Pacifica hires notorious union-buster law firm. Why?

KPFA’s parent organization, the Pacifica Foundation, has hired Jackson Lewis, a notorious anti-union law firm which the AFL-CIO calls “America’s number one union-buster.”

Pacifica, an independent radio station chain owns stations in five major markets. They have a decades long tradition of being progressive and sometimes radical and used to have devoted and enthusiastic listeners. But that’s mostly all gone now. For the past several years Pacifica has been beset by psychotic infighting and now the national board has hired a union-busting law firm, apparently to destroy the worker’s union.

They are losing money. Their recent fund drives have been disasters. This is hardly surprising since they’ve driven away all the good shows and replaced them with conspiracy theory and junk medicine pablum. Listenership has dropped off a cliff and their “solution” has been to hound the intelligent shows even harder, attack the workers, and extend the length of fund drives interminably. Gosh, that’ll be sure to bring back the listeners. Worse, at a time when a strong progressive voice is needed on radio, Pacifica has been absent for years.

Pacifica owns stations in the SF Bay Area, Los Angeles, New York, Washington DC, and Houston that are are worth hundreds of millions. Why would anyone want to destroy them? My guess is because they want to change the format to commercial drek  or simply sell the stations, and that’s why the existing Pacifica is deliberately being destroyed.

By their actions, the national board now directly opposes everything Pacifica used to stand for. has breaking news and information on how to help.


  1. Testing. Test, test, test.

    I’m curious as to what we’ll hear from Amy Goodman and DemocracyNow!, a syndicated Pacifica production [which we,, air twice daily]. Been curious about it since the KPFK “wars” began.

    • Democracy Now! has been receiving our press releases, and we too hope they will cover this story, which is important to Pacifica listeners as well as independent media everywhere. 

      Amy Goodman and her crew are talented journalists who wisely got out of Pacifica’s dysfunction while they could. They were of great help to the movement at the time. The fact is, many of us in Pacifica were exhausted after that national battle, and went back to our lives reporting, working and organizing on the non-Pacifica issues we cared about. That nutcases are on the verge of taking over at Pacifica about 10 years later is due to many reasons — it isn’t something that can be simplistically pinned on a single person.

      Let’s put the blame where it belongs — on those who are now destroying the network, not on those who once helped save it.

      • I was volunteering at KPFK when that particular fight was going on and it was a doozy. Democracy Now did rather cynically cut themselves a deal.

        But that dysfunction was mild and calm compared to the raging psychosis that has followed and to which DN has had no role in at all.

        Follow the money. Who gains monetarily if Pacifica goes broke and has to be sold off or the format of the stations is changed? Because that’s what I think an underlying agenda is, which is aided and helped by Pacifica losing money and too much of the staff shown to be outright loonies.

  2. You got the story all wrong Jackson-Lewis is not handling contract negotiations, labor grievances or any union issues with the CWA, NABET or AFTRA. They have been hired by Pacificas officer and directors insurance policy to handle sexual harassment and wrongful discharge claims filed against Pacifica. Exclusively. Insurance companies tend to like sharky 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 will not be any different this time. Call off the dogs, as they say. There is no story here. KPFA Worker

  3. Thank you Bob, the “kpfaworker” above is an imposter indeed. The rhetoric sounds like it is straight from Tracy Rosenberg’s mouth.  She and her allies have squatted quite a few web and twitter names too in an attempt to confuse listeners.

    Anyway, readers can find’s posts here:

    We are a KPFA collective of unpaid and paid staff, working in coalition with the community (including the good folks at SaveKPFA, CWA and many others) to save our beloved station.

    • Probably a good time to point out that many, like KPFK and my own KPOV, are community radio stations staffed predominantly by volunteers. We don’t receive money from the government, don’t run advertisements for our Corporate Masters, and here at KPOV out of a staff of over a hundred we have but two half-time paid staffers – a station manager and an office manager. I aired (sic) my observations here as an engineer, network administrator, talk show host and member of the Prometheus Radio Project (which establishes low power FM community radio in unserved markets). I had no idea we’d get trolled. Sorry ’bout that Bob.

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