Response to AFTRA condemnation
of Pacifica Boycott
(AFTRA statement lower on this page)
Fri Mar 23, 2001 8:14pm
THE PACIFICA LISTENERS UNION POLICY COMMITTEE ANSWERS AFTRA
The Pacifica Listeners Union Policy Committee holds that the current, illegally constituted Pacifica National Board has betrayed the original Pacifica mission and must be removed if the network is to return to its founding purposes.
The intransigence of the Pacifica National Board in carrying out it's campaign of union busting, purges, and the destruction of diversity in Pacifica programming demonstrates that only the most profound restructuring of Pacifica can salvage the foundation for its original purposes.
The Pacifica Listeners Union Policy Committee (PLU-PC) issued the first call for a nationwide listener boycott of Pacifica in October of 1999, and wholeheartedly calls on the movement to free Pacifica and the Pacifica Campaign to carry the boycott forward until it reaches its logical conclusion - the resignation of the Pacifica National Board.
The AFTRA Statement condemning the boycott says "we believe this economic boycott will endanger the livelihood of the workers at the Pacifica Foundation - and specifically our AFTRA members. We view this as an attack on our jobs. And our bargaining unit members were never consulted nor were their views solicited."
It is regrettable that the workers at Pacifica National News represented by AFTRA seem unable to distinguish between the interests of the Pacifica National Board and the interests of Pacifica's workers nationwide. Pacifica has, by now, a history of union busting, having hired agencies to successfully break the unions at its stations in Los Angeles, Berkeley and New York City.
With the exception of its loyal supporters at the PNN bargaining unit of AFTRA, Pacifica management has broken every major union in its network. We are certain this has not escaped the attention of Pacifica's AFTRA employees. There is presently a wildcat strike by part time reporters against Pacifica National News itself.
It is regrettable that the PNN employees represented by AFTRA failed to condemn the busting of the unions of their fellow Pacifica employees, and that they reserve their "solidarity" only for the Pacifica National Board and for their own narrow interests. It is regrettable that they daily violate the principle of worker solidarity, refusing to recognize the strike of their colleagues against PNN and Pacifica management.
PNN / AFTRA has remained silent in the face of recent purges at Pacifica's WBAI in New York City, and has remained silent in the wake of illegal lockouts and firings that violate union contracts there and at Pacifica's Berkeley station. It is regrettable that the PNN staff remains unconcerned about management violations of other Pacifica worker's rights, and uninterested in the livelihoods and views of those attacked by management throughout the rest of the network.
Now, as the Pacifica Campaign and its allies in the Pacifica Listeners Union and elsewhere call for a boycott, as Pacifica management continues to persecute fellow AFTRA member Amy Goodman of Democracy Now!, the members of AFTRA at PNN remain true to form. They save their ire for those who would strike back at a recalcitrant and illegitimate authority, while trying to link Goodman's struggle directly with the boycott they oppose, and thereby isolate and delegitimize her struggle, while pretending to uphold it.
The PNN AFTRA members say that the "Pacifica Foundation and AFTRA have maintained a productive working relationship." Indeed, the PNN AFTRA employees behave like any company union.
The same holds true of the AFTRA bargaining unit at KPFK in Los Angeles. Since the breaking of the union at KPFK, over 150 programmers, staff and volunteers have been purged at KPFK, and staff there are now led by Marc Cooper, who has benefitted greatly from the purges at KPFK in his rise to social power and influence in Los Angeles. Cooper is the closest ally of KPFK General Manager Mark Schubb.
In condemning the boycott of Pacifica, the PNN and KPFK staffs have chosen, once more, the wrong allies and allegiances.
It is the hope of the PLU-PC that the PNN and KPFK AFTRA employees might join us, instead, in the following, just, demand:
WE DEMAND that all layoffs and salary reductions resulting from anticipated revenue shortfalls due to our listener - sponsor boycott remain concentrated at Pacifica's National Offices, beginning with its highest paid employees, including Pacifica's Executive Director, Bessie Wash.
The Pacifica Listeners Union Policy Committee calls on Pacifica's listeners, and present and former staff and volunteers to boycott Pacifica, by witholding all donations and refusing to cooperate with the network until the Pacifica National Board is ousted..
The PLU Plan of Action and 15 Point Program which includes listener elections of Pacifica's boards, an end to CPB funding, an end to union busting activities, an end to mainstreamed programming, and an end to the gag rule throughout the network may be seen at pacificalistenersunion.org.
For more information on the Pacifica Listeners Union Locals in New York City, Los Angeles, the San Francisco Bay Area and Houston, write us at listenersunion@h...
