Oops there go 86 more Gannett employees, kerplop!

Mick Gregory

The Honolulu Advertiser, the biggest newspaper on The Islands and the most honest masthead in the U.S., is offering “enhanced” retirement packages to 86 workers in an effort to reduce its staffing. The Gannett Co. has been cutting staff everywhere below the radar. But when the numbers approach triple digits at one paper, it gets noticed.

In a letter to employees Thursday, publisher Mike Fisch said the company wants to reduce its workforce “to adjust our operating plans to meet the new market realities.”

Fisch said the company is asking employees 55 and older with up to 20 years of service to consider the retirement offer, which is being made to both union members and non-members.

This smells of targeting older employees. Age discrimination anyone? Is there a lawyer in the building?

He did not specify the details of what he described as an “attractive benefits package.”

It’s something like, if you don’t take this, you aren’t going to like it here, why can’t you take a hint?

“We’ve also seen a softening of the Hawaii economy over the past eight months and we believe it is prudent to adjust our staffing as we have other expense elements to provide is the flexibility we need to operate our business successfully,” Fisch said in the letter.

Fisch said no department will be “significantly impacted” by the workforce reduction, which he described as voluntary. Voluntary is an important word; if it weren’t the layed off could come back and say they signed the “payoff” under pressure.

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