Employees of KBOO-FM voted 8 to 0 May 30 to join Communications Workers of America Local 7901. The union effort came after a newly hired manager at the non-profit radio station reduced workers’ maternity and sick leave and declared their employment at-will.
Workers asked manager Lynn Fitch to voluntarily recognize the union on April 2, and after hearing no response, filed for an election April 18.
At a well-attended May 4 community meeting called by the station’s board of directors, Fitch was criticized for not recognizing the union, and for hiring Bullard Law, a labor law firm that advises employers on “union avoidance.” Fitch announced at the meeting that she would dump Bullard, and agree to recognize the union. But she later balked at the terms of the union’s proposed neutrality agreement — a commitment to bargain a contract in 60 days, and to recognize the union for a period of two years. In the end, the question of union representation was settled by election.