About 30 members of the Newspaper Guild of Pittsburgh—all of them newsroom employees at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette–distributed leaflets today protesting 13 years without a raise and two straight years in which the company is defying federal law in not paying health care premium increases.
Nearly 500 leaflets (please see attached) were distributed in 45 minutes outside the Omni William Penn Hotel before Publisher John Robinson Block addressed a noon Rotary luncheon inside. The Guild, and other unions at the Post-Gazette, have been separately negotiating for new individual contracts since the last ones expired in March 2017. The Post-Gazette, owned by BCI, has been using a union-busting law firm from Tennessee in negotiations with all the unions.
“This is but the first of many planned mobilization efforts to more visibly express our displeasure with the way John Block and his twin brother, Allan Block, chairman of Toledo,Ohio-based Block Communications Inc., have treated us for 13 years,” said Michael A. Fuoco, a 35-year reporter at the paper and president of the Newspaper Guild, which represents 150 newsroom employees.
“All we are asking is to be treated with the dignity and respect we’ve earned with our talent, loyalty and dedication. To deny us raises for 13 years and to cause our health care benefits to be cut two years in a row is unconscionable. They need to change and fast.
“Today we put the Blocks on notice we are not going away. There will be no deaths by a thousand cuts. More and escalated protests will follow unless and until they finally do the right thing and negotiate fair and equitable contracts with loyal employees,” Fuoco said.
“Yes, the Post-Gazette loses money, but BCI is a profitable communications corporation built upon the one-time profits of the Post-Gazette. Moreover, there is a social compact for owning a 232-year-old Pittsburgh institution. They should be fair employers of journalists upon whose work democracy depends.”