City of New York
County of New York
Case No. 2-CA-34403
1, Paul DeRienzo, being first duly sworn upon my oath, hereby state as follows:
My address is XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX.
My telephone number is XXXXXXX. 1 was employed by WBAI Pacifica Foundation located at 120 Wall St., 1Oth Floor, New York, NY 10005. My social security number is XXXXXXXX.
1 1 worked as a news reporter at WBAI radio for approximately 11 years, with a gap from February, 1998 to March, 2001. During the gap I was on a leave of absence. I was discharged February 20, 2002.
2. 1 was hired back in March 2001 after Jose Santiago, News Director at WBAI, called to offer me the job. Jose was the person who generally directed my work. He was the person I would talk to about any problems I had on the job. The General Manager at the time was Utrice Leid, but Jose directs my work (although he is a unit member, as we have negotiated with Pacifica)
3. Leid reported directly to Bessie Wash, the Pacifica National Director at the time. The Pacifica National Director is appointed by the Pacifica National Board (PNB). The composition of the PNB has been influx and has been a matter of controversycurrently there is an Interim PNB made up largely of members of the various Local Advisory Boards (LABs).
4. WBAI is a wholly-owned unit of the Pacifica Foundation. Pacifica owns five radio stations in the United States. Pacifica owns the licenses, the leases and deeds to the properties, and the equipment in their stations, and employees are paid by Pacifica, which keeps records centrally (there is a local bookkeeper at WBAI who transmits information to Pacifica). Each station is programmed locally, except that there have always been some programs produced at Pacifica and those have been played by local stations (I am not familiar with the details of the rules regarding the local broadcasts of national shows).
5. For over 14 years, the United Electrical Workers represented employees at WBAI. I believe they may have also represented employees at other Pacifica stations but I dont know the details of that. There were always a number of unions representing different employees under PacificaAFTRA represented employees of Pacific Network News (PNN) at Pacifica headquarters in Washington.
6. In or about May of 2001, 1 learned that AFTRA had a system at other radio stations under which employees received greater benefits than we were receiving at WBAI. In or about early June 2001, 1 telephoned Don Rush, who was Senior Washington Correspondent for PNN in Washington and served as the AFTRA shop steward there. He told me who to get in touch with at AFTRA.
7. I then called Richard Larkin in AFTRA in New York and had a few conversations with him in June and July 2001. He told me that I would have to talk to the UE representatives and other staff members to establish that the employees wanted to change their union before AFTRA would represent us. I talked to my fellow staff people and there seemed to be a general interest in switching to AFTRA. I called and emailed the UE shop steward R. Paul Martin about this but he never returned my messages or emails. Since I couldnt reach Martin, I telephoned Bruce Klipple, a UE representative. I spoke with Klipple several times, and he said he wanted to hold a meeting with all the staff to discuss a potential change. The UE contract had not been changed since 1992, and Klipple understood the concern of the employees over the poor health benefits plan.
8. On or about July 16, 2001, there was a staff meeting with Klipple and about 14 staff members. Klipple and I spoke at the meeting. He said that there was a limit to UEs ability to fight management at Pacifica and get us benefits. He said that UE supported the idea of unpaid staff being represented by the union, the NLRB decision seemed to be the final word and UE would not be bringing further legal action about that. I made a presentation about what I understood was in the AFTRA benefits package. Amy Goodman then said that despite the NLRB decision we could negotiate a special contract with Pacifica that recognized volunteers, even though that would not be enforceable by the NLRB. Eventually we held a hand vote, and all the staff members except Amy voted to go to AFTRA Sometime that day, either before, during, or after the meeting, I also circulated a petition in favor of looking into AFTRA representation which was signed by all the 13 staff members.
9. Goodman, as I understand it, is an AFTRA member in a unit for Democracy Now, which is aired on WBAI but not produced by Pacifica; she attended the meeting claiming that she was also part of our UE unit. I dont know the details of her union memberships. My recollection is that Goodman has the authority to pay Democracy Now staff with Pacifica funds by signing checks on WBAI bank accounts. I understand she also has hired and fired people for her show. Those employees would be paid from WBAI accounts signed by Goodman, who also appears to me to have other managerial powers.
