NES Response to Fair Elections Complaint 7-24-19 WBAI

Complainant: Cerene Roberts

The complainant cites a sentence in the campaign statement of WBAI listener candidate Maxine Harrison Gallmon in which Gallmon states:

“For the past 3 years I volunteered 8 hours every Friday to help WBAI process it’s outstanding premiums.”

The complainant alleges that since the candidate volunteered to process premiums once a week, the candidate’s 30 hours a month qualifies them in the class of staff member, not listener member, and alleges that Ms. Gallmon is not an eligible listener candidate. The complainant asks for Ms. Gallmon to be reclassified as a staff candidate.

Discussion: The classification of members as either unpaid staff or listener has two characteristics. The first is the amount of hours worked on a monthly average basis in the 3 months (or in the case of KPFA, the 12 months) prior to the election’s date of record. The second is the nature of the work with fund drive room work exempted from the staff category. The processing of premium gifts to fulfill pledges by volunteers has long been classified as fund drive room work similar to and within the same category as taking pledges for those premiums. At WBAI, the entire community advisory board and any number of motivated listener members have attempted to assist with the station’s backed-up premium problem over the course of many years (as Ms. Gallmon indicates) and to classify them all as staff members would be akin to classifying regular pledge drive volunteers as station staff, which the bylaws affirmatively do not do. The nature of the volunteer work here described falls in the category of fund drive support and does not result in classification as unpaid staff.

RULING: The complaint is without merit. The stated volunteer function does not confer unpaid staff status as it is pledge drive based volunteer support.