Post-Gazette publisher John R. Block is getting married in Pittsburgh this Saturday, and striking workers from his paper and their supporters will be outside the reception to ensure an unforgettable evening.
“They’re going to have a lot of family in town, lots of friends and guests they want to impress, and we want to make it loud and clear that the way we’ve been treated by this family over the last five-plus years is unacceptable,” said Andrew Goldstein, PG Unit Chairman of the Newspaper Guild of Pittsburgh.
The Newspaper Guild of Pittsburgh narrowly voted to strike Oct. 18, joining three other Post-Gazette unions who began a strike Oct. 8. The newsroom workers’ contract with Post-Gazette owners, Block Communications Inc expired in 2017, and members have been working without one ever since.
The strike paper Union Progress alleged bad faith bargaining by the Post-Gazette after two negotiation sessions this week – their first face-to-face negotiations with management in over two years.
According to the Union Progress: “The guild brought new concessions to the table in a bid to get striking journalists back to work. The Post-Gazette […] refused what the guild proposed and offered no counter proposal.”
As a result, guild members decided to escalate the scale of their actions against management, beginning with an outsized protest at John R.’s wedding at Downtown’s Duquesne Club.
“We know who these people are and what makes them tick,” said Goldstein. “Until they come to the bargaining table in good faith, we’re prepared to make sure that they know while we’re out here in the cold in the street, they can no longer sit at home in their warm homes and feel comfortable.”
Jen Kundrach, a striking page designer and illustrator, created a flier that looks like a wedding invitation to promote the rally to the public.
“We’re going to have a lot of fun,” said Goldstein, hinting at a wedding cake, fancy dress, and maybe even Santa Claus.
“We’re going to keep on applying pressure on the Blocks as much as we can for as long as it takes.”
Post-Gazette marketing director, Allison Latcheran, did not return a request for comment. The two sides are scheduled to meet again for bargaining with a federal mediator Dec. 6.