The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette continued to bargain in bad faith with the Newspaper Guild of Pittsburgh on Tuesday. It was the guild’s fourth session meeting with the company since the union went on strike Oct. 18.
The guild brought forward concessions on company policies regarding job security and layoffs. The company offered no counterproposal. No date was set for a fifth bargaining session.
“Today was more of the same for the company,” said Newspaper Guild of Pittsburgh President Zack Tanner. “They’re not willing to commit to us actually having jobs. They want the ability to hire and fire as they please. That’s just unacceptable to us.”
A Post-Gazette spokesperson did not return a Union Progress request for comment.
During the morning’s session at the Omni William Penn Hotel, Downtown, guild members voiced concerns about the bargaining process.
“Maybe I’m naive, but I came into [this] thinking that each side would make proposals,” said Rob Joesbury, a striking sports editor. “We want to work. I want to work. I’m a journalist; that’s what I do. But without good faith bargaining, the lack of it strikes to the very integrity of this process.”
Richard Lowe, the King & Ballow lawyer representing the Post-Gazette in negotiations, responded to Joesbury by mentioning that in his view, the contract imposed on guild workers in July 2020 has been functioning as intended. That’s why he hasn’t come to bargaining sessions with new proposals.
“When I say I like it, it’s because it’s worked for us,” Lowe said.
Guild members contended that this attitude from Lowe has made bargaining sessions unproductive.
“Our proposal was reasonable and gave huge concessions, and we saw nothing from the company,” said striking designer Natalie Duleba, referring to the health care model proposed by the guild during the third bargaining session with the company earlier this month.
Meanwhile, Pittsburgh officials and members of the community showed their support for striking guild workers. Mayor Ed Gainey signed the guild’s solidarity pledge and vowed not to speak with the Post-Gazette for the duration of the strike.
Union members and allies, including elected officials and a delegation of Communications Workers of America members who drove in from Buffalo, N.Y., held a rally outside the Omni William Penn Hotel to support the guild bargaining committee.
“The mayor and all of us in city hall stand proudly with you on strike,” Maria Montaño, the mayor’s press secretary, told the crowd. “My job wouldn’t be possible if it wasn’t for you all.”
State Rep. Sara Innamorato, who is also a candidate for Allegheny County executive, also spoke, noting that striking workers’ journalism “is vital to me as an elected representative because you are my check and my balance.”
Innamorato added that she also signed the Strike Solidarity Pledge and called on other elected officials to do the same.
Although there is no date set for a fifth bargaining session, Tanner is looking for a bit more from the company whenever both sides do meet again.
“After four sessions of us going in with concessions and proposals and seeing no movement from the company,” he said, “we’re expecting some movement from the company moving forward.”