iPNB meeting docs
The resolutions of the WBAI issues committee passed by the Interim Pacifica National Board
The following is the full text of the resolutions (plus the introduction and appendices) proposed to the I-PNB by the WBAI Committee, composed of the 3 New York-area PNB members (Leslie, Ray, Janice) plus 1 non-NYC member (former majoritarian James Ferguson) plus five members of the WBAI Local Advisory Board -- Miguel Maldonado, Rashidah Ismaili-Abubaka, Anthony Mackall, Mimi Rosenberg, and Andy Norris. There were two very minor amendments accepted (the text of which I don't have) before this passed 10-3 (more than a two-thirds majority), but they in no way changed the actions to be taken or the consequences.
It's worth studying carefully to understand what was and wasn't decided, and what decisions and processes remain ahead of us. Don't forget to page down to the final Appendix for the "Abuses by Acting General Manager AND Corrective Action."
WBAI COMMITTEE RESOLUTIONS
Pursuant to the Settlement Agreement, the Interim Pacifica National Board on Dec. 29, 2001, voted to establish a committee "to investigate and recommend corrective action to the board on the range of items that define the present crisis" at Pacifica's New York station, WBAI. The Committee has arrived at a number of recommendations for remedial action.
The train of events that led to the current turmoil at WBAI was set in motion late on the night of Dec. 22, 2000, when the former Executive Director of Pacifica without warning changed the locks, barred staff, and began a long string of firings and bannings that have yet to cease. The summary firings and bannings were preponderantly without process. It was a political purge. More than a year later, the station has been reduced to a dysfunctional and nearly bankrupt state, with a drastic decline in programming quality, alienating both staff and listeners. In short, WBAI has been badly broken, and the clearest and quickest way to fix it is to return the station as closely as possible to the situation that existed before the Christmas weekend lockout. This is the core corrective action which is required to address the current crisis.
The heart of the issue is the more than 25 WBAI paid and unpaid staff members who have been fired, banned, suspended, or removed from their programs over the past year. They are a diverse group, but several qualities: their programs stood out as being the most in keeping with Pacifica's mission and (not coincidentally) were among the station's most acclaimed and popular. The absence of those familiar voices from the airwaves and their replacement with a manifestly inferior product has caused many long-time listener-sponsors to decline to pledge money to WBAI, leading directly to its current financial crisis.
It seems clear that the only way to return WBAI to its historic character and mission is to bring back the fired and the banned immediately. Such an action would demonstrate that Pacifica is serious about reform, and would bring back the former listenership as well, who would undoubtedly show their appreciation in the next fund drive. It would also right a series of injustices, and remove a potential source of litigation against Pacifica by those persecuted if they were left with no other means of redress.
In the same spirit of fairness, it is important to do the right thing in regards to staff affected by the return of the fired and banned to their previous positions. Those occupying program slots formerly held by improperly removed staff would be maintained in their program original slots, or if they held no such position would be considered for other slots that might be open.
Finally, the WBAI Committee has taken note of the role played in the crisis by Acting General Manager Robert Daughtry. The actions of Mr. Daughtry since the formation of the new Interim National Board have been contrary to both the spirit and the letter of the settlement. He also refused requests by the I-PNB chair and another board member to go on the air to provide accurate information on the Jan. 11-13 board meeting. Mr. Daughtry also refused the Local Advisory Board's repeated request to meet at the station as they have for more than 20 years. Finally, in an act of open insubordination, he has refused to carry out the board's mandate to resume broadcasting "Democracy Now!", and even scheduled programming in its time slot attacking the show and the directive to return it to the air.
These actions illustrate the selective and unfair enforcement of the so-called "gag rule," issued on January 24, 2001 by former Interim General Manager Utrice Leid (copy attached) at the station. Critics of the settlement that now governs Pacifica are allowed to vent their opinions at will, engaging in defamation and character assassination on air (which could also prove a source of litigation against the Foundation), while producers who take a stand in support of the current National Board majority are suspended or preempted. Following a number of previous unjustified removals of staff, Mr. Daughtry has in just the past few weeks removed several more programmers from the air without cause, we assume, because of political differences over Pacifica issues. In sum, these actions put Mr. Daughtry's administration of WBAI in contradiction to and open violation of current National Board policy.
