Los Angeles Arbitration
Berkeley-A Los Angeles arbitrator has issued an interim decision in the conflict between labor union SAG-AFTRA and Pacifica Foundation. The arbitration began last fall after Margy Wilkinson appointed community college instructor Leslie Radford to be KPFK’s new general manager and Radford laid off two union staffers and cut the rest down to 50% pay. The interim decision affirmed the union on all counts and stated the labor union contract had been violated multiple times by Radford and Pacifica, including:
a. Not consulting with the union prior to implementing layoffs in violation of the bargaining agreement.
b. Layoffs of union staffers that were a violation of the bargaining agreement.
c. Involuntary pay cuts that were constructive layoffs and the denial of severance pay due to employees if they chose to leave KPFK’s employment in violation of the bargaining agreement.
ED’s Wilkinson, Proffitt and Brazon and GM Radford insisted attorney Dan Siegel had advised them they were not violating the SAG-AFTRA contract, but Siegel was unable to defend Pacifica against the union’s charges, which have now been upheld in independent arbitration.
Following the arbitrator’s interim decision, the parties will attempt to settle the remedies due to the workers and return to arbitration if they are unable to come to an agreement.
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Started in 1946 by conscientious objector Lew Hill, Pacifica’s storied history includes impounded program tapes for a 1954 on-air discussion of marijuana, broadcasting the Seymour Hersh revelations of the My Lai massacre, bombings by the Ku Klux Klan, going to jail rather than turning over the Patty Hearst tapes to the FBI, and Supreme Court cases including the 1984 decision that noncommercial broadcasters have the constitutional right to editorialize, and the Seven Dirty Words ruling following George Carlin’s incendiary performances on WBAI. Pacifica Foundation Radio operates noncommercial radio stations in New York, Washington, Houston, Los Angeles, and the San Francisco Bay Area, and syndicates content to over 180 affiliates. It invented listener-supported radio.
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