UE Wins at the National Labor Relations Board
Wed, 19 Feb 1997
Press Release on NLRB Ruling

Contacts: R. Paul Martin (Chief Steward) rpmartin@interport.net
Errol Maitland (Shop Steward) 212-279-0707
Bruce Klipple (Union Representative) 1-610-832-0888

Press Release
For immediate release

NLRB Rules WBAI-FM Must Recognize Unpaid Staff as Members of Collective Bargaining Unit

Ruling seen to thwart Management attempt to bust Union WBAI Business Director also ruled to be in CBU

In a decision dated February 12, 1997, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) Region 2 has ordered that the Unpaid Staff of New York City radio station WBAI-FM continue to be included in the existing Collective Bargaining Unit (CBU).

Last year the Management of the progressive WBAI-FM had been ordered by its parent Pacifica Foundation to file a "Clarification of Unit" petition with the NLRB seeking to remove those classified as Unpaid Staff from the CBU. This action was designed to destroy the Union by removing about 90% of the Collective Bargaining Unit. WBAI Management also petitioned the NLRB to remove the bookkeeper, whose job was renamed "Business Director," from the CBU. The NLRB ruled that this position should remain in the CBU as well.

In the 15-page decision Daniel Silverman, Regional Director for the NLRB, said that, "Monetary compensation does not appear to be an indicium of an 'employee,'" and he further ruled that, "Based on evidence of common supervision, integration of work and the contact among employees, I have concluded that the unpaid staff and paid staff share a strong community of interest. .... Accordingly, the unpaid staff should remain in the existing unit."

Union members at WBAI see these rulings as a major victory in their 11-month effort to prevent Pacifica/WBAI Management from busting their Union, which is part of Local 404 of the United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America (UE).

The Union now hopes to conclude negotiations with Management on a Contract that covers all of the workers at WBAI-FM. The UE has represented WBAI workers since 1987.

Despite a series of record breaking fund raisers, WBAI Management has demanded a number of financial give backs from the Paid Staff, and a "No Strike Clause" which would prohibit even informational picket lines at what was formerly described as "Free speech radio, WBAI-New York." Such clauses in other institutions' contracts have been denounced on WBAI's air in the past. WBAI Management also wants to make some current Paid Staff "employees at will."

The petition regarding the Unpaid Staff was case # 2-UC-517, and the one regarding the Business Director was case # 2-UC-496.

Pacifica rules prohibit the mention or discussion on the air of any issues related to the Pacifica Foundation or any Pacifica station, including WBAI, without prior Management approval.

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