A newsletter about the Contract negotiations at WBAI. July 26, 1996 Presented by the WBAI Shop Committee No. 3 ___________________________________________________________________________ N. L. R. B . Hearings Last Two Days. Union Allowed to Present "Community of Interest" Argument, Despite Management Objections. The fate of Unpaid Staff and the Business Director were contested at a hearing held before the National Labor Relations Board on July 24 & 25 as part of a "Clarification of Unit" petition filed by WBAI Management. Management is attempting to remove the Unpaid Staff and the Business Director from the Collective Bargaining Unit, and from Union protection. The WBAI Union is 100% against these attempts at union busting. In the hearings, Management called WBAI General Manager, Valerie Van Isler as their only witness. She attempted to give testimony from prepared materials, but the Hearing Officer took them away. She said that Business Director Sybil Wong handled legal and confidential matters for the station and negotiated with the health insurance carrier over coverage and other matters. At one point, Valerie and her lawyer, a Mr. Progrebin, began to filibuster and wouldn't shut up. Valerie put her finger in the face of the Hearing Officer and told her to "Stop" so that Valerie could continue talking. The Hearing Officer finally shut them both up, and proceeded to deliver a thorough dressing down to the lawyer and, especially, to Valerie. Management's lawyer attempted to prevent U. E. Rep. Bruce Klipple from arguing about anything other than wages, in terms of Unpaid Staff. Klipple's position is that WBAI constitutes a "Community of Interest" in which Unpaid Staff do jobs similar to Paid Staff, and both work together. The Hearing Officer, after legal arguments and half an hour of checking legal cases, etc., overruled Management's objection and the hearings continued. The first day ended with Sybil Wong, WBAI's Business Director, taking the stand and completely refuting the assertions of Valerie. Sybil outlined how she is prohibited from even opening legal envelopes, only filled out forms and did clerical work related to health insurance, and pointed out that the station's finances are public as a matter of law. The second day began with R. Paul Martin, Chief Steward at WBAI, taking the stand to bolster the "Community of Interest" argument. The Hearing Officer was given an outline of how WBAI operates. During this testimony, Management's lawyer again raised objections and attempted to filibuster his arguments onto the record. When the Hearing Officer stopped him, he told her that he was there "to educate you". This sort of insulting, sexist and arrogant behavior typified his demeanor throughout the two days of hearings. Mimi Rosenberg took the stand to show how over the past 28 years, she and other Unpaid Staff took orders from Management and Paid Staff, and produced much of the actual product of WBAI, along with raising money for the station both on and off the air. Brother Shine described his experiences learning how to run the audio equipment and produce radio programs at WBAI. He told of the long hours he puts in at the station, and how is sometimes paid and mostly not. About 20 WBAI people showed up to observe the hearing. Bruce Klipple was of the opinion that we have a good chance of winning this case. It looks like Management had assumed that this would be a two hour walk over of the Union with everything based solely on monetary compensation. They received an embarrassing "Education". The next Contract negotiation meeting will be on July 30, at 7:00 PM on the 22nd floor, all are welcome to come and observe.