In light of the range of issues highlighted above that threaten the continued viability of the station, the WBAI Committee recommends adoption by the Interim Pacifica National Board of the following resolutions:
PROPOSED RESOLUTION TO RESTORE WBAI TO THE MISSION OF THE PACIFICA FOUNDATION
The Interim Pacifica National Board (I-PNB) resolves that in order to correct serious, systemic violations of longstanding Pacifica policy and restore WBAI to the historic mission of the Foundation, the Executive Director shall work with the I-PNB Committee on WBAI to implement changes at the station according to the following principles:
1. Due to a succession of actions that violated longstanding Pacifica policy, undermined the mission of the Foundation, and in the case of the refusal to broadcast "Democracy Now!" since Jan. 5, 2002, flagrantly defied the explicit I-PNB directive of Dec. 29, 2001, Robert Daughtry shall be immediately removed by the Executive Director as Acting General Manager of WBAI. The Executive Director, in consultation with the I-PNB, can determine whether there are other positions at Pacifica that might be open to him.
2. All WBAI management employees and staff members (paid and unpaid) who were fired, banned, suspended or otherwise removed beginning Dec. 22, 2000 shall be immediately returned to the positions they held on that day. (See detailed report attached hereto.) To effectuate the return of these individuals, the WBAI Committee will review program and staffing developments over the last year and work with the new station management to implement appropriate adjustments. Any persons now occupying positions formerly held by such fired, suspended, or otherwise removed producers shall maintain the positions they held on that day. If such a person previously held no position, the Committee shall explore the possibility of transferring that person to another suitable position for which they are qualified.
3. All banning orders are hereby lifted against any management employee, staff member, Interim National Board member, Local Advisory Board (LAB) member, listener or volunteer.
4. The WBAI Local Advisory Board will proceed, in conjunction with WBAI staff representatives and in consultation with the Executive Director, to design and implement a performance review procedure for WBAI General Manager Valerie Van Isler, as had been planned before her termination was carried out in violation of Pacifica National Board policy. It is also recommended that a human resource specialist accompany the return of personnel to the station to devise and facilitate a process of healing and coming together amongst the staff. The Committee will also study various creative administrative management schemes for the station such as management teams.
5. For an interim period to be determined by the WBAI Committee, the station management shall be required to seek pre-approval by a special committee for all hirings, firings and other disciplinary actions, as well as approval of all union negotiations and contracts consistent with Foundation policy. (This supersedes the moratorium on such actions included in the I-PNB's resolution of Dec. 29, 2001.)
6. The Foundation will return to its original policy of voluntary recognition of unpaid staff under the protection of the National Labor Relations Act. In keeping with the longstanding practice at WBAI, the Foundation recognizes paid and unpaid staff as employees and their right to seek union recognition under a common collective bargaining unit and to contract for their rights. Sufficient time will be permitted for staff to investigate the services that unions are willing to provide for the entire WBAI staff and to seek representation. The Foundation thereafter agrees to begin good-faith negotiations to contract for the terms and conditions of work at WBAI. Until a new union is selected by the paid and unpaid workers, the Foundation agrees to abide by the terms of the last United Electrical Workers' Local 404 contract for paid and unpaid staff, which expired October 31, 2001.
7. The WBAI LAB shall be immediately permitted to hold its meetings, public and executive, at the station. In the spirit of healing and openness, the station management will cooperate fully with the LAB in providing regular reports to and from the listeners and in giving regular fiscal and administrative data to the LAB.
8. The Executive Director shall work in cooperation with the WBAI Committee to implement the policies listed above, as well as to resolve employee grievances and to take other corrective action to reverse WBAI management actions that have caused serious deterioration of program quality and workers' rights at the station. All Committee decisions must be consistent with Foundation policies as well as the law, and the Committee shall seek legal advice as necessary.
