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Unfair labor claim filed by The Maui News union

Employees from The Maui News
Wendy Isbell
Pacific Media Workers Guild Hawaii
Employees from The Maui News

The union representing staff at The Maui News filed an unfair labor practice claim with the National Labor Relations Board last week.

The Pacific Media Workers Guild, which represents union members of The Maui News, said the owner, Ogden Newspapers, has failed to meet with members of the bargaining unit and has not allowed employees to watch bargaining efforts.

“It seems like all their proposals are aimed at cutting more, reducing hours we work and therefore the amount we get paid, finding ways so they could outsource our jobs,” reporter Lila Fujimoto said Friday.

The union’s contract expired in 2020, leading to bargaining negotiations. This year, the union and owner representatives have met three times. The latest round, which occurred about two weeks ago, is part of the claim.

In a statement, The Maui News publisher Chris Minford said they objected to union members observing virtual negotiations while working. Union members say that wasn’t the case. They say lawyers required employees to show their faces by video link as they watched the negotiations.

In a written statement, Minford said the union has not discussed the issue with the company. He disputed the union’s story, calling it a public relations stunt.

Sports reporter Robert Collias says this has been unusual.

“For the last 22 years, until this round of negotiations, negotiations with Ogden have been pretty fair and reasonable,” Collias said.

Collias hopes the union and the ownership will come together for the betterment of the island.

“We understand the state of newspapers throughout the nation, especially small ones, but we also realize that on Maui as the most established — and we feel the most reliable and the most relied upon — news outlet that we're an essential part of the community,” Collias said.

Sabrina Bodon was Hawaiʻi Public Radio's government reporter.
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