It’s not too late! You can still vote in the KPFA election…

This year, KPFA ballots have to make their way to a central counting facility in New York by December 11. If you haven’t yet mailed your ballot, your only option at this point is overnight it to the collection facility so it arrives 12/11. [UPDATE: results are due this week, and we’ll post ’em as soon as we get them!]

Here are the 9 SaveKPFA candidates: Jose Luis Fuentes-Roman, Carole Travis, Craig Alderson, Paula Erkkila, Kate Gowen, Mark Hernandez, Barbara Whipperman, Burton White and Dan Siegel. Please vote for all 9 , ranking them from 1 to 9, or if you’d rather not rank them, give a “1.”

SaveKPFA‘s endorsers include KPFA stalwarts like Mitch Jeserich, Aileen Alfandary, and Brian Edwards-Tiekert, Sasha Lilley, and John Hamilton; as well as incredible community leaders like Rashidah Grinage, Sal Roselli, Raj Patel, Carlos Munoz, Jr., and Al Young. See the full list of endorsers here.

sasha_lilley_and_noam_chomsky

KPFA's Sasha Lilley with Noam Chomsky

Need a little inspiration? Sasha Lilly, co-host of KPFA’s Against the Grain, and co-author of Catastrophism: The Apocalyptic Politics of Collapse and Rebirth, endorses SaveKPFA. “While Pacifica’s governance system is clearly broken,” Lilley says, “it’s still important that people vote in this election — and vote SaveKPFA. If you think that Pacifica should not call the shots at KPFA, and if you support the work of skilled reporters and broadcasters — paid and unpaid — then please vote for all the candidates on the SaveKPFA slate.”

SaveKPFA‘s candidates are campaigning to support KPFA’s workers, deliver strong programming, grow KPFA, and defend the local control and network accountability we need to make those things happen. | READ What We Stand For

Incumbents from the opposing slate have made very clear where they stand: they backed Pacifica’s top-down purge of KPFA’s Morning Show, counter-demonstrated at union pickets, made excuses for Pacifica’s decision to hire Jackson Lewis (which the AFL-CIO calls “the nation’s #1 union-busting law firm”) and as recently as this summer, they pushed for hundreds of thousands of dollars in unnecessary layoffs at KPFA — even as the station was running a surplus. For more on the stakes, read this detailed endorsement essay by Brian Edwards-Tiekert.

Elections at KPFA are generally low-turnout affairs that are decided by relatively small margins. Every vote makes a big difference, so tell any KPFA members you know to look for their ballots and vote for the 9 SaveKPFA candidates. You can also forward this election flyer (PDF) and/or election postcard (JPG) to friends, and urge them to vote. Or ask friends to visit www.SaveKPFA.org or call us at (510) 969-9373 to learn more.

Pacifica National Board votes to “wind down” use of union-busting law firm Jackson Lewis

“It took hundreds of letters, over two thousand petition signatures, a picket from KPFA listeners and staff, and two strong resolutions from the local boards of KPFA and Los Angeles sister station KPFK,” said KPFA board chair Margy Wilkison, “but we got Pacifica to at least back away from employing those union-busters at Jackson Lewis.”

She’s referring to the fact that the Pacifica National Board passed a measure in closed session to “wind down” its current employment of the firm, which Pacifica hired on retainer earlier this year. The motion allows Jackson Lewis to complete work on three cases the firm is currently handling for Pacifica, as national board member Dan Siegel reported to the Local Station Board on May 5. | LISTEN to Siegel’s report (2 minutes of audio)

VICTORY: KPFK board votes against Jackson Lewis

get out of bed with scott walkerThe elected Local Station Board at Pacifica station KPFK in Los Angeles has just joined KPFA’s board in passing a resolution calling on Pacifica to drop Jackson Lewis. As at KPFA, the resolution passed by an overwhelming majority. This steps up pressure on the Pacifica National Board to act now to cancel Jackson Lewis’ retainer agreement.

Got a minute to make a difference? Last time the national board met, it spent its time discussing how to block messages from listeners. This time, let’s be sure they hear the substance of our message loud and clear: fire Jackson Lewis NOW! Send your message to the Pacifica National Board by clicking here.

Lively picket at Pacifica’s National Office demands firing of anti-union lawyers

KPFA’s paid and unpaid staff turned out for a picket on a sunny afternoon last week in front of Pacifica’s national office to show their outrage with the network’s hiring of Jackson Lewis, the nation’s premiere union-busting lawyers.

Labor journalist Steve Early addressed the crowd, describing how Jackson Lewis operates to undermine unions and predicting that both the political and financial costs to KPFA could be devastating. Unpaid staffer Tina Bachemin brought a statement of solidarity, noting that Pacifica is part of the “bitter struggle that’s going on now across America to smash unionism and wage war against workers.” Listeners, many of them union members, also showed up in force, angry that their donations are going to anti-union consultants.| SEE PHOTOS here, and LISTEN TO KPFA News report

Meanwhile, KPFA itself is struggling, as every fund drive in the past year has come in below target. And last week, a lightning strike knocked Pacifica station KPFT in Houston off the air for two days. Repair to the station’s transmitter will be expensive. You can help with a donation here.

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

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!

Apparently, KPFA listener emails are making an impact

KPFA raises it pacifica spends itAt its recorded phone meeting April 12, the Pacifica National Board (PNB) devoted a full 45 minutes to discussing emails it is receiving from KPFA members opposed to Pacifica’s hire of Jackson Lewis. Sadly, this conversation did not involve any re-thinking of the decision to hire the union-busting lawyers.

Instead, PNB members debated whether or not to block the hundreds of protest emails its getting from listeners supporting SaveKPFA. PNB member Ken Aaron (KPFK/Los Angeles) said he thinks the people writing to the board “are not human” and their communications were “spam” that should be prevented from reaching the board. From SaveKPFA‘s website, people have a choice of sending their email directly to the PNB’s address, or sending it via a web form, which is then forwarded by SaveKPFA‘s web volunteers. | LISTEN to 30 second audio clip of Aaron

Several PNB members said they were appalled at the proposed limitations on listener comments. SaveKPFA member Andrea Turner, who is 1 of 4 KPFA delegates on the PNB, thanked listeners for writing and said she hoped they would continue doing so. Turner pointed out that a member-driven non-profit founded to advance free expression shouldn’t be scared of hearing from its own constituents. | LISTEN to 1 minute audio clip of Turner

Efforts to block or divert emails sent through SaveKPFA‘s webpage failed by a one-vote margin, with these 9 members VOTING NO on the motion: Nia Bediako (WBAI/NYC), Wesley Bethune (KPFT/Houston), Lydia Brazon (KPFK/LA), Revalyn Golde (WPFW/Washington), Campbell Johnson (WPFW, Washington), Laura Prives (KPFA/Berkeley), Marcel Reid (WPFW, Washington), Dan Siegel (KPFA/Berkeley), and Andrea Turner (KPFA/Berkeley).

PNB treasurer Tracy Rosenberg, who is facing a recall from her constituents at KPFA, VOTED YES to blocking incoming listener messages. She was joined by 7 other PNB members: Ivon Alcime (WPFW/Washington), Teresa Allen (KPFT/Houston), Ken Aaron (KPFK/LA), Carolyn Birden (WBAI/NYC), Bill Crosier (KPFT/Houston), Ali Lexa (KPFK/LA), and George Reiter (KPFT/Houston).


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.