Pacifica Radio Lays off the Entire Staff of KPFA’s Morning Show

For Immediate Release

CWA Local 9415
Contact: 

Sasha Lilley, KPFA’s Against the Grain, 510-848-6767 ext 265, sasha@kpfa.org
Christina Huggins, Executive Vice President, CWA Local 9415, 415-994-8828, CHuggins@cwa9415.org

Pacifica Radio Lays off the Entire Staff of KPFA’s Morning Show

The Program is the Station’s Biggest Fund Raiser

BERKELEY - Arlene Engelhardt, the Executive Director of
Pacifica Radio, yesterday dismissed the entire staff of the KPFA Morning Show and ordered today’s
program be taken off the air. The Morning Show is KPFA’s most popular locally
produced program—as well as the station’s single biggest source of fund raising
revenue.

The
Morning Show is the only program targeted for cuts by Engelhardt. The layoffs violate
the seniority protections in KPFA's union contract and appear to be retaliatory
against staff who have been critics of Pacifica. In September, three members
of the Pacifica National Board drew up a list of KPFA workers they wanted laid
off. The staffers at the Morning Show were on that list. 

The
program’s staff–Aimee Allison, Brian Edwards-Tiekert, Laura Prives, and Esther
Manilla–were told that yesterday was their last day on the air, and that
starting today, the Morning Show would be replaced by programming from a radio
station in Los Angeles.  KPFA 94.1
FM is America’s first listener-sponsored radio station.

“The
Morning Show has the most listeners and raises the most money of any local KPFA
program,” says Sasha Lilley, co-host of KPFA’s Against the Grain.  “By cutting the Morning Show, Pacifica
is virtually guaranteeing that more layoffs will follow, as the station’s
fundraising and listenership shrinks.”

The
layoffs come in spite of a proposal by the union representing KPFA’s paid staff
for a “sustainable budget” that, along with making voluntary layoff packages
available, would have eliminated the need for all involuntary layoffs of KPFA
staff. On Friday, the union filed an Unfair
Labor Practices charge
with the National Labor Relations Board, accusing
Pacifica management of unlawfully failing to negotiate alternatives to layoffs,
as required by the station’s union contract.  Communications Workers of America Local 9415 charges
Pacifica with violating its obligation to bargain in good faith with the
union.

The Pacifica Radio network is an independent, non-profit organization that
operates five radio stations: KPFA in Berkeley, KPFK in Los Angeles, WBAI in
New York City, KPFT in Houston, and WPFW in Washington, D.C. In 1999, a struggle
between KPFA and Pacifica's National Office became a national and international
news story and 10,000 people marched through the streets of Berkeley to save
their station.

For more information about the labor conflict at KPFA, go to
http://www.KPFAworker.org.

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