Hawaii Newspaper Guild vows “economic action” against Trib if agreement is not reached
March 17, 2010 – Hilo, Hawaii
Video by David Corrigan
Representatives from several Hawaii Island labor unions joined members of the Hawaii Newspaper Guild for an “informational picket” outside the Hawaii Tribune-Herald building on Kinoole Street at high noon on Wednesday.
The demonstration comes as union members prepare for another round of negotiations with Hilo’s newspaper of record. The Hawaii Tribune-Herald management cancelled the contract with the union in December, raising fears amongst organized employees that a lockout or strike may be soon to follow.
The 45 to 50 union members complain that they have not had a wage increase in over 8 years, and are wary to agree to “the hiring of subcontractors, freelancers and outsourcing work which would put long-term employees at risk.”
In a planned press conference held during the picketing, Wayne Cahill, administrative officer of the Hawaii Newspaper Guild, said the unions would employ “economic action” against the paper if negotiations fail. This last resort “nuclear option”, according to Cahill, would include a campaign to ask people not to buy the paper, or businesses to pull their advertising.
The sign waving Hawaii Newspaper Guild members were supported by a number of other local unions, many of them representing large numbers of workers across the Big Island as well as the state. According to a press release, these include the Hawaii Printing and Graphic Communications Local 413/GCCIBT Local 501, International Association of Machinist & Aerospace Workers Local 1998, International Brother of Electrical Workers Local 1260, Hawaii Government Employees Association, University of Hawaii Professional Assembly, Hawaii Firefighters Association, Plumbers and Fitters Union Local 675, Laborers Union Local 368, Operating Engineers Local 3, Carpenters Union Local 745, Hawaii State Teachers Association, United Public Workers Local 646, State of Hawaii Organization of Public Workers, Hawaii Teamsters Local 996.
The union also claims to have the support of local elected officials State Senators Dwight Takamine and Russell Kokubun, Representatives Jerry Chang, Faye Hanohano, Clift Tsuji and Mark Nakashima, and Hawaii County Councilmembers J Yoshimoto and Guy Enriques.
The newspaper management has not commented to Big Island Video News on the situation.