top
East Bay
East Bay
Newswire
Calendar
Features
From the Open-Publishing Calendar
From the Open-Publishing Newswire
Indybay Feature
Rally At KPFA To Defend WBAI From Illegal Shutdown By Pacifica Clique
by Labor Video Project
Wednesday Oct 9th, 2019 4:58 PM
A rally was held on Wednesday, October 10, 2019, to protest the shutdown of WBAI Pacifica in New York and the termination of all the employees and unpaid staff. This was a violation of the AFTRA SAG union contract and was done without a vote of the Pacifica Board. It also took place during the fund drive and in the middle of a national election at KPFA and all other Pacifica stations.
sm_kpfa_stop_union_busting_at_wbai_10-9-19.jpg
A speakout was held at Pacifica KPFA on October 9, 2019, to protest the shutdown of WBAI by a faction of the Pacifica Board and the termination of all employees and volunteer programmers.

This action has also violated the AFTRA-SAG contract. An injunction in New York has also been issued against this action.

A new entity called "Pacifica Across America" has also now replaced the WBAI website and it is run by a KPFA manager Quincy McCoy who is been named by this faction of the board as "consultant" of this new entity.

There was no vote by the Pacifica Board to shutter the station and also establish "Pacifica Across American" which made WBAI a repeater station with content controlled by the general manager of KPFA.

Additional media:

The Attack On WBAI & "Pacifica Across America”
https://youtu.be/lyamU2dvvtU

Layoffs and Canceled Shows at WBAI-FM, a New York Radio Original
https://www.nytimes.com/2019/10/07/business/media/wbai-pacifica-layoffs.html

SUPREME COURT OF NEW YORK STOPS PACIFICA'S ATTACK ON WBAI
https://popularresistance.org/supreme-court-of-new-york-stops-pacificas-attack-on-wbai/

New York-based WBAI radio abruptly shuts down
https://nypost.com/2019/10/07/new-york-based-wbai-radio-abruptly-shuts-down/?fbclid=IwAR2Y0ueaccc8hKAe0TA-3Rz9vCd7aqaR2YMXmt9FPa5jgxjFd-QYB_2Jqxc

CONTEMPT filed for in NY State Supreme Court Against Pacifica Foundation Officers
The staff of WBAI re-entered the WBAI studios at 388 Atlantic Avenue, in Brooklyn, New York, shortly thereafter and found the station office in shambles.
https://iapps.courts.state.ny.us/fbem/DocumentDisplayServlet?documentId=MismQ7u0AA82W5_PLUS_vdNPK7w==&system=prod

The Crisis in Pacifica and KPFA "What Is Going On At Pacifica"?
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bcGuunuPKhw&t=111s

Crisis At KPFA/Pacifica Network, Democracy &A National Alternative Multi-Media Network-Discussion
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-scgdXCXUIM

Production of Labor Video Project
http://www.laborvideo.org

Violating AFTRA-SAG WBAI Union Contracts By Faction of Pacific Officers: No Vote Of Pacifica Board Before Improper Anti-labor Terminations

Additionally, we believe the Company has already violated Article XVI(A)(1) by failing to inform the Union at least four weeks in advance before the layoff took place, thereby depriving us of the opportunity to “economic alternatives to the proposed layoffs,” of any nature.



From: Becky Hayes
Sent: Monday, October 7, 2019 5:52 PM

SAG-AFTRA demands to bargain over the effects of WBAI and Pacifica’s decisions to cease assigning work to SAG-AFTRA members employed at WBAI, effectively laying them off as of today’s date. We request to meet at the earliest availability.


In addition, in accordance with the collective bargaining agreement, SAG-AFTRA demands immediate payment of the following for all covered bargaining unit members:


-Four (4) weeks’ notice pay under Article XVI(A)(4)

-Severance of one day of pay per month of service (up to a max of 125 days) under Article XVI(A)(5)

-Payout all accrued and unused time, including, but not limited to, vacation, comp time, etc.

-Payment of any and all other monies owing to each SAG-AFTRA member in connection with his or her employment.


We would also like to highlight other applicable sections of the contract including Article XVI(A)(7) which provide that the Company “shall recall all employees on layoff within the previous eighteen months” “before hiring new employees” to perform the work covered by the collective bargaining agreement.


The demands above are on behalf of any and all covered employees, including, but not limited to, Michael Haskins, Reggie Johnson, Max Schmidt, Shawn Rhodes, Leonard Lopate, Jesse Lent, Ilana Levinson, Juliana Forlano, Graceon Challenger, Barry Brooks, Andrea Katz, and Ian Foster.


Additionally, we believe the Company has already violated Article XVI(A)(1) by failing to inform the Union at least four weeks in advance before the layoff took place, thereby depriving us of the opportunity to “economic alternatives to the proposed layoffs,” of any nature.


Finally, please see the attached information request, made in connection with the above demands.


