Turmoil at radio KDNA, La Voz del Campesino


Turmoil at Spanish-language radio station KDNA continues long after the end of an employee strike, with employees staging a sit-in Wednesday night that carried into Thursday.

Protesting and picket signs, led by teamsters, fired KDNA employees and other members of the local Hispanic community. It's an all too familiar site in Granger.

"I think everbody's faith has been shaken," Maria Fernandez, Executive Director of Northwest Communities Education Center, KDNA's parent company, said. "It has been incredibly destructive to the organization. It is not at all about supporting employee's rights."

Fernandez said the Teamsters Local 760 have targeted KDNA in an effort to unionize non-profit organizations and gain control of a radio station; claims Teamsters representative Bob Kerner denied.

The number of former KDNA employees climbed after last night's NCEC Board of Directors meeting. Longtime employees Amelia Ramon and Juan Ozuna were let go, allegedly for speaking out at the meeting. The board also drew the community's ire for not addressing their concerns, instead leaving without properly adjourning the meeting.

"To see them terminated, it was a shock to me," station manager Gabriel Martinez said. "It was a disappointment to me."

Along with Ramon and Ozuna, Gabriel Martinez is one of the original employees of Radio KDNA.

He crossed the picket line this summer to keep the station going. Now, he may be the last domino to fall.

"I told [Fernandez] that I was going to resign if she didn't give me the station back 100 percent," Martinez said, meaning he wanted to regain operational control of KDNA.

KDNA's future looked bright last fall when this building opened.

New home, new leadership: Martinez says he and other employees thought KDNA was headed for new heights.

"I was going to give her 100 - 110 percent support as the manager of the radio station," Martinez said. "I was going to do my job and support her ideas."

Now the station's finances are in disarray. Martinez fears KDNA may not last another year.

Next month, there will are arbitration hearings for seven former employees who claim they were fired without just cause.

Win or lose, those cases will combine to have a six-figure price tag for the already-struggling radio station.

article originally published at KNDO-TV.

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