Unions, Honolulu Advertiser settle upon partial agreement
Six labor unions and the Honolulu Advertiser
have reached a tentative agreement on medical benefits and payroll.
If approved by union members, the agreement will become part of the contract extension under which members are currently working - but not necessarily part of the new contract now being negotiated, according to a union official.
The tentative agreement maintains the current level of medical coverage for employees, but drops Hawaii Medical Service Association in favor of Las Vegas-based Summerlin Life & Health Insurance Co.
Also, employees covered by Kaiser Permanente will be assessed higher premiums, but co-payments for office visits and prescriptions would stay at current levels.
Employee paydays also would change to every other week from every Thursday, said Wayne Cahill, chief negotiator for the Hawaii Newspaper Printing Trades Council.
Virginia-based Gannett Co. Inc., the Advertiser's parent company, is instituting a companywide biweekly pay schedule, he said.
To ease the transition for employees, the company has offered a no-interest bridge loan of up to a week's net pay, repayable over 26 weeks.
If ratified by members Sept. 14, the new payroll schedule may take effect in October, while medical benefits could change over in November, Cahill said.
The terms could be changed in ongoing talks toward a contract that would succeed the prior union contract that expired in June 2007.
Cahill termed the tentative agreement a positive development.
"We think this action shows good faith on both sides and willingness to move forward together," he said.