It’s no secret that we, the members of the Newspaper Guild of Pittsburgh and the Toledo NewsGuild in Ohio, have a mountain before us. The ongoing labor battle with our mutual employer, Block Communications Inc., the past four years has been exhausting and frustrating after the company hired an out-of-town union-busting law firm and have engaged in bad-faith bargaining — unwilling to find an amicable solution to engage in good-faith and meaningful contract negotiations.
In July of 2020, our Pittsburgh Local was illegally imposed upon, and the company made a one-sided decision and declared they were done with negotiations. They forced their onerous final offer on the Guild and harmed each and every one of our unionized Post-Gazette newsroom employees in the process. Pittsburgh members haven’t received a raise in 15 years. The company has illegally refused to pay the increases in our health care premiums and slashed our benefits in the middle of a pandemic. They’ve eliminated our short-term disability plan, which harms our most vulnerable employees — including new mothers needing time to recover from delivering their babies and members with significant health issues. And this is not the half of it.
In Toledo, Blade workers have not received a raise in 18 years and have suffered through numerous cuts. As negotiations are ongoing in Toledo, the union-busting law firm has tried to break our collective spirit and crush dissent. This, in recent months, has culminated in cruel layoffs of circulation staff Guild members, blindsiding workers who were mocked by the company’s attorney. Enough is enough!
If there was ever a time to stand up and speak out against the actions of BCI, that time is NOW. We must not be weary in doing well, for our great hope is that we will reap if we don’t faint — and if we stand together and use our collective voices to call attention to the actions of our employer. As journalists dedicated to serving our community, we deserve the basic respect that all human beings should be afforded. We want to get back to the bargaining table and reach an amicable agreement with the company for fair and equitable contracts. Our voices are strengthened collectively, and your letters of support are necessary and appreciated as we push forward in this fight. THANK YOU for standing with us and for your unwavering support!
L. Wimbley, President
Newspaper Guild of Pittsburgh
Sarah Elms, President