Our Letter to the World

Dear WBAI Contributor/Supporter/Listener:

Help stop union busting at WBAI

Who we are

We are the Staff of Pacifica radio station WBAI-FM, and we are asking for your help. We are the people whom you hear on the air, the people who interview you and your colleagues on issues important to you, the people who publicize the events of your organizations, the people who bring you the news that never gets covered in the mainstream media, and the people who entertain you with radio you won't hear anywhere else. We produce the programs, we perform the engineering duties that keep the station on the air, we are the clerical workers, the people who clean the floors, handle the switchboard and carry out the many other duties which have kept WBAI on the air for the past 36 years. Some of us are Paid Staff and some of us are Unpaid Staff.

What's happening

We have a Union at WBAI (the United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America, Local 404) and right now that Union is under attack, not by external forces of the far right, but by WBAI and Pacifica Management.

WBAI Management is demanding that all Unpaid Staff be removed from the Collective Bargaining Unit and be denied Union protection. WBAI Management also wants to designate some Paid Staff workers as vulnerable to being discharged without just cause, even though “emloyment at will” has been denounced on WBAI's air waves for decades. These two actions alone would remove about 90% of the current Collective Bargaining Unit and strip away the rights of these workers. Additionally, WBAI Management has presented demands for a new Union Contract with a “No Strike Clause” that allows for the discharge of anyone who participates in even an informational picket line at what was formerly described as “Free speech radio, WBAI-New York.” Union Shop Stewards would be obligated to help Management stop any job actions by workers. Such clauses have been denounced on WBAI 's air in the past.

In January WBAI had a record-breaking “Million Dollar Marathon” which raised $1,024,000 in pledges for the station. In May the fund drive raised over $700,000 in pledges. WBAI has ended its last fiscal year with a six figure surplus, but WBAI Management has demanded a long list of financial give backs from the Paid Staff.

Unionized employees in sister Pacifica station KPFK (Los Angeles) have found that Pacifica has employed the high priced services of a firm that brags about its skill in union busting to deal with the unions out there. Pacifica has spent $30,000 so far on trying to bust the unions in California. We are seeing the same tactics being used by WBAI Management.

WBAI is owned by the Pacifica Foundation, which is based in Berkeley, California. WBAI is required to give the Pacifica Foundation 13% of its gross income every year, in addition to giving the receipts from one full day of every marathon to funding Pacifica's national programming.

We do not think that you, the listener-sponsors of WBAI, ever meant your contributions to the station to be used for the purpose of busting a union or killing community radio.

The motivation for the union busting is thought to be to allow the Paid and Unpaid Staff to be reduced and in some cases replaced so that when the Pacifica Foundation is ready, in about three years, it can take over the air of WBAI and the other stations with Pacifica 's own national programming, leaving little or no air time for local, community input or production.

Pacifica has already mandated WBAI and the other Pacifica stations install a highly sophisticated satellite receiving facility which has the ability to turn WBAI into an “automatic station,” which is a radio station that is computer controlled and fed programming via satellite. WBAI could have bought a much simpler, and cheaper, satellite receiver, but it was made to buy the vastly more expensive one, even though Pacifica and WBAI are always financially strapped. The only satellite transmitting station in Pacifica is located at the California headquarters of the Pacifica Foundation. It is projected that Pacifica will be able to take over most of WBAI 's air with its national programming in three years. This transition to nationally controlled programming will be much easier if unions and community people are no longer around to resist the abandonment of Pacifica 's original mission and mandate.

What we are asking you to do

The people at the core of this union busting strategy are the Pacifica National Board, the Executive Director of the Pacifica Foundation, the WBAI Local Board and WBAI Management.

We need your help to convince them that the listeners in theWBAI signal area do not want to see WBAI bust its union or become just another non-commercial radio station carrying programs off the satellite.

We need you to contact the people below. Call them, write them, fax them, let them know that you do not want the WBAI union busted. Let them know that you want WBAI to continue to be a strong, alternative voice providing the community access that no one else provides.

Pacifica National Board

Jack O'Dell
306 2190 West 7 St.
Vancouver, British Columbia
Canada V6K4K7
Cecelia McCall
392 C.P.W. #17K
New York, NY 10025
Frank Millspaugh
32 King St.
New York, NY 10014
June Makela
267 E. 7 St.
New York, NY 10009
Charlotte Holloman
1625 19 St. NW
Washington, DC 20009
Ambrose Lane
7800 Flagstone Ct.
Ellicot City, MD 21043
Leonor Lizardo
1721 Lucretia Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90026
Janis Hazel
211 Harry S. Truman Dr. #13
Largo, MD 20772
Dr. Moneim Fadali
2105 Beverly Blvd., suite 225
Los Angeles, CA 90057
Michael Palmer
1001 Bayland Ave.
Houston, TX 77009
David Assman
1067 Filbert St.
San Francisco, CA 90026
Alexis Gonzales
260 San Jose Ave.
San Francisco, CA 94110
Roger Scarbrough
906 Stonecrest St.
Houston, TX 77018
Roberta Brooks
938 Shattuck Ave.
Berkeley, CA 94707
Pat Scott, Exec. Dir.
Pacifica Foundation
1929 Martin Luther King Way
Berkeley, CA 94704

WBAI Local Board

Dick Demenus
115 W 23 St.
New York, NY 10011
J. Raynald Louis
48-5037th St. #4-J
LIC, NY 11101
Eugene Straus
258 Riverside Dr.
New York, NY 10025
Nan Rubin
4700 Broadway #2-J
New York, NY 10040
Frieda Zames
60 First Avenue #2-F
New York, NY 10009
Steve Post
155 West 71st St.
New York, NY 10023
Milton Zisman
104 Warwick Circle
Springfield, NJ 07081
Bill Henning
45-54 39th Pl.
Sunnyside, NY 11104
Hank Kee
42-24 Colden Street
Flushing, NY 11355
Camille Rodriguez
200 Clinton St. 6-D
Brooklyn, NY 11201
Charles Potter
838 West End Av #6D
New York, NY 10025
Michio Kaku
% Physics Dept.
City Univ. of NY
New York, NY 10031
William Banks
112 Tillary Street
Brooklyn, NY 11201
Felix Hester
45-53 206th St.
Bayside, NY 11361
Lynne McVeigh
99 Bank Street #7-J
New York, NY 10014
Karen Frillmann
P.O. Box 4369
New York, NY 10185
Valerie Van Isler
General Manager, WBAI
505 8 Ave.
New York, NY 10018
212-279-0707 x 130
Samori Marksman
Program Director, WBAI
505 8 Ave.
New York, NY 10018
212-279-0707 x 139

We thank you for your help in this struggle to keep WBAI, and its Union, alive.

Labor donated.

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