KPFA’s Working Majority Gets Screwed by CWA Job Trust

In RECENT ADDITIONS on December 17, 2010 at 11:21 PM

 by Isis Feral

I was raised by several generations of labor organizers, and in every labor dispute my side is easily chosen. I don’t cross picket lines, and I always stand with the workers against their bosses. The current conflict inside KPFA is the first time I’ve ever seen my community divided on an issue concerning labor solidarity.

While labor struggles are usually strictly polarized, it is important to keep in mind that KPFA is a nonprofit community radio station, where the traditional class lines are much harder to draw. In theory the community is in charge of the station, or at least it should be.  It’s the community who pays the bills, and who this station claims to serve.

Pacifica Treasurer’s Report on claims of “corporate underwriting”


Report on claims of “corporate underwriting” from Merrill Lynch


Here are the facts regarding the claims of corporate underwriting from Merrill Lynch that have been erroneously reported by (sequentially), the WBAI LSB, the KPFA News Department and the Save KPFA organization. Please feel free to forward this report. This is being provided in the fulfillment of my duties as the board treasurer of the Pacifica Foundation. Any reports to the contrary issued by foundation spokespeople or broadcasted should be retracted.

The issuer of the checks in question is Goldman Sachs Gives. Goldman Sachs Gives is the working name of the Goldman Sachs Charitable Gift Fund, a Delaware non-stock corporation, including it’s UK branch,  the Goldman Sachs Charitable Gift Fund UK, a company limited by guarantee # 6314343, registered in England and Wales under charity # 1120148 and as a charitable institution with Hong Kong Inland Revenue Department with a registered office at Peterborough Court 133 Fleet Street, London EC4 2BB.

This is a donor-advised gift by an individual who wishes to remain anonymous and is located on the Upper West side in New York City who has advised a gift via the Goldman Sachs Gives Annual Giving Fund, The funds are payable to the Pacifica Foundation and suggest the donation is recommended by the donor to support the WBAI News Department and a possible special series on Hydro-fracking.

The terms of the gift are as follows.

“After considering the above recommendation, Goldman Sachs Gives has approved a grant to your organization. This grant is being made from the GS Gives Annual Giving Fund, an account within Goldman Sachs Gives. It is not necessary to issue a letter of acknowledgment to Goldman Sachs Gives for this donation. By accepting this check, your organization is deemed to certify to Goldman Scahs Gives that 1) no tangible benefit, goods or services were or will be received by an individuals or entities connected with The Goldman Sachs Group Inc. or Goldman Sachs Gives and 2) you will not use this grant to satisfy the payment of any pledge or other personal financial obligation on behalf of the person(s) recommending this grant or any person or entity connected to the recommenders.”


This is a major donor gift from an individual to the Pacifica Foundation accompanied by a recommendation from the donor on how he would “like” the gift to be used that has no binding force of law. There is no grant report due to the entity Goldman Sachs Gives and no constraints on the Pacifica Foundation to use the funds in any way, except that they should not pay the donor’s personal bills with it.

Please reclassify the funds as an unrestricted major donor gift so it is recorded correctly on the Foundation books.

Documentation available on request with thanks to WBAI and Goldman Sachs Gives for their assistance.

Tracy Rosenberg
Treasurer, Pacifica Foundation Board of Directors
KPFA -FM, Listener Representative

Check # 5618  $10,000 – From Goldman Sachs Gives to the Pacifica Foundation dated 2-18-2011- on the recommendation of D.S. via the Goldman Sachs Annual Giving Fund
Check # 4431 – $5,000 – From Goldman Sachs Gives to the Pacifica Foundation dated 10-26-2010 – on the recommendation of D.S via the Goldman Sachs Annual Giving Fund.

     Submitted by Tracy Rosenberg – Treasurer, Pacifica National Board

What’s Really Happening at KPFA 94.1 fm: A Labor Perspective


What’s Really Happening

at KPFA 94.1 fm
A Labor PerspectiveThere is a disinformation campaign going on at KPFA and many people are being taken in by it. Who would not believe their favorite progressive programmers? For an explanation of why some otherwise excellent paid staff might be advancing disinformation, skim or read the letter from staff member Robbie Osman.And read on:Myth: Pacifica Foundation has eliminated the popular Morning Show from KPFA because they were in conflict with the hosts, and fired them.

Fact: Pacifica had to step in to save KPFA’s financial situation. After 4 years of huge losses, KPFA had spent down a million dollars reserve fund and had to borrow money to meet payroll in September. It owes Pacifica much money for shared expenses, and threatens the entire Pacifica network with bankruptcy. KPFA’s budget proposal for this year was way overdue. Elected representatives of this independent Pacifica network that includes 5 stations, 160+ affiliates, and their voted in, legally-responsible Executive Director, asked all 5 Pacifica stations to cut down on paid staff 2-3 years ago, as the only way to meet escalating deficits. KPFA’s 4 “sister” Pacifica stations have already done this. Only KPFA continued to employ more paid staff than it can afford. Pacifica had to cut down on KPFA’s paid staff for them, or risk losing the network.

