Categorized | Business, Featured

Union members picket Hawaii Tribune-Herald

Labor union members joined newspaper workers in picketing the Hawaii Tribune-Herald in Hilo Wednesday (March 17). Photography by Baron Sekiya | Hawaii 24/7.

By Baron Sekiya | Hawaii 24/7 Editor

Signs for the picketers created by Hawaii Newspaper Guild members earlier in the week.

A crowd of various labor union members joined the Hawaii Newspaper Guild workers to picket the Hawaii Tribune-Herald Wednesday (March 17) but it didn’t quite live up to the hype in emails sent to guild members and the media hoping for a huge, noisy gathering with politicians hopefully showing up to join them.

The crowd of about 60-70 sign wavers lining the sidewalks of Mamo and Kinoole Streets fronting the newspaper building and parking lot was civil, carried signs, waved a few signs, waved to drivers, some shouted out to drivers which got a some supportive honks back from vehicles. A media release by the Guild lists over a dozen different labor unions said to have voted to support the Newspaper Guild members.

No politicians were seen, though an email from the union said they have letters of support from Senators Dwight Takamine and Russell Kokubun, and Representatives Jerry Chang, Faye Hanohano, Clift Tsuji and Mark Nakashima; County Council Chair J Yoshimoto and County Council member Guy Enriques.

The loudest, most outspoken person on the sidewalk was a random person passing by yelling to support the Tribune-Herald as he drowned-out the sign-wavers and made them turn around to see who was yelling.

Picketers on Mamo Street in front of the Hawaii Tribune-Herald building.

The informational picketing was to show unity amongst the labor unions and to inform the public about the working conditions at the newspaper. Signs read that Newspaper Guild members have not had a raise for over eight years at the paper. The Hawaii Tribune-Herald cancelled their contract with the union on December 22, 2009 but are still in negotiations with the Guild which continues to represent about 45 workers at the paper.

Wayne Cahill, administrative officer for Hawaii Newspaper Guild, said if negotiations between the Newspaper Guild and Stephens Media (parent company of the Hawaii Tribune-Herald) failed then actions may be taken against the Tribune-Herald and other Stephens Media companies on the Big Island such as West Hawaii Today in Kona. Urging the public to drop their subscriptions and for businesses to pull advertising in the newspaper were cited as possibilities.

Negotiations between Stephens Media and the Hawaii Newspaper Guild are being held in Hilo Thursday and Friday (March 18-19).

Stephens Media

Hawaii Tribune-Herald News (Guild members website)

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