Pacifica National Board Chair, Coming to WBAI on February 11th!
Dr. Mary Frances Berry will be coming to New York City on Wednesday, February 11th, as part of her tour of all the Pacifica stations.
WBAI General Manager Valerie Van Isler announced to the Local Advisory Board that Dr. Berry would go on the air for a "Report to the Listener" at about 8:00 AM, she will meet with WBAI Staff in the afternoon and will attend a public forum, venue unannounced, which will start at 7:00 PM.
All Paid and Unpaid Staff should try to attend these meetings.
In the morning Dr. Berry will appear on a "Report to the Listener."
As Chair of the Pacifica National Board, Dr. Berry is in a position to get that body to reverse Pat Scott's attempt to bust the Union at WBAI. Currently Pacifica/WBAI Management is appealing the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) decision a year ago that the Business Director, a Paid Staff position, and all Unpaid Staff are indeed valid members of the Collective Bargaining Unit at WBAI and therefore may be represented by the Union here.
The Shop Committee has sent a letter to Dr. Berry suggesting that she end this costly appeal of the NLRB ruling, on which Pacifica is spending tens of thousands of listener sponsors' dollars. It is known that WBAI spent $32,000 on the first phase of the NLRB hearings in 1996. Since then all payments to lawyers, etc. have been laundered through the Pacifica National Office, which is not revealing any figures on what it's spending.
Dr. Berry could also get the National Board to
account for the several "reserve funds" that Pacifica requires WBAI to keep in Pacifica's California coffers. This money comes from WBAI, and then essentially disappears. Currently the only accounting done is to record how much WBAI has put in its "reserve fund" in the current fiscal year. The WBAI Local Advisory Board has twice asked the National Board to account for how much is in the WBAI "reserve funds," including what interest rate these substantial funds are earning. The National Board has not given the requested accounting.
Previous Berry Forums "Lackluster"
Last year Dr. Berry visited two other Pacifica stations and held similar forums.
In Los Angeles (KPFK) she said that she wanted regularly scheduled "Report to the Listener" programs. Of course these "Reports" only allow Management to go on the air and give their spin on what's happening. No references to listener sponsors' donations being squandered on lawyers' bills to bust unions on those programs.
When asked directly about trying to use the Federal Government to strip the WBAI Union of most of its membership Dr. Berry gave what was described as "an equivocal answer," but she did not say that they were dropping the appeal.
In Berkeley (KPFA) she said essentially the same thing, but she also reportedly said that she had not reached a position on accepting corporate underwriting by Pacifica or Pacifica stations; she was still considering the question.
This is one of the big decisions to be made by the Pacifica National Board, and it could affect the way radio is done at WBAI and other Pacifica stations more than any other decision.
We now know that this open forum will be held at 505 8th Ave. on the 22nd floor. This is the same building that WBAI is in.
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