On Tuesday, October 19, the finance committee of the Pacifica National Board rejected all budget proposals that KPFA’s union staff had advanced as alternatives to layoffs.
KPFA’s local management and its local station board had both supported the union’s cost-cutting proposals, which include sharing costs on program expenses, reducing bureaucratic overhead, and lowering the meeting costs of Pacifica’s board of directors.
In negotiations with the KPFA staff union, Pacifica’s executive director, Arlene Engelhardt, had agreed to bring the union’s proposals to Pacifica’s board, but had not agreed to support them or argue for them. She put no alternative proposals of her own on the table. On the Pacifica finance committee’s conference call, she said she didn’t think it was possible to avoid cutting the station’s personnel spending to $1.7 million — a level that would eliminate roughly one quarter of KPFA’s already-reduced staffing.
Without any of the Sustainable KPFA budget measures in place, KPFA would be forced to pay the Pacifica National Office roughly $752,000 in the current fiscal year. That’s 21.3% of its projected $3.5 million in revenues, while cutting the equivalent of 8 full-time union staff. Pay rates in Pacifica’s national office are much higher than at KPFA – particularly for managers.
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