January can be a slog. It’s cold. It’s gray. It feels like it’s never going to end.
Striking members of the Newspaper Guild of Pittsburgh were feeling it too, especially with an alarming milestone — 100+ days on strike — on our horizon. And then, unexpectedly, the sun burst through those clouds. And to us, January was suddenly looking pretty good.
The sunshine came last week in the form of a huge win awarded to us by a National Labor Relations Board administrative law judge, who ruled that the Post-Gazette bargained in bad faith, prematurely declared an impasse in negotiations and illegally imposed working conditions on its newsroom employees back in 2020. Consequently, the judge wrote, the PG must, among other crucial items:
- Restore the 2014-17 contract
- Restore collectively bargained benefits by paying into the fund that we had bargained for
- Issue back pay, with interest, to anyone affected by the imposed terms
- Bargain within 15 days of the union’s request to do so, while submitting monthly bargaining status reports to an NLRB compliance officer
Sure, the company immediately said it would appeal, but let’s be clear: This is a huge win, for Pittsburgh and everyone who wants to work at the Post Gazette, shaped and expedited by us and our sibling unions going on strike. Yet we want the wins to keep on coming.
That’s why we’re turning our attention to Post-Gazette and Block Communications owner Allan Block’s spot as the chairman of the board of directors at C-SPAN — and we need your help in doing so.
Allan’s place on that board combined with his editorial meddling in coverage of the January 6th insurrection, his brother’s grip-and-grin glam shots with the likes of Donald Trump and Mehmet Oz, and his ability to break even American labor laws DEEPLY compromises any pretense of “non-partisanship” at C-SPAN.
How can C-SPAN claim that Allan’s place is strictly business side, or that it has no impact on the editorial product, when his business has been found guilty of breaking laws that govern how his business treats us, its workers?
We will ask C-SPAN just that in a series of calls in the weeks ahead. And in order to flood those airwaves, we need volunteer callers. Can you sign up to call these crucial questions for Pittsburgh, our strike, and the potential for an informed democracy?
Last week’s win didn’t just come in the form of a legal brief; it served to help us shake the January doldrums and get even more excited about what we’re doing again. Ideas started flowing again. Planning for upcoming actions resumed with new energy. The 100+-day rally we held on the steps of the City-County Building Saturday afternoon became a celebration with the labor community – featuring our striking siblings unions, the Pittsburgh labor choir, and Mayor Ed Gainey – giving us an even bigger boost.
It was a huge momentum builder for us. Let’s not let it slow down. Sign up to holler at C-SPAN and Allan Block with us, donate to the strike solidarity fund, and let’s keep those wins coming.
Post-Gazette digital editor on strike