10. In or about mid-August, 2001, we had another meeting at WBAI with Richard Larkin and Klipple. Before the meeting, I gave Klipple a 7/25/01 petition signed by 16 paid staff members indicating our wish to change to AFTRA. Klipple thanked AFTRA and the AFTRA supporters for being very fair in the way the transition was being handled. Larkin told us about the benefits and talked generally about AFTRAs representation. I talked a little in support of AFTRA and Djabel Faye and Marjorie Moore both talked in strong support of AFTRA, as did several other employees, including News reporter Eric Williams and receptionist Fred Kuhn.
11. 1 publicized the meetings about AFTRA in a number of ways, sending out Emails, talking to people, and posting notices on WBAI bulletin boards, walls, and in staff mailboxes. Shortly after the August meeting, I began circulating AFTRA cards among staff members. I ultimately collected more than 20 cards which I turned over to Larkin.
12. In the summer of 2001, there was a movement by an organization known as the Pacifica Campaign, to give Pacifica managerial powers to Local Advisory Boards (LABs) which already existed for each of the five stations. Each station is mandated by the federal government to have some sort of local advisory board, but I dont think they are mandated to have any particular level of managerial power.
13. In or about early 2001, Juan Gonzales, who had resigned as co-host of Democracy Now, became the director or chief spokesperson of the Pacifica Campaign. Gonzales himself was never a manager, but as spokesperson for the Pacifica Campaign, he was espousing the views of Pacifica Campaign supporters including Valerie Van Isler, Bernard White, and the LAB members. Van Isler had been the GM of WBAI before being fired on or about December 23, 2000, by Pacifica National Director Bessie Wash. White had likewise been fired on December 23, 2000, from his jobs as Morning Show Host and Interim Program Director (I have heard that he was being paid for both jobs, in what I believe would be a violation of the UE contract).
14. On or about August 21, 2001, Gonzales posted a "news update" on pacificacampaign.org entitled "AFTRA SELLS OUT TO PACIFICA MANAGEMENT". In this posting he complains that WBA) paid staff are "seeking to decertify another union with a much more militant history of worker defense- the United Electrical Workers". He complains that AFTRA failed to effectively guarantee the physical safety of Amy Goodman, and is clearly expressing a negative view of AFTRA. This was the first indication to me that would-be managers (former and future) were displeased with AFTRA coming in.
15. On or about October 15, 2001, UE steward Paul Martin issued a memo to WBAI staff stating that AFTRA, having gathered the necessary support, was to take over as the union at WBAI, pending an agreement with Pacifica. He noted that the UE contract would continue to cover staff until an AFTRA-Pacifica agreement was reached.
16. On or about November 2, 2001, John McDonough, a long-time programmer at WBAI who has been a strong outspoken supporter of Van Isler and the Pacifica Campaign, posted a "JOKE" on a web site about WBAI. He wrote, "A letter was sent to the mourning show with powder in it. WBAI call the police to test for anthrax, before they arrived Paul D had snorted it." At the time there were serious anthrax concerns among news media in New York. I took the message as threatening and I posted it around the station so others would know what he had said.
17. On or about November 8, 2001, there was a staff meeting at WBAI with 16 employees and Richard Larkin. Larkin suggested that I could be shop steward and asked if anyone objected. No one objected, and several spoke in favor, so I became shop steward. For a few weeks before the meeting, there had been discussions about who would serve on our negotiating committee. At the meeting everyone agreed that Marjorie Moore, Djabel Faye, Jose Santiago and Indra Hardat would serve as committee members.
18. In or about late November 2001, 1 attended the meeting of the Pacifica National Board (which was the last meeting of the Board as it was then comprised; at the time Mr. Farrell was the Chair) in Crystal City, Virginia. The meeting was held on a weekend, starting Friday night and continuing Saturday and Sunday, probably November 16, 17, and 18, because related documents are dated November 27, which was the following Tuesday. We met in a large room and the Board sat at tables in the shape of a " U". There was a microphone at the opening of the " U." where people could address the Board. I addressed the Board as an AFTRA representative and submitted a proposal signed by a majority of paid WBAI employees supporting the concept of an AFTRA representative holding a spot on the Pacifica National Board.
