KPFA’s union files Unfair Labor Practices charge with the NLRB

KPFA’s union has filed an Unfair Labor Practices charge with the National Labor Relations Board against the station’s parent organization Pacifica. The union accuses Pacifica management of violating its obligation to bargain in good faith. Pacifica appears poised to cut roughly a quarter of the station’s union workers, including staff on KPFA’s Morning Show, Against the Grain, Hard Knock Radio, and the Evening News, as well as other vital positions.

Pacifica’s executive director, Arlene Engelhardt, has rejected all proposed alternative cost-savings measures that have won the backing of the union, KPFA’s Local Station Board, and KPFA management. KPFA has already cut nearly a fifth of its workforce over the past year.

The text of the charge is as follows:

Violation of sections 8(a)(1) and (5) of the National Labor Relations Act.

Within the past six months, the Employer has violated its obligation to bargain with the Union in good faith in various respects including the following:

1. The Employer has failed and refused to honor an agreement that it reached with Union negotiations over the payment of medical benefits for employee who are eligible for Medicare.  The Employer reached an agreement with the Union to permit Medicare-eligible employees to collect Medicare payments and to supplement those payments with medical benefits payable by the Employer.  Despite this agreement, the Employer has refused to honor its commitment to pay the supplemental medical benefits.

2. The Employer has failed and refused to comply with its obligation to meet and bargain with the Union over financial alternatives to employee layoffs prior to implementing any such layoffs.  Although the Employer has permitted the Union to present proposals of such financial alternatives, the Employer never gave any meaningful consideration to those alternatives and never engaged in negotiations with the Union over them.  Rather, it simply dismissed those alternatives out of hand.

3. The Employer has permitted the Pacifica National Board to dictate and interfere with local labor-management issues in direct contravention of the collective bargaining agreement’s delegation of such authority to the Employer’s Executive Director.  All of the above conduct is designed to interfere, and has interfered, with the Union’s ability to represent its members.  This conduct cannot be effectively addressed by means of the grievance process, because the Employer will not recognize its obligation to bargain with the Union in good faith.

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