A STRIKE NEEDING OUR HELP
Dear Guild Members:
Today at noon our Guild colleagues at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette are planning to go out on strike, joining nonjournalist CWA members and Teamsters who have been on strike since Oct. 5 over losing their health care on Oct. 1. This was triggered when the company refused to pay the increased health-care premium for these workers: an increase of less than $20 a week.
The Guild workers have been subjected to a hostile employer who two years ago declared contract talks at an impasse and illegally imposed conditions that prompted the Guild to file Unfair Labor Practice charges against the company. Those conditions included cutting wages, taking vacation time away from veteran workers, farming out their work to non-Guild workers and forcing Guild members onto a health insurance plan that offers less coverage at a higher price.
The National Labor Relations Board is wrapping up its investigation and is expected to have a ruling on that matter by January.
Our Guild siblings voted yesterday to honor the CWA/Teamsters strike as a show of solidarity. In calling for it, the executive board of the CWA in Washington emphasized the importance of solidarity.
This strike, indeed, serves as a reminder of how important standing together is. Strikes are a last-resort move with potentially devastating results, something employers should want to avoid. But in Pittsburgh, the Block family has been an owner that has shown incredible disdain for its employees.
I’m proud of our union colleagues for standing up to them and, in the process, valuing themselves.
They are going to need our support. You will be hearing from your shop stewards on donation efforts and other ways to help, including spending a day on the picket line in Pittsburgh if you have the time.
Tomorrow, our Guild local is sending a little love to the picket line in the form of cheesesteaks. But we will need to do more if this action drags on. There are about 100 Pittsburgh Guild members who will receive strike benefits of $300 to $400 a week.
Please keep them all in your thoughts.
At The Inquirer, I have alerted newsroom management that this action means our members will not want their work appearing in the Post-Gazette, that includes work done by our Spotlight team. If our other member papers contribute content to the Post-Gazette, we will make similar demands for withholding that content.
Obviously, we do not want to do anything perceived to be crossing picket lines, physical or virtual.