The Newspaper Guild of Pittsburgh Local 38061 is offering two scholarships for $2,000 each to fourth semester undergraduates – and up — majoring in journalism or related fields, with a strictly local focus.
Those who have completed at least three semesters and live in Allegheny, Beaver, Butler, Fayette, Greene, Washington or Westmoreland Counties – or attend colleges or universities in these counties – should submit an application and supporting materials by Fri., March 6, 2020.
Applications may be sent through the mail, but email packages will also be considered. Send digital copies to scholarship chairperson Matt Moret at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Scholarship winners will be announced in mid-March and a reception will follow.
Since 1996, the Guild has awarded more than $50,000 in cash to undergrads preparing for careers in journalism. Funding for the Sally Kalson Scholarship awards comes from the annual production “Off the Record,” staged by the Guild, the Screen Actors Guild and the American Federation of Radio and Television Artists.
U.S. District Judge J. Nicholas Ranjan has ordered top Post-Gazette and Teamsters representatives to appear Thursday, Jan. 9 at 3 p.m. in Courtroom C on the Sixth Floor of the Federal Courthouse for a status conference on the Post-Gazette’s refusal to follow his court order of Nov. 27 that he reissued for clarity Dec. 27.
Attorney Joseph J. Pass, representing the Teamsters, has petitioned Judge Ranjan to find the Post-Gazette in contempt of court for not following his orders to fully reinstate 24 Teamsters who were discharged on Nov. 10 and 47 others who were reduced to part-time so the company could avoid paying for their health care benefits.
It is expected that Judge Ranjan will rule on the Teamsters’ petition (see below), which asks him to find the Post-Gazette in contempt; to order the company again to immediately follow his court order; and to impose fines on the Post-Gazette of $10,000 for the first day of non-compliance with his order, and thereafter an amount that would double every day of non-compliance.
Pass, Teamsters Local President Joe Molinero and officials of other unions who have been involved in protracted contract negotiations for nearly three years with the Post-Gazette will be available for interviews after the status conference.
The newsroom staff of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette today marked seven days of its indeﬁnite byline strike in protest of the severe mistreatment of union members and managers by PG Executive Editor Keith Burris, Publisher John Robinson Block and his twin Allan Block, chairman of Toledo-based PG owner Block Communications Inc. (BCI).
Since Nov. 20, reporters, columnists, photographers and graphic artists represented by the Newspaper Guild of Pittsburgh have withheld a total of 313 bylines and credit lines from the print and PGe digital editions of the newspaper — 100 percent participation. Countless more bylines have been absent from the PG’s website, mobile app and PGNewsSlide.
Page designers, web and copy desk personnel, librarians and clerks who do not have bylines are wearing “I Support the Byline Strike” buttons in the newsroom. Moreover, PG journalists are wearing “No Conﬁdence” buttons and have placards reading the same on their desks to illustrate their unanimous vote last week of “no conﬁdence” in Burris and the Blocks.
PG freelancers, who are not union members, have withheld their bylines in support. Additional backing has come from readers and unions from across the United States who likewise decry and are appalled by the hostile work environment created by the Blocks and Burris and the economic oppression of nearly 14 years without a raise and unilateral cuts to their health care. The Guild and other PG unions have been mired for nearly three years in fruitless negotiations for new contracts with BCl’s carpetbagging, anti-union attorney from Tennessee who is seeking additional cutbacks in wages and beneﬁts from newspaper workers.
“We are uniﬁed and resolute in protest of the unprecedented, unconscionable atmosphere of fear, hostility and intimidation that Burris and the Blocks have created in the North Shore newsroom. And we stand united in our quest for economic justice,” said Michael A. Fuoco, a 35-year PG reporter and Guild president.
“In stark relief, this byline strike shows that we journalists are truly the Post-Gazette – not Burris, executive editor for only nine months, and the multimillionaire Blocks. There is no Post-Gazette without us. There will be no Post-Gazette without us.
“We will continue this ﬁght for a non-hostile workplace and economic justice, even to the point of the most extreme measures.”
The last byline strike at the Post-Gazette was in January 2018 when the Guild prosecuted a four-day protest of what was then two years without a contract and the company’s decision for the second year to defy contracts and not pay premium increases for health-care coverage. Union presidents recently received letters indicating the company will not pay for increases in 2020, decreasing health-care beneﬁts for the third straight year. Before January 2018, there had not previously been a byline strike at the paper since the 19803.
“The Blocks and Burris have no moral compass and a total lack of appreciation for the legacy of the Post-Gazette and the loyalty of talented journalists,” Fuoco said. “Their actions are shameful and despicable.”
The ﬁring or forcing out of three beloved newsroom managers with combined service of nearly 100 years to the PG because they stood up to Burris’ dictatorial actions. Four other managers have left this year and one departure is pending.
Cultivating hurt and bewilderment among the staff through Burris’ belittling behavior toward individual Guild members. This has led to turmoil and uncertainty among the remaining staff and has contributed to a desperate exodus of 16 talented journalists from the 2019 Pulitzer Prize—winning newspaper over the last six months.
Retaliating against certain Guild members and leaders by reassigning those who have challenged him in any way to positions that adversely affect their lives and/or their work on behalf of the union.
Abusing and refusing to work cooperatively with or even speak to Guild leadership.
Triggering an unprecedented number of grievances and Unfair Labor Practice charges ﬁled by the Guild never before seen in the union’s 85 years at the PG.
