Union activists everywhere know that the surest way to win a campaign to hit the boss where it hurts — in the pocketbook. But not at noncommercial broadcaster KPFA, where CWA-affiliated workers are involved in a protracted struggle with the management of their corporate parent, Pacifica.
In November 2010, Pacifica, which usually stays out of station programming decisions, took the unusual step of canceling KPFA's “The Morning Show” — the station's most popular locally-produced program, also its biggest fundraiser, and home to KPFA's only regular labor-themed segment. Since then, Pacifica's been forced to reverse the layoff of one of the program's hosts, Brian Edwards-Tiekert. Union members expect an arbitrator's decision about reinstating the other host, Aimee Allison, by late June. But unless the station's Spring Fund drive succeeds, workers fear, their victories will be for naught.
Program host and union steward Sasha Lilley:
Pacifica's already used financial hardship as a pretext for retaliatory layoffs at KPFA. Because of the disastrous changes they made to the station's morning lineup, KPFA is on track to finish its Spring fund drive over $150,000 behind goal. So, as workers, we have to do everything we can to turn that around.
The station's staff have been passing the hat at labor councils and union locals — for donations to KPFA. They've set up an online appeal for listeners to submit pledges that can be announced on-air as “in support of KPFA's workers” via kpfaworker.org. So far, their efforts have netted over $6,500 in challenge funds for the station's fund drive.
A separate group, SaveKPFA.org, has raised over $63,000 in pledges to support the reinstatement of Aimee Allison and The Morning Show. Workers are promising an on-air blitz in the final days of KPFA's Spring Fund Drive, asking listeners to register their dissatisfaction with the actions of Pacifica management — by giving money.
Visit www.kpfaworker.org to learn more and pledge your donation.