PERSONNEL FIRED, BANNED, REMOVED, SUSPENDED or DRIVEN FROM WBAI SINCE DECEMBER 22, 2000
As of January 10, 2002, according to (possibly not all encompassing) information compiled by the Local Advisory Board, 37 members of the staff or management have been fired, banned, removed, suspended or driven from WBAI since December 22, 2000. Of these, 27 were the subject of direct punitive action by management; the remainder left as a matter of principle due to what they considered intolerable conditions. (Each person is only counted once, regardless of how many positions they held). Six of those removed by management action, and one other who left on principle, were paid WBAI employees. (Also, two others who left on principle were paid Paeifica employees working at WBAI on Democracy Now!.)
All of these individuals should be reinstated.
* = paid employee
FIRED, BANNED, REMOVED or SUSPENDED
[Note: The term "removed" refers to management action to indefinitely remove the staff member from that program but either: a) not formally dismiss them from the staff; or b) not explicitly preclude them from maintaining other programming roles]
GENERAL MANAGER * Valerie Van Isler (fired and banned)
PROGRAM DIRECTOR * Bernard White (fired and banned)
WAKE UP CALL (program cancelled)
BUILDING BRIDGES: YOUR COMMUNITY AND LABOR REPORT
AL LEWIS LIVE! (program canceled)
BEHIND THE NEWS
EARTHWATCH (program cancelled)
RADIO UNNAMEABLE (program suspended)
ANY SATURDAY (program suspended)
EDUCATION AT THE CROSSROADS (program cancelled)
HARD WORK (program suspended)
DRIVEN FROM THE STATION
A. WBAI Staff
Deena Kolbert (coproducer, cohost, City Watch Segment of Wake Up Call - boycotting due to compromised conditions for production/hosting)
Bill DiFazio (coproducer, cohost, City Watch Segment of Wake Up Call - boycotting due to compromised conditions for production/hosting)
* Errol Maitland (Technical Director, Democracy Now! and producer, Wake Up Call - driven out by intolerable working conditions that acutely threatened his health)
Ryme Katkhouda (producer, Cuba in Focus; reporter, Sunday News; and contributing reporter/producer for several other programs - in exile due to intolerable conditions)
Miranda Kennedy (freelance reporter, Evening News - in exile due to intolerable conditions)
Leslie George (freelance reporter, Evening News - boycotting due to intolerable conditions)
Vic Takeall (coproducer, Community Bulletin Board segment on Wake Up Call - boycotting due to intolerable conditions)
Steve Marshall (producer, Liquid Sound Lounge - boycotting due to intolerable conditions)
B. Pacifica Staff Working at WBAI
* Juan Gonzalez (cohost, Democracy Now! - resigned on principle due to intolerable conditions)
ACTIONS REQUIRED TO RESTORE WBAI PROGRAMS AND HOSTS TO STATUS QUO AS OF 12/22/00
A. WBAI Programs
WAKE UP CALL (canceled)
RESTORE: Program and Bernard White (paid acting cohost, Mon.-Thurs), Mario Murillo (paid cohost, Fri.), Amy Goodman (paid cohost, Mon.-Fri., 7:00-8:00 AM) and Robert Knight (paid news anchor, Mon.-Fri., 7:00-9:00 AM), as well as, among others, "In Brief' segment with Mimi Rosenberg, "Your Money" segment with Susan Lee, "City Watch" segment with Deena Kolbert and Bill DeFazio, "Behind the Wall" segment with Walter Washington, and "Community Bulletin Board" with Vic Takeall.
CONTINUE: Santiago Nieves as producer/host of "Latino Journal" (Sun., 1:00-2:00 PM), and Paul DeRienzo as coproducer/cohost of "Let 'Em Talk" in its original time slot (Thurs., 1:30-3:00 AM). Marjorie Moore had no other position with WBAI at the time of her hire; she could be considered for other slots that might be open.
BUILDING BRIDGES: YOUR COMMUNITY AND LABOR
RESTORE: Program and Mimi Rosenberg and Ken Nash as cohosts
AL LEWIS LIVE! (canceled)
RESTORE: Program and Al and Karen Lewis as cohosts
RETURN: Clayton Riley to his original time slot for "Strictly Confidential" (10:30 AM to 12:00 noon)
BEHIND THE NEWS (WEDNESDAY EDITION)
RESTORE: Deepa Fernandes as host
RESTORE: Program and Robert Knight as host
RETURN: "Nightshift" with Mike Sargent and "Let 'Em Talk" with Paul DeRienzo to original time slots
RESTORE: Bob Lederer and Kathy Davis as cohosts on a rotating and/or collaborating basis
EDUCATION AT THE CROSSROADS (canceled)
RESTORE: Program and Basir Mchawi as host. Dr. Dees was not part of WBAI before his arrival two weeks ago as an unpaid program host.
