Honolulu Advertiser employees fight paper cuts - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Honolulu Advertiser employees fight paper cuts

By Tim Sakahara - bio | email

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The sale of The Honolulu Advertiser is still on.  A judge denied an injunction to delay the sale and ruled against employees claim for the maximum amount of final pay.

The Honolulu Advertiser employees could start losing their jobs as early as Monday and no later than April 30th which made today's court date even more important.

In a letter dated March 9, 2010 the paper's president Lee Webber wrote, "All employees of The Honolulu Advertiser will be terminated upon the closing of the sale" to the Honolulu Star Bulletin.  But in court today Webber said all employees would be "transferred" not terminated.  Then his attorney reiterated that point.

"The defendants are saying that the purchase agreement in the record and the only evidence in the record is the buyer will offer everyone employment. Everyone will be offered some sort of job," said Jeffrey Harris, The Honolulu Advertiser Attorney.

That was news to the employees who are suing the paper trying to prove the sale has caused them stress, trouble sleeping, even skin conditions.  But the worst side effect is the not knowing.

"I get calls from members wanting to know what's going on and it really bothers me that I can't tell them anything," said Lance Kamada, a Home Delivery District Manager for The Honolulu Advertiser who is one of four named plaintiffs suing the paper.

They also fought for 60 days pay and benefits which employees say was only offered to them on April 5, after they filed the lawsuit.

"Personally it's kind of rotten but that's what they did," said Kamada.

Judge Rom Trader ultimately ruled not to delay the sale, but he does agree the employees will get the 60 days pay starting from when they received the March 9 letter.  That means the clock started ticking about a month earlier than the April 5 date they were hoping for.

"Little disappointed because there are a lot of coworkers who are still concerned and upset and they want to know what's going on and the company is not giving us enough information," said Patrick De Costa Jr., a Single Copy District Manager for The Honolulu Advertiser and a plaintiff.

Now the employees who filed the lawsuit are even more concerned over their jobs.

"Frankly there was a rumor earlier this week that the four of us were fired, but we did it because it was the right thing to do. We did it because the law says we should be getting the full 60 days notice," said Kamada.

Lawmakers are also getting involved.  A resolution is moving through the State Capitol urging the Honolulu Star Bulletin owners to allow more time to find a buyer.  So far three bids have come in to purchase the paper.  A decision is expected on those buyers by April 20th.

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