KPFA’s union workers are still waiting to get a full accounting of the extent to which parent corporation Pacifica illegally dipped into their pensions. Paid workers discovered last month that Pacifica was taking money out of their paychecks but not depositing the money in their retirement accounts, which is a violation of federal law. Christina Huggins, the first executive vice president of CWA Local 9415, which represents KPFA’s paid workers, calls such dealings “wage theft.” Pacifica claims it has restored the money it took out of workers’ accounts, but still has not notified affected employees, apologized to them, nor made them whole by paying them interest.
WPFW workers: No confidence in management
More than 80 unpaid and paid workers at KPFA’s sister station WPFW in Washington DC have taken a vote of no confidence in the general manager put in place by Pacifica ten months ago. They accuse John Hughes, who was hired by Pacifica executive director Arlene Engelhardt, of refusing to meet with staff, increasing on air fundraising, and slashing the pay of union workers, while leaving managers’ salaries untouched.
“Mr. Hughes has shown a willingness to circumvent station bylaws, ignore process, and demonstrated an aloof and dismissive attitude to WPFW’s volunteer programmers and paid, union staff – whose salaries were cut by more than half in an austerity move – while the HR Director, Development Director and Business Manager maintained their full salaries,” stated radio host Robyn Holden, one of the signers of the “Letter of No Confidence.”
“The programmers at WPFW collectively represent the lifeblood of the station,” said Katea Stitt, WPFW’s Music Director. “The programmers are the frontline of integrity between our community of listeners and the station, so as a Pacifica Foundation station, how can we say we stand for principles of peace, social justice and righteous change when we’re faced with the antithesis of those principles right here in our own house?”