Deal Reached Between Union and Honolulu Star-Advertiser

June 29, 2020, 7:01 PM HST · Updated June 29, 7:01 PM
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Newspaper press at the Honolulu Star-Advertiser. Source: Hawaii News Now

The Honolulu Star-Advertiser’s management and newsroom workers have reached an agreement that combines voluntary staff departures and furloughs to achieve savings to help the newspaper navigate the economic downturn caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

“I sincerely appreciate the efforts by the Pacific Media Workers Guild and its local negotiating committee members for helping to achieve an amicable solution to reduce our payroll costs,” said Dennis Francis, president and publisher of the Star-Advertiser said in a press release issued this evening by the Pacific Media Workers Guild.

“COVID-19 has impacted our advertising business model greatly and we also recognize the significant impact it has had economically, not only to our own employees but to our many advertising clients as well,” he said.

According to the Pacific Media Workers Guild, a total of 12 journalists represented by the union have agreed to be laid off. The remainder will take unpaid furloughs totaling six weeks each between now and Feb. 28, the end of the fiscal year.

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A total of 29 reporters, photographers, page designers, copy editors, online staff and others received layoff notices on June 11.

“We are pleased that we were able to avoid involuntary layoffs and keep talented staff who will continue to provide the comprehensive coverage our community needs,” said Susan Essoyan, a reporter with the Star-Advertiser and co-chair of the bargaining unit. “Negotiations were difficult but ultimately both sides came together for the good of the newspaper and Hawaiʻi. We are sorry to be losing loyal and valuable colleagues, and we salute them for their sacrifice.”

Guild members agreed to defer a 1% pay raise that was due to them and to give up half of their vacation days for 2020 as well. The agreement guarantees no further layoffs during the remainder of the fiscal year.

The deal was ratified Saturday by the members of the Guild, with 96% voting to approve the agreement.

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