Hawaii Tribune Herald to Shut Down Printing Press – Workers to Be Laid Off

I’ve been away on a small staycation to the Hilton Waikoloa the last few days and haven’t had a chance to comment about the recent announcement that the Hawaii Tribune Herald will be shutting down it’s printing press operations here on the Hilo side of the island.

From the Pacific Media Workers Guild

The Hawaii Tribune-Herald announced on Wednesday (June 27) that, starting in August, the Hilo newspaper will be printed by West Hawaii Today, a sister paper in Kailua-Kona, which will cause several layoffs.

The Aug. 18 edition of the newspaper will be the last printed in Hilo, according to the company. The Hawaii Tribune-Herald and West Hawaii Today are owned by Stephens Media, a Las Vegas, Nev., based chain that operates newspapers in 10 states.

The Hawaii Printing and Graphic Communications Union No. 413N was informed on Wednesday that members will be laid off.

The company explained that the decision to subcontract printing to West Hawaii Today was based on an assessment that the Hilo printing press is old and in need of repair. The company also cited the consolidation of printing operations as an industry trend nationally.

Workers at West Hawaii Today are not represented by labor unions. In a staff memo on Wednesday, West Hawaii Today said the Hawaii Tribune-Herald would be printed at its plant and then transported back to Hilo for packaging and delivery. West Hawaii Today said it did not expect to hire additional press employees.

At this time, the pressmens’ union said it is working out the details with Stephens Media and had no public comment.

The Pacific Media Workers Guild, which represents truck drivers and support staff at the Hawaii Tribune-Herald who could be impacted by the company’s decision to subcontract printing, is closely monitoring negotiations between the company and the pressmens’ union.

“We understand that our industry is facing financial pressure, but we believe the company owes its workers and the Hilo community a full explanation for this decision,” the guild said in a statement.

I feel sorry for the folks that will be losing their jobs, however I question the following statement:

“The company explained that the decision to subcontract printing to West Hawaii Today was based on an assessment that the Hilo printing press is old and in need of repair. The company also cited the consolidation of printing operations as an industry trend nationally….”

The timing of this closure is almost exactly two years to the date of when the employees most recently bargained for contract comes up.  On August 10th, 2010 I received the following media release:

The Hawaii Newspaper Guild and the Hawaii Tribune-Herald have signed a contract after nearly six years of negotiations.

The two-year agreement covers all employees at the Hilo newspaper except pressmen, who are covered by a separate contract, and managers. The pressmen’s negotiations lasted as long as the Guild’s. The contracts are similar.

Both unions have bargained with the newspaper jointly for years, but the negotiations were prolonged this time partly because the company refused joint negotiations.

The contract provides the first wage increases for employees at the newspaper since Jan. 1, 2002.

During the negotiations, the Tribune-Herald was found guilty of 12 unfair labor practice charges by an administrative law judge of the National Labor Relations Board. The charges included the illegal firing of veteran reporters Hunter Bishop and Dave Smith, both of whom were union leaders… 

More here: Hawaii Newspaper Guild and the Hawaii Tribune Sign Contract After Nearly Six Years of Negotiation

I have stated for years that I think the printed version of the paper was a thing of the past.  Even when the two Honolulu papers merged I just thought it would only be a matter of time before the Big Island went the same way.

On June 6, 2010 I wrote:

“Some folks are saying that the dynamics of the the whole digital era is what really killed off the Honolulu Advertiser… I’ve been saying that for the last 6-7 years now.

Big Island papers will probably consolidate soon.  I’ve already started thinking of names.  “Hawaii Tribune Today” was the newspaper name that I think would be most feasible combining Hawaii Tribune Herald with West Hawaii Today.

The funny thing… I don’t think there would be that many lay-offs as both papers seem to use articles at will from the pool of Stephens Media writers here on the island at their expense… Silent Sunday and the Death of the Advertiser… Big Island Newspapers Don’t Have Blogs!

There are some real issues that Hilo folks may have to think about when they decide whether or not they want to continue getting a Newspaper that is driven from nearly 120 miles away from where they live.

Is it local news if its being trucked over in vans every day?  I wonder how long they will be able to afford to send a fleet of vans over to this side of the island and back each day.  Would it even be profitable?   Will the cost of the paper rise as the price of gas fluctuates?

