Summer Reese was just over a month into her thee-year, $105,000 a year contract with Pacifica Radio network in Berkeley, California when the board voted 11-7 to terminate her employment at the non-profit foundation. But on March 17, the Monday after her termination, she returned to work as normal, this time with a bolt-cutter in hand. She broke the padlock on the building, and with a band of supportive employees, has been running the radio station as if nothing has happened. The only difference has been that the team has prevented the board from entering, and that those inside have left only briefly to get food and dispose of garbage.
Inside the office, air mattresses line the walls, since employees have been sleeping inside to protest what they call an unjust decision. Reese claims her contract required termination for cause, and that she was given no reason for the board’s decision, which she calls illegal.
The board is looking at legal options, but they may have to resort to a forced eviction, which requires a petition to the local police department for a citizen’s arrest.
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Unhappy with her termination, a fired executive director cut the locks to her former employer’s building and has locked herself inside with her mother and a band of supporters.