Frequently Asked Questions, Press Releases, Media Coverage | Newspaper Guild of Pittsburgh

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FAQs

How is the contract situation at the PG?
Not good. The Newspaper Guild of Pittsburgh’s contract expired March 31, 2017. Since then, we’ve been negotiating with the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and its highly profitable Toledo-based parent company, BCI. As of December 2018, we’re in the 22nd month of negotiations.

That sounds like a long time.
It is! BCI and its owner, Post-Gazette Publisher John Robinson Block and his twin brother, BCI Chairman Allan Block, have sicced on the Guild the pricey, union-busting Nashville, Tenn. law firm King & Ballow. Their representative at the bargaining table is firm partner Richard Lowe.

What does the Guild want?
A fair and equitable contract. The dedicated journalists who put out the news around the clock every single day for the greater Pittsburgh community have not had a raise in 13 years. Meanwhile our members have given back millions of dollars in concessions — part of the tens of millions of dollars the Blocks have received from all of the PG’S unions — as part of years-long pay cuts to help keep the Post-Gazette afloat.

To add insult to injury, the Blocks have violated federal labor law by refusing to properly fund our health insurance in 2018 despite an administrative law judge’s order to do so — and the PG has said it won’t comply with the judge’s order in 2019 either. That means our health insurance benefits, which already got worse this year thanks to the Blocks, will suffer again next year. Asked whether the company couldn’t afford the premium increase, Lowe said recently at the bargaining table that the PG “is not claiming an inability to pay.”

Why is it taking so long to get a contract?
The Blocks and Lowe gave us an absurd initial proposal that essentially sought to rewrite our entire 85-year labor history by eliminating all Guild protections and benefits and creating a new model management-rights contract.

What does that mean?
That means if it’s good for the Blocks, they want it. If it’s good for the Guild, they don’t.

For instance?
Among many other things, the company wants to:

  • Eliminate a guaranteed work week
  • Be able to replace Guild members at any time by using freelancers, managers and outside vendors
  • Maintain an 8 percent pay cut
  • Modify our health care benefits at any time without our consent

In one of the company’s most egregious and heartless proposals — since withdrawn — the Blocks and Lowe actually wanted to take away from Guild members a day of paid funeral leave for the death of a spouse.

What should we know about King & Ballow?
The law firm is notorious among unionized newspapers in the U.S. This is the same firm that led the Blocks to lock out union workers in 2006 at the PG’s sister paper, the Toledo Blade. The Blocks ended up agreeing to pay the locked-out unions $3.5 million in back pay as part of a settlement. The unions, according to a 2007 Communications Worker of America bulletin, “will settle the unfair labor practice charges that the National Labor Relations Board brought against the company alleging an illegal lockout and bad-faith bargaining.”

Why aren’t the Blocks and Lowe being more reasonable?
We can only speculate that the Blocks wants to break our union and Lowe wants to make more money for his law firm.

Is the Post-Gazette making money?
Company officials regularly tell us how much money the PG is losing. That well may be true. But what is also true is that BCI, the Post-Gazette’s parent company, is highly profitable, became wealthy off the newspaper industry’s excellent profit margins in past years, subsidizes the PG’s operations, is privately held and has owners and top managers who are exceedingly wealthy and well-paid.

What’s happening with the health care situation?
The PG refused to pay a contractually mandated 5 percent health insurance premium increase in 2018. Even though our contract expired, specific language it contains as well as federal labor law obligate the company to maintain the contract’s status quo. The PG’s refusal triggered the Guild to file an Unfair Labor Practice charge with the National Labor Relations Board in Pittsburgh. The board ruled in our favor, and the company appealed. Then an administrative law judge also ruled in our favor and ordered the company to pay the premium. Again, the PG refused. They have a pending appeal before the National Labor Relations Board in Washington, DC.


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News articles

Press releases

Guild fighting for a fair contract

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Members of the Newspaper Guild of Pittsburgh are handing out flyers in Downtown Pittsburgh this morning outside the Omni William Penn where publisher John Robinson Block is speaking.

PG Guild Flyer color.jpg

Screenshot_2018-12-05 Jonathan Silver on Twitter Guild members are hard af work leafleting this morning in pursuit of a fai[...](1)

Guild President Mike Fuoco is being interviewed by @905wesa about @PittsburghPG’s labor situation.

Screenshot_2018-12-05 Jonathan Silver on Twitter Guild members are hard af work leafleting this morning in pursuit of a fai[...](2)

Here @KDKA is interviewing Guild President Mike Fuoco about our labor situation.

