comscore Hawaiian Telcom prepares job cuts | Honolulu Star-Advertiser

Hawaiian Telcom prepares job cuts

    Hawaiian Telcom will cut 100 jobs in its continued restructuring but will create 50 new jobs. Shown is the Hawaiian Telcom building downtown.

Hawaiian Telcom plans to cut a net 50 jobs as part of its continuing effort to restructure the company, following its emergence from bankruptcy protection last fall, the company said yesterday.

Plans call for the a reduction of about 100 union and nonunion positions, but those cuts will be partially offset by the creation of 50 new jobs, Hawaiian Telcom spokesman Scott Simon said. The impact of the cuts will be further blunted by attrition, early retirement and voluntary separation options, he said.

"Since the leadership changes we made following our Chapter 11 filing, we have made no secret of the need to realign the company," Simon said.

"The positions we are creating are aligned with our new direction."

Hawaiian Telcom filed for bankruptcy in December 2008. Through its reorganization, Hawaiian Telcom reduced its debt to $300 million from $1.2 billion.

Hawaiian Telcom, the state’s largest telephone company, has lost more than 200,000 land-line accounts, or 32 percent of its total, in the past five years as more people switch to using mobile phones only.

Among the new products Hawaiian Telcom is planning to roll out to counter the loss of land-line business is an Internet-based television service that will compete with market leader Oceanic Time Warner. The company is also boosting investments in its fiber-optic network, which provides the basis for its business data services and its high-speed Internet.

Simon said there is no specific timetable for the job cuts, adding that the company has been in contact with the union representing its hourly workers, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 1357.

Scot Long, business manager for Local 1357, confirmed the company has informed the union of the job cuts.

"We have not gotten the specific areas affected, but will be meeting with the company soon to discuss the details," Long said in a report to union members on its website.

"We have asked the company to provide us with the outsourcing contracts going back to 2005," Long wrote, noting that the company has eliminated 300 union positions since that time. The company has about 1,400 employees, 57 percent of whom are represented by Local 1357, according to a regulatory filing.

"Although they continue to tell us about land-line losses, they fail to accept responsibility for the poor decisions made by the senior management team," he said.

The IBEW’s labor agreement with the company expires in September, and union leaders have met with a federal mediator in anticipation of a "difficult bargaining session," Long said.

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