For Immediate Release
KPFA's Union Files Unfair Labor Practices Charge with NLRB
Workers Allege Bad-Faith Negotiations as Pacifica Prepares to Cut a Quarter of Staff
BERKELEY, Calif. - The union at America’s first
listener-sponsored radio station, KPFA 94.1 FM, has filed an Unfair
Labor Practices charge against KPFA's parent organization, the
Pacifica Foundation. Communications Workers of America Local 9415
charges Pacifica with violating its obligation to bargain in good
faith with the union. Pacifica is poised to cut roughly a quarter of
the station's union workers. KPFA has already cut nearly a fifth of
its workforce over the past year.
According to the charge filed with the National Labor Relations Board
on Friday, Pacifica "has failed and refused to comply with its
obligation to meet and bargain with the Union over financial
alternatives to employee layoffs prior to implementing any such
layoffs." Pacifica’s executive director, Arlene Engelhardt, has
rejected all proposed alternative cost-savings measures that have won
the backing of the union, KPFA’s Local Station Board, and KPFA
management—and failed to propose any alternatives of her own.
The Unfair Labor Practices charge also states that the Pacifica
Foundation has violated KPFA's contract with its union workers by
allowing three members of the Pacifica National Board to insert
themselves into the layoff process. Those board members have drawn up
a name-by-name list of employees they would like laid off. The Alameda
Central Labor Council, AFL-CIO, and the San Francisco Labor Council
have both condemned Pacifica for its “anti-union actions.”
"Pacifica is obligated to bargain with KPFA's union in good faith,"
says CWA Local 9415 Executive Vice President Christina Huggins, who
filed the charge with the NLRB on Friday and hand delivered a copy to
the Pacifica National Office. "They have not done that. Instead,
they've willfully ignored KPFA's union contract, have let board
members draw up a list of staff to lay off who they don't like, and
are violating labor law."
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“They've rejected even the most straightforward cost-saving measures
we proposed—like helping some of our workers voluntarily move from
KPFA’s regular health care plan to Medicare," says Brian
Edwards-Tiekert, co-host of KPFA's Morning Show, and a member of the
union bargaining committee that tried to negotiate alternatives to
layoffs. "They don't even seem interested in preventing layoffs."
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
For more information about the labor conflict at KPFA, go to
Too see the full charge that CWA filed with the National Labor
Relations Board, go to
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