3/11/08

Newspaper unionists prevail

A judge for the National Labor Relations Board has found the Hawaii Tribune-Herald newspaper guilty of violations of federal labor law in the firing of a longtime reporter in 2005, and another in 2006. The 41-page ruling by administrative Judge John J. McCarrick found the Tribune-Herald management illegally suspended and fired reporters Dave Smith and Hunter Bishop, and illegally suspended reporter Peter Sur for engaging in union activism protected under federal law.

Bishop was the Hawaii Newspaper Guild's Hilo unit chairman from 2000 to 2004, was a member of the union's bargaining committee, and was a shop steward until he was fired in 2005.

Smith was a union steward from 2004 until he was fired in 2006, and was also a member of the Guild bargaining committee.

The company alleged Bishop was fired for insubordination and low productivity, and Smith was fired for secretly tape recording a meeting with Tribune-Herald Editor David Bock.

McCarrick rejected those arguments, and found both reporters were suspended and fired for legally protected union activities.

McCarrick also found the newspaper discriminated against unionized employees by banning workers from wearing armbands or buttons in support of the two fired employees.

The ruling found the company was also guilty of unfair labor practices for interfering with employees' collective bargaining rights by interrogating workers about their union-related activities.

The March 6 ruling orders Newspaper owner Stephens Media LLC to offer both Bishop and Smith their jobs back, and to "make them whole" for any loss of earnings and other benefits.

The order also requires the newspaper to stop "warning, suspending and terminating its employees for engaging in union and other protected/concerted activity."

(honoluluadvertiser.com)

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