Best,


Becky Hayes


Becky Hayes

Broadcast Manager and Labor Counsel

SAG-AFTRA

One Lincoln Plaza

1900 Broadway, 5th Floor



SUPREME COURT OF NEW YORK STOPS PACIFICA'S ATTACK ON WBAI

https://popularresistance.org/supreme-court-of-new-york-stops-pacificas-attack-on-wbai/
By Pacifica Radio in Exile, Popular Resistance.
October 8, 2019 | RESIST!
Above photo: Michael G. Haskins, a studio engineer, at work at WBAI-FM (99.5), where George Carlin is still considered “part of the family.” CreditBess Greenberg/The New York Times

NOTE: The Popular Resistance podcast, Clearing the FOG, started being broadcast on Tuesday mornings at 9:00 am on WBAI 99.5 Pacifica Radio in New York City in early September. Yesterday morning, we received a message that the WBAI employees were fired and locked out of the station. The staff moved quickly to reverse that decision and brought it to the courts, which decided in the middle of the night to restore WBAI. Sadly, the hostile maneuver interrupted WBAI’s fund drive. We congratulate the staff for their hard work to restore local programing and we look forward to being heard on the New York airwaves again. – Margaret Flowers

Watch a video report by clicking on the image below:



Berkeley-In the morning, a crew of Pacifica Foundation board members led by brand new IED John Vernile, locked out the staff at WBAI-FM in New York and then fired them all, told the landlord to rent the space to someone else and started piping in content from the West Coast over mid-Manhattan. In the night, the Supreme Court of New York told them to stop it and restored WBAI’s facilities, equipment, studio space, employees and control over the airwaves.

If this feels to you like a flashback, well there’s a reason for that. Two decades ago, the Pacifica Foundation locked out employees at Berkeley’s KPFA and started piping in content from Texas. At that time, the nonprofit’s board was united in their desire to teach KPFA a lesson and extract the millions in license value. Not this time. At least half of Pacifica’s elected board wasn’t informed, had no idea. and never consented. That’s probably why Supreme Court judge Frank Nervo (at home and in his pajamas) called a halt to things. This is what he said.

The Supreme Court of the State of New York has issued a stay and temporary restraining order enjoining the Pacifica Foundation from 1. Seizing any property files or equipment from WBAI 2. Terminating any employees of WBAI 3. Preventing WBAI from broadcasting it’s regularly scheduled programming. 4. Interfering in the business or orderly administration of WBAI pursuant to Section 1315 of the NYC Not for Profit Code and the Pacifica Foundation bylaws until a hearing to be held on October 18th.

The WBAI takeover followed immediately upon the collapse of a proposed set of new bylaws presented by the same folks who attempted to lock out WBAI, namely the KPFA board faction formerly known as Concerned Listeners before they were formerly known as Save KPFA and currently known as United for Independent Radio. For the bylaws amendment petition, the name used was “The Pacifica Restructuring Project“. They were joined by a few board members from Texas and Los Angeles. The petition to the members sought to install six hand-picked people as a new self-selecting board majority that would perpetuate itself indefinitely with broad powers to further change the bylaws. The petition, which aimed to install the six by January of 2020, relied on the existing national board to open a bylaws amendment period and call another election. The board deadlocked at 11-11, blocking the petition until next year, and the proponents resorted to trying to kick one of their opponents off the board, KPFA’s Tom Voorhees (an action which is still scheduled for October 26th at KPFA).

Denied their hand-picked six to rubber-stamp their actions, the group simply decided to go ahead in secret with the attack on WBAI with no board sanction. This secrecy meant that a number of things that needed to happen, didn’t: no meet and confer with the union prior to laying off union staff, no advance notice to employees and programmers, no notice to the landlord, and no consultation with the lender who holds as collateral studio buildings in LA, Houston and Berkeley.

Whether it could possibly be considered a sober plan no matter how carefully carried out is another matter. The lockout interrupted a fund drive in a process that would normally book around $300,000. Laid-off employees get severance pay and failing to meet and confer prior to layoffs results in a trip to arbitration. It probably wasn’t cheap to find a lawyer and dispatch them to Judge Nervo’s house in the middle of the night to argue unsuccessfully against the TRO. A repeater station still needs to transmit and WBAI’s 4 Times Square transmitter costs $12K a month. With no fund drive apparatus or staff and a program schedule of re-runs, where does that money come from? It’s unlikely to be the NYC audience whose programs were all canceled. An organization so desperately broke that it has to cannibalize its own radio station can’t fly the IED and at least three board members to NYC and put them up in hotels to do the dirty work. It doesn’t really add up. Most WBAI’ers concluded the end game is a sale of the station license for the tens of millions of dollars it will get on the open market as a commercially convertible license.

Besides its role as a cash cow to provide a windfall to other 4 stations, are the finances at WBAI really that bad or that much worse than the other stations? Once the predatory Empire State Building tower lease Pacifica stuck WBAI with was ended, the answer is not really that much worse. You don’t have to take my word for it. Here is a profit and loss statement for 2018-2019.

