Recall supervisor hired, but Pacifica silent on his qualifications

Pacifica has finally hired a supervisor for the recall vote against Tracy Rosenberg, according to this email from Pacifica’s chair, Summer Reese. But in response to questions from SaveKPFA reps, Reese has refused to give any information about his qualifications or experience. She has only told us his name (Matt Ward), that he lives in Los Angeles, and an email address (kpfarecall@gmail.com).

Ward also hasn’t responded to basic questions about when he will mail ballots, or how he will conduct the election. Margy Wilkinson, chair of KPFA’s Local Station Board, submitted these questions on March 20. Ward promised answers, but three weeks later he still hasn’t delivered. “Just trust me” doesn’t quite work with Pacifica: during the last election at KPFA, Pacifica violated the secrecy of the ballot, and threw out three staff votes in order to change the outcome of the election — an action that was overturned by an injunction from the Alameda County Superior Court.

“After months of delay, we’re glad the recall appears to be getting underway,” added Wilkinson. “But for listeners to have any confidence in the result, the process needs to be more transparent on every level. And it is unfortunate that Pacifica chose an election supervisor in Los Angeles. KPFA’s listeners are mostly in Northern California and having a supervisor in LA promises big problems with balloting and observation issues.”

Pacifica hires nation’s #1 union-busting law firm, Jackson Lewis

News broke this week that the Pacifica National Board majority voted to hire a notorious anti-union legal firm, Jackson Lewis, which the AFL-CIO has named “America’s number one union-buster.” Pacifica is the corporation that owns KPFA.

The nonprofit American Rights at Work notes that “under its polished veneer lies a for-profit union-buster…one of the oldest and largest” such firms in the nation. Jackson Lewis brags about helping employers maintain a “union free environment,” as well as mastering “concerns” with the Americans with Disabilities Act, including targeting workers who take medical leave. That’s according to sources cited by KPFAWorker.org, which published the story after union-represented workers at KPFA began receiving letters from the firm.

SaveKPFA has heard from many KPFA listeners who are extremely troubled that their donations will go to pay more anti-union lawyers. Bay Area attorney Sheila Sexton told us that “Jackson Lewis really is evil — there is no hyperbole here. I am a union lawyer and Jackson Lewis are true union busters. There are decent management firms out there who respect collective bargaining — Jackson Lewis is not one of them.” | READ MORE research into Jackson Lewis (PDF) by SFSU Professor John Logan

What the *&#@?* is going on with Pacifica?

“The move brings back memories of the struggle against Pacifica management over a decade ago,” writes KPFAWorker.org, “in which Pacifica hired anti-union consultants, installed armed guards, and eventually locked out its staff and shut down the station.” The hiring of Jackson Lewis comes on top of the more than $100,000 that Pacifica has charged to KPFA for other anti-union legal consultants.

Listener CJ Fandel wrote of the news: “This is beyond the pale! What in the world is going on with the Board of Directors!?” We’re trying to find out: SaveKPFA has sent this letter to each Pacifica national board member asking them if they support spending listener donations on Jackson Lewis. We’ll let you know the results.

What can you do? As an individual, sign this petition sponsored by KPFA’s union workers, demanding that Pacifica drop Jackson Lewis immediately. If you are a union member, KPFA’s union asks that you also work with your local or labor council to pass a resolution against the Jackson Lewis hire.

And please inform friends and family who are in the listening areas of the other Pacifica stations — KPFK in Los Angeles, WBAI in New York City, KPFT in Houston, and WPFW in Washington, DC. Ask them to renew their membership or become members of their local station. Members giving at least $25/year have voting rights. Governing board elections will occur at all five Pacifica stations this fall, creating an opportunity for positive change.

KPFA donors file complaint against Pacifica with Attorney General over recall vote

Charging that the Pacifica Foundation has failed to follow its own rules in holding a listener-prompted recall election, a group of KPFA listeners has filed a formal complaint with the state Attorney General‘s office, which oversees California nonprofits.

“It’s ironic and disturbing to see these tactics from a network founded to uphold progressive values of free speech and participatory democracy,” said Ying Lee, a longtime Berkeley activist and KPFA supporter. “Whatever their views on station politics, listeners should be outraged by Pacifica’s flagrant violation of its own bylaws.”

In September, hundreds of KPFA members signed petitions calling for the recall of Tracy Rosenberg, who serves as treasurer of the Pacifica National Board. Among other things, Rosenberg was the architect of Pacifica’s destruction of what was the station’s top fundraiser — the KPFA Morning Show.  She also pushed through measures that denied KPFA’s elected representatives their seats on the Pacifica National Board until they were overturned by court injunction. Read KPFA Local Station Board chair Margy Wilkinson‘s YES on KPFA recall, as delivered to the Marin Peace and Justice Coalition.

KPFA management certified the signatures as valid on November 1, triggering a December 31 deadline — under Pacifica’s own rules — to mail recall ballots to all KPFA listener-members. But no ballots were ever sent.

That may change soon:  SaveKPFA filed its complaint with the Attorney General on Tuesday, February 28. By Wednesday, Pacifica National Board chair Summer Reese indicated she was prepared to hire someone to run the election, and that ballots would be mailed soon — but she did not specify when.