Finally, KPFA Reinstates Brian Edwards-Tiekert with Back Pay



Sadly, that doesn't mean the "Morning Mix" show is going away. But it does at least mean a small victory for well-liked former Morning Show reporter Brian Edwards-Tiekert, who was laid off out of seniority order. KPFA's rather complex union contract embraces the principle of first-hired, last-fired — except when the person on the chopping block has some kind of indispensable skill. Yet, Tiekert's supporters argue that he was fired for being critical of the Pacifica board. Three months have passed since the famous "last Morning Show" broadcast in which Edwards-Tiekert, co-host Aimee Allison, and producer Aileen Alfandary battled with Pacifica director Arlene Engelhardt on the air, and in the interim the two laid-off morning show hosts both filed union grievances.

Apparently, Edwards-Tiekert made a compelling case. The station will reinstate him this week, not as a morning show host but as a news producer, probably for fear of arbitration. (A recent press release from the ad-hoc organization SaveKPFA suggested as much.) "After three months of stonewalling, they have given our union a 'make whole' offer for my grievance: that means they'll be putting me back on payroll, with back pay," Edwards-Tiekert wrote in a letter to supporters. He continued: "Pacifica has basically conceded it can't win the pending arbitration over my dismissal. This is a victory for our union in enforcing its contract." Allison's aribtration hearing is still moving forward, according to SaveKPFA.

Before it was taken off the air, the Morning Show was one of KPFA's most popular programs, and it raised more money during pledge drives than most other shows. It was replaced by a rotating cast of paid and and unpaid staff — one of whom was Adrienne Lauby, a volunteer host who was recently fined $4,500 for money laundering in a Cotati election, according to IndyBay — collectively known as "The Morning Mix." The drive time program received a rousing endorsement from truther organization Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth, but poor reviews from former Morning Show listeners, who raised more than $60,000 to essentially buy back the old show. Pacifica refused the money, and has so far remained intransigent with regard to its recent changes in programming.

That said, the rehiring of Edwards-Tiekert may bode well for the future.