Just as its lawyer said during a bargaining session and a spokesperson said in published stories, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on Thursday appealed to the National Labor Relations Board, effectively asking it to throw out an administrative law judge’s decision that was in favor of the company’s journalists.
An NLRB administrative law judge in January ruled that the company had for nearly six years bargained in bad faith with its journalists, in addition to breaking federal labor law by declaring an impasse to bargaining and imposing working conditions, as well as illegally surveilling protected union activity.
The journalists, members of the Newspaper Guild of Pittsburgh, have been on an unfair labor practice strike since October to protest the company’s violations of labor law, while Communications Workers of America and Teamsters production, advertising and distribution workers have struck over the company’s illegal effective stripping of their bargained health insurance.
The NLRB itself and the union also filed exceptions to the Jan. 25 ruling by Administrative Law Judge Geoffrey Carter, asking to reinstate one count of illegal surveillance and to require the company to pay the union’s legal fees as well as wages lost by workers in the time they had to take to participate in the legal process, plus the costs of the illegally unilaterally imposed working conditions before and after the ruling. The union’s appeal doesn’t prevent the company from complying with the ruling.
The appeal of the judge’s ruling goes to the five-member NLRB board in Washington, D.C. The company already has indicated that if it loses, it will appeal to the U.S. Circuit Court.
“While unsurprising, it’s disappointing to see the Post-Gazette yet again decide to continue to break the law rather than work alongside us, the workers who actually produce and deliver the paper,” Zack Tanner, Newspaper Guild of Pittsburgh president, said in a news release.
The union has stated that its conditions to end the strike are for the PG to comply with the ruling and restore the health care of production, distribution and advertising workers.
A bargaining session with the production, distribution and advertising workers and the company has been called by a federal mediator for next Wednesday, March 29. PG attorney Richard Lowe, in a letter dated March 20, objected to the addition of a second federal mediator in the case and said the company would not participate in the session or with the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service. But the unions’ attorney Joe Pass Sr. on Friday sent a letter to Lowe saying that Pass, union representatives and mediators will be at the Omni William Penn Hotel, Downtown, on Wednesday and the company should be, too.