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Why Is KPFA's Manager Keeping Mark Mericle On The Air & Costing the Station Thousands?

by repost
KPFA's manager continues to keep KPFA news director on the air even though he faces serious charges of sexual harassment. The same KPFA manager put pro-war propagandist and Philadelphia police supporter Ian Masters on the air or 9 hours a week. Masters is for the continued imprisonment of Mumia Abu-Jamal. What is going on at KPFA?
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KPFA News Host & Former CWA 9415 VP Mark Mericle Secret Lawsuit Hidden By KPFA Managers But Still On The Air
Mericle Is Big Backer Of KPFA "Protectors"
Mericle has been a contractual vice-president at CWA 9415 for 10 of the last 16 years.
ANOTHER SECRET LAWSUIT
https://pacificainexile.org/archives/10129


Berkeley – We know it has been a long time since we’ve written. A lot is happening at Pacifica Radio, and a lot is also happening in our own lives, which has made the labor involved in following Pacifica happenings so closely less viable. But we will keep the option open when there is significant news that otherwise would not be distributed. Before we begin, a few disclaimers. All of the information provided here is drawn from public court filings in the Alameda Superior Court. All individuals are presumed innocent until proven guilty and allegations are just allegations until proven. However, we find it unconscionable that several members of KPFA’s Local Station Board were not aware of this lawsuit’s existence until last week. Board members should not have to monitor court records to discover litigation against their organization. And some of the issues regarding station response are significant whether the allegations are true, false or some of both.
Elected members of KFA’s local station board were startled last week to discover that a lawsuit against KPFA and Pacifica had been pending since May of 2022 with no notification to them. The plaintiff is Francisco Torres De La Rosa, who described himself as a 54 year old man who is married with two children and has limited English fluency. Mr. Torres De La Rosa was employed as a maintenance worker at KPFA in Berkeley from 2015 to 2021. De La Rosa alleges that beginning in 2019, news co-director and 41 year KPFA employee Mark Mericle “repeatedly and forcibly grabbed his buttocks and laughed at him when he recoiled and expressed distress, followed him to the bathroom and blocked him inside of it, and stared and leered at him in a harassing way”. Torres De La Rosa alleges he complained to his female supervisor, who is unnamed in the complaint, but seems likely to be business manager Maria Negret, and the response he received was “Well, he’s gay”. Torres De La Rosa then alleges he elevated his complaint to the “general director”, who is unnamed in the complaint, but seems likely to be general manager Quincy McCoy, and was told he “had to get along with everybody”. When Torres De La Rosa alleges he pushed the complaint about sexual assault to Pacifica Human Resources (again unnamed in the complaint), there was no remedial action taken.
In late May of 2021, Torres De La Rosa filed a complaint with the Department of Fair Housing Employment. Within 20 days of that filing, he was relieved of all his work duties, fired and “barred from entering the station”. Pacifica claimed the reason for the discharge was an injury suffered at work (not clear if the injury happened at KPFA itself) which limited Torres De La Rosa’s physical ability to perform a maintenance job. The lawsuit against KPFA has 17 causes of action including retaliation, failure to lawfully accommodate disability, failure to prevent sexual assault in the workplace, sexual battery, discrimination for national origin, and wrongful termination. Unless settled, the lawsuit is currently scheduled for jury trial in December of 2023. You can read the entire complaint here.
The response filed by Mark Mericle and his attorneys is largely a technocratic exercise focusing on legal process, but there are a few affirmative statements. Mericle states in his 14th Affirmative Defense that to the extent the plaintiff suffered any emotional distress that it was related to a pre-existing psychological disorder. Mericle states in his 26th Affirmative Defense that the claims are barred because he does not have supervisory authority at KPFA. Mericle states in his 27th Affirmative Defense that the plaintiff “welcomed his conduct” and again his 33rd Affirmative defense that the plaintiff “consented to the alleged physical contact”. In his 31st Affirmative Defense, Mericle states that his actions are protected by the free speech provisions of the 1st Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. In his 37th Affirmative Defense, Mericle cites a collective bargaining agreement that requires arbitration. It isn’t clear if the reference is to KPFA’s bargaining agreement with CWA 9415 or some other bargaining agreement. Mericle has been a contractual vice-president at CWA 9415 for 10 of the last 16 years. You can read Mericle’s entire answer to the complaint here.
What can be determined at this time is that individuals in the position of “female supervisor” and “general director” of KPFA from 2019-2021 did not act according to the instructions in Pacifica’s personnel handbook when confronted with a complaint of sexual battery at work. The Pacifica stations were besieged with sexual harassment complaints in the early 2000’s and a great deal of work was done at the national level to rewrite internal policies and personnel handbooks and provide sexual harassment training to all employees. It is disappointing to see so little progress after all that additional work and training. The concealment of this lawsuit from the KPFA local station board for 9 months was inappropriate. Board members cannot perform their duties in the dark.

