A letter from Alyssa Brown, former Guild member and secretary

If you are reading this letter, I first want to thank you. Thank you for supporting the unions that represent the employees of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and the Toledo Blade, and thank you for caring about our local newspapers.

My goal for this website was to create a place for positivity and support for the Newspaper Guild of Pittsburgh and the Toledo NewsGuild. When you are in the middle of a labor battle, there isn’t much good news — you are constantly weighed down with bad news, and the path forward can be unpredictable. As a former letters editor at the Post-Gazette, I know how important it is to make our voices heard, especially the voices of our communities, which are represented in our local newspapers. But sometimes, these voices are not heard loudly enough and there is a need to amplify them. There are many community members and readers who support these two unions and who have voiced their support for our Guild brothers and sisters who are fighting this labor battle. But what we needed was a place to amplify these voices — a place to showcase support and positivity. 

I am a very positive person. Anyone who has worked with me knows that I work well under pressure, no matter what the situation or deadline is. Perhaps that’s why I loved working at the newspaper — I was always on a deadline, and I was always working under pressure. But I also loved the people. Scratch that — I still love the people. The people who make the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette happen each and every day, who write the stories and edit the stories, who design the pages and capture the photographs that showcase our city. 

It is because of them that I will continue to fight for a fair contract for the Guild members in Pittsburgh and Toledo, even though I recently departed the PG for a new job opportunity. I will continue to support their cause because these cities and community members deserve a local newspaper to keep them informed, to share the stories of their communities, and to advocate for the voiceless. These journalists deserve to be treated fairly and with respect. There is no reason to deprive the community of their talents. 

Without these journalists, the stories would be left untold. But without a fair contract, these journalists are being paid less than ever before while paying outrageously high health care costs; they are not being treated with the respect they deserve. As much as it broke my heart to leave the Post-Gazette and the people I love, I could not continue to work under the imposed conditions. These imposed conditions are unfair to the award-winning journalists who make the Post-Gazette and the Toledo Blade great newspapers; they are just trying to do their jobs and serve their communities. 

When I started working on this website, it was with the intention that I would be around for a while to keep it running. I had no idea that within a few weeks I would be leaving the PG and heading to a new job in a new city. I ask you to, please, send your letters of support to be shared on this site, and for your continued support for these talented and dedicated Guild members.

This is a positive space to share your stories and share why you want and deserve your local newspaper; why these journalists and Guild members deserve a fair contract and deserve to be treated with respect. Let’s share our support for these amazing journalists and help them fight this labor battle. We need them, and they need us. Together, we are stronger. We can win. Let’s do this. 

Alyssa Brown 
Former Guild member and secretary for the executive committee
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette employee for six years 

Alyssa Brown, third from bottom left, holds a sign during a rally in September 2020, outside of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette office on the North Shore.