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.

LSB supports bylaws changes to make boards smaller; rejects censorship

Good news from KPFA’s local board meeting on December 1: members voted to support Pacifica bylaws reforms which would reduce the size of the Local Station Boards from 24 to 16, and Pacifica National Board from 22 to 17. These changes, if accepted by a majority of the other local boards, will save the network money and begin to streamline governance.

Board members also discussed the initiating role of KPFA staff in the highly successful fundraiser for Pacifica’s WBAI, hit hard by Superstorm Sandy. In a tremendous show of solidarity, all five Pacifica stations pitched in for a national day of fundraising November 15, raising over $180,000 to keep WBAI from going off the air.

“It was really beautiful,” said Pacifica/KPFA board member and Letters & Politics producer Laura Prives. “We can survive if we do good radio.” | LISTEN to Prives audio, followed by interim manager Andrew Phillips thanking KPFA’s staff (2 min)

The meeting’s last hour wasn’t quite as inspirational. Board member Andrea Prichett of the United for Community Radio (UCR) slate brought a resolution targeting the staff website, KPFAWorker.org. Prichett, backed by Pacifica treasurer Tracy Rosenberg and staff rep Anthony Fest, has been conducting what some have called a “witch hunt” against the website for months.

“They don’t seem to understand either the First Amendment or labor law, under which such worker organizing is protected concerted activity,” according to one KPFA staffer, who preferred to remain anonymous, given the station’s history of firing outspoken workers.

Board member Dan Siegel, a civil rights attorney affiliated with SaveKPFA, eloquently laid out the movement history that Prichett and her allies were missing, respectfully asking her to withdraw the motion. SaveKPFA-affiliated board member Conn Hallinan, who ran the journalism program at UC Santa Cruz for two decades, said Rosenberg’s and Prichett’s lack of understanding of free speech and differences of opinion was “stunning” as well as “scary — since we’re talking about KPFA.”

The resolution went down to defeat, though every UCR-affiliated board member continued to support it.

LISTEN to Siegel on organizing history (2 min audio) &  Hallinan on free speech (1:30 min). You can also listen to the entire LSB meeting here: part 1 (public comment, iGM report, treasurer’s report) | part 2 (Pacifica bylaws) | part 3 (free speech and workers’ rights)

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!

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.