Transcript: from the KPFA Evening News - 6/25/99
As Pacifica's Board of Directors convenes in Washington for what's guaranteed
to be a heated
series of meetings, two public radio scholars are calling on Pacifica to live up to its ideals: Susan Douglas, a
professor of communications studies at the University of Michigan, and Robert McChesney, an associate professor
at the University of Illinois, say in a letter to the Pacifica Board that they hope Pacifica and the KPFA community will quickly mediate their current conflict and its underlying causes. That letter notes that Pacifica programs consistently state that the world is run in an excessively top-down, undemocratic manner. Douglas and McChesney say they hope Pacifica's leadership understands it must match its words with its practice.
This weekend's Board
meeting takes place as KPFA and its parent Pacifica Foundation face their
worst crisis in a
quarter-century. Executive Director Lynn Chadwick precipitated the turmoil when she dismissed popular station manger Nicole Sawaya, and then fired veteran broadcasters Larry Bensky and most recently Robbie Osman for discussing the conflict on the air. Issues of governance and accountability are also central questions.
The Washington, D.C.
hotel hosting the Pacifica meeting said it has been inundated with hundreds
of faxes. No
word on what has transpired at the meeting thus far.
Meanwhile, the Communications
Workers of America, which represents KPFA's paid staff, has filed an unfair
practice against Pacifica. The complaint filed with the National Labor Relations Board cites Pacifica's decision
to change the electronic door codes, which gave KPFA workers access to the building. Instead KPFA staff must
now gain entry through two guards stationed twenty-four hours a day. Phil Harvey is secretary-treasurer of CWA Local 9415.
Phil Harvey: Pacifica has violated its obligation to bargain with the union any changes in the employees' working conditions, and that includes free access to the workplace as well as any coercion or intimidation.
The NLRB complaint notes that KPFA staff have been engaged in protected
concerted activities, a reference to
the protest. The complaint adds that the new security measures are aimed at unlawfully coercing and intimidating
KPFA staff members.