Screenshot_2018-12-05 Jonathan Silver on Twitter Guild members are hard af work leafleting this morning in pursuit of a fai[...](3)

Guild members are hard af work leafleting this morning in pursuit of a fair contract with @PittsburghPG.

Screenshot_2018-12-05 Jonathan Silver on Twitter Guild members are hard af work leafleting this morning in pursuit of a fai[...](4)Screenshot_2018-12-05 Jonathan Silver on Twitter Guild members are hard af work leafleting this morning in pursuit of a fai[...](5)

PG Guild Flyer color

 

Thank you!

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A thank you video from the Post-Gazette and The Newspaper Guild of Pittsburgh.

A month ago, a man walked into the Tree of Life synagogue and began
shooting. He took 11 precious lives and left Pittsburgh reeling.

Pittsburgh is a small city, so the reporters, editors,
photojournalists and paginators here at the Post-Gazette felt deep
pain while covering this international story. Our colleagues at
several news organizations stepped forward to support us during this difficult time, and we are deeply appreciative.

The video was produced by Guild member and photojournalist Steve Mellon.

 

 

 

Demands of Point Park University faculty union reasonable, fair

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Written By Margaret Davis

f_16_opinionsSince 2004, Point Park University has been at war with its own professors in a legal battle over the creation of a new union contract. Citing the 1980 Supreme Court case National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) v. Yeshiva University, the university stalled negotiations because it considered the teaching staff to be “managerial employees” who were therefore “ineligible for unionization.”

In 2015, after 12 years, Point Park finally dropped its appeals and agreed to open talks with the faculty, who are represented by the Newspaper Guild/Communications Workers of America. However, 140 of our full-time professors are still working without a contract, and progress has been very, very slow.

I was 10 years old when the legal battle began. Twelve years is a long time.

To read more click here!

No union contract yet for full-time faculty at Point Park

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Michael A. Fuoco, president of the Newspaper Guild of Pittsburgh, said contract negotiations with representatives from the university have moved slower than he expected.

“The progress has been glacial,” Fuoco said. “We are starting from a blank piece of paper, but our view is that it should not be taking this long and that they’re doing a disservice to the faculty, which has shown them extraordinary patience and good will during these 11 years.”

Click here to read more!

2016 Sally Kalson scholarship winners

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roomSince 1996, the Newspaper Guild of Pittsburgh has awarded almost $60,000 to students preparing for careers in journalism through two scholarships, in the memory of our late vice president, columnist Sally Kalson, now valued at $2,500 each to undergraduates who plan careers in print journalism as reporters, copy editors, photographers, paginators or graphics designers. 

This money is raised through “Off the Record” a satirical production of the Newspaper Guild, the Screen Actors Guild and the American Federation of Radio and Television Artists.  In addition to supporting the scholarship, the primary beneficiary of this effort is the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank.

The winners are chosen by a volunteer committee of Guild members who score entries based on academic achievement, quality of journalism in the writing samples submitted, letters of recommendation, a personal essay.

In 2016, our winners are:

delaneyDelaney Hassell of Erie is a sophomore at Robert Morris University and news editor of RMU Sentry Media.

In that capacity, she is a writer, editor and manager of the news section.

In continuing coverage, she followed the selection process of college president Christopher B. Howard and was able to get interviews with key members of the selection committees.

As a sophomore, her short, busy career has continues to prepare her for a future in evolving journalism, with exposure in all areas of the field.

She is both an anchor and producer for the television production RMU-Live, and has reported for RMU-Radio in pre- and post-game sports coverage and has provided intermission reports for hockey Three Rivers Classic at the CONSOL Center

In 2014 she received the RMU Academic Media Center’s Newcomer Award and placed second for a multimedia story submitted to the Society for Collegiate Journalists.

Delaney is a member of the Western Pennsylvania Press Club and the Women’s Press Club of Pittsburgh.  She’s joined here today by her parents Bill and Eileen Hassell.

kimmieToday we are also happy to recognize Kimberly Baston, a junior from Waynesburg University and executive editor of the Waynesburg Yellow Jacket.

In addition to reporting and writing for each edition, she manages a staff of 23

Kimberly is a student writer for the office of University Relations at Waynesburg and has worked as a stringer for the Greene County Messenger.

She is a three-time winner of the  Mark of Excellence Award from the Society of Professional Journalists, Region 4, and has also been honored by the American Scholastic Press Association.

She has placed first for ongoing news coverage in competition for the Keystone Press Awards.

Kimberly is a graduate of Norwin High School and is here today with her parents Barb and Ray Baston.