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by Brittany Yap, editor
No labor strike can be boiled down to a problem in corporate communications and public relations, but often a strike can be won or lost by which side does the better job of communicating their position to the public.

This spring, HPU’s College of Communication will offer a special topics course, COM 3910-A, in labor relations. It’s designed to introduce you to a wide range of labor communication from both journalism and public relations perspectives.

According to the instructor, attorney, and former state senator Anthony Chang, “Students will be introduced to typical communication practices of labor organization with emphasis on practices in Hawai‘i and Pacific Rim nations.” Chang went on to explain that the course will look at how labor communicates with internal, governmental, media, and public audiences.

According to Dr. John Barnum, program chair for MACOM, the course “will also provide a historical prospective of the labor movement, and analyze specific labor case studies.”

And Dr. Larry LeDoux, program chair for journalism, said: “The course will also examine whether there is any factual basis for anecdotal perceptions that corporate-owned media are not fairly and objectively telling labor’s story.”

Chang is well known to both labor and management in Hawai‘i, as well as to both political parties. In addition to teaching for HPU’s College of Communication, Chang teaches ethnic studies part time for the University of Hawai‘i at Manoa and is a practicing attorney and labor negotiator during the day. He is an arbitrator for labor grievances between unions and employers, and he counsels private companies about labor and employment issues.

Chang’s interest in labor unions came early. “I was raised in public housing in a working-class family,” Chang said.

Chang’s mother was a clerk-typist, and his father was a pipe fitter. While getting a B.A. in Accounting at UH-Manoa, he realized that, “The United States is the most capitalistic and legalistic country in the world.”

“ In order to survive in this society, you have to understand it,” Chang added. And that is one of the reasons he went to law school.
Chang sees himself as a bridge between the system and working-class people: “I am not a union activist,” Chang said. But he believes that “Unions are useful because they are organized, and they have many resources.”

Chang’s Labor Relation class last spring had 12 students, who, according to his syllabus, “explored the history, culture, and future of labor relations in the United States and Hawai‘i,” in order to “understand how the labor relations message is shaped, organized, and delivered in the community.”
After law school, Chang taught Problems in Hawaiian Politics at Honolulu Community College, worked as a guidance counselor, a legislative aide at the Hawai‘i State Capitol, a program planner in Governor Ariyoshi’s office, a Hawai‘i state senator, a hearings officer at the state Department of Social Services, a deputy corporation counsel officer for the City and County of Honolulu, and a director of contract implementation for the United Public Workers, to name only a few of his many positions and accomplishments.

Chang is also the managing director at Pacific Edge and a partner at Pacific Resources. He is a member of the Hawai‘i Government Employee Association and the president of the Chinatown Historical Society of Honolulu. He lives in Nu‘uanu with his wife, Lisa Konove, and three daughters—Ahnya 25, Cymri 21, and Morgen 16.




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