R. Paul Martin produces Back of the Book, a program on WBAI, and is Chief Steward of the Union there.
In the past few days it's been discovered that New York's Mayor Giuliani is constructing a bunker on the 23rd floor of a building in the World Trade Center. He's spending $15.1 million to build it and $1.4 million a year for rent. Meanwhile the Mayor has threatened to cut funding for senior citizens' centers, city hospitals and services for the poor.
The Mayor's coming in for a lot of ridicule over his bunker in the sky, its telecommunications equipment supposedly could operate even after a nuclear blast, although there wouldn't be any people left alive to operate it nor many people left in the city to communicate with. This bunker will be bullet proof, bomb resistant and will have its own power and water supplies. People are complaining that the mayor has this expenditure hidden on page 995 of the City's capital budget.
And yet Mayor Giuliani is more forthright and open than the Pacifica National Board. He hid his figures in a large budget, but at least he published his figures.
What are the total legal fees spent by Pacifica/WBAI Management on bringing matters before the National Labor Relations Board?
What are the total legal fees spent by Pacifica/WBAI Management on the writing of the Contract presented to WBAI, KPFA and KPFK?
What are the total legal fees spent by Pacifica/WBAI Management on the Corporation for Public Broadcasting hearings?
What are the total legal fees spent by Pacifica/WBAI Management on denying unemployment benefits to a terminated WBAI worker?
What are the total legal fees spent by Pacifica/WBAI Management on an arbitration hearing on the unfair termination of a WBAI worker? We estimate that at least $10,000 of listener sponsors' money was spent on the two days of hearings alone.
Meanwhile workers at WBAI are being threatened with layoffs, and Collective Bargaining Unit jobs are being stolen and given to Management personnel. Unfair Labor Practice charges on this are pending with the NLRB and will cost Pacifica/WBAI Management even more money.
It is sad that a Republican mayor whose policies appear to be going off the deep end is more honest and forthright than the ruling junta of the Pacifica Foundation.
The only cure for what ails the Pacifica Foundation is sunlight. The Pacifica Foundation calls itself “Radio with Vision.” That vision now includes gag rules not only on broadcasters, but also on Local Advisory Board members; that vision includes attempts at Union busting, violations of Contract and Unfair Labor Practices. If you want to be before the public, you're going to be confronted with these dichotomies, and even your spin doctor won't be able to help you.
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