Journalists at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette have been striking since October 18, joining colleagues from the mail rooms, typographical/advertising department, pressmen and Teamsters, who are also striking. The non-journalist workforce strike began when the Post-Gazette unilaterally terminated the employees’ health care.
The newsroom employees decided to strike because the Block Family, owners of the Post-Gazette, imposed new working conditions on the journalists, in violation of collective bargaining law. The owners cut wages, took away vacation time and engaged non-union workers as contractors, in addition to slashing health care coverage.
Efforts to engage in bargaining with ownership have been met with stonewalling and bad faith, but according to the union, bargaining sessions will continue after the Thanksgiving holiday.
Employees are asking for the newspaper to restore the working conditions and terms of the previous collective bargaining agreement and for the newspaper to restore the health care coverage to the employees whose health care was eliminated.
Post-Gazette journalists are recent winners of a Pulitzer Prize (2019), the Keystone Media News Organization of the Year (2022), other individual and collective awards for print, photography and commentary in news and sports coverage.
According to their union, Post-Gazette journalists haven’t received an across-the-board wage increase in over 15 years, including even a basic cost-of-living increase. The lack of increases and poor working conditions have led to high turnover at the newspaper, with over 100 employees leaving over the past five years.
The newspaper employees are putting out a daily digital newspaper while out on strike. The Pittsburgh Union Progress (https://www.unionprogress.com/) is publishing news about the strike but also other news about Pittsburgh and beyond. ■