Ed Blazina has addressed all types of union groups about the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette strike over the past month or so, and the response has been gratifying.
“It’s amazing to me how receptive folks have been,” the Pittsburgh Newspaper Guild’s first vice president said. “The folks I have been talking to, they understand. They have been through what we’re going through at some level, [like] tough negotiations. They have sat across from difficult union attorneys, so they can identify with us and what we’re going through.”
Most recently Blazina spoke before an AFL-CIO Union Lawyers Alliance conference in Pittsburgh. “It is just so gratifying, especially after following speakers like [Rep.] Summer Lee and [Rep.] Chris Deluzio, [that] I got a standing ovation for being on strike,” he said. “It’s very humbling, but the standing ovation is for our perseverance … It is an identification for the plight we are in. The public support is heartwarming, gratifying.”
Blazina is part of the Newspaper Guild of Pittsburgh Speakers Bureau the union launched as the labor dispute with the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette drags on.
Union members will attend meetings of area unions, organizations, nonprofit organizations and community groups to explain what prompted members to walk off the job on Oct. 18, 2022, in the unfair labor practices strike that is subject to an ongoing National Labor Relations Board case. It was the first newspaper strike in the United States in more than 20 years.
Striking newsroom workers have been demanding that the Post-Gazette rescind the illegally imposed unilateral working conditions, restore the status quo set by the terms of the 2014-17 contract, and return to the table to bargain in good faith for a new contract. Four other production unions started their strike on Oct. 6, 2022, a walkout triggered by the PG’s refusal to pay a $19 per week per employee increase in health care, which resulted in a loss of coverage for production, distribution and advertising workers.
Appearances so far have included the Allegheny-Fayette Central Labor Council, the National Association of Letter Carriers Branch 84, both Pittsburgh locals of the American Federation of Teachers and Pennsylvania State Education Association, the Battle of Homestead Foundation, and the Socialist Workers Party.
To schedule a speaker, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.