Media release | Hawaii Newspaper Guild / Pacific Media Workers Guild
The Hawaii Tribune-Herald illegally attempted to suppress union activity in Hilo, the National Labor Relations Board ruled on Monday, February 14.
In issuing its ruling, the four-member board upheld the findings of an administrative law judge, John J. McCarrick, who ruled on March 6, 2008, that the newspaper company had violated Section 8(a)(1) of the National Labor Relations Act. The newspaper appealed that decision
The sweeping judgment against the Hawaii Tribune-Herald affirmed the judge’s ruling that the company unlawfully:
** Interrogated employees about union activity
** Disparately and discriminatorily enforced a security access policy against the union
** Discriminatorily prohibited employees from wearing buttons and armbands in support of discharged or suspended employees
** Promulgated and maintained a rule prohibiting employees from making secret audio recordings of conversations in response to protected activity
** Issued a written warning to employee Koren Nako
** Suspended employees Hunter Bishop, Peter Sur and David Smith
** Discharged Hunter Bishop and Dave Smith
** Refused to provide in a timely manner to the Union information necessary and relevant to its duties as a collective bargaining representative of employees.
“It is about time that the Hawaii Tribune-Herald and its parent Stephens Media end its policy of terrorism against its employees,” said Wayne Cahill, the recently retired administrative officer for the Hawaii Newspaper Guild. “This newspaper company needs to buck up and rescind its illegal policies, rescind the illegal discipline, hire back Hunter Bishop and Dave Smith, and pay them the back pay and benefits they are due.”
A detailed account of the company’s illegal activities may be found in the ruling, beginning with Judge McCarrick’s findings. The pattern of egregious abuses reached its peak during efforts by the Hawaii Tribune-Herald to punish the Hawaii Newspaper Guild, Local 39117, during the eight-year-long negotiations for a new contract.
The NLRB has ordered the Hawaii Tribune-Herald to cease and desist from the above activities, to offer Smith and Bishop immediate and full reinstatement to their former positions, to make Bishop, Smith and Sur whole for any loss of earnings and other benefits suffered because of their suspensions and discharges. Back pay will be computed quarterly from the day of their suspension to the date of a proper offer of reinstatement, minus any interim earnings, with compound interest. The Hawaii Tribune-Herald must also remove from its files any reference to the unlawful disciplinary actions.
The Hawaii Tribune-Herald is owned by Stephens Media. Members of the Hawaii Newspaper Guild and the California Media Workers recently approved a merger to form the Pacific Media Workers Guild.
The full text of 356 NLRB No. 63 may be found here:
“This newspaper, like all newspapers, exists to serve Hilo with accurate reporting of the news,” Cahill said. “Newspapers set examples and help form opinions. They have a higher calling than most businesses. The Hawaii Tribune-Herald has been found guilty. It’s time to right the wrong.”