Proposed Union rights bylaw receives staff support
From: Bob Lederer
Date: Mon Aug 19, 2002 5:01 pm
Subject: Proposal for guaranteed staff right to organize
At a recent meeting of the WBAI Unpaid Staff Organizing Committee, participants gave unanimous support to a by-laws proposal I had put forward back in May, as part of a broader "Statement of Principles" (see below): to enshrine in the by-laws the right of unpaid and paid staff members throughout Pacifica to organize into a union that would be recognized by management.
As we move towards final drafts, I want to strongly urge that this be included. It is INADEQUATE AND DANGEROUS to leave this matter to a mere resolution of the next PNB. Given the hostile ruling in 1997 by the National Labor Relations Board, Pacifica is not legally required to recognize a union for unpaid staff. By writing this into the by-laws, it would be very difficult for a future PNB to renege on this.
For reference, I have also included the full text of my "Statement of Principles" presented in May to the WBAI By-laws Revision Subcommittee. That night, there was considerable support expressed for many of these points, although some dispute on some specifics. (Two suggestions I agree with are the need to strengthen a) the preamble, to be clearer politically, and b) no. 3, to emphasize the importance of women's participation in leadership of Pacifica.) Again, the reason why I'm proposing all this for the BY-LAWS -- especially including the preamble -- rather than as simple resolutions or operating procedures, is to lock in some core principles and make it tougher for a future PNB to tamper with them.
Feedback on any of this is welcome.
PROPOSED PACIFICA STATEMENT OF PRINCIPLES
The Pacifica Foundation is committed to maintaining a strong
noncommercial radio network that:
As such, the Foundation commits to the following fundamental guarantees:
1. The Foundation and all of its local stations, in the selection and treatment of staff, national and station board members and appointees to various bodies, and in all programming, shall operate with equity, nondiscrimination, and affirmative action in terms of race, nationality, language, religion, citizenship status, class, gender, gender identity, sexuality, age, appearance, and disability.
2. Recognizing the centrality of racism in U.S. society and Pacifica's mission to enhance dialogue and understanding between people of different races and nationalities, the Foundation shall seek, to the greatest extent possible, to foster leadership in all of its national and local management, decision-making and advisory bodies, of people of color from a diverse range of races and nationalities.
3. The Foundation shall strive for gender parity to the greatest extent possible in all of its structures and programs.
4. All Pacifica facilities, meetings and public events shall comply with all relevant laws concerning access to disabled people.
5. Pacifica broadcasters shall have the freedom to discuss, and invite others to discuss, any topics of their choosing, including the internal business of the Foundation, with the only permissible limitations being any reasonable, clearly-defined policies the Foundation may establish to restrict personal attacks on anyone and hate speech on the basis of race, nationality, language, religion, citizenship status, class, gender, gender identity, sexuality, age, appearance, and ability/disability.
6. The Foundation recognizes paid and unpaid staff as employees and their right to seek union recognition under a common collective bargaining unit and to contract for their rights. Whenever the paid and/or unpaid staff of any Pacifica unit chooses to be represented by a union, the Foundation shall engage in good-faith negotiations with that union to contract for the terms and conditions of work at that unit.
7. All meetings of the Pacifica National Board and the various Station Boards, and any committees thereof, shall be open to the public, except for any discussions of litigation strategy, personnel or criminal matters that are deemed necessary to be held in closed session.
8. The Foundation shall accept no funding from for-profit corporations, and no part of the Foundation shall air any programs (except for recordings of music, film or video) that are funded, in whole or in part, by for-profit corporations.
(Note: I use the wording "for-profit corporations" to distinguish from non-profit corporations, several of which currently underwrite programming and provide direct funding to Pacifica. The wording may need to be massaged to allow the continued acceptance of donations of food by local restaurants or free computers and the like -- I am hoping that using the word "funding" rather than "donations" allows for us to continue making that distinction, but anyone with more expertise should advise me. Also, I wrote the exemption for music, film or video, since otherwise. this would seem to ban all music produced by record companies and soundclips from corporate films and videos that were played as part of reviews.)
9. The Foundation shall under no circumstances sell its rights to any of the radio frequencies in its possession.
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