Honolulu Star-Advertiser will lose 12 to voluntary layoffs instead of expected 29

An agreement with the guild also includes six weeks of furloughs

June 30, 2020

The Honolulu Star-Advertiser was supposed to lose at least 29 journalists to layoffs at the end of June. Instead, only 12 people will lose their jobs.

On June 29, Hawaii’s biggest newspaper reported on an agreement with the union.

“A total of 12 journalists represented by the Pacific Media Workers Guild have agreed to be laid off, and the remainder will take unpaid furloughs totaling six weeks each between now and Feb. 28, the end of the fiscal year. The agreement retains most of the 29 reporters, photographers, page designers, copy editors, online staff and others who received layoff notices on June 11.”

Honolulu Civil Beat, a nonprofit newsroom, reported, “Union members also agreed to put off a planned 1% pay raise and forfeit half of their 2020 vacation days.”

After news of the layoffs broke, four former governors appealed to the newspaper to save those jobs, which would have accounted for half the newsroom, Christina Jedra reported for Civil Beat.

“As former governors, we know how much democracy depends on a free press. Please support them so that Honolulu’s only daily newspaper can weather this economic crisis and come back strong. We cannot afford to lose it.”

Layoffs, furloughs and pay cuts in newsrooms have continued along with the coronavirus pandemic, but in mid-June, Gannett announced an end to furloughs for reporters and visual journalists. Since the pandemic began, more than 30 local newsrooms have closed.

Kristen Hare covers the business and people of local news for Poynter.org and is the editor of Locally. You can subscribe to her weekly newsletter here. Kristen can be reached at khare@poynter.org or on Twitter at @kristenhare.

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