Union attorney Joe Pass, left, and Kitsy Higgins, a member of the Pittsburgh Typographical Union on strike against the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, stand outside a magistrate's office in Oakdale Tuesday morning, Jan. 9, 2024, after Higgins' trespassing charge was dismissed. (Solomon Gustavo/Pittsburgh Union Progress)

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette has once again attempted and failed to prosecute one of its striking workers. 

Kitsy Higgins, member of the Pittsburgh Typographical Union, which represents PG advertising workers, faced a trespassing charge in connection to an October picket at the PG’s printing complex in Clinton. 

The charge was dropped Tuesday morning before a hearing could take place in front of a magisterial district judge in Oakdale. No representative from the PG appeared.  

Higgins is a mother of two school-age children who has been on strike against the PG for more than 15 months with her colleagues after the company effectively cut their health insurance in October 2022. 

“I’m a single mom. I don’t need this,” said Higgins, adding that she was stunned that the PG pressed charges against her.

While neither the PG nor the police could explain why Higgins was charged with a crime, she said she assumes it was because she walked into the parking lot at the printing plant and the PG wanted to intimidate her and other workers. According to union attorneys, striking workers cannot trespass on company property because they are still employed by the company. 

Higgins said the PG’s attempt to scare her only makes her more motivated to pursue justice against the company. 

“I feel at peace that it’s over,” Higgins said. “There’s definitely a fire in me that wants to push back.” 

This is at least the third striking worker the PG has attempted to prosecute during the work stoppage. All charges filed by PG representatives have been quickly thrown out.

Joe Pass, an attorney representing the five striking unions, said the unions were “seriously considering” filing a civil lawsuit against the PG for malicious prosecution. He said it’s clear that the PG has been “filing charges that have no basis whatsoever.” 

Other efforts to prosecute striking workers included trespassing charges that PG executive editor Stan Wischnowski filed against transportation reporter Ed Blazina, a veteran of more than 30 years at the PG and first vice president of the Newspaper Guild of Pittsburgh.

The PG, meanwhile, has been found in violation of federal labor law for its yearslong union-busting efforts against the unions that represent its newsroom and production employees. 

The strike began in October 2022 when the PG refused to pay the increase in cost to health insurance for its production workers, leaving them without health care.

Andrew writes about education and more for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, but he's currently on strike. Email him at agoldstein@unionprogress.com.

Andrew Goldstein

Andrew writes about education and more for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, but he's currently on strike. Email him at agoldstein@unionprogress.com.