A vindication of KPFA’s workers’ rights today, as Pacifica management reverses itself and puts former Morning Show co-host Brian Edward-Tiekert back to work, with back pay. But the position he is returning to is in the KPFA newsroom, not at the Morning Show.
Pacifica’s executive director Arlene Engelhardt insisted only last month that Pacifica would prevail before a neutral arbitrator over the layoffs. Co-host Aimee Allison’s arbitration hearing is still going forward.
“Legally speaking, Pacifica management is throwing in the towel,” wrote Edwards-Tiekert to supporters. “After three months of stonewalling, they have given our union a ‘make whole’ offer for my grievance: that means they’ll be putting me back on payroll, with back pay. Pacifica has basically conceded it can’t win the pending arbitration over my dismissal. This is a victory for our union in enforcing its contract.”
He notes that this is not “a sign of sudden good will from Pacifica management,” and urges supporters to redouble their efforts to bring back Allison and the program’s unpaid staff, and restore the program to the air. “Pacifica assured us, multiple times, that the only reason they took us off the air was for financial reasons,” wrote Edwards-Tiekert. “‘If we had the money,’ Pacifica’s counsel told me during an abortive seniority negotiation in December, ‘everyone would have their job back.’ Now they’ve been forced to put me back on payroll, and SaveKPFA has raised nearly $63,000 in conditional pledges to support the return of the Morning Show.”
Edwards-Tiekert said the move “completely sidelined KPFA’s workers (who proposed alternatives to cuts), KPFA’s elected local station board (which endorsed the workers’ proposals), KPFA’s local managers (who opposed the cuts, and quit over them), KPFA’s listeners (who sent Pacifica over 2300 emails protesting the decimation of the Morning Show), and KPFA’s new local management (which Pacifica has stripped of any authority to resolve the grievances from KPFA’s workers and listeners). This can’t stand: we have to bring back Aimee, David, and the rest of The Morning Show.” You can read Edwards-Tiekert’s entire letter here.