Thursday, April 1, 2010

Gannett Sued Over Hawaii '5-0' Layoffs

Hawaii 5-0Image by Howdy, I'm H. Michael Karshis via Flickr
 America's largest newspaper publisher, Gannett Co., which owns 83 papers, is being sued in Oahu Circuit Court for allegedly violating labor laws in the sale of the Honolulu Advertiser to rival Honolulu Star-Bulletin, according to Courtroom News Service.

The Advertiser's employees' union, Intl. Longshore & Warehouse Union Local 142, claims the axing of 50 employees days after the Advertiser sale occurred violated Hawaii's Dislocated Workers Act ("DWA") [HRS ch. 394B, sec. 1 et seq.], which mandates 60 days' notice before terminating workers from a divestiture, sale, or other transaction of business.  Gannett Pacific Corp. announced the Advertiser sale to Star-Bulletin owner, Oahu Publishing Co., in late February, two weeks before terminating 50 employees effective at the end of April. The newspaper transaction, which must undergo U.S. Justice Dept. scrutiny for any potential antitrust violations, is due to be finalized sometime this summer.

The DWA allows for pink-slipped employees to receive back pay and benefits for the length of any alleged violation and subjects the offender to civil penalties up to $500 daily. The Advertiser's union wants punitive damages and penalties assessed against the media conglomerate.

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