Thursday, April 3, 2008

Musings: Playing Catch Up

It was midnight by the time I finished a story, so Koko and I went out to visit the stars, which I hadn’t seen for a long time, and the look turned into a walk and then another look until the clouds drifted in and tucked them away for the night.

Awoke to two sounds I hadn’t heard in a long time: rainfall, and a rat banging on the bathroom pipes. Farmer Jerry told me March was the driest on Kauai since records have been kept, so hopefully we can catch some more showers this spring. And guess I’d better start baiting the trap so I can catch a rodent this evening.

Hawaii Superferry is apparently hoping to catch a break by resuming service early to take advantage of the instability in the interisland transport market now that Aloha Airlines has shut down.

Hmmm. I was just musing about that strategy in Monday’s post….

But although HSF is rarin’ to go now, according to the Advertiser article there apparently is some vague, unspecified hang up.

Superferry president and CEO John Garibaldi said in an e-mail to The Advertiser yesterday, "There's still work to be done in getting her ready to resume our Maui-O'ahu service. ... We're hopeful that she will be sailing soon. More to come."

Harbors Division chief Michael Formby said Garibaldi told him yesterday the company has not come up with a firm date for the resumption of service. "They are still dealing with some issues that need to be resolved before they resume service," Formby said.

Now those are the kinds of comments that get me, as a reporter, thinking, like what? And I have to wonder, did the reporter ask?

It also appears that information passed on yesterday was incorrect: the Superferry has not yet passed its Coast Guard inspection.

It will be interesting to see if Superferry does any better this time around, what with flights all jammed up and the winter seas calming — well, sort of. Of course, the key issue is fares. According to the Superferry website, the $39 one-way passenger fare and $55 one-way vehicle fares will be offered through June 5. That’s a little more than half the normal fare of $76.11 for a one-way adult fare, with the current fuel surcharge.

It seems that Superferry is following the same bad business model of the airlines in offering fares that are below operating costs.

Meanwhile, Alabama Press Register reported on another bad business model: racial discrimination.

It seems Austal USA, the company that built the Alakai and is now at work on ferry #2, as well as a Littoral Combat Ship for the Navy, is being sued by a group of 22 past and present black employees “claiming that company managers participate in and condone widespread racial discrimination at its Mobile River shipyard.”

The article reports:

Among the allegations:

Black workers at Austal are paid less than white workers in the same positions with similar experience.

Austal doesn't openly post advancement opportunities and chooses less-qualified white workers over more experienced black ones, in some cases making the black workers train their new bosses.

Austal doesn't provide the same training opportunities to black workers as to whites.

Managers retaliated against black workers who complained about racist behavior.

The lawsuit seeks class-action status, which means the plaintiffs could represent other black Austal workers.

But Austal, it seems, is not the only Mobile company to be sued on similar charges. The article reports:

Most recently, Atlantic Marine settled with 85 workers in 2006, giving each about $12,000, or more than $1 million in total.

Now as you may, or may not, recall, Atlantic Marine is owned by HSF Chairman John Lehman, who bought the company to support Navy contract work.

Just another indication of the guy's stellar character. But then, we don't need to worry about stuff like racism in Hawaii, the giant cultural melting pot where all the ethnic groups co-exist in harmony. Yeah, right.

(Hat tip to Dick Mayer for all the Superferry tidbits.)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Trent Lott's hometown area. "If only we'd had a President Strom Thurmond we wouldn't have all these troubles." Even 40+ years after Civil rights legislation passed, these types still exist - pathetic.