Post-Gazette journalists represented by the Newspaper Guild of Pittsburgh have been on strike since Oct. 18.
When newsroom workers from the Guild walked out, they joined their PG colleagues represented by mailers, typographical/advertising, pressmen and Teamsters unions, who began a strike on Oct. 6 when their health care was unilaterally terminated by the PG.
Why are we striking?
The Blocks — the PG’s owners — illegally and unilaterally imposed new working conditions on the journalists of the Newspaper Guild.
They cut our wages, took vacation time away our most seasoned workers, farmed out our work to non-Guild workers and forced us onto a health insurance plan that offers less coverage at a higher price.
What are our demands?
We demand that the Blocks and Post-Gazette management:
- End the illegally declared impasse to contract negotiations.
- Undo the unilaterally imposed working conditions and reinstate the terms of the 2014-17 newsroom contract.
- Return to the contract bargaining table to reach a fair contract with the journalists represented by the Guild.
- Meet the health care demands of our striking sister unions.
Why does this matter?
Post-Gazette journalists continue to excel, winning top honors despite uncertainty caused by the contract situation and other factors. The PG and its staff are recent winners of a Pulitzer Prize (2019), the Keystone Media News Organization of the Year (2022), other individual and collective awards for print, photography and commentary in news and sports coverage.
Like other essential workers, many of whom were forced into even greater risks, the Post-Gazette staff has worked diligently through the COVID-19 pandemic at no small chance of exposure to get our community as much public health information as possible.
Meanwhile, Post-Gazette journalists haven’t received an across-the-board raise in over 15 years. That includes even basic cost-of-living increases — essentially meaning that the journalists are being paid less and less each year. A letter asking for a one-time cost-of-living stipend as inflation reached a 40-year high was ignored by PG management and Block Communications Inc.
The Block family’s insistence on wasting time and money instead of agreeing to stable working conditions has contributed to more than 100 workers leaving our newsroom in the past five years.
This exodus deprives the city of the journalism, information, respect and voices we count on. Because of the Blocks’ refusal to invest in local workers – journalists, production workers, advertising staff and delivery drivers alike – it is harder than ever to find the kind of accurate, timely and trustworthy information we strive to share in Pittsburgh.
Instead, the Blocks have chosen to spend millions of dollars on an out-of-state, union-busting law firm rather than the local journalists who seek to serve and inform the people of Pittsburgh.
In what world would that money not be better spent on the people who fill, put together and deliver the paper?
How can I support the PG’s journalists in this fight?
- Donate to the CWA Pittsburgh Striker Fund, which will directly benefit striking PG workers who are facing financial hardships over their choice to stand up for a fair contract.
- Email the publisher of the Post-Gazette, John Robinson Block, at firstname.lastname@example.org and impress upon him the importance of ending the labor strife at his newspaper by reaching a fair contract with the Guild.
- Cancel your Post-Gazette subscription until the strike ends, and don’t click on PG stories online.
- Instead of reading the PG during the strike, check out our strike publication, the Pittsburgh Union Progress, at unionprogress.com. You can follow the PUP on Twitter @ThePUPNews and on Instagram @pghunionprogress.
- Join us on the picket line, set up daily from noon to 5 p.m. at the North Shore offices of the PG (358 North Shore Drive 15212).
- Follow the Guild on Twitter and Instagram for regular updates on the strike.