‘Honolulu Advertiser’ Lays Off 54 Workers

By: Joe Strupp

The Honolulu Advertiser is laying off 54 employees, the paper revealed in a story today that attempted to couch the bad news by reminding readers that it’s “joining a growing list of newspapers nationwide that have been forced to cut jobs in the wake of a weakening economy and loss of advertising to the Internet.”

The Gannett Co. daily reported the cuts represent 6.8% of its payroll of 799 full-time and part-time workers.

“We do not take this action lightly,” Advertiser Publisher Lee Webber told the paper. “But we are not immune to the national trends affecting the newspaper industry, nor from the downturn in our local economy.”

“Webber said the company needed to tighten its belt to survive tough times and bring operating costs in line with current conditions,” the story added. “The newspaper remains committed to producing a quality product.”

The cuts include three full-time and one part-time newsroom staffers, adding that nine of the laid-off workers are part-time employees.

Wayne Cahill, administrative officer of the Hawaii Newspaper Guild, which represents 375 Advertiser employees, told the paper he met with management during contract negotiations Tuesday, but was given no hint of the layoffs.

“Cahill said he wants to make sure that the layoffs were made according to the terms spelled out in the union contract,” the paper reported. “The Advertiser’s unionized employees have been working under an extension of a three-year contract that was set to expire in June 2007.”

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