Around 50 Newspaper Guild of Pittsburgh members picketed Saturday morning outside Post-Gazette Publisher John Block’s Shadyside home as part of an escalating pressure campaign to convince the company to resolve its ongoing labor dispute.
The Guild took this dramatic step in response to the Post-Gazette bargaining for years in bad faith, illegally declaring an impasse in contract negotiations and unilaterally imposing working conditions on the Guild. Members picketed on Devonshire Street in Shadyside to send a message to John Block that they are fighting to preserve the Post-Gazette, defend their union rights and obtain a fair contract.
In addition to illegally declaring an impasse and unilaterally imposing working conditions, the Post-Gazette has:
- Bargained in bad faith since 2017
- Denied raises for 14 years
- Illegally slashed health care benefits and astronomically driven up insurance costs
- Created a hostile work environment, forcing members to leave the PG for other jobs
- Consistently shown intolerance on race issues, including blocking the coverage by a Black reporter of stories related to Black Lives Matter protests
- Paid millions of dollars to the Nashville, Tenn. union-busting law firm King & Ballow
These imposed working conditions have destroyed the fundamental union rights of Guild members and prompted them to authorize a strike by an overwhelming margin.
Last Friday, local leaders and politicians, including Lt. Gov. John Fetterman and Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto, as well as representatives from various unions, religious groups and social justice communities, joined the Allegheny-Fayette Labor Council and its president, Darrin Kelly, in leading a labor rally on North Shore Drive to put added pressure on the Blocks to get fair contracts for every Post-Gazette union worker.
In the wake of last Friday’s rally, today’s picket on Devonshire Street is intended to be the first of many Guild-led actions that will be taking place around the area until the company shows a willingness to reach a fair contract.
Ultimately, the goal of today’s action is to show John Block, his twin brother Allan Block, chairman of Toledo, Ohio-based Block Communications Inc., which owns the Post-Gazette, and their family, which controls the rest of BCI’s voting stock, that it is not too late to come together and avoid a strike, an event that no one wants to see come to fruition.
The Post-Gazette is a community asset, and the Newspaper Guild wants to preserve that, but reaching a fair agreement that benefits the award-winning journalists is paramount to maintaining quality journalism in Pittsburgh.
CONTACTS: MELISSA TKACH
2nd VICE PRESIDENT