And the biggest question… Why hasn’t the Hawaii Tribune Herald themselves tell their readers what is going on?  It’s been nearly three days since the announcement has been made.  Yep…. I understand no one wants to write their own obituary… but at least tell your readers what is going to be happening and where there favorite local journalist(s) can be found.

I will offer any laid off person from the Hawaii Tribune an opportunity to start up and learn how to make a website/blog similar to something like my site is.  I am always discouraged when good journalists just quit writing simply because they don’t have a platform or audience.

Goodbye Hunter Bishop Dot Com Forever! URL: http://HunterBishop.Com For Sale

Well we all knew a long time ago that when Hunter Bishop took a job with the Mayor’s Office that he announced that he would be ending his very popular blog.

I think many of us were hoping that someday he would return to blogging on his own site.  I was clearing out some of my old bookmarks and clicked on Hunter’s old site (http://hunterbishop.com/) and noticed that his domain is for sale.

I’m sure that Hunter himself has nothing to do with his old URL being for sale and I doubt he will receive any money if the site is purchased.  If you ask me… it almost seems kind of a sleazy thing to do already “Chucker”.

I’m sure Hunter would have no time getting his site back on legal grounds from anyone that did purchase his domain name from Chucker.

There aren’t too many “Hunter Bishop’s” in this world… I think Hunter should be able to own his own domain w/out having to freaking purchase it from Chucker!  There is something called cyber-squatting you know!

A Big Screen TV, A Barbeque Grill, and a Pig… Sounds Like Fun!

Deputy Environmental Management Director Hunter Bishop, Executive Assistant to the Mayor Kevin Dayton

Deputy Environmental Management Director Hunter Bishop, Executive Assistant to the Mayor Kevin Dayton and I remove a huge television from a pull-off on the Puaianako Extension (Photo Courtesy of Starsha Young)

As I mentioned yesterday, today was the first Opala in Paradise clean up and it was quite successful!  About 10 folks showed up to participate in this clean up..

Kevin Dayton,  an Executive Assistant to the Mayor’s Office suggested that the first site that we tackle as a group was a corridor along the Puainako extension that he and his son often work to clean up on… but recently it’s just gotten out of control.

The first site we tackled was about 3 or 4 miles up Puainako where Kevin knew there was a big screen TV and some glass that needed to be cleared out.

I was pleased to see Hunter Bishop from the Department of Environmental Management show up on his own time using his own truck… but what was even more hilarious… was watching both Kevin Dayton and Hunter Bishop getting down and straight up nasty with a dead pig carcass that needed to be removed.

You can just look at the expression on their faces as to how stink this dead pig carcass was!

After the pig was moved to a place where it would rot away without stinking up site too much, we then were able to pick up about a half a barrel of broken glass.

We drove down Puainako a bit and at the next pull off we tackled, we found all sorts of stuff including a barbecue grill that looked like with a little fixing up… it might still be usable.

We were fortunate to have folks like Ed Miner from Kolohe Auto Repair come out and volunteer his truck and time for this project.

I was pretty amazed at some of the stuff that was just dumped on the side of the road.  Everything from a set of tires to condoms to dead animal parts.  My mom found this skull.

All together we cleaned up about four pull offs and the area right next to Puainako and Komohana Street in about two hours of time.

I’d like to thank the following folks for showing up.  From the County, Kevin Dayton, Hunter Bishop and Bobby Jean Leithead Todd.  Individuals Starsha Young, Larry and Diane Czerwonka,  Ed Miner, Kevin Dayton’s son and his friends as well as my mom Su Tucker.

Need tires? Kevin Dayton sits on a pile of four tires pulled out at the corner of Komohana and Puainako Street (Photo Courtesy of Starsha Young)

Mayor Kenoi Names Deputies in Three Departments

From the Mayor’s Office:

County of Hawai‘i Mayor Billy Kenoi has announced the appointments of three deputies to key posts in the Department of Public Works, Department of Environmental Management and the Office of Housing and Community Development.

Former Deputy Corporation Counsel Brandon Gonzalez has been appointed deputy director of the County of Hawai‘i Department of Public Works, Mayor Kenoi announced.

Gonzalez, 36, will work on strategic planning, formulation of the fiscal year 2011-12 budget and implementation of recommendations of recent audits.

Gonzalez worked as deputy corporation counsel from 2003 until this year. His responsibil