Stop the unfair attacks on workers at KPFK

Stop the unfair attacks on workers at KPFK

July 28, 2021
Petition to
Governing Board Of The Pacifica Radio Network Pacifica National Board and
This petition made change with 928 supporters!

Why this petition matters

Started by Ali Lexa

Note: More than half of the people in the image are now gone, no longer at KPFK. They were laid off or resigned. However more cuts are still being proposed...

The paid staff at KPFK is under attack

Please add your voice in support of staff and demanding the ED and boards stop attacking labor rights at KPFK.

Drastic cuts, layoffs and unfair labor proposals are being pushed on us. Please sign this petition to let the governing bodies of Pacifica know that you want them to negotiate fairly and in good faith. To show some appreciation to the many years of hard work and dedication that many of the staff has invested in keeping KPFK on the air.

Here are the details -

The KPFK Collective Bargaining Unit (Terry Guy, Ali Lexa & Kiyana Williams) along with our SAG/Aftra Union Reps (Patricia Morgan & Ann Hall) have been negotiating with the Pacifica iED (Lydia Brazon) and attorney Warren Nelson, a partner of the Corporate law firm of Fisher Phillips LLP, and representatives of the HR firm, NETA for over eight months.

            Our team has made every effort in good faith bargaining. We understand cost reductions must be made. We have given up many concessions, benefits and accepted cuts and the elimination of many benefits, saving the station approx  $300,000 annually (details below).

            The main point that we are stuck on, is the “Take Back” of earned severances of existing staff. iED Brazon and Nelson have insisted on reducing the severance to a maximum of 4 weeks. We have said that we are willing to consider a sizable reduction, moving forward. However, Brazon/Nelson have insisted that this reduction in severance would be retroactive. In other words “Taking Back” ALL earned severance over four weeks. The current max on severance is 26 weeks. This is earned severance that people have worked hard for many years to accumulate.

            As I wrote, the collective bargaining unit is prepared to consider a new lower maximum severance. We are only asking that existing staff be “grandfathered” in, so that they don’t lose the severance they have earned. Unfortunately, Brazon/Nelson have so far refused to budge an inch on this item. In fact, the negotiations from the Pacifica side have been hardball, aggressive, lacking in compassion and frankly the opposite of what one would expect from an organization that brags about being “for the people”, “in support of labor”, “supporters of unions” and “conscientious”. It has been behaving more along the lines of an organization like Walmart, with little appreciation for its workers.

>> Eliminating the existing, earned severance does nothing to lower the daily operating costs of the station. It only makes it as cheap and easy as possible to lay people off. <<

            We have already laid off at least ten staff members and eight have resigned. Including the General Manager. Possibly more will be resigning soon, and it appears more imposed layoffs are coming, the negotiations seem to be solely focused on eliminating as much of the earned severance as possible, facilitating easy layoffs of key, popular, successful fund-raising personnel.

        Due to the extreme reduction in our health coverage, those of us with dependents now have a huge chunk of our pay deducted to cover our children and/or spouses. In some cases, making it hard to bring home a living wage. There are some staff that have asked for a voluntary lay off, partly due to this, however they have been refused the right to leave the station on their own terms.  Other staff has offered to voluntarily go to part time. These offers also appear to have been rejected.

 From a purely financial point of view, it doesn’t make sense to refuse these voluntary reductions while continuing to dig in on cutting severance so they can lay off other, targeted individuals.

Here is a list of some of the concessions we have already accepted and are now operating under –

- Wage Freeze

- Our 401(a) pension was eliminated in January (over $30,000 annual savings).

- A big reduction in our Health Coverage. We now have to pay a higher co-pay and we have to pay a large portion of the coverage for any dependents (deducted from our salary). We’ve also accepted the “working spouse rule” (if a spouse has health care, we are excluded from KPFK health care if we can get on the spouse's). Over $108,000 savings per year

- Parental/Maternity Leave reduction

- Hiring Freeze

They are also proposing these additional cuts:
- Less vacation than what is in the Pacifica employee handbook, even less than what non-union workers get.
- Reduction of childcare reimbursement, which has been an employee benefit for at least a decade.
- Reduction or elimination of all benefits for part time workers.

The station managers did take a voluntary 10% pay cut. Regardless of that, they were all laid off.

Here are the union and non-union staff we’ve already lost-

Laid Off:
Union: Alan Minsky (Senior Producer), Dan Fritz, Ernesto Arce (News Director)
Non Union: Liset Tapia, Christine Blosdale (Development Director), Kevin Fleming (Program Director), Tony Bates, Andrea Billow, Mansoor Sabbagh, Barry Brooks (Business Manager)

Union: Ian Masters (Host), Graham Fitzgibbons (Producer), Sonali Kolhatkar (Host) , Anna Buss (Producer), Johnathan Alexander (IT Director), Kiyana Williams (Volunteer Coordinator and Board Operator)
Non Union: Anyel Fields (General Manager), Ricky Herrera

Current salary savings including all cuts mentioned above and reductions in other operating expenses -at least $340,000 annually

Overall we have reduced KPFK’s operating expenses by at least 30%. This includes the benefit cuts, concessions, layoffs and elimination of various services and subscriptions.

We appeal to the Pacifica National Board to direct the current iED to resume bargaining in good faith and coming to humane and realistic compromises on the severance and other key issues so that we can all sign a contract that we can live with.

The last communication we received was a "final" (take it or leave it) contract, without any requested compromises, presented this Aug 2021. We hope that our  requests to return to good faith bargaining and all of your voices are heard!

Thank you for your consideration and support of workers' rights and KPFK,

Ali Lexa - KPFK Web Director - SAG/Aftra Collective Bargaining Unit
Member - KPFK Local Station Board - Pacifica National Board


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