-----A newsletter about the Contract negotiations at WBAI.----- ---April 21, 2001---
-----Presented by the WBAI/UE Local 404 Shop Committee----- ---Vol. 2 No. 1---
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Contract Negotiations Begin With New WBAI Management

Contract negotiations between members of the Shop Committee and Interim General Manager Utrice Leid began on March 20th, 2001, they continued on the 21st.

Management's lawyer proposed that the entire Contract negotiation process be considered “confidential.” However, the Union cited its obligation to keep the membership informed and rejected this proposal.

Although Management has cited the schedule of UE Rep. Bruce Klipple as the reason why the negotiations didn't start until the end of March, that's not the entire story. Mr. Klipple's schedule accounted for about three weeks of delay. The major problem was that Shop Steward and Membership Secretary Sharan Harper has been unfairly fired and banned from WBAI, thus making it impossible to assemble the Shop Committee for a meeting in the station. Management is also using the Pacifica lawyer from Los Angeles, California in these negotiations and the 2,800 mile commute doesn't help. Previous WBAI Management refused to hold Contract negotiation meetings for 13 months.

Both sides already agree that Paid Staff need a serious pay raise and that health benefits need to be improved.

Unfortunately, Management has refused to include Unpaid Staff among those covered by this Contract. In August 1999, the National Labor Relations Board ruled in favor of Pacifica and WBAI Management's appeal of an earlier, regional ruling that allowed the Unpaid Staff to remain covered by the Contract. This means that now, legally, Pacifica does not have to bargain over Unpaid Staff being part of the Collective Bargaining Unit.

Previous Management got the Unpaid Staff removed from the Collective Bargaining Unit and current Management has implemented this ruling.

Looks like they agree on something.

The Contract Negotiating Committee will be adding additional Paid Staff members in the next week or so. The Shop Committee has suffered attrition of its Paid Staff members over the past year. Besides the previously mentioned Sharan Harper banning, she has had to take another job to make ends meet while waiting for the grievance to be won, Errol Maitland suffered a brutal beating at the hands of police while on a WBAI assignment a year ago, and Utrice Leid became Interim General Manager; Shop Steward Tom Whelan left WBAI in December 1999. The additional Paid Staff members will enhance the Contract Negotiating Committee's representative function.

We are all looking forward to the next negotiating session and hope for more sustained meetings in the future.


As everyone knows, there were a number of firings and bannings immediately after the “Midnight Coup” of December 22, 2000, and subsequently. The Union immediately filed a grievance on the firing of Sharan Harper. This case has also resulted in the filing of Unfair Labor Practice charges against WBAI Management. Sharan has asked that her grievance be publicly displayed on the Web. It can be viewed at www.glib.com/sharan_grievance.html and www.glib.com/sharan_ulp.html

A number of the Unpaid Staff who have been banned by Management have also asked to have their bannings grieved, and this has been done.

Additionally, there are currently grievances pending over issues of the creation of a hostile workplace, restricted access, the collection of personal information, illegal hiring practices, and others. The unofficial Union Web page can be found at www.glib.com/union.html

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