The Unpaid Staff Organization at KPFA
by Adrienne Lauby
November 25, 2012
An unpaid staff organization, often known by the initials, UPSO, exists at KPFA. Shahram Aghamir, David Gans, Ann Garrison, Adrienne Lauby and Tim Lynch recently were elected to the Unpaid Staff Council which keeps the organization running. You can find the by-laws and our contact information here: www.kpfa.org/staff/unpaid
The Unpaid Staff Organization was set up to give unpaid staff a voice and a collective method to redress grievances after the union change to CWA left unpaid staff out of the loop at KPFA. There's a long history, and sometimes UPSO has been stronger and more effective than others. It's a volunteer organization.
There were 243 unpaid staff members certified to vote in the 2012 board election. They range from folks who come in occasionally or do a yearly special, to those who produce regular weekly programs. 73 are music programmers. 25 are apprentices and recent apprentice graduates. 26 work in the news department. 20 produce Arts and Literature. 98 produce public affairs.
Many are amazing people with resources and deep community networks. With a few exceptions, the unpaid staff tends to be forgotten or treated with cursory attention in internal decision-making.
One place that the unpaid staff do have an impact is in board elections where, as voters, we greatly outnumber paid staff. The staff seats on the board are filled by a vote of staff members. When the democratizing by-laws were written, the rules for qualifying as a voter from KPFA's unpaid staff were based on the rules for membership in the unpaid staff organization and grandfathered in. Other Pacifica stations have more stringent rules for unpaid staff to qualify as voters.
The faction currently known as "Save KPFA" has been on a multi-year campaign to change this.
The closest they came was when LemLem Rijio was manager and de-recognized the organization. It took a vote from the Pacifica National Board to get the Unpaid Staff Organization back to official status. Lesser efforts have included dropping UPSO representatives from station committees or making these committees powerless and ineffective. The most obvious and important example is the Program Council which was ignored into a years long hiatus when Sasha Lilley was interim Program Director at KPFA.
If you are an unpaid staff member at KPFA, please contact one of your Council representatives to talk about the current work of the Unpaid Staff Organization.
ADRIENNE LAUBY is a member of UPSO at KPFA 94.1 FM