Mailroom and ad production jobs on the line in Hilo

Bargaining Bulletin #3

Our Hawaii Tribune-Herald bargaining committee met with representatives of the company for negotiations on Oct. 10 and Oct. 11 at the University of Hawaii at Hilo’s Imiloa Astronomy Center.

The negotiations focused on a potential one-year extension of the collective bargaining agreement.

The company indicated that it wants the unilateral right to subcontract work currently performed in the mailroom and in ad production/operations, which could result in layoffs. Three full-time and seven part-time workers in the mailroom and four full-time and one part-time worker in ad production/operations could be targeted for layoff because of subcontracting.

The guild offered to give the company the right to subcontract in the mailroom – but not in ad production/operations – if workers identified for layoff were granted enhanced severance packages, preference in hiring for subcontracted jobs, and job training.

Instead, the company indicated it would provide full-time workers who are laid off the severance they are entitled to under the existing contract – and no more – but would provide part-time workers severance payments of $2,000. Part-time workers are not eligible for severance under the existing contract.

The company also offered to pay the health insurance premiums for laid off workers under COBRA for six months or the cash equivalent. The company would pay the life insurance premiums for laid off workers for 90 days.

The company would provide 60 days advance written notice of the effective date of subcontracting.

The company’s proposed one-year extension also includes a premium-only plan that will allow workers to pay health insurance premiums on a pre-tax basis, which was suggested by the guild.

The extension also includes a $20-a-month stipend for workers who are asked to use personally owned electronic devices, such as a smart phone or tablet, for work purposes.

The guild is taking the company’s offer under advisement.

Negotiations are scheduled to resume Nov 1 and 2 in Honolulu.


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Michael Applegate

Pacific Media Workers Executive Officer