There is some sweet solidarity to be tasted Tuesday afternoon when the lobby of the United Steelworkers headquarters, Downtown, fills up with all sorts of treats. And what better way to mark March 14, aka International Pi Day (3.14)?
The bake sale, a project of USW Local 3657 fundraising and organizing committees co-sponsored with USW District 10, is a fundraiser for the Pittsburgh Striker Fund, benefiting the union members on strike from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. The baked goods will be on sale from noon to 6:30 p.m. in the building at 60 Boulevard of the Allies.
The idea was the brainchild of Local 3657 member Allison Petonic, who then pulled in Cheyenne Schoen, communications resource technician at the USW. Schoen said Petonic had been bouncing around the idea to “turn to our friends in our Local 3657 … who bake and thought it would be a fun and supportive thing to do and ‘raise some dough,’ so to speak, for the historic strike that is going on.”
Bakers can sign up via a Google form. There are no limits on the sweet bites, Schoen said. “If you can bake it, you can bring it.”
The goods should be delivered between 5 and 8 p.m. Monday or between 6 and 9 a.m. on Tuesday.
A variety of items are anticipated, such as dairy-free, nut-free and vegan goods, cakes, brownies, pies, bar cookies and regular cookies, and muffins. “Someone is bringing a sour dough loaf,” Schoen said.
Have an item that needs to be refrigerated? No problem — the site can handle it; the baker just needs to indicate that when dropping it off.
So far there are “a couple baker’s dozen” signed up to bake, from community members to union leaders such as USW Local 3657 acting President Ryan Fairley and The NewsGuild-CWA President and pie guy Jon Schleuss.
“I’ve been on the picket line, rallying, fighting and living in Pittsburgh with our members, and I am so tickled to get to bake for them to raise money. Baking for someone else is a form of solidarity. You spend time getting the ingredients, following a recipe and making something that brightens someone’s day. And because it’s pie, you have to share it with someone else!” Schleuss said.
Schoen said organizers are hoping to get 40 bakers involved. They can also use more volunteers to help with setting up from 9 a.m. to noon.
“If you can’t volunteer or bake, you can certainly stop by, pick up something sweet and support the [newsroom workers] while you’re at it,” she said.
She added that many community organizations and union supporters who signed the Solidarity Pledge are getting the word out, such as the Allegheny/Fayette Central Labor Council, USW District 10, 412Justice, local unions and elected leaders.
Schoen said the bake sale will show solidarity with striking PG workers, who “are taking a stand for everyone in the Pittsburgh community. We want to demonstrate that we support them in their efforts. We are workers, and we are bakers, and we want to support the workers who tell the stories in our local communities.”
Petonic, who is also an at-large member of the Washington-Baltimore NewsGuild and TNG-CWA Local 32035 and a technician on staff with the USW, said, “The union difference is baked into our region because of everyday, working people and union members. Union members stick together, and working people rise together. The unions on strike from the Post-Gazette are together and on the side of our communities and local news, and their families, professions, and voice at work. These are our neighbors who are on strike for the collective good. We’re using our creativity and solidarity to support their rights to a fair contract, now.”
Karen is a copy editor at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, but she's currently on strike. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.