Orwell's KPFK "listener movement"
Here are some of the LIES being distributed by the so-called "Friends of KPFK" an Orwellian group in Los Angeles formed to spread propaganda with the intention of blocking Pacifica from returning KPFK to the mission. Notice that they are choosing to imitate the activists tactics of the free Pacifica movement!
There may be successes in terms of listernership numbers and fundraising at KPFK, but there's a catch: KPFK is a Pacifica radio station and has a mission which station manager Mark Schubb and KPFK is wildly violating in terms programming and management practices.
There is also a message from AFTRA, the union that represents many hijacker staff, that they will defend the rights of these individuals, as well they should. But backing individual's positions, even if those individuals are guilty of harmful and immoral actions, is like the PBA (police union) blocking justice for murderer cops.
Check out http://www.boycottkpfk.org/ for an alternative view
From: Friends of KPFK, firstname.lastname@example.org
REPORT BACK FROM THE PACIFICA NATIONAL BOARD MEETING
NO SOLUTIONS FOR KPFK’S FINANCIAL CRISIS!
VIOLATION OF LABOR STANDARDS!
CHAOS IN SELECTION OF EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR!
KPFK IS NEXT ON THE PURGE LIST!
Pacifica’s newly restructured National Board (PNB) has just concluded a weekend long meeting in New York City and, unfortunately, has failed to even address the potentially mortal financial crisis facing KPFK.
For the second board meeting in a row, and in a complete break with all responsible governance, the PNB as much as refused to even convoke a Finance Committee meeting. None of the network’s finances were even discussed. Station budgets which require PNB approval, were not even considered.
The $2.8 million debt racked up by lawsuits between two factions of the Board was acknowledged, but no plan of remedy was even put forward.
The need for KPFK to finish its transmitter and antenna project so that the station can return to full power was not considered or addressed.
Instead, the PNB concentrated all its efforts on extending its political control over the network, ignoring all financial ramifications. A series of quite disturbing moves were made that undermine all the claims of the new Board that it is restoring democracy to the network. Indeed, its actions resemble more closely a military junta:
1) Arbitrary Assumption of Executive Powers and Arbitrary Firings
Apart from ignoring the network financial crisis, the most shocking development at this week’s PNB meeting was the direct assumption of executive powers by the Board. This sounds obscure, but follow along with us for a moment.
The PNB is made up of unpaid volunteers who meet maybe 3 times a year. Pacifica’s by-laws are crystal clear. The PNB is PROHIBITED from getting involved in the day-to-day operation of the network. The by-laws clearly state that the Board is allowed to hire and fire ONLY the network’s top executive officer, the Executive Director.
On the eve of this week’s Board meeting the acting Executive Director tendered her resignation. Yet, just hours later, the PNB - by a decree that clearly violated organizational by-laws- summarily took it upon themselves to fire the current manager of New York station WBAI and to re-instate several employees who had been dismissed (some for stated cause) over the last couple of years. The fired manager was given no opportunity to defend himself, no confidentiality, or any due process. His real crime is that he was identified as being of an opposing faction to that which currently holds a majority on the PNB.
This arbitrary and patently illegal action by the Board will also incur uncertain amounts of financial liability to the network. It has given the fired manager a golden law suit to pursue in the civil courts. And the re-hiring of several questionable employees without any review whatsoever will costs tens of thousands in dollars in back pay.
2) Dissing the Staff Union
As part of its decrees and fiats regarding WBAI, the Board also ordered that station staff to affiliate only with a union that will also recognize unpaid volunteers as part of its bargaining unit. This contravenes all accepted labor union practice. It also effectively BREAKS UP a new union bargaining unit recently formed by the staff. That new unit was affiliated with AFTRA (AFL-CIO). The AFTRA national leadership is now preparing legal action against Pacifica for its arbitrary violation of the National Labor Relations Act.
***AFTRA’s statement in this regard is appended at the end of this message. ***
3) Chaos in Selection of New Executive Director
The Pacifica Board this week flirted with violation of all affirmative action hiring standards when it conducted only a three-day long search to fill the post of network CEO, the post of Executive Director. This led to open speculation that the fix was in, that the Board had already decided on its choice and that the search was pro-forma. To avoid legal challenges from the FCC and perhaps the Office of Equal Economic Opportunity, the Board finally decided this past Sunday to further extend it’s search.
