Because it is not only unnecessarily costly, but also, as a firm dedicated to the interests of employers seeking "union avoidance" and a "union-free workplace", Bullard Law is antithetical to the values of KBOO. Just as KBOO has "stringent guidelines regarding from whom it will accept donations", so, too, we think the station should not spend money on an organization whose values are contrary to KBOO's "progressive perspective" and dedication to inclusivity, empowerment, justice, and democracy.
Just as KBOO has "stringent guidelines regarding from whom it will accept donations" (http://kboo.fm/node/20381), so, too, we think the station should not spend money on an organization whose values are contrary to KBOO's "progressive perspective" and dedication to inclusivity, empowerment, justice, and democracy (http://kboo.fm/about).
Recent comments by some members of the board and management suggest that KBOO is experiencing unusual financial difficulties, This would seem to be a confusing statement.
In November 2012, the Board Finance Committee reported in its year-end summary:
"The Balance Sheet remains healthy with no significant short or long term liabilities"
According to that report, income from membership was "about $7,400 over what was budgeted" and income from underwriting was "close [to] budget, and almost $8,000 more than" the previous year. Income from events and from board-led fundraising was, however, under budget.
According to the same report, "Employee expenses are under budget" but "Professional services was over budget by $8,500. This was largely due to overspending on legal services."
(Finance Committee report, 11-20-2012, available on line.)
And for Fiscal Year 2013 we know that the Fall Pledge Drive made it’s goal, that the Spring Pledge Drive came close to making it’s goal, The End-of Year Appeal Letter exceeded it’s goal, and Underwriting for FY 13 is exceeding it’s goal by more than 40%.
But we also know that costs for “Professional Services” is already over-budget, and that revenue for events and board-led fundraising are once again behind budget goals..
While we have great confidence in the loyalty and support of KBOO members and the community, we recognize that KBOO must always be prudent in its use of members’ money.
Thus, we have no wish to continue overspending the generous contributions of members on legal services.
KBOO's Core Values and Programming Charter (http://kboo.fm/about) embrace a "Progressive Perspective" as a "controversial, activist resource," "reflecting justice, peace, sustainability and democracy," and emphasize "KBOO’s values of peace, justice, democracy, human rights, multiculturalism, environmentalism, freedom of expression, and social change."
Bullard Law, in contrast, presents themselves thus (http://www.bullardlaw.com/practices/labor/):
"We recognize that many employers are facing increasing challenges from well-organized labor groups. Even if your organization is union-free, employment concerns are issues you wrestle with every day. If this sounds familiar, it’s time to contact a labor attorney. Portland Oregon employers know that it is our job to protect you for the short and long term.
"Employers appreciate our proactive, practical and preventative approach, and in labor-related litigation, they depend on representation from a qualified labor attorney. Portland, Oregon employers know that we represent both private and public employers in collective bargaining, grievance and arbitration, strikes and other labor disputes, NLRB proceedings, day-to-day labor relations, and union avoidance."
While the "overspending" on legal services seems to constitute a change for KBOO, we do not believe that it necessarily aligns with the "social change" endorsed in the Programming Charter, nor the "Progressive Perspective" essential to the core values. Moreover, any spending on a firm specializing in "union avoidance" seems to bring KBOO closer to the marketplace values that we seek to challenge and change.
Rather than continue to spend valuable membership and underwriting funds on payments to a firm that does not share the progressive perspective that is central to KBOO's essential values, we propose a number of possible alternatives for situations in which legal services may be necessary.
The Board might develop and consult a list of qualified members who would be willing to work pro bono for the station. In many cases, we suspect, the legal assistance needed might be minimal. In addition, pro bono volunteers would be able to triage legal questions and determine which would be sufficiently complex or time-consuming as to warrant referral to paid counsel.
For those situations, the station should retain the services of a legal firm whose values are compatible with those of KBOO: one that supports progressive unionism and the rights of workers. Firms referred by or affiliated with the National Lawyers Guild, Northwest Labor Press, or similar progressive organizations would likely be a wiser choice than Bullard. Cathy Highet of the Portland Law Collective (http://portlandlawcollective.com/ 503-228-1889) has expressed willingness to suggest names of such firms.
We appreciate that KBOO is essentially "welcoming, inclusive, participatory," and we thank the Board for its attention to this call to terminate KBOO's relationship with Bullard Law.