Workers from four unions are continuing their unfair labor practice strike at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette despite the news that one of the PG’s owners has filed suit against his twin brother and other family members in part because they explored selling the newspaper.

It’s too early to know how, or if, the 19-month-long strike connects with this lawsuit, filed Wednesday in Lucas County (Ohio) Common Pleas Court by Allan Block of Toledo, Ohio. He’s the CEO of Block Communications Inc., which owns the PG, its Toledo sister paper, The Blade, as well as Pittsburgh City Paper and other businesses, including cable companies and TV stations. His suit accuses others in his family of scheming to sell all of it without his input.

The suit doesn’t mention the PG strike. Zack Tanner, president of the Newspaper Guild of Pittsburgh, one of the unions that walked out in October 2022, said the lawsuit has no impact on the strike.

“The Blocks are no strangers to infighting,” Tanner said on Thursday. “If you worked at the paper for a minute or for 50 years, you know the Blocks like to fight with each other. No big news there. But our fight is our fight. They can fight internally, but we’re still committed to winning the strike.”

Tanner said he remains confident the striking unions will prevail. A National Labor Relations Board judge has ruled strongly in the strikers’ favor, he noted, and the NLRB’s regional office recently took the unusual step of signaling its intent to seek an injunction that could bring the strikers back to work under their last contract and compel the company to bargain in good faith a new one.

“We’ll have our day in court and we will win the strike,” Tanner said, “no matter whether the Blocks are fighting with each other.”

In the suit, Allan Block seeks a preliminary injunction to prevent BCI from being sold by his brother, Pittsburgh’s John R. Block, and others who run the company, several of whom also live in the Pittsburgh area.

The motion says John Block — the publisher and editor-in-chief of the two newspapers — several times has tried and failed to replace the plaintiff, Allan Block, as CEO, a position he is contracted to hold until 2028. “Now, in a last-ditch effort to assert his so-called ‘sovereignty,’ John Block has conspired with the rest of the Director Defendants to exclude Plaintiff from the most major decision to ever face BCI in its over 100 years of existence: a full sale of all its assets.”

The privately-held BCI, started in 1901 by the Block brothers’ grandfather Paul Block, is not currently for sale, but the motion says that in January, John Block “caused BCI to form a strategic transaction committee to pursue a merger or acquisition of the company.” That committee, the suit says, excluded Allan Block.

That news, and the possibility raised in the motion that this committee making a “rushed and haphazard” sale “will result in significant job losses,” was concerning to people who are working for those businesses as well as those who are on strike, especially at a time when newspapers specifically and media in generally are struggling.

The Block family’s struggle for control of BCI looks to play out in court, as does the strikers’ struggle for a contract.

The motion confirms that Allan and John Block each have a 25% stake in BCI, while the other 50% is owned by family trusts that benefit family members.

Listed as defendants in the suit, in addition to BCE and John Block, are William Block Jr. exempt and non-exempt trusts, Donald G. Block exempt and non-exempt trusts, Karen D. Johnese exempt and non-exempt trusts, Barbara L. Block exempt and non-exempt trusts, Block Family trust No. 2, Karen Johnese, Diana Block, Ron Davenport, Nancy Reid and Emily Escalante. 

Donald Block, who lives in Fox Chapel, in February was named president of Pittsburgh City Paper after it was purchased by a BCI subsidiary.

Meanwhile, workers in four production unions went on strike at the Post-Gazette in October 2022 over a dispute that left them without health care coverage. Journalists in the Newspaper Guild of Pittsburgh joined them later in their own unfair labor practices strike, which is now in its 19th month. The Guild’s issues go back farther than that, in that the union’s last contract expired in 2017 and in 2020, the PG, citing an impasse in contract bargaining, imposed conditions including a company health plan on the workers.

In April, the striking journalists learned that the regional office of the National Labor Relations Board had received approval from the NLRB to seek an injunction in their case, in which a NLRB administrative law judge had in January 2023 ruled strongly in favor of the union. The judge ruled that the company had to bring the strikers back to work under their last contract and bargain a new one. The company appealed that decision and the appeal has yet to be heard by the NLRB. The union is expecting the regional NLRB office to file the injunction — called a 10(j) injunction — any day now, but until it is, doesn’t know the scope of what the NLRB wants a judge to order.

It’s a complicated situation and one with many moving, and not moving, parts.

Also in April, one union, the distribution workers, ended its strike with the PG, agreeing to do so and dissolve their union in exchange for severance payments.

The remaining unions, still on strike, have stressed that the Post-Gazette could settle with them at any time. The most recent actual bargaining sessions that the Pittsburgh Union Progress knows about and attended were in September of 2023. (One union met with company representatives in February to set bargaining dates, but the Union Progress doesn’t know if any subsequent sessions happened.)

The Blocks’ commitment to the Post-Gazette is unclear, though John Block said on Wednesday in a statement to The Blade that he remains “committed” to the PG as well as The Blade.

In a brief statement given to The Blade and other outlets, a representative of Allan Block seemed to contradict that, writing, “It is unfortunate that certain Block family members would choose to further enrich themselves at the expense of local jobs and the communities that depend on local news coverage.”

Phone calls and messages from the Pittsburgh Union Progress to Allan Block, John Block and Donald Block, seeking interviews or comments about the lawsuit and the strike, were not returned.

A small contingent of striking journalists went to John Block’s home on Wednesday and he was not home so a small group returned on Thursday evening. A man who answered the door said Block was not home and that the group could try again Friday.

Bob, a feature writer and editor at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, is currently on strike and serving as interim editor of the Pittsburgh Union Progress. Contact him at

Steve is a photojournalist and writer for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, but he is currently on strike and working as a Union Progress co-editor. Reach him at