Maybe it was the uncharacteristically sunny January weather or the enthusiastic clanging of cowbells from rally attendees or the recent ruling from the National Labor Relations Board. But spirits were high and solidarity was strong at the Newspaper Guild of Pittsburgh’s Saturday rally.

About 150 striking union members and allies gathered outside the City-County Building in Downtown Pittsburgh to recognize newsroom workers reaching 100 days on strike against the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. The milestone occurred earlier this week, signaling triple-digit days since workers began withholding their labor on Oct. 18, 2022, to demand a fair contract.

Members of the guild’s sibling unions, the Communication Workers of America and the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, have been on strike even longer, having walked out on Oct. 6, 2022.

Karen Carlin, a Post-Gazette copy editor, said she has worked for the paper for nearly 30 years, “which means I’ve been a proud union member for nearly 30 years.”

“I watched award-winning talent drain from the PG as it became a less desirable place to work,” Carlin said at the noon rally. “Today I would much rather be doing the job I love for the community I love and grew up in. But for the past three months, I’ve been out on strike with my fellow Newspaper Guild members as well as my union siblings in CWA and the Teamsters.”

“I engaged in this battle not just for myself but also for future generations of journalists and newspaper workers who can come here knowing they will be rewarded with good pay and benefits, union protection and, most of all, respect,” she continued.

Although the union has seen little progress across four negotiating sessions last year with the company, an administrative law judge from the National Labor Relations Board handed journalists a major victory Thursday by ruling the company previously didn’t negotiate in good faith, illegally imposed working conditions and unlawfully surveilled workers engaged in union activities.

The company said it “strongly” disagreed with the decision and planned to appeal it.

A.J. Scarpaci, a striking advertising worker, called the labor stoppage “a historic moment for all of us” and celebrated the NLRB judge’s decision.

“It’s a huge win,” Scarpaci said Saturday through a megaphone. “When you look at the score right now, it’s BCI/Blocks: zero, Pittsburgh strikers: one plus, plus, plus, plus.”

Pittsburgh Mayor Ed Gainey said he was proud to stand with Post-Gazette workers and show the company that “the leader of the city stands with the people.” Gainey held a moment of silence for Tyre Nichols — a Black man who was severely beaten by police officers in Memphis, Tenn., and later died from his injuries — before he began speaking.

“You showed this whole region that this is a union city,” he said. “And we don’t run, we multiply.”

Gainey described the NLRB judge’s decision in generational terms.

“It was a victory for the future … a victory for our children,” he said. “You showed them that if they stand together in solidarity — as they come together to fight for their rights — that in a town that is a union town, they can win.”

Gainey urged workers to celebrate the decision and use it to build momentum toward resolution of the labor dispute.

“If people are going to believe, they’re not going to believe if they don’t see the joy in you,” he said. “They’ve got to see that you’re willing to find joy in the struggle and that you won’t quit.”

“Yes, it’s a problem. Yes, the fact that you’re going through this is a problem — yes, it is. But if you didn’t have a problem, you wouldn’t have a promise of a better tomorrow,” he continued.

The Pittsburgh Labor Choir brought several members and, with accompaniment of a guitar and banjo, led attendees in a number of songs. Choir and union members lined up shoulder to shoulder on the City-County Building’s steps and held aloft large pieces of paper on which lyrics had been written so the crowd could follow along.

One song modified the tune “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” to deliver a labor message. At the point in which baseball fans would typically sing, “Buy me some peanuts and Cracker Jack,” the crowd caroled on Grant Street,

“We can work better with decent pay,

“health care and child care and more of a say.

“But don’t go complaining alone, friend,

“about the boss and their lies.

“We’ll be one, two, three times as strong as we organize.” 

Nila Payton, a UPMC employee for nearly 17 years and longtime activist, noted the similarities between her co-workers’ struggles with the health giant and the strikers’ ongoing dispute with the PG.

“The Post-Gazette is owned by a wealthy company, just like UPMC,” said Payton, who’s employed as a senior administrative assistant. “We all know that UPMC, a nonprofit, rakes in billions in revenue each year. These companies can do better by their workers, and they can do better by our city.”

Tori Tambellini, a former Starbucks worker and current organizer with Starbucks Workers United, noted that her union’s unfair labor practices hearing recently began in Pittsburgh and is “going very, very well.”

“The Starbucks Workers United movement has been a very learn-as-we-go kind of movement,” she continued. “And we’re very grateful to have had the [Newspaper Guild] to look up to this entire time as we go through the process, and to show us that we will always win if we stand together. We know that union coffee goes great with union news.”

The Rev. Dr. Vincent Kolb, pastor of the Sixth Presbyterian Church in Squirrel Hill, addressed the emotional roller coaster experienced by workers when a strike drags on for months. He described the initial exhilaration of taking a principled stand, then the financial stress strikers experience when their savings accounts run low and rent and other bills are due, and then the sleepless nights and the lingering questions about career choices and whether to find a more stable field of work.

“I daresay that’s even more difficult to face than a shrinking bank account,” he said.

Kolb noted that those difficulties are sacrifices made in a praiseworthy struggle that will benefit others.

“We desperately need people in this community, we desperately need people in this region … and in this world, who are going to look out for each other,” he said. “Who are going to choose the good. Who are not going to just be human doings, but human beings for one another.”

Along with the guild’s striking sibling unions, the CWA and the Teamsters, other allies in attendance included United Steelworkers, elected officials and additional community members. “Scabby,” an inflatable rat and an unofficial labor mascot, also braved the wind to stand with strikers Saturday.

Hannah is a reporter at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, but she's currently on strike. Email her

Steve is a photojournalist and writer for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, but he is currently on strike and working as a Union Progress co-editor. Reach him at

Jon, a copy editor and reporter at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, is currently on strike and working as a co-editor of the Pittsburgh Union Progress. Reach him at