Donald Block, who is part of the family that owns Block Communications Inc. and serves as president at the company’s Pittsburgh City Paper, refused to engage with striking Pittsburgh Post-Gazette workers outside his church Sunday. BCI also owns the Post-Gazette.

After Block ignored the strikers in a series of previous efforts to talk with him about the strike, members of the Newspaper Guild of Pittsburgh visited St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church in Wilkinsburg to distribute leaflets after the 8 a.m. service and before the 10:30 a.m. service. They asked church members to encourage Block to follow Episcopal teachings and take the concerns of workers to his family members.

Then they waited for Block to come out after the service to encourage him to use his influence to end the 18-month strike, but Block wouldn’t get into a discussion with Ed Blazina, first vice president of the Newspaper Guild of Pittsburgh.

“There’s one thing I want you to know,” Block said as Blazina introduced himself. “I’m not on the board anymore. I don’t have a vote on anything.”

With that, Block declined to answer any questions, got into his car and drove away.

Although it’s not clear whether his status has changed, Block controlled 31.25% of the company in 2020. That included 25% as head of a family trust and 6.25% from his share of another trust.

During leafleting, many church members said they were aware of the strike but didn’t know Block had a role in the company. They generally expressed support for the workers.

The Newspaper Guild, which represents journalists at the Post-Gazette, joined four other unions on strike in October 2022 after the company took away health care insurance from the production unions rather than pay an increase of $19 a week per worker. Four unions remain on strike and the Teamsters union that represented truck drivers separately negotiated a buyout and dissolved their union.

The National Labor Relations Board last week authorized its Pittsburgh office to ask U.S.
District Court for an injunction
to stop a series of unfair labor practices since the unions’ contracts expired in 2017.

Beautiful St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church in Wilkinsburg on Sunday, April 21, 2024. (Pittsburgh Union Progress)

The PUP is the publication of the striking workers at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Pittsburgh Union Progress

The PUP is the publication of the striking workers at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.