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Union-Busting Law Firm Brought In for California CWA Negotiations

The Pacifica Foundation, which owns multiple radio stations, has hired notorious anti-union law firm Jackson Lewis in preparation for negotiations with Communications Workers of America (CWA) Local 9415. Workers at San Francisco’s KPFA are calling for solidarity as they prepare for what is likely to be a lengthy and grueling process:

Last week, the union representing KPFA’s workers, Communications Workers of America Local 9415, became aware of Jackson Lewis’ hire by Pacifica at all five stations in the network – KPFA in the San Francisco Bay Area, KPFK in Los Angeles, KPFT in Houston, WPFW in Washington D.C., and WBAI in New York. At a meeting of KPFA’s bargaining unit, the station’s union workers voted to demand that the Pacifica National Board immediately terminate its arrangement with Jackson Lewis, and sent a letter to all members of Pacifica’s board to that effect. The board met Wednesday, March 7, but chose not to take action to reverse its employment of the union-buster.

With Jackson Lewis on board, there is no doubt among workers that Pacifica will try to break their union. KPFA’s union stewards wrote:

We see the entry of Jackson Lewis as a declaration of war on the unions that represent Pacifica workers. We fear it will lead to unnecessary legal expenses the network can ill afford, sour Pacifica’s already dismal relationship with its union workers, and alienate many listener-supporters who do not want their donations to be handed over to one of organized labor’s greatest enemies in the United States.

Jackson Lewis, who’s union busting techniques include targeting workers who take medical leave, is currently being sued by EnerSys. EnerSys sued for malpractice after following their illegal advice of illegally firing union leaders, spying on workers, and finally closing the plant as an act of retribution against the union. Communications Workers of America Local 9415, envisions the same steps will be taken at Pacifica:

The modus operandi of firms like Jackson Lewis is to counsel their clients to take hard-line stances against unions — reject all bargaining demands, reject even the most basic grievances — and then rack up billable hours representing those clients in the ensuing arbitration’s and National Labor Relations Board hearings.

It seems that union busting is highly profitable during times of economic uncertainty. While most workers have struggled through the past four years, Jackson Lewis has expanded, its gross revenue increasing by 15% in 2010 to more than $295 million.


One Comment on “Union-Busting Law Firm Brought In for California CWA Negotiations”

  1. You got the story all wrong Chaz. Jackson-Lewis is not handling contract negotiations, labor grievances or any union issues with the CWA, NABET or AFTRA. They have been hired by Pacifica’s officer and directors insurance policy to handle sexual harassment and wrongful discharge claims filed against Pacifica. Exclusively. Insurance companies tend to like skarky law firms that win and when you get sued frivolously as many times as Pacifica does, the insurance company wants the best.

    I understand why the CWA is nervous, but they are being paranoid. Pacifica was using Jackson-Lewis during the LAST negotiation (the relationship started in 2009) and JL never got near the bargaining table and the CWA got an unremarkable contract. It won’t be any different this time.

    Call off the dogs, as they say. There is no story here.

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