"Progressive Flu" Hits KPFK
KPFK staff protests layoffs

For immediate release

May 4, 1995

Workers protest mismanagement and layoffs

North Hollywood---KPFK (90.7 FM) union members and a number of the volunteer staff stayed home sick with "progressive flu" today, to protest station mismanagement and union contract violations which have led to the lay-off of one third of the paid staff. Pacifica Radio, known since the 1960's as a bastion of liberal and radical thought, is facing potential labor problems at three of its five stations. Union members at KPFK are concerned that mismanagement of the station has led to a fiscal crisis, and that station managers have done little to consider alternatives to layoffs.

"Pacifica Radio is always saying over its airwaves that it supports union movements around the country, and at the same time Pacifica's management is violating the contract of its own union," said Lyn Gerry, KPFK's shop steward.

The Union, a local chapter of United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America (UE), presented KPFK's management with an alternative fiscal plan that would rescind lay-offs and actually save the station an extra $2,000 through job sharing and reduced hours. Mamagers rejected the budget, claiming that layoffs would be necessary. Union members also pressed the station to make greater fundraising efforts to bridge the $59,000 budget gap that led to the layoff notoces. The station has offered no coherent plan to raise that amount.

"Here we are in one of the richest and most liberal cities in the country, and Pacifica cannot raise $59,000," said Gerry. "That's pathetic when you consider all our faithful large contributors and loyal Hollywood celebrities and friends who would help us if we bothered to ask."

The Union also has a number of other grievances that are pending legal arbitration. They are hoping to reach a settlement on all issues and get back to doing "progressive" radio. However, members are concerned that top Pacifica management may be using the fiscal crisis as a way to implement "restructuring." Recently, Pacifica Executive Director, Pat Scott, met with national representatives of United Electrical , in a meeting to discuss centralization of jobs through the elimination of some local staff at the five Pacifica stations. There has also been discussion of replacing paid staff with volunteers.

One volunteer who asked to remain anonymous said," Pat Scott makes $70,000 a year, about three times what the union members make. And now she'd asking us volunteers, who come here because we love this station, to help her save more money by taking over formerly union jobs. That's not liberal, that's greedy."