Newsletter: Strike, injunction, & historic legislation

I’ve got historic news to tell you about.

The National Labor Relations Board is seeking an injunction against the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Take a moment and let that sink in. I’ve spoken with longtime and former leaders in our union and none of them can remember NewsGuild-CWA members securing an injunction against a bad employer. 

In other words, a federal judge will soon decide whether Post-Gazette management will have to pay up for breaking the law. 

“As striking workers, we’ve stood strong against Post-Gazette management and the Block family for the last 18 months as they’ve violated labor law and tried to ignore and break our unions,” said Zack Tanner, president of the Newspaper Guild of Pittsburgh, last week. “Today’s signal that the NLRB will finally be seeking injunctive relief through the courts is validation that our fight is just and will be won in short order.”

A positive settlement decision would not only compel the company to pay up for breaking the law, it could also put an end to the strike, sending the strikers back to work and back to the bargaining table with a hefty federal order. Of course, our strikers covered the news in the Pittsburgh Union Progress. They are still standing strong after 18 months on strike. Be sure to throw them a positive note on Twitter, send them $5, or just call someone and tell them you love and support them. 

The other major news. 

New York state has passed the first tax credit in U.S. history to support journalism jobs. Over the weekend, the New York Assembly and Senate on Saturday passed a first-of-its-kind journalism jobs tax credit in the 2025 budget. Once signed by Gov. Kathy Hochul, the bill will provide up to $30 million in tax credits each year over three years. The credits will cover half of a journalist’s salary up to $50,000 each year and will be used to retain and hire more journalists in New York. Publishers will only be able to use these employment tax credits to rebuild their newsrooms by hiring new reporters and retaining current staff.

“This ground-breaking tax credit recognizes that local news has hit a crisis in our state and the way to begin to reverse it is by protecting and creating new jobs for journalists,” said Susan DeCarava, president of the NewsGuild of New York. “There is no local news without journalists.”

This legislation is the result of a collaborative organizing initiative spearheaded by the Albany Newspaper Guild, New York News Publishers Association, the New York State AFL-CIO, The NewsGuild-CWA and the Communication Workers of America beginning in 2022.

This legislation only happened because Guild members engaged with elected representatives. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: we cannot be objective about our own demise. The boss is in there lobbying and we need to be in there telling our stories. Both Axios and NPR covered this historic win!

Yesterday morning our members at the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle ended their strike and are back on the inside fighting for a fair contract. Gannett, the owner of the newspaper, engaged in more bad faith and regressive bargaining while only agreeing to very short moments to actually hammer out a deal. They tried to fool the journalists. And journalists aren’t fools. 

After reading management’s proposal closely, it was clear the company inserted new language into already agreed-upon sections hoping journalists wouldn’t notice. Multiple unfair labor practice charges are being filed, but D&C NewsGuild members have no trust Gannett will ever bargain fairly, and they’re not going to wait for them to. 

D&C journalists returned to work on Thursday, but the fight isn’t over.They’re taking their fight to the newsroom now. Be sure to follow and support them on Twitter

Last week, the chair of the board of the Long Beach Journalism Initiative, the parent nonprofit of the Long Beach Post and Long Beach Business Journal, threatened to sue former and currently striking employees over flyers they’d posted and a story they’d written about the NLRB’s investigation into unfair labor practices in their newsroom.

These workers formed the Long Beach Media Guild nearly six weeks ago. Management laid off nine folks a week later, and three reporters remain on strike in solidarity against management retaliation and intimidation. They continue to cover the city, and the LBJI, in their own newly launched publication, the Long Beach Watchdog. 

You can help support their fight by donating to their GoFundMe and telling LBJI management to stop attacking journalists. Every worker deserves a voice, and every community deserves a strong free press.

Journalists never back down from the truth, even under threat — including from their own employers. 

We just had about 150 members, leaders and staff at Labor Notes outside of Chicago. Thanks so much to the Chicago Guild for making sure folks were fed and thanks to everyone who ran a panel, helped track down supplies, showered money and love on our Pittsburgh strikers and for donating to Labor Notes. We raised more than $7,000 to support Labor Notes, which is at the front lines in helping workers and unions organize, fight back and win.

Washingtonian journalists leafleted at the company’s Women in Journalism party last night with a message: more than half of the women in Washingtonian’s union don’t make a livable income for Washington, D.C. Workers are fighting for a fair contract and demanding better pay. 

Gannett workers from New Jersey were outside Gannett’s headquarters in New York demanding a fair contract. “Newsrooms are understaffed and over worked,” said Nicholas Katzban, a breaking news reporter for several publications in North Jersey. “If journalists don’t have resources, we can’t report it. If we can’t report it, you’re not gonna know about it! Tell Gannett to offer fair contracts now!”

Condé Nast workers chanted outside Anna Wintour’s house yesterday in New York’s West Village. “Bosses wear Prada, workers get nada!” they chanted while demanding a fair first contract covering hundreds of workers at the large and prestigious magazine chain. You can’t eat prestige. 

We’re partnering with Investigative Reporters & Editors to run a free training for Guild members from 1-2 p.m. ET Wednesday, May 1. Learn how to build watchdog work into your daily routine and produce meatier stories, even in breaking news situations. We’ll also give some real-world tips on time management, organization and focusing on enterprise. Register here to get the Zoom link.

We’re partnering with IRE on this training and supporting their Spring membership drive. I’ve been an IRE member for years and have become a better journalist as a result. Right now they’re running a deal: 10% off membership for new or lapsed members. Get in there (and I’ll see some folks at IRE’s conference in June).