It shows an operating deficit of -$227,000 including the internal transfers that Pacifica calls “central services” which are not direct costs, but payments to the Pacifica Foundation itself to support the national office. We want to be clear that in the end, all of the Pacifica stations are going to have to find a way to break even or the long-term prognosis is bleak. However, if every Pacifica unit that ran an operating deficit of -$227,000 or more was shut down, all the employees fired and the station turned into a repeater with every single local program canceled, then the treatment would have happened to:

KPFK in 2007, 2013, 2014 and 2015

WPFW in 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2016

KPFA in 2009, 2010, 2011, 2013 and 2016

Only KPFT in Houston would be left standing.

In another ironic twist, the WBAI signal area in 2019 provided a generous bequest from the estate of a former WBAI fan of $583,500. A nice chunk of change that was left to the national foundation which promptly ratcheted up their annual spending from $1.82 million in 2018 to $2.49 million in 2019, an increase of $670,000 powered by that estate gift. Once it was all spent by national, they moved to shut WBAI down.

So what now? The Pacifica Foundation has been silent since the TRO was issued. WBAI staff and programmers are meeting tomorrow to get themselves back up and running. WBAI members should support the station right now and show it with your words, emails and dollars. (Mail them checks. The Pacifica Foundation disabled the online donations system). In other signal areas, please speak up. Your delegates are elected and you put them there to represent you so can tell them what to do and what not to do in your name. Each station has instructions for contacting the local station board on the website and they meet in public once a month. Democratic Socialists of America, who have a program on WBAI, are mobilizing to support the station in New York. In Berkeley, which is the most responsible for the attack on WBAI, there should be accountability with the listeners who elected these delegates.

Since this all just happened on 10-7-2019, plans are still being developed, but we are told there may be a press conference on October 8 at 9am at KPFA and speakouts are expected at the planned local station board meetings on October 19th and October 26th here in Berkeley. Other signal areas will likely also arrange some events. To be clear, about the last thing in the world our listener dollars should be spent on is Pacifica fighting WBAI in court. None of that makes the stations stronger, better, more engaging, more technically sophisticated, more politically pointed or more culturally rich. It’s our responsibility to back this misguided board up and make them support our stations, not destroy them.

If you value being kept up to speed on Pacifica Radio news via this newsletter, you can make a little contribution to keep Pacifica in Exile publishing . Donations are secure, but not tax-deductible. (Scroll down to the donation icon).

To subscribe to this newsletter, please visit our website at http://www.pacificainexile.org

###

Started in 1946 by conscientious objector Lew Hill, Pacifica’s storied history includes impounded program tapes for a 1954 on-air discussion of marijuana, broadcasting the Seymour Hersh revelations of the My Lai massacre, bombings by the Ku Klux Klan, going to jail rather than turning over the Patty Hearst tapes to the FBI, and Supreme Court cases including the 1984 decision that noncommercial broadcasters have the constitutional right to editorialize, and the Seven Dirty Words ruling following George Carlin’s incendiary performances on WBAI. Pacifica Foundation Radio operates noncommercial radio stations in New York, Washington, Houston, Los Angeles, and the San Francisco Bay Area, and syndicates content to over 180 affiliates. It invented the listener-sponsored radio.
§Lockout At New York WBAI
by Labor Video Project Wednesday Oct 9th, 2019 4:58 PM
sm_wbai_locked_door.jpg
The workers were locked out of WBAI on Monday, October 7, 2019, and the entire staff was terminated. They went to court and an injunction was issued against the illegal closure.
§WBAI "Free Speech" Radio Under Attack
by Labor Video Project Wednesday Oct 9th, 2019 4:58 PM
wbai_free_speech_radio.jpeg
WBAI was shut down by a faction of the Pacifica Board. They unilaterally closed the station in the middle of a fund drive and an election.
§Stop Eliminating Local Programming
by Labor Video Project Wednesday Oct 9th, 2019 4:58 PM
sm_img_4025.jpg
The management of KPFA has eliminated all local programming at WBAI and has made it a repeater station. Christine Pepin who is a candidate for the KPFA Local Station Board on the Rescue Pacifica slate talked about her concern for more local programming.
§New Operation "Pacific Across America" Takes Over Programming
by Labor Video Project Wednesday Oct 9th, 2019 4:58 PM
wbai_pacifica_across_america.jpg
Without a vote of the Pacifica National Board, KPFA manager Quincy McCoy was made a consultant to "Pacific Across America" which is now running programming at New York WBAI.
LATEST COMMENTS ABOUT THIS ARTICLE
Listed below are the latest comments about this post.
These comments are submitted anonymously by website visitors.
TITLE AUTHOR DATE
A New Threat To The Pacifica NetworkrepostThursday Oct 10th, 2019 10:31 AM
WBAI staffers say station’s parent company changed the station’s locks and tore up officerepostWednesday Oct 9th, 2019 10:28 PM

We are 100% volunteer and depend on your participation to sustain our efforts!

Donate

donate now

$ 97.00 donated
in the past month

Get Involved

If you'd like to help with maintaining or developing the website, contact us.

Publish

Publish your stories and upcoming events on Indybay.

IMC Network