The Guild is calling upon the public to express its outrage at the repulsive actions by emailing:
“We will continue to serve our community, even as the Blocks and Burris attempt to stand in the way of our commitment to our calling as journalists,” Fuoco said. “We hope and pray that the Blocks and Burris come to their senses before they permanently destroy an iconic newspaper whose roots go back to reporting on passage of the US. Constitution.”
The newsroom staff of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, represented by the Newspaper Guild of Pittsburgh/CWA 38061, today began a byline strike in protest of the mistreatment of union members and managers by PG Executive Editor Keith Burris, Publisher John Robinson Block and his twin Allan Block,chairman of Toledo-based PG owner Block Communications Inc. (BCI).
All 139 members of the Guild have signed pledges to withhold their bylines or credit lines on stories, photographs and graphics during the byline strike that will continue indefinitely. Those who do not have bylines — including assigning, web and copy editors, page designers, librarians and clerks — have pledged to wear buttons in the newsroom reading “I Support the Byline Strike.”
While there is no print edition today, a total of 27 stories and 14 photographs produced by Newspaper Guild members ran without bylines in today’s PGe, the Post-Gazette’s digital newspaper. Innumerably more Guild produced stories, photographs and graphics are appearing on the Post-Gazette’s website, PG mobile app and PG NewsSlide without bylines and credit lines.
The protest shows that Guild members stand together and will not abide the unconscionable atmosphere of fear, hostility and intimidation that Burris and the Blocks have created in the North Shore newsroom. Before these attacks, the newsroom had a collegial, creative, efficient, enjoyable and safe workplace culture.
“This byline strike shows that we journalists who love our profession are the Post-Gazette, not Burris, who has been executive editor for only nine months, and the multimillionaire Blocks. There is no Post-Gazette without us,” said Michael A. Fuoco, a 35-year PG reporter and Guild president. “We are fighting for the soul of an iconic 233-year-old newspaper we dearly love but which the Blocks and Burris are trying to destroy. “Our solidarity in our battle against workplace oppression and in defense of journalism and the Post-Gazette is unyielding,”
Stringers who are neither PG employees nor Guild members have indicated to their PG editors that they will withhold their bylines in support of the Guild. Guild-represented columnists — including Brian O’Neill, Tony Norman, Gene Collier, Ron Cook and Joe Starkey — have been told by PG management that their columns will not appear without their bylines.
NOTE: At 2:34 p.m. today, management changed course and sent the following email to staff:
During the byline strike we’ll be continuing to publish PG columnists’ articles with a “Commentary:” prefix in the headlines and the following graph in italics at the top of the article:
The commentary below contains opinion. The author’s name has been withheld at the writer’s request. In addition, we will use NO author bylines on any wire service material, but continue to identify the wire service or newspaper source in the byline field (EX: The Associated Press).
“We are encouraged by the support of the stringers, PG readers and from people across the country,” Fuoco said. “It goes without saying that the unprecedented attacks on newsroom employees by Burris and the Blocks are linked to BCI’s refusal to bargain fairly in three years of fruitless negotiations with PG unions for new contracts. We have gone nearly 14 years without a raise, they have refused to pay health-care premium increases for two years and they have proposed taking away even more benefits. They have no shame.
“We ask those who support our taking a stand for dignity in the workplace to contact Burris and the Blocks and let them know that their anti-union actions are not welcome in Pittsburgh, the birthplace of unionism.”
Guild members also are wearing “No Confidence” buttons in the newsroom in reference to an overwhelmingly approved no-confidence vote taken Monday to additionally show the union’s opposition to the hostile workplace that the Blocks and Burris have created (please see attached release from Monday).
Their transgressions include:
• The firing or forcing out of three beloved newsroom managers with combined service of nearly 100 years to the PG because they stood up to Burris’ dictatorial actions. Four other managers have left this year and one departure is pending.
• Cultivating hurt and bewilderment among the staff through Burris’ belittling behavior toward individual Guild members. This has led to turmoil and uncertainty among the remaining staff and has contributed to a desperate exodus of 16 talented journalists from the 2019 Pulitzer Prize-winning newspaper over the last six months.
• Retaliating against certain Guild members and leaders by reassigning those who have challenged him in any way to positions that adversely affect their lives or their work on behalf of the union.
• Abusing and refusing to work cooperatively with or even speak to Guild leadership.
• Triggering an unprecedented number of grievances and Unfair Labor Practice charges filed by the Guild never before seen in the union’s 85 years at the PG. “We will not quit fighting until this disgraceful treatment ends. No employee anywhere deserves to work in a hostile environment like this,” Fuoco said.
Today, Sept. 30, marks the first Monday without a print edition under the Post-Gazette’s new production schedule, with no clear vision for moving forward as a mostly digital operation.
All of us in the Newspaper Guild of Pittsburgh mourn the loss of print days for an award-winning newspaper and are equally concerned about the future.
To mark this sad occasion, Guild members at the PG today will be wearing black clothing and a black ribbon as reminders of what we and our community have lost.
We do this because we worry about our readers not receiving the information they need. Many are not inclined or equipped to switch to digital platforms. We worry about the effect on democracy because of that. We worry about where the Post-Gazette, and our community, go from here.
Even as the Guild has been struggling for 2 1/2 years to gain a fair contract with PG owners Block Communications Inc., what hasn’t been lost is the vigilance and professionalism of the 140 journalists of the Newspaper Guild of Pittsburgh.
The Post-Gazette informed Guild president Michael Fuoco today that beginning on Sept. 30 it will eliminate two more days of print, meaning the P-G will print for home delivery only three days a week. This is yet another bad decision from a company that continues to show zero respect to employees or readers.
Coverage of the elimination of two more days of print: