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Post-Gazette Workers Continue Strike

Some employees have gone 15 years without pay raises

By Danielle M. Smith - Public News Service
The Tube City Almanac
November 07, 2022
Posted in: State & Region

Election Day is busy at most news outlets, but some employees of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette are picketing instead — still on strike for what they consider unfair labor practices of the newspaper’s parent company.

Some workers have been off the job since Oct. 6; others since Oct. 18.

Kitsy Higgins, advertising account representative at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, claimed workers at the Pulitzer Prize-winning paper have spent five years with no bargaining agreement, and some people have gone 15 years without pay increases.

“We’re looking for a fair contract, which is reasonable — an increase in wages, especially for 2022; and insurance," Higgins said. “Along with just to bargain in good faith, which we’re not having right now, which is unfortunate.”

Keystone State News Connection reached out to the newspaper’s owners, Block Communications, and a representative from the paper’s marketing department responded with documents saying the company is seeking a federal mediator's help in the dispute.

In a message to readers, Block Communications said the Post-Gazette has lost $264 million in the past 17 years, and emphasized the Block family “remains committed to Pittsburgh and embracing the belief that high-quality, independent journalism is critical to an environment that attracts and retains businesses and helps a region to thrive.”

Higgins said the strike is composed of members of five union locals, from Communications Workers of America and The Newspaper Guild of Pittsburgh, to the Teamsters and Pressmen’s unions. She added workers are especially concerned about changes to the health insurance plan offered to full-time staff.

“What’s currently on the table is not really fair,” Higgins said. “It sounds like a great offer that you’d think we would accept, but it would actually have a very large deductible, and is really unrealistic for someone working in that type of industry.”

The striking workers have created a digital publication, the Pittsburgh Union Progress, to cover the labor dispute and serve as an alternate voice for readers.

In the meantime, the Post-Gazette management has agreed to sit down for contract negotiations with the Newspaper Guild of Pittsburgh, which represents about 100 journalists at the paper. A meeting is scheduled for Nov. 14.

Danielle M. Smith is a producer for Public News Service, where this story first appeared. An award-winning radio journalist/personality with more than a decade of experience in broadcast media, she is a former audio journalist with American Urban Radio Networks and Sheridan Broadcasting Networks who also hosts a weekly community affairs show “Good News” on WGBN (1360 AM/98.9 FM).

Originally published November 07, 2022.

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