19. There were many observers in the room during the meeting and the atmosphere was clearly hostile to that composition of the PNB and to AFTRA. Many people who were supporters of the current interim PNB had come down in busses from New York to attend this meeting, including members of the LAB. In attendance were several WBAI managers including Bernard White, Program Director, Mimi Rosenberg of the LAB and the WBAI Committee, Miguel Maldonado, chair of the LAB. Also present was Anthony Sloan, an associate of Goodmans who volunteered for Democracy Now and prior WBAI Arts Director. I know I saw Errol Maitlan, the Assistant Program Director, though I am not sure whether I saw him that day or the next. Valerie Van Isler attended the meeting later but I did not see her in the room when I spoke. When I got to the microphone I heard "boos" and sarcastic comments about my being a Union guy. As soon as I said, "AFTRA" the whole crowd of people screamed "scab, scab, scab". I was the only employee of WBAI present at the time. I understood the screaming to come from fans of certain programs and people who think of themselves as advocates for the unpaid staffers.
20. The Chair of the Board told the crowd to quiet and I was able to finish my speech. I just said people wanted AFTRA representation on the Board because the workers were the one group that didnt have representation. I mentioned that the paid workers were the ones who managed to stay on-air during the September 11, 2001, crisis (I was on the air all that day until power went off at 5:30 p.m.).21. There is a summary posted on www.savepacifica.net that accurately reflects what occurred during this weekend meeting. Most relevant to my charge is the establishment of a committee to address the WBAI issues.
22.Sometime Saturday November 17, 2001, AFTRA steward Don Rush came up to me and told me he had overheard Mimi Rosenberg telling PNB member John Murdoch that AFTRA did not represent WBAI workers. Rush and I approached Murdoch, who told us that he had told Rosenberg the PNB had already voted to accept certification of AFTRA at WBAI, and that Rosenberg had adamantly stated that another union she said was associated with United Auto Workers was willing to represent paid and unpaid staff at WBAL Murdoch did not seem to understand that there was any problem, but he said that he had told Rosenberg the issue was closed.
23. Sometime after that, still on Saturday November 17, 2001, 1 was accosted by Denis Moynihan. Moynihan is the head of the Pacifica Campaign (he replaced Gonzales) and is a close associate of Goodmans. I was in the lobby of the hotel walking from the bathroom back to the meeting room and Moynihan came up behind me. I turned around to see who was following me, and Moynihan was inches away from me. He said, "AFTRA will sell you out." Standing nearby was Garland Gantner, who at the time was station manager at KPFT in Houston, TX I believe he overheard this because our eyes met afterwards. I told Moynihan, "AFTRA is Amys union." Moynihan just looked shocked and didnt reply; he then walked away and I continued into the meeting.
24.In or about May 2001, Moynihan had been stalking me. He waited for me on the street outside the WBAI studios on at least four or five occasions, sometimes with a hand-scrawled sign saying, "scab". He held it up, and one time followed me with it when I went to get food nearby. When I returned with the food and went to enter by the back door, he rushed over to me, screaming that I would be fired and similar things. He was with a few other people I didnt know. On another occasion Moynihan screamed at Santiago Nieves, the morning host, and myself, when we left by the back door; Moynihan had a sign that he held up while he screamed. I have seen him acting essentially as Amy Goodmans bodyguard; I took this behavior as originating from her. I know Moynihan has behaved this way towards others as well, including Don Rush.
25. A few days after the meeting, I received an email from Denis Moynihan to go to he pacificacampaign.org web site. I did that, and I saw a link to a photo of AFTRA head Mr. Connolly shaking hands with Juan Gonzales. I took this as a threat that management had ties to people in AFTRA.
26. On or about December 11, 2001, AFTRA counsel Richard Larkin wrote to Pacifica Counsel Larry Drapkin requesting bargaining and requesting money due to bargaining unit members under the collective-bargaining agreement (with UE).
