget shortfall requires the layoffs, but she has rejected most of the
proposed alternative cost-savings measures that have won the backing of the staff, KPFA’s Local Station Board, and KPFA management. Those proposals, known as the Sustainable Budget, would preserve jobs while cutting unnecessary board expenses and reducing bureaucratic overhead.

"We're shocked that Pacifica is disregarding all the recommendations made by the union," says Communications Workers of America Local 9415 shop steward Antonio Ortiz. "I don't understand how cutting a quarter of the staff will help the financial viability of the station in the long term."

“Even during these difficult times, KPFA raises enough money to pay for itself. But it can’t afford to pay for Pacifica and its
bureaucracy as well,” says Sasha Lilley, co-host of the public affairs program Against the Grain. “When listeners donate to KPFA, they expect the money to go to programming, not to governance and national bureaucracy. Since 2002, Pacifica has spent more than $2.4 million on its boards and elections alone.”

In the coming fiscal year, Pacifica wants KPFA to pay it more than $800,000, which is more than 21% of KPFA’s revenue.

KPFA’s union will be holding an informational picket at noon on Thursday, November 4 at the offices of Pacifica, located at 1925 Martin Luther King Jr. Way in Berkeley. The picket has been sanctioned by the Alameda Central Labor Council, AFL-CIO, which has condemned Pacifica for its “anti-union actions.” The San Francisco Labor Council has passed a similar resolution.

The Pacifica Radio network is an independent, non-profit organization that operates five radio stations: KPFA in Berkeley, KPFK in Los Angeles, WBAI in New York City, KPFT in Houston, and WPFW in Washington, D.C. In 1999, a struggle between KPFA and Pacifica became a national and international news story and 10,000 people marched through the streets of Berkeley to save their station.

For more information about the labor conflict at KPFA, go to KPFAworker.org. A fact sheet about the cuts at KPFA can be found at:
http://kpfaworker.wordpress.com/2010/11/02/what-kpfas-workers-want/

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Added to the calendar on Thursday Nov 4th, 2010 11:52 AM

Comments  (Hide Comments)

The people who run the paid-staff-only union at KPFA had no problem with the Pacifica National Board until they and their allies lost control of it a couple of years ago. Nor did they express any opposition to arbitrary firings going back to 1995, when dozens of individual and collective volunteer programmers, many of them far to the left of the Mericle-Alfandary-Maldari clique, were terminated by management.

The only expense by Pacifica that they consistently have opposed is the expense of elections to the Local Station Board. But they would be opposed to those elections even if they didn't cost a cent, since they don't want elected boards. They apparently think they have a right to run the station, a major resource of the left, because they managed to be hired or kept on as paid staff by the old, Clinton-Democrat management and, by not standing up for any principle, to survive the purges of the 1990's.

Unions should be supported against capitalists, the government, and pro-ruling-class non-profits. But I'll be damned if I'll support a union that exists basically as a partner of management against unpaid, dedicated radical activists and their supporters, and that even fails to defend some of its own members (like Nora Barrows-Friedman) who are not part of their political faction.

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