BBG Watch Commentary

MartiDespite repeated promises from Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) board members that the agency is no longer challenging legal rulings that it had violated the law by its RIF of Office of Cuba Broadcasting (OCB – Radio and TV Marti) journalists and that it intends to give them their jobs back with back pay, as ordered by arbitrators and judges, the BBG bureaucracy — the International Broadcasting Bureau (IBB) and its Office of General Counsel — continues to drag its feet, causing further hardships to these employees who have already suffered enormously during the last five years. Many are deeply in debt and without health insurance. They are dealing with severe health and family problems because of their forced unemployment.

As disclosed by Ann Noonan of the Committee for U.S. International Broadcasting (CUSIB – at the last BBG board meeting, one of the illegally dismissed Radio and TV broadcasters may soon lose his home to foreclosure.

“I guess I will have to prepare my wife and kids for another disappointing Christmas, and pray the mean old Grinch doesn’t foreclose on our home first,” the OCB journalist wrote in response to Noonan’s statement at the BBG board meeting.

In spite of three arbitrator decisions which went against the agency’s lawyers, the most recent decision by the United States Court of Appeals on May 16, 2014, the dragging on feet on the part of the bureaucracy continues, one of the RIFed journalists wrote. “The courts mandated the agency to settle with employees in a reasonable amount of time; we believe that 6 months is more than reasonable.”

Former BBG member, Ambassador Victor Ashe, who had fought for justice for RIFed OCB employees while he still served on the BBG board and who continues to show keen interest in their plight, made this recent comment:

“This is really shameful. Everyone is finger pointing and no one resolving. An adult needs to step into this and get it resolved. BBG Board members should stop their silence and start acting,” Victor Ashe said

Expecting Another Disappointing Christmas

By Illegally RIFed OCB Journalist

Thank you for your recent article and concern over the illegally RIF’ed Office of Cuba Broadcasting – Radio and TV Marti employees.

It is these little glimpse of hope that keeps us going, to know somebody cares and is in our corner means a great deal to these employees, as this agency continues to drag their feet in every way possible. Two months since submitting all my W2 and 1099 tax forms as requested by the Union attorney, I have yet to receive any documents, e-mail, phone call — no communication whatsoever from the agency.

I’am the employee mentioned in your article who will lose his home in December, as Ann Noonan from the Committee for U.S. International Broadcasting told members of the Broadcasting Board of Governors at their last board meeting in October (2014).

The damage these agencies have caused these employees goes well beyond monetary value, many have been dealing with health issues since they haven’t had medical insurance in almost 5 years. The stress and anxiety we have been dealing with as our bills continue to mount up and collectors persistently threaten to ruin our credit, even calling my 83 year old mother in order to collect on overdue bills.

Now we must also consider the uncertainty of our future with this agency, as we could be targeted for another RIF after reinstatement. I guess we will have to cross that bridge, if we ever get there.

In the meantime, I will have to prepare my wife and kids for another disappointing Christmas, and pray the mean old Grinch doesn’t foreclose on our home first.

I thank God everyday for my family and close friends who have supported me and have helped to keep my faith and spirits high.

Thanks again for all your attention in this matter, I’m sure I can speak for all these employees involved, that we appreciate everything you have done.