KPFA News Director & Former CWA 9415 VP Mark Mericle Secret Lawsuit Hidden By KPFA Managers But Still On The Air Cost KPFA & Pacifica Tens of Thousands of Dollars
Mericle Is Backer Of KPFA "Protectors"
ANOTHER SECRET LAWSUIT
https://pacificainexile.org/archives/10129
FEBRUARY 20, 2023

Berkeley – We know it has been a long time since we’ve written. A lot is happening at Pacifica Radio, and a lot is also happening in our own lives, which has made the labor involved in following Pacifica happenings so closely less viable. But we will keep the option open when there is significant news that otherwise would not be distributed. Before we begin, a few disclaimers. All of the information provided here is drawn from public court filings in the Alameda Superior Court. All individuals are presumed innocent until proven guilty and allegations are just allegations until proven. However, we find it unconscionable that several members of KPFA’s Local Station Board were not aware of this lawsuit’s existence until last week. Board members should not have to monitor court records to discover litigation against their organization. And some of the issues regarding station response are significant whether the allegations are true, false or some of both.
Elected members of KFA’s local station board were startled last week to discover that a lawsuit against KPFA and Pacifica had been pending since May of 2022 with no notification to them. The plaintiff is Francisco Torres De La Rosa, who described himself as a 54 year old man who is married with two children and has limited English fluency. Mr. Torres De La Rosa was employed as a maintenance worker at KPFA in Berkeley from 2015 to 2021. De La Rosa alleges that beginning in 2019, news co-director and 41 year KPFA employee Mark Mericle “repeatedly and forcibly grabbed his buttocks and laughed at him when he recoiled and expressed distress, followed him to the bathroom and blocked him inside of it, and stared and leered at him in a harassing way”. Torres De La Rosa alleges he complained to his female supervisor, who is unnamed in the complaint, but seems likely to be business manager Maria Negret, and the response he received was “Well, he’s gay”. Torres De La Rosa then alleges he elevated his complaint to the “general director”, who is unnamed in the complaint, but seems likely to be general manager Quincy McCoy, and was told he “had to get along with everybody”. When Torres De La Rosa alleges he pushed the complaint about sexual assault to Pacifica Human Resources (again unnamed in the complaint), there was no remedial action taken.
In late May of 2021, Torres De La Rosa filed a complaint with the Department of Fair Housing Employment. Within 20 days of that filing, he was relieved of all his work duties, fired and “barred from entering the station”. Pacifica claimed the reason for the discharge was an injury suffered at work (not clear if the injury happened at KPFA itself) which limited Torres De La Rosa’s physical ability to perform a maintenance job. The lawsuit against KPFA has 17 causes of action including retaliation, failure to lawfully accommodate disability, failure to prevent sexual assault in the workplace, sexual battery, discrimination for national origin, and wrongful termination. Unless settled, the lawsuit is currently scheduled for jury trial in December of 2023. You can read the entire complaint here.
The response filed by Mark Mericle and his attorneys is largely a technocratic exercise focusing on legal process, but there are a few affirmative statements. Mericle states in his 14th Affirmative Defense that to the extent the plaintiff suffered any emotional distress that it was related to a pre-existing psychological disorder. Mericle states in his 26th Affirmative Defense that the claims are barred because he does not have supervisory authority at KPFA. Mericle states in his 27th Affirmative Defense that the plaintiff “welcomed his conduct” and again his 33rd Affirmative defense that the plaintiff “consented to the alleged physical contact”. In his 31st Affirmative Defense, Mericle states that his actions are protected by the free speech provisions of the 1st Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. In his 37th Affirmative Defense, Mericle cites a collective bargaining agreement that requires arbitration. It isn’t clear if the reference is to KPFA’s bargaining agreement with CWA 9415 or some other bargaining agreement. Mericle has been a contractual vice-president at CWA 9415 for 10 of the last 16 years. You can read Mericle’s entire answer to the complaint here.
What can be determined at this time is that individuals in the position of “female supervisor” and “general director” of KPFA from 2019-2021 did not act according to the instructions in Pacifica’s personnel handbook when confronted with a complaint of sexual battery at work. The Pacifica stations were besieged with sexual harassment complaints in the early 2000’s and a great deal of work was done at the national level to rewrite internal policies and personnel handbooks and provide sexual harassment training to all employees. It is disappointing to see so little progress after all that additional work and training. The concealment of this lawsuit from the KPFA local station board for 9 months was inappropriate. Board members cannot perform their duties in the dark.

