Time to renew your KPFA membership?

SaveKPFA will be asking for your vote in the next general election for KPFA’s Local Station Board this fall, but you have to be a KPFA member in order to vote. Here’s how it works:

  • It takes just $25 to become a voting member of KPFA. Donate at www.kpfa.org/support.
  • You have to give in the year ending June 30, 2012 in order to vote in the next Local Station Board election — so if your last donation was before July 1, 2011, you have to give again to maintain your eligibility.
  • There’s a bonus for giving now: gifts that KPFA receives outside of regular fund drives don’t get levied 20% by Pacifica National. KPFA’s Spring Fund drive starts next week, but if you give now at www.kpfa.org/support, more of your money will stay with KPFA.

KPFA’s board calls on Pacifica to drop union busters, picket scheduled Apr. 18

Jackson Lewis picket at KPFA

Jackson Lewis picket at KPFACOME TO A PICKET: KPFA’s workers have called a picket to protest Pacifica’s hire of union-busters Jackson Lewis and invite listeners to attend. It’s on Wednesday, April 18, noon-1pm, in front of KPFA. Be there, bring friends!

Since news broke that Pacifica has hired notorious anti-union legal firm Jackson Lewis, a petition against union-busting at the network has gotten nearly 1600 signatures.

Bill Berkowitz of Buzzflash at Truthout calls the development “a dramatic and disturbing departure from Pacifica’s progressive origins.” In his Politics in the Zeros blogBob Morris said the news showed that “the national board now directly opposes everything Pacifica used to stand for.” Labor journalist Dick Meister, who does a weekly show at sister station KPFT told the California Federation of Labor that he was “appalled at what seems to be happening.” The news has been covered in the labor press, as well as Matthew Lasar‘s Radio Survivor blog, San Francisco’s Fog City Journal, and Current, a magazine on public broadcasting.

Contrary to Pacifica’s portrayal of Jackson Lewis as being brought in under an “insurance deductible” in which Pacifica had “no choice,” it has been confirmed that Pacifica’s executive director Arlene Engelhardt, strongly recommended the firm to the Pacifica National Board (PNB), which then voted to put it on a general retainer. Engelhardt admitted in an online blog that Jackson Lewis is on retainer and doing “non-litigation” work such as arbitrations. In the same blog, Engelhardt attacked KPFA’s staff, saying she was “deeply disappointed” in their “integrity and professionalism,” while praising the anti-union lawyers, saying they had “saved [Pacifica] money” and done “an exemplary job.”

return kpfa to us NOWMembers of KPFA’s Local Station Board brought a strong resolution against law firm Jackson Lewis at their April 7 meeting. You’d think severing ties with the nation’s top union-busting firm would be a no-brainer, but in the discussion, KPFA board member Tracy Rosenberg (who is also Pacifica’s national board treasurer) defended their hiring. Rosenberg said she voted to hire Jackson Lewis because it was “aggressive” and Pacifica “needed” an aggressive law firm. It is clear that Pacifica National Board members discussed Jackson Lewis’ anti-union reputation before voting to hire it.

KPFA boardmember Conn Hallinan said the signed retainer agreement with Jackson Lewis “refers very specifically to the fact that the firm was hired to deal with ‘general labor issues,’ but I don’t care…what they were hired to do,” he said. “The idea that we would give our members’ money to fuel an anti-democratic, anti-worker, anti-progressive organization like this is just beyond belief,” said Hallinan. | LISTEN to audio of Conn Hallinan (2:30 min)| LISTEN to entire LSB meeting: part 1, part 2part 3 (Jackson Lewis discussion), part 4

You made the difference! Thanks to pressure from the hundreds of listeners who signed petitions and wrote in, even Tracy Rosenberg ultimately voted for the resolution calling on Pacifica to end its relationship with the controversial firm. An amended version of the resolution passed KPFA’s board by a vote of 15-0 with 2 abstentions. The unanimous, cross-factional resolution from KPFA’s Local Station Board will increase pressure on Pacifica.

LET’S KEEP UP THE PRESSURE: click here to send an email demanding the Pacifica National Board terminate all contracts with Jackson Lewis!

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.”