For the first time since 2020, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette management has agreed to sit down for contract negotiations with the Newspaper Guild of Pittsburgh, which represents about 100 journalists at the PG.

Guild President Zack Tanner told guild members late Friday that a bargaining session had been agreed upon with PG representatives.

The news arrived on the 18th day of the guild’s unfair labor practice strike against the Post-Gazette, which began at noon on Oct. 18 after the PG failed to meet the union’s demands. Distribution, production and advertising workers at the PG have been on strike since Oct. 6.

Representatives for the company and the Newspaper Guild are scheduled to meet at 10 a.m. on Nov. 14 at the Omni William Penn Hotel in Downtown Pittsburgh.

PG management and the guild last met for contract negotiations in September 2020, some 3½ years after the last collective bargaining agreement expired in March 2017.

Striking PG reporter Ed Blazina passes out flyers on the Boulevard of the Allies during a strike action Oct. 24, at Point Park University. (Pam Panchak/Pittsburgh Union Progress)

The PG declared an impasse in contract negotiations in July 2020 and imposed new working conditions on union journalists. Those conditions rolled back workplace protections that provided job security, took away vacation time from some of the PG’s veteran employees, and moved workers onto a health care plan that offered less coverage at a higher price.

The guild has filed unfair labor practice charges alleging that the PG’s unilateral declaration of an impasse was illegal, that the company’s representatives bargained in bad faith, and that guild members were illegally surveilled during protected union activity.

A dayslong hearing on the charges was held in September and October; the judge has not yet issued a ruling.

Returning to good-faith bargaining with the aim of reaching a new CBA is one of the guild’s demands of the PG to end the strike so journalists can get back to their jobs. The guild is also demanding that the PG end the impasse and revert to the terms of the prior CBA until a new one is reached, and that the company meet the health care needs of the other striking PG unions.

Meanwhile, on the picket line Friday, a few friends stopped by — and two of them were furrier than the average picketer.

Striking PG digital designer Tyler Pecyna and his wife, Cass Martin, brought their dogs to the North Shore. And the pups got in on the fun.

Striking PG workers were also joined by Aiden Setlock, a Point Park University sophomore. Setlock, who’s majoring in legal studies and hopes to someday work in labor law, spent a few hours talking to striking workers about the union and the strike while helping to pass out flyers to passersby.

Alex is a digital news editor at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, but he's currently on strike.

Alex McCann

Alex is a digital news editor at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, but he's currently on strike.