It Must Be Contract Season

Lots of guild-vs-newspaper stuff heating up these past few weeks.

Today we report two items from this universe.

The National Labor Relations Board has ruled in a dispute between the Hawaii Tribune-Herald and the Hawaii Newspaper Guild that the paper had tried to suppress union activity during eight years of negotiations for a new contract.

During these eight years, the company fired three employees and issued a written warning to a fourth, “discriminatorily prohibited employees from wearing buttons and armbands in support of discharged or suspended employees,” and “refused to provide in a timely manner to the Union information necessary and relevant to its duties as a collective bargaining representative of employees.”

The NLRB has ordered the paper to return back pay owed from the date of their suspensions or terminations with compound interest. One of the employees was terminated way back in 2005 so this could be very interesting.

In other guild news, Thomson Reuters has been at the bargaining table with employees for two years, and the New York Newspaper Guild has finally requested a moderator to help with the “acrimonious” talks.

“As you know, the Guild and Reuters have had a great deal of difficulty in this round of negotiations,” guild prez Bill O’Meara wrote in a letter to Thomson Reuters’ legal labor counsel Jay Krupin. “You think it’s our fault, the Guild thinks it’s Reuters fault, and neither of us will convince the other that they are wrong. In situations like these, parties often turn to mediators. I think that makes sense here.”