The NewsGuild of Greater Philadelphia


Dear Guild Members:

You spoke out and The Inquirer has responded.

In overwhelming numbers, Inquirer staff told their shop stewards that they did not want to see their work appearing in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette while Guild members (along with other CWA locals and Teamsters) are on strike there.

Executive Director Bill Ross and I communicated that to the Company last week, expressing our disgust that one of our political stories wound up in what is now a scab-produced publication at the Post-Gazette. It is being put together by management and others who, in an appalling display of cowardice, have crossed the picket line, showing no support for workers who are fighting for health benefits and decent wages, among other things, after years of bargaining that led to the selfish owners and management of the Post-Gazette illegally declaring and impasse and imposing horrific wage and benefit conditions.

That’s no surprise to Inquirer veterans. The Post-Gazette’s editor, Stan Wishnowski, is the former Inquirer editor who would skulk, head down, past a tote board posted outside his office that kept track of how many days it had been since Guild members had received across-the-board raises. The number had reached over 3,000 — all under Stan’s leadership. He is the same person forced out after an insensitive headline laid bare our deep race-related wounds. The same person who, despite the Guild’s many pleas, would not erase demoralizing race- and gender-related pay inequity.

Today, The Inquirer responded to our request to keep our work out of the Post-Gazette, and the Post-Gazette’s work out of The Inquirer, by saying that while it “is unwilling to insert itself into the middle” of the strike dispute in Pittsburgh, it was “made aware that Guild members inside our newsroom object to content being used at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (PPG) while its employees are on strike.”

The message, delivered by Tom Zipfel, vice president of labor relations, after consultation with senior vice president and editor Gabe Escobar, said they have been “able to confirm that no content has been shared directly between The Inquirer and the PPG since the strike began.”

That one story that appeared in the Post-Gazette last week had been on the wires and thus available for any newspaper with wire membership to use, “which The Inquirer has no control over once content is placed on” it.

I appreciate the company taking seriously our objections over our work being used by a news organization that does not respect its employees. I also appreciate The Inquirer keeping Post-Gazette work out of our Guild-strong online and print publications. A big thank you to Spotlight for not allowing its work to be used by the Post-Gazette.

We will remain vigilant on this issue. Please let us know if you see any Inquirer content appearing online or in print in the Post-Gazette.

And we will make it clear to Pittsburgh residents that if they want to read our tremendous World Series and election coverage, all they have to do is subscribe to! Some of that is already starting to happen.

Your solidarity on matter has been profound and much appreciated by our Guild members in Pittsburgh who, unlike their management, are taking a stand for decency and what is morally right.

As a reminder, there is a fund set up to help folks having financial hardships as a result of their brave stand.

Here’s where you can go to help.

In solidarity, a word I don’t take lightly,