SXSW: Protest Outside Austin City Limits

A dozen Austin activists staked out the four corners of the University of Texas communications building earlier today, passing out flyers to people on the way to Ben Harper's Austin City Limits taping. Surprisingly, the flyer had nothing to do with herb not being a gift of the earth, but rather was a call to support the production and engineering employees inside.

KLRU, the Austin PBS station behind Austin City Limits, wants to eliminate longstanding provisions in the employee's contracts, including guaranteed overtime for working more than 10 hours or five days in a row, as well as an extra hour's pay when working too long without a meal break.

The protest went off smoothly, although there was a minor confrontation when a member of station management asked two activists to stop passing out flyers to folks right by the entry stairway. A member of management was also videotaping the leafletters. "He looked like a borg," said one activist, who declined to be identified.

The reactions of passersby were amicable enough. One activist said a guy read the flyer and then handed it back, but not before pulling out his cell phone and punching in the number of the station's general manager. He hit his phone's green button as he walked away.

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Keith Plocek
Contact: Keith Plocek