Newspaper Employees Rally - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Newspaper Employees Rally

By Paul Drewes

HONOLULU (KHNL) - They didn't stop the presses at the Honolulu Advertiser. But, upset employees still made a very visible statement on the sidewalk outside of the state's largest newspaper.

Its not your typical lunch break activity.

"What happens when you pick up a newspaper?" asks Representative Neil Abercrombie, called to a unity rally for the union workers of the Advertiser. "You're looking for a byline, your looking for people you trust."

Instead of eating, those trusted employees of the Honolulu Advertiser, rallied together to demonstrate just how much they dislike the company's latest contract offer. "Our people are really tired of being told this company is broke and not making much." says Wayne Cahill with the Hawaii Newspaper Guild.

The latest offer by the company has some employees believing this contract would end up costing them. "The proposal for the 1 percent increase, along with the changes in medical benefits would result in a $150 monthly loss." says Esme Infante Nii, one of the Advertiser editors.

The company counters that their offer would keep "pay and benefits well above other employers in the community." says Lee Webber, the President of the Honolulu Advertiser.

He adds the deal would provide Advertiser "employees with the highest salaries and best benefits in Hawaii's publishing industry."

While there was a very visible show of solidarity along Kapiolani Boulevard, you may also notice another change in the paper this week because of this dispute.

Many reporters have removed their bylines, leaving out their names to leave an impression of who is involved in this financial fight.

A fight that could get even worse in the coming weeks. "We've set in motion preparations for a strike if that becomes necessary." says Cahill.

The union members were given 30 days to respond to the company's offer, but employees say they are not going to accept the proposal. The company says if offer is rejected, negotiations will continue.

But if they break down, how soon could a strike happen?

Before anyone walks the picket lines, the unions have to give the company 30 days notice that they intend to strike.

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