Star-Bulletin workers OK labor contracts
Three unions representing about 230 employees at the Honolulu Star-Bulletin and MidWeek have ratified new four-year labor contracts providing wage increases of 10.5 percent, an improved sick leave policy and automobile-related expense reimbursements, as well as better contract language pertaining to health benefits.
The unions include the Hawaii Newspaper Guild Local 39117, the ILWU Local 142 and the Graphic Communications International Union Local 501M, representing newsroom employees, inserters and pressmen, respectively.
The tentative settlement was reached in early December after 10 months of negotiations, and the now-ratified contracts run through March 2010.
"We're obviously very pleased for our employees and the union members to finally get it done," said Dennis Francis, president and publisher of Oahu Publications Inc., parent company of the daily and twice-weekly papers.
"We look forward to the next several years of improving the paper and moving forward."
There were never any deal-breakers, Francis said, and "we were never really very far apart on any of the real meaty issues. There was just a lot to talk about and that's why I think it took longer than normal."
Wayne Cahill, Guild administrative officer, said the agreements show that the unions and company were willing to craft a fair and mutually beneficial arrangement in a competitive market.
"We believe the company sees the importance of providing fair compensation for its employees, and we wish the Star-Bulletin a long and bright future as a competitive daily newspaper," Cahill said in a statement.