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Pittsburgh Post-Gazette newsroom begins strike, as contract impasse is still not resolved

  • By Patrick Doyle and Julia Zenkevich/ WESA
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette office in Pittsburgh.

 Katie Blackley / WESA

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette office in Pittsburgh.

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette journalists started a strike at noon on Tuesday, following unmet demands from the Newspaper Guild of Pittsburgh that the company “end its illegally declared impasse to contract negotiations” and return to the bargaining table with the union.

“The workers who produce the Post-Gazette are taking a stand against the hostile and illegal treatment at the hands of John and Allan Block,” said Zach Tanner, the president of the local guild, said in a statement this morning. “We, the workers, are standing together today, ready to fight to win back our contract and work toward signing a new collective bargaining agreement that preserves the Post-Gazette for the Pittsburgh region.”

On Oct. 6, Post-Gazette employees in the Communication Workers of America — which represents workers responsible for printing, designing, distributing and advertising sales — went on strike over changes to their health insurance coverage.

The newsroom union’s last contract expired in 2017; subsequent negotiations have been acrimonious. In July 2020, Post-Gazette management declared an impasse to negotiations. In May of this year, the National Labor Relations Board stepped into the dispute.

Shortly after news broke Tuesday morning of the newsroom’s planned strike, local labor leaders began issuing statement’s of solidarity with union workers.

“It is a sad day in Pittsburgh when the people who write, produce and distribute what was once a great newspaper are forced to walk off the job, but the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette has left their employees no other choice,” said Darrin Kelly, president of the Allegheny-Fayette Central Labor Council.

Kelly said the labor group will stand by Post-Gazette workers until management resumes bargaining. He also urged customers to support workers by canceling their subscriptions to the paper.

The city’s last major newspaper strike happened 30 years ago. In 1992, about 600 members of a Teamsters local representing truck drivers and circulation route managers went on strike against the Pittsburgh Press after working without a contract for five months.

The strike also affected the Post-Gazette, which at the time was separately owned but shared distribution operations and facilities.

Scripps-Howard, which owned the Pittsburgh Press, eventually decided to sell the paper rather than continue negotiations with the Teamsters. The Block family, which owns the Post-Gazette, bought the Press and merged the two papers.

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