BBG Watch Commentary

MartiWe are wondering whether International Broadcasting Bureau (IBB) officials–IBB Director Richard Lobo, IBB Deputy Director Jeff Trimble Acting General Counsel Paul Kollmer-Dorsey and others–are in fact trying to solve the lawsuit against BBG and the Office of Cuba Broadcasting (OCB) over illegal OCB RIFs? The suit has gone on for over three years and has reached more than $3 million in compensation owed to RIFed employees.

Instead of implementing Arbitrator Butler’s decision, agency officials appealed to the Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, thus prolonging immeasurable suffering already inflicted on the employees. The human impact of illegal RIFs was described on the BBG Watch website in Roxana’s Story.

By going to the Circuit Court, IBB officials have shown no concern for the humiliation and hardships they have caused. Nor have these officials shown any concern that American taxpayers who are likely to be stuck with a bill of over $3 million, perhaps even much larger if litigation continues.

In 2011, in an 85-page decision, Arbitrator Suzanne Butler found that the RIF was conducted unnecessarily and that, in fact, the management and the agency had conducted the RIF for retaliatory reasons. Arbitrator Butler ordered that the employees be rehired and that they be provided with back pay. At this point, the OCB, with assistance from officials of the Broadcasting Board of Governors and the International Broadcasting Bureau appealed the decision to the Federal Labor Relations Board (FLRA) which again ruled against the OCB and supported the Arbitrator’s decision.

Will IBB officials use a mediation service to avoid a trial or will they continue with their failed legal strategy? Are they attempting to use mediation? This is not just a question of wasting taxpayers’ money. There is a human tragedy behind this story.

“I couldn’t find a job, and simply could not survive on unemployment wages. I’ve been hospitalized twice in the past three years, diagnosed with migraine clusters brought upon by stress. I’ve gained tons of weight. I lost my property to a short sale. I’ve had to move countless times because I found it difficult to afford the rent.”

Read more: Roxana’s Story.