RADIO UNNAMEABLE (suspended)
RESTORE: Program and Bob Fass as host.
HARD WORK (suspended)
RESTORE: Program and Mike Feder as host.
ANY SATURDAY (suspended)
RESTORE: Program and David Rothenberg as host.
RETURN: "Everything Old is New Again" to its prior time slot.
B. Pacifica Programming
Abuses by Acting General Manager AND Corrective Action:
We anticipate that this agreement will permit us to quickly reverse the deleterious actions that were taken since December 22, 2000 by the Interim General Manager Utrice Leid and her replacement, Acting General Manager Robert Daughtry. These actions have seriously eroded workers' rights at WBAI and caused the precipitous decline of the station and the network that we are now struggle to reverse.
Despite the changes in leadership and direction of the Foundation, Mr. Daughtry has persisted in implementing the failed policies of his predecessor. Many of these actions were taken after the settlement agreement and were in violation of the spirit of the agreement setting up the new Interim Pacifica National Board, in opposition to the will of the new majority on the Board and sometimes expressly in opposition to the policies of the new Board. Some of the deleterious actions of Mr. Daughtry are:
A violation of labor rights through a continued series of firings, bannings and suspensions of producers (bringing the present total to over 25 thus far), and the subversion of Pacifica' s mission through the cancellation of additional programs;
Continuation of the imposition of a number of illegal hires at the station and the currently accelerated efforts to legitimize these illegal hires through a contract that would seek to institutionalize the disenfranchisement of the large number of unpaid staff who produce the majority of programs at the station;
Continued imposition of a climate of technological surveillance, intimidation, defamation and slander and both threatened and actual assaults. Among the many acts of targeted intimidation and attacks on the quality of radio programming, the ones that WBAI Acting General Manager Daughtry is responsible for include:
His illegal firing and banning of award-winning, long-time producer and engineer Dred Scott Keyes, a paid staffer;
His illegal firing of Anthony Sloan as an unpaid producer, subsequent to his earlier suspension by National Pacifica from his paid engineering slot at Democracy Now;
His selective order to senior, nationally renowned, unpaid producer Bob Fass Dec. 13, 2001 to refrain from discussing the Pacifica settlement and "just cut off any listeners who call to discuss it," and his subsequent suspension of Bob Fass after the program (after the signing of the Dec. 12 agreement which lists, as a top priority, the lifting of the "gag rule");
A similar threat, "consider yourself warned not to discuss any internal matters on air," was delivered to the producers of Asia Pacific Forum by the Interim Public Affairs Director Djabel Faye on the same day;
His allowing, on Dec. 13, the day after the settlement was announced, a six-hour, vituperative on-air onslaught against dissident current and former WBAI producers by pro-management hosts Paul DeRienzo, Marjorie Moore, Clayton Riley and Santiago Nieves;
The pre-emption for an indefinite period of Radio Free Erin;
The removal/cancellation of Education at the Cross Roads hosted by Basir Mchawi;
The suspension of Mike Feder;
The refusal, despite requests from the IPNB Chairperson for the WBAI Local Advisory Board (LAB) to be permitted to meet at the station, the premises of which it helped locate and raise $200,000 for regardless of past practice and policy;
Mr. Daughtry, like Utrice Leid, was installed by the former Executive Director, Bessie Wash, whose actions have been recognized by many on the National Board to have been extremely deleterious to the network. He has chosen to continue the failed policies and practices of that administration in violation of progressive changes at the network level.
WBAI 99.5 FM
To: All Programmers and Staff
Discussion on air by any programmer or staff member of station business, station policy, personnel issues or meetings regarding these topics or other confidential matters will result in immediate suspension and/or dismissal.
The facilitation by on-air programmers and staff of such discussions on the air similarly will result in immediate suspension and/or dismissal.
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