My E-mail about the Autumn 2007 Unilateral Salary cuts at WBAI

After having heard from a number of WBAI Paid Staff about WBAI Management implementing unilateral salary cuts I sent the following E-mail out.

Subject: Why is Pacifica doing this to WBAI Paid Staff?
Date: Mon, 29 Oct 2007 20:22:28 -0500
From: R. Paul Martin
To: WBAIProducers , WBAI Staff Notices , Pacifica National Board , Dan Siegal
CC: New Pacifica

I have been reliably informed that WBAI Management has told the WBAI Paid Staff that: 1) they are not getting their 4% cost of living raise, and 2) They are going to have their current pay reduced by 5%.

The Paid Staff's paychecks on October 15, did not contain the raise that they were contractually due. Paid Staff are waiting to see if their next paycheck, due October 30, reflects WBAI Management's unilateral 5% cut. If it does then Paid Staff salaries will have been cut by 9%.

AFTRA, which is the Union that represents WBAI's Paid Staff, has filed a grievance regarding Management's reneging on the raises. I am told that if the October 30, paychecks reflect a 5% cut of the Paid Staff's regular pay another grievance will be filed.

What the hell is going on? I know that WBAI's finances are in very dire shape, but what WBAI Management is doing is simply illegal. The unilateral cutting of Paid Staff salaries like this is a direct violation of the collective bargaining agreement that WBAI and Pacifica have entered into with AFTRA. WBAI and Pacifica can't just decide to throw that Contract out the window!

The Pacifica National Board (PNB) rejected WBAI's bloated fantasy budget in September. But the PNB also passed a motion that said, “Any salary cuts, staff cuts or restructuring at WBAI shall not be implemented without consulting the paid and unpaid staff and unions and shall be consistent with union contracts.”

Who decided to unilaterally cut pay like this in violation of the AFTRA Union Contract? Was this a decision made at the local level? Did Pacifica's interim Executive Director Dan Siegal know about this illegal act? Did Mr. Siegal, who is a lawyer and who has served as the Pacifica Foundation's General Counsel, play a role in the implementation of this anti-Union policy?

I fully support the grievance(s) filed by AFTRA on this issue and I urge them to also consider filing an Unfair Labor Practice charge against WBAI and Pacifica with the National Labor Relations Board.

I strongly urge the PNB to step in to make sure that WBAI and Pacifica Management comply with existing labor law and with the collective bargaining agreement currently in effect.

This is all very reminiscent of the mid '90s at WBAI and in Pacifica when we had local and national Management that violated collective bargaining agreements and labor law. After years of struggle those people were removed from Pacifica.

In the end I am sure that AFTRA will prevail and the unilateral pay cuts will be restored, by force of law if necessary. These illegal actions by WBAI and Pacifica Management are going to end up costing more money.

I know that WBAI is in bad financial shape, but illegal pay cuts and mistreatment of the Paid Staff will only make things worse, not better.

R. Paul Martin
Unpaid WBAI producer
Former Chief Steward WBAI/UE Local 404

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