Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Notes: Unpaid Staff Organization (UPSO) membership meeting minutes, 07.09.2013

Present: Shahram Aghamir, Lisa Dettmer, Ruthanne Shpiner, Jae Michael, Adrienne Lauby (by phone), Frank Sterling, Carla West, and Emmit Powell. (Carla West and Emmit Powell were able to stay only briefly.)

This quarterly meeting was held to initiate a discussion of the rights and responsibilities of the Unpaid Staff.

As a way of starting we had a call-in Q & A with Bruce Wolf, a WPFW Local Station Board rep and member of the Pacifica National Board associated, who worked on the PNB committee that drafted the new Pacifica Employee Handbook and Pacifica Volunteer Handbook.

The main takeaways from the conversation with Bruce were that: 1) The Handbook was drafted by the PNB’s Financial Audit Recovery Committee in the interest of defining explicit Pacifica policy regarding unpaid staff, andthat it has not yet been finalized.  2) The committee is still accepting feedback, although a formal deadline has passed.

As the UPSO, we unanimously passed these two resolutions to request revisions, which have been forwarded to the PNB:

1)We strongly urge that the handbook with the draft name “Pacifica Volunteer Handbook” be renamed “Pacifica Unpaid Staff and Volunteer Handbook.” Unpaid Staff are those involved in actual radio production work
but not paid for it.  Unpaid staff are eligible to vote in Local Station Board elections; volunteers are not.  The word “volunteer” has been consistently used to denigrate our work.

2) We would like this paragraph added to the section of the Handbook titled “Policy on Harrassment”: No one with authority over air time or employment should circulate a petition, seek a Local Station Board endorsement, or otherwise urge action on internal Pacifica/station issues from staff whom they exercise that authority over. This is intended to decrease the potential for retaliation for disagreement about internal politics.


Those present also unanimously agreed that language regarding reimbursement for training and travel costs should be stronger, and that production costs should be added to the list of reimbursable expenses.  Adrienne Lauby said that this reimbursement provision in the handbook was not likely to be very strong unless and until the UPSO negotiates a contract with management that includes reimbursement for such expenses and the LSB makes a budget allocation for it.

Shahram Aghamir asked whether the language in the draft of the (paid) employee handbook is similar to that in the unpaid staff handbook, and Bruce Wolf said that much of it is.  The still unfinalized versions of both the paid and unpaid staff handbooks are on the staff page of the KPFA website:

There was appreciation for those who worked to draft this handbook and discussion about other specific areas covered by the handbook. Those included rules regarding blogging & other internet activities and the conflict of interest section.

Anyone who goes over the Handbook and wants to submit further suggestions should send them to Bruce Wolf, and cc’ UPSO Councilors Ann Garrison and Adrienne Lauby, who initiated this process. We will keep a record of all suggestions forwarded by UPSO members.  Possible revisions will go to the Pacifica National Board (PNB) Committee working on the handbooks.

At our next month’s conference call meeting we will vote on whether we want to add the KPFA UPSO’s name to any revisions suggested by individual UPSO members. Revisions can also be proposed for the first time at that meeting.

We all thanked Bruce for staying up late on the East Coast, three hours ahead of us, to talk about this.
Notes by Ann Garrison 

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