Mark Mericle Left Off The “Protectors” List of Endorsers This Year?
KPFA Protector Endorsed Candidates are Endorsed by these Powerful KPFA & Community Voices:

Mitch Jeserich, Cat Brooks, Brian Edwards-Tiekert, Kris Welch, Aileen Alfandary, Sabrina Jacobs, Philip Maldari, Sasha Lilley,Richard Wolinsky, Diana Martinez, C.S. Soong, TimLynch, Vanessa Tait, Donald Goldmacher, Fred Dodsworth, Steve Early, Suzanne Gordon, Christina Huggins, Darlene Pagano, Carol Wolfley, Terry Paris, Aki Tanaka, Rev. Kurt A. Kuhwald, Catherine Tactaquin, Zack Kaldveer, Brian Crowell, Leslie Howard, Bill Anelli,Stefan Thuillot, Susan & Michael McCormick, And Many More...


SAVE KPFA Endorses “The Protectors”
Vote for the KPFA Protectors candidates for Local Station Board
https://savekpfa.org
August 19, 2021 by Save KPFA
Please support all the KPFA Protectors candidates in the station’s Local Station Board Election. If you are a listener, please vote for the 8 listener candidates, and if you are an unpaid or paid staff member, please vote for the 4 staff candidates. They are a talented, diverse and sane group, who support independent, community responsive radio and KPFA’s mission.


Tags KPFA, KPFA Protectors, local station board election, Pacifica Radio
ENDORSERS
KPFA staff endorsements

Mitch Jeserich, Letters & Politics, Producer & Host
Brian Edwards-Tiekert, KPFA’s UpFront, co-host
Aileen Alfandary, Co-Director, KPFA News
Bonnie Simmons, Host, The Bonnie Simmons Show, former KPFA LSB, Pacifica National Board
Sasha Lilley, Against the Grain, Producer & Host
Jim Bennett, former KPFA interim general manager & operations director, former Pacifica National Board member
Miguel Guerrero, Web Producer & Producer, Rock and Rebellion
Philip Maldari, Sunday Show, Producer & Host
Kris Welch, Living Room & Saturday Morning Talkies, Producer & Host
Mark Mericle, Co-Director, KPFA News
Jan Etre, Crafts Fair Coordinator
Laura Prives, Letters & Politics, Executive Producer
Max Pringle, News Reporter
Diana Martinez, Letters & Politics
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