Unionized employees of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette newsroom will be leafleting outside of a company-sponsored event Wednesday at Heinz Field at 5:30 p.m.
Guild members will be informing the guests, who are attending a “millennial”-focused happy hour and panel discussion, about the way the Post-Gazette treats its employees.
“Our generation values a workplace where employees are treated well, and we value work that makes an impact on society. I think event attendees will be shocked to learn how Post-Gazette management is treating its Pulitzer Prize-winning employees,” said Ashley Murray, a member of the Newspaper Guild’s mobilization committee.
Wednesday’s company-sponsored event titled “Level Up” is targeted ’for millennials looking to improve
their overall health and wellness,”— but it probably doesn’t include the fact that the company has refused to pay contractual healthcare premiums for its employees for the past two years.
Additionally, the leaflets distributed by Guild members will let attendees know that the Post-Gazette’s hardworking journalists have endured.
- Nearly 14 years without a raise.
- Nearly three years of stalled contract talks.
- Mounting federal unfair labor practices and contract grievances..
- Millions spent on lawyers to break the union.
- The punitive reassigning of reporters.
- The firing of dedicated editors.
On Nov. 18, Guild members overwhelmingly took the unprecedented act of voting “no confidence” in PG Executive Editor Keith Burris, Publisher John Robinson Block and his twin Allan Block, chairman of newspaper owner Block Communications Inc. (BCI), for their escalating unconscionable treatment of employees, union members and managers alike. An indefinite byline strike for the same reason began Nov. 20 and continues.
“Imagine no raise in 14 years, including give-backs to the company, while at the same time, the Post-Gazette has continued to fight its contractually agreed-upon obligations with a union-busting attorney,” said Sharon Eberson, a 40-year PG employee and member of the Guild mobilization
committee. “Despite demoralizing tactics and the firing of several top editors, I am so proud that our union has stood together and helped raise public awareness through actions such as leafleting and a byline strike.”
Guild members continue to work with integrity and diligence to cover our region, and we will work equally hard for fair treatment in the workplace and at the bargaining table.
To illustrate the resolve of Guild members, today marks a year of spreading public awareness through leafleting.
Today also marks the beginning of the third week of the byline strike by Guild writers, columnists, photographers, and graphic artists. Through the first two weeks, 689 bylines were withheld from stories, columns, photos, and illustrations in the print and digital newspaper editions, most by Guild members but some from freelancers who support us. And that doesn’t include innumerably more bylines withheld from the PG website, PG mobile app and PG NewsSlide.
Those who don’t have bylines—web and copy editors, page designers, librarians and clerks—are wearing buttons in the newsroom reading “I Support the Byline Strike.” They and others are also wearing “No Confidence” buttons. Placards reading the same are on newsroom desks and on Guild bulletin boards.
“The volume of work that is being uncredited shows that Guild members, and not multi-millionaire owners and a neophyte executive editor, are the heart and soul of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette,” said
Guild President Michael A. Fuoco, a 35-year PG reporter. “From the beginning through today, participation by our members has been 100 percent.
“We are united and gratified by the tremendous support for our cause from readers, journalists and unions across the country.’
The Guild is calling upon the public to express its outrage at the repulsive actions by emailing:
- Publisher John Block—email@example.com and ir firstname.lastname@example.org
- BCI Chairman Allan Block– email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org
- Executive Editor Keith Burris email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org