27. On or about December 29, 2001, the interim PNB conducted its first meeting via telephone. At this meeting a WBAI committee was chosen to address the "hot issues" concerning WBAI. One iPNB Board member argued that the WBAI Committee should be given the power to hire and fire employees and after discussion the Committee was given full management powers. Board member Carol Spooner said that the WBAI union would be a major topic considered by the committee. An archive recording of this meeting is on the internet.
28. In December 2001, 1 was acting as a steward for AFTRA. I handled workplace issues, including an attendance problem with one employee, Denise Brown. On or about January 4, 2002, staff members sent me a memo asking for their membership cards. (We are currently still negotiating a contract and have not yet received cards.)
29. The iPNB met in New York on the weekend of January 11-13, 2002 I attended the meeting on Friday and listened to the rest of it over the radio. During this meeting the Board passed a, "Resolution to Restore WBAI to the Mission of the Pacifica Foundation". Point 6 of this resolution states the Boards intent to return to its "original policy" of recognizing unpaid staff and paid staff as employees, and providing for time for workers to select, "a new union," during which time the Foundation will abide by the UE contract. The resolution also states, at point 5, that for an interim period, station management would 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. (On or about January 10, 2002, there was a telephone meeting in anticipation of the upcoming meeting. Notes of the meeting are on the internet.)
30. On or about January 13, 2002, at the meeting, AFTRA Assistant Executive Director Ken Greene read a letter to Leslie Cagan noting that the Board had committed unfair labor practices by revoking the decision of WBAI employees to have AFTRA as their exclusive representative. On or about January 14, 2002, 1 received an email from Moynihan with the subject, "Say Goodbye" that said, "Pack your bags, loser." I took this to be a threat of discharge given Moynihans position as head of the Pacifica Campaign and his closeness to Goodman, White, and Van Isler.
31. In another resolution, the Board announced the removal of WBAI General Manager Robert Daughtry and the reinstatement of Democracy Now to its old time slot on the station, which was 9-10:00 a.m., Monday through Friday.
32. On or about January 14, 2002, 1 was working a regular schedule, doing my morning show as I had done for the preceding year. At 8:30 or 9:00 a.m. while I was doing the news and talking to the news host, Leslie Cagan, Bernard White, and some others arrived at the main door to WBAI. I could see them on the studio monitor. At around 9:15 or 9:30, Daughtry entered the studio, told us to stop the program, and to put on Democracy Now which was already running on a satellite feed. We switched over and left.
33. On or about January 15, 2002, 1 arrived at my usual time of 6:00 a.m., ready to read the news. Bernard White signals to me to leave. I went back to the newsroom. At around 9:00 a.m. Jose Santiago arrived and I asked him what I should do. He said he would check with Bernard. Later that day, Santiago gave me a memo assigning me to contribute stories to the Evening News, as he had thus far received no guidance from the new managers.
34. On or about January 16, 2002, Program Director Bernard White requested a meeting with me in his office. He was very cold. We both sat in chairs facing each other. He said, "right now Im holding back from doing what I wanted to do if you were ever within the reach of my arm." I told him that I had nothing to do with any of the things that had happened to him, that I was not in management and took no position on anything that happened to him. He didnt say anything but he looked to me like he was getting angrier. I said, "Bernard, we have to learn to work together." White then said, twice, "no, we dont." I took that as a threat that I would be fired. (White was previously not offered the Program Director job after serving in an acting capacity. This happened while I was on leave from my paid job but was still doing my show at night as a volunteer.)
35. Sometime on or about the afternoon of January 15, 2002, Leslie Cagan addressed the paid staff. There were about 20-25 people in attendance. She said there would be no firings, and she introduced LAB Chair Miguel Maldonado. At that point Marjorie Moore said that she didnt feel safe in the same room with Maldonado because he been part of a group had tried to break down the studio door while she was on the air (in early June, 2001). Approximately 10-15 others also expressed fear about Maldonado and Maldonado got up to leave. I do not recall whether he actually left at that point but the part of the meeting concerning him ended. Cagan didnt say anything in response to Moore or the others but she had a pained look on her face. I dont recall whether I said anything at this meetingif I did it was not of tremendous significance. (Before this meeting, the staff members had briefly met as a unit, without Cagan, and I told the staff that Larkin had assured me that AFTRA would stand by the staff through the transition.)