Heidi Chesney, PLU Policy Committee, PLU Organizer, Bay Area
PACIFICA LISTENERS UNION 15 POINT PROGRAM
1) WE DEMAND the abolition of the "Gag Rule." We demand the abolition of the "dirty laundry" or gag rule and the initiation of a process of unscreened and uncensored discussion regarding these demands concerning Pacifica on the Pacifica airwaves and through other appropriate means that may be at Pacifica's disposal or under its control, including access to all past and present lists of Pacifica subscribers.
2) WE DEMAND the rehiring of any Pacifica staff person fired for violating the "Gag Rule." We demand the re-employment of any staff members fired for violating the gag rule and the replacement of any program removed from the air for violation of that rule. We demand the re-employment of any staff removed by Pacifica in retaliation for their opposition to the Pacifica policies under discussion in these demands.
3) WE DEMAND an end to political censorship.
4) WE DEMAND the end of racist and sexist programming policies. We demand the redistribution of air time to the oppressed peoples and communities Pacifica radio was meant to serve. We demand the cessation of attacks on and an end to the removal of programs devoted to Women, the Black and Latino communities and many other minority groups and a reversal of the wholesale removal of programs that Pacifica initiated against almost all programs with radical leftist content.
5) WE DEMAND that Pacifica's so-called "Five Year Strategic Plan" be rescinded.
6) WE DEMAND the firing of all outside programming consultants and ratings analysts, along with the termination of Pacifica's contracts with the Arbitron ratings service.
7) WE DEMAND the immediate cessation of all union busting activities and the withdrawl of all legal action against unions associated with Pacifica.
8) WE DEMAND the re-unionization of all Pacifica stations on the basis of new contracts that include non-paid staff in the bargaining process.
9) WE DEMAND the cessation of all CPB funding at Pacifica. This funding source threatens to compromise Pacifica's integrity in a way the founders believed they had made impossible. The CPB interference in Pacifica's internal affairs is no different than that of any other corporate or governmental sponsor, and accepting such funds violates the fundamental premises of the foundation.
10) WE DEMAND that Pacifica refuse grants from all foundations and other corporate entities and that it place complete reliance on its listener sponsors as the only safeguard of the foundation's integrity.
11) WE DEMAND that no Pacifica station shall be sold and that all plans for the sale of WBAI and/or KPFA and other stations be immediately abandoned.
12) WE DEMAND roll back of National Office management positions and of the National Office's level of centralized control to 1977 levels (as outlined in the Bensky proposal); the return of decision making power to local stations; and the sharp curtailment of the power of the executive director.
13) WE DEMAND the dissolution of all 5 Local Area Boards and the Pacifica Governing Board and their reconstitution based on democratic elections.
14) WE DEMAND the creation of a governance system for Pacifica that includes meaningful participation and binding decision making powers for Pacifica's listener-sponsors and its paid and unpaid workers.
15) WE DEMAND the popularization of the process of selecting general managers and program directors at all Pacifica stations and the emplacement of mechanisms of accountability to the staffs and listeners for those who hold those positions.
Members of the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFL-CIO) at Pacifica National Programming overwhelmingly reject the economic boycott launched against the Pacifica Foundation by a group calling itself the Pacifica Campaign. Juan Gonzalez, founder of the campaign, has said the economic boycott is aimed at the Pacifica National Board, even though these board members do not receive compensation for their duties as board members. However, we believe this economic boycott will endanger the livelihood of the workers at the Pacifica Foundation - and specifically our AFTRA members. We view this as an attack on our jobs. And our bargaining unit members were never consulted nor were their views solicited.
The Pacifica Campaign has said it is concerned about the personnel issues involving AFTRA member Amy Goodman, host of Pacifica's Democracy Now! We fully stand behind AFTRA's representation of Ms. Goodman to ensure that all of her rights under the current contract with Pacifica will be upheld. However, we reject any kind of economic boycott to achieve those ends. Indeed, any union participation in such an economic boycott could be deemed a violation of our current contract with the Pacifica Foundation.
AFTRA has represented staff employees working at Pacifica Network News and Democracy Now! for many years. During that time, Pacifica Foundation and AFTRA have maintained a productive working relationship Indeed, we have just successfully negotiated another collective bargaining agreement.
To summarize, AFTRA members at Pacifica National Programming reject this economic boycott for the following reasons: 1) any support of the economic boycott could constitute a violation of this contract 2) an overwhelming majority of the AFTRA bargaining unit does not share the views of this campaign 3) this economic boycott would threaten the livelihoods of our members 4) and the issues involved in this dispute are not - in any way - related to legitimate labor/management issues at Pacifica.
Our AFTRA members condemn any picketing, boycotts or other coercive
tactics that attack the livelihood, or reputation of our union members.
Such actions will not be tolerated.
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