Myth: Pacifica cut staff outside of specifications by the union contract, ignoring the contract, union busting, and choosing to fire those they considered their enemies.

Fact: Pacifica’s layoffs are strictly by the CWA-KPFA contract, using seniority and “skill set” as the primary criteria for layoffs, and have nothing to do with programs or politics. (Former KPFA management allied with Save KPFA actually did propose a plan to eliminate programs they disliked:  Flashpoints and Hard Knock Radio.

Myth: There was an alternative budget proposed which made other cuts and would have preserved jobs. It was ignored by Arlene Engelhardt, the Executive Director, who is making these unnecessary cuts anyway.

Fact: This budget was examined by the Pacifica Finance Committee and the Chief Financial Officer, very experienced in this process, and was seen to have saved only a fraction of expenditures. Staff cuts were the only way. Check out the independent 2010 audit report, including the footnotes, for the sobering reality of KPFA finances.

Myth: KPFA’s union leadership is challenging the layoffs, so Pacifica must be anti-union.

Fact: Arlene Engelhardt was following the seniority list, as CWA had previously instructed her to do. The faction on the Local Station Board of KPFA aligned with the side protesting the layoffs (the Concerned Listeners/Save KPFA), unanimously voted down a proposal (by a member of the slate supporting the Pacifica decision), to make the cuts in compliance with the CWA contract! Who is antiunion?! Why is the union challenging the layoffs? — this union’s leadership is aligned with the faction which is refusing the cuts – the core entrenched staff/”KPFAworker”/”Concerned Listener”/”Save KPFA” faction. Some unionized staff members, including Flashpoints programmers, support the actions of Pacifica management.

Myth: Arlene Engelhardt opted out of taking the case to litigation because she’d lose, so she was forced to rehire Edwards-Tiekert, with back pay, but they went on to lay off John Hamilton.

Fact: Brian E-T had the option to move to another position and bump a paid staff member with less seniority, but chose to try to get his Morning Show back. When this wasn’t happening, he chose to bump, and Hamilton got bumped. There are recordings of Edwards-Tiekert admitting he could bump Hamilton from back in November. Pacifica granted him the back pay he was trying to get – though it was his choice not to bump for 3 months – because it was cheaper to pay him than to litigate and Pacifica could not afford the expense of litigation.  After Edwards-Tiekert finally decided to bump Hamilton, several staff members volunteered to reduce their hours and donate them to Hamilton so he could stay on.

Myth: The Morning Show and its hosts are the most listened to and by far the best fundraisers at KPFA and this will deprive the station of all that money.Fact:The show is in the morning drive time, the most listened to time of day for all stations. (Democracy Now is doing even better in that 7:00 a.m. slot.)Myth: Laying off these hosts is the same as destroying this program.Fact:These hosts are fairly recent to this program. Many of us appreciate the skills and hard work of those who were laid off. KPFA has had many hosts on this and other shows, who sometimes started as inexperienced volunteers and grew, sharing their skill, warmth, and resources.Myth: These layoffs caused 7 programmers with more seniority to quit, and they were mostly people of color, so these layoffs are racist.

Fact:  Seven staff members, mainly technical and administrative, took a severance package offered to all staff.  However, that still did not reduce the payroll enough to balance the budget, so two more staff members were subsequently laid off.

Myth: Pacifica takes KPFA’s money for its expensive staff, and does little or nothing for stations.

Fact: Pacifica’s “central services” range from providing Democracy Now and FSRN News to insuring the stations plus at least 3 other essential services like insurance, the annual audit, payroll services, satellite services, etc. Were KPFA to pay for these services on its own, a recent estimate puts the costs at $200,000 – $400,000. Pacifica’s highest staff salary is $90,000 for the Executive Director, a low figure for this position. Pacifica cut its own staff drastically in the last few years and the Executive Director and Chief Financial Officer have been working extra hours as a result. FSRN News, which provides around 1/2 of KPFA’s news, is threatened because of lack of payments.

Myth: KPFA would be better off without Pacifica.Fact:Besides losing the above services, Pacifica itself would go down, and we would lose an entire network of 5 stations and 160 affiliates, spreading information worldwide. Is that something progressives want to do? What would happen to KPFA after Pacifica’s invaluable broadcast license goes up for sale? Get bought by Clear Channel? Or a rightwing religious group?————————-Fact: The faction making these claims have had leverage to continue this disinformation because they know Pacifica must move carefully in the PR war their side has created. Many staff members disagree with their analysis. The listeners by and large have been kept in the dark about KPFA and Pacifica governance, trust their familiar progressive radio hosts, and have heard only one side.

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