Bargaining Bulletin #1
Newspaper Guild and OPI management representatives met and exchanged initial proposals this week, marking the official start of negotiations for a new contract for Tribune-Herald employees.
The negotiations – the first since OPI took ownership of the paper and cancelled the Guild contract on December 3 – were constructive and substantive, and focused almost exclusively on non-economic issues.
In two days of negotiations in Honolulu, the parties reached agreements on language ranging from health and safety to the right to withhold bylines from stories.
OPI proposed language for a union shop and dues check-off that was contingent on the Guild’s agreement to language granting management broad rights. That “management rights” language was similar to what had been in the contract that OPI cancelled when it took ownership of the newspaper on December 3.
Substantial differences exist in several key areas, including credit for past service at the Tribune-Herald for vacation and other benefits, and the extent to which seniority will be used when making layoff decisions.
Negotiations will resume April 15 and 16 in Hilo.
The Guild’s bargaining committee included Tribune-Herald reporter Tom Callis, Carl Hall of the Pacific Media Workers Guild, and Darren Carroll of The Newspaper Guild-CWA staff.
Attorney Ron Leong, HR director Rebecca Stolar and Miki Sugikawa represented OPI.
In a separate matter, the Guild soon will select an arbitrator and schedule a hearing over a severance dispute with Stephens Media. The Guild contends that all represented employees – including those who were hired by OPI – should be paid severance as a consequence of the sale of the Tribune-Herald.