In the meantime, the Board appointed former Pacifica employee Dan Coughlin as its temporary Interim Executive Director. That appointment drew an immediate rebuke from the leadership of the staff union, AFTRA. As AFTRA official Ken Greene pointed out the Board, Coughlin - while serving as manager of the Pacifica National News- "had a dismal labor record." Greene said that in twenty years of AFTRA's dealings with Pacifica, Coughlin was without question the worst, most abusive, anti-labor unit manager.
The new democratic PNB ignored the union’s counsel and went ahead and named Coughlin in any case. Coughlin has also been controversial within Pacifica for other reasons. He was an avid supporter of a factional economic boycott against the network. And two years ago he was removed from his post as manager of the Pacifica National News as he was found to be using his staff position to encourage the boycott against his own organization.
4) KPFK IS Next!
Make no mistake, KPFK is in the gun sights of this new steamroller Pacifica National Board. The tone of the Board toward the current KPFK and its management and staff was unremittingly hostile. With a certain arrogance and smirk, the new board Chair Leslie Cagan announced that the next Pacifica Board meeting will be in Los Angeles. The clear and unmistakable insinuation was that KPFK would be next on the list for the type of summary purge that the Board visited this weekend on WBAI..
Over the last five years KPFK has demonstrated unprecedented levels of growth and support. Our audience and income has doubled. The staff has trebled. The air sound has improved and professionalized and KPFK has stayed faithfully on the Pacifica mission.
But to the zealous ideologues who now control the Pacifica National Board, KPFK is nothing more than a rogue station. They argue that KPFK has turned its back on its real listeners. And that those who support KPFK and those who fund KPFK are irrelevant, because they are not the station’s authentic audience.
This is of course prima facie both absurd and delusional. But it is also dangerous. It means that the Board is willing to write off in wholesale fashion YOUR support for KPFK by telling itself that YOU are not politically correct enough to be counted.
It means that KPFK faces a serious threat of being steam rolled by a Pacifica National Board who will claim to be operating in the name of the people while ignoring the 250,000 real people who tune into KPFK every week.
As we said before, this fight before is ominous and uncertain. It is difficult to be optimistic. But the only chance we have restoring KPFK’s financial and editorial independence is for you, the listener, to immediately contact the Board members below. If you’ve already done it once, do it again.
Tell them very clearly: Hands of KPFK. Restore KPFK’s economic and editorial independence. Thank You.
Leslie Cagan, Chair of the Pacifica National Board
David Fertig, Pacifica National Board Member - (626) 798-3030
David Adelson, Chair KPFK Local Advisory Board - 310 478-3711, ext. 41961
Other members of the Pacifica Nataional Board
Teresa Allen, email unavailable at this time
AFTRA UNION LETTER TO BOARD CHAIR LESLIE CAGAN
January 13, 2002
Dear Ms. Cagan:
I am writing this to make certain that there is no misunderstanding about the action taken by the Pacifica Board last night regarding the AFTRA bargaining unit at Pacifica’s WBAI radio station in New York.
It is my understanding that in a vote last night, the newly constituted Pacifica Board essentially revoked the decision of WBAI employees to have AFTRA as their exclusive representative. This vote occurred even though the Pacifica Foundation has already recognized AFTRA as the bargaining agent for WBAI employees.
If this is the case, the Pacifica Board has committed blatant unfair labor practices by violating various provisions of the National Labor Relation Act. Unfortunately, the Board’s actions will result in AFTRA taking immediate legal action to insure that the collective rights of employees are both respected and protected. The Board’s action is particularly troubling in light of Pacifica’s proud history -- up until now -- of supporting organized labor.
In order to avoid an unnecessary and costly legal battles over the Board’s illegal action, AFTRA requests that the Board take immediate steps to ensure that the collective rights of AFTRA represented employees are enforced and that Pacifica fully comply with its legal obligations under the National Labor Relations Act. This can be done by signing the attached.
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