36. On or about Friday, January 18, 2002, Maldonado approached me in the late afternoon while I was working in the newsroom. He asked me why I was spreading rumors that he beat me up. I told him I never said any such thing. He looked at me with a menacing stare, at which point Sidney Smith came into the room and asked Maldonado to leave the room. He left, although later I saw him glaring at me through the window that looks into the newsroom while I was working. Smith was at the time the operations director (which is a unit, non- managerial position).
37. On or about January 21, 1 was walking by some carousel work-desks around the corner from the newsroom in the early afternoon. As I walked by, I heard Maldonado and Assistant Program Director Errol Maitlan talking loudly. As I passed them, Maitlan said, "there goes one of the scabs". I think I made some short response but I cant recall exactly what I said.
38. On or about January 28, 2002, 1 learned that Marjorie Moores paycheck had been shorted. I participated in a meeting as steward with Van Isler, Dan Coughlin, Rich Larkin, and Laura Siegal to attempt resolve the problems.
39. Later on or about January 28, 2002, 1 attended the first AFTRA negotiating committee meeting, along with Laura Sigal, Richard Larkin, Faye, Moore, and bookkeeper Indra Hardat. Also present was Jose Santiago, who is considered a bargaining unit member. Present for Pacifica were Coughlin and Van Isler. The meeting proceeded normally and lasted an hour or two; no one claimed that AFTRA was not the legitimate bargaining representative. Larkin asked repeatedly about personnel changes and Coughlin said there would be none, although he did mention money concerns. Moore was very involved in the meeting. She expressed concern that her paycheck problems might be a signal of retribution. Coughlin assured her that the money would be taken care of and there would be no retribution.
40. On or about January 29, 2002, there was a staff meeting called by White in the late morning. In attendance were approximately a dozen workers, including some volunteers. Cagan, Van Isler, and Maitlan were there as well. White opened the meeting, talking about the upcoming fund drive. During the discussion, Maitlan referred to me, but I dont recall what he was talking about. What I do remember is that rather than use my name he repeatedly referred to me "mister" or "mister over there" in a mean tone. I did not respond to Maitlans manner. I did speak at the meeting, to ask Cagan whether I could return to doing my nighttime volunteer show, which I did from 1:303:30 a.m. Cagan at that point turned to White and said, "I hope youre going to let him do his show" and White and Van Isler both agreed I could do it. Later that evening, White walked by me while I was standing in the hallway in front of the newsroom and said, "youre a funny guy".
41. Sometime in or about late January 2002, 1 talked to Leslie Cagan while at a mutual friends house. In this conversation Cagan told me that her practice and intent, and that of the National Board, was that total managerial power would emanate from the LABs for each station.
42. On or about February 7, the staff was informed by Larkin and Sigal that, per negotiations, the Employer was seeking voluntary lay-offs. On or about Thursday or Friday, February 14 or 15, in Studio B, unit member Dred Scot Keyes, told me that I had better take the buyout because I would be fired. Keyes is a long-time friend of White and Van Islers and otherwise close with management. He repeated several times that I would be fired. We argued a little, with me asking who he was to be saying that.
43. On or about the morning of February 20, Laura Sigal called me at home and told me that I had been fired, along with Moore and Faye. She told me she had talked to Valerie and that supposedly I was fired because of "programming changes". Sigal said she thought the firing was improper and that AFTRA would support us in fighting it.
44. 1 believe management is interested in unpaid staff being in the unit because such an arrangement negates the efforts of paid staff to have a significant say in the working conditions and to formalize the relations between management and staff. There has been a lot of favor-trading between managers and unpaid staff. For example, Janice Kay Bryant, an unpaid staff member, is now on the iPNB and the WBAI Committee. She has been returned to her prior position as morning show host, which she had lost in the December 2000 changes when Valerie and Bernard were fired.
I have read this statement consisting of 15 pages, including this page. I fully understand its contents, and I certify that it is true and correct to the best of my knowledge and belief.
Subscribed and Sworn/affirmed to before me at the NLRB
on April 17, 2002
Susannah Z. Ringel
National Labor Relations Board