NewsGuild members at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and the Toledo Blade held solidarity rallies on Friday to deliver a message to their common owner, Block Communications, Inc: We’re taking a stand against your attempts to bust our unions, eliminate editorial independence, and destroy the two publications.
“We’re going to keep fighting until we get justice in the workplace,” said Nolan Rosenkrans a Blade reporter and president of the Toledo NewsGuild.
Toledo City Councilman Nick Komives joined the Ohio protest, along with several union leaders, including Erika White, CWA Local 4319 president and vice president of the Toledo AFL-CIO, and Tony Totty, president of United Auto Workers Local 14.
The Toledo NewsGuild announced it will hold a community meeting on April 12 to rally residents to help save local journalism.
Since January, Toledo Blade management has:
- Cut local coverage of sports at Ohio State and University of Michigan
- Removed an award-winning sports reporter from his beat
- Downplayed the Jan. 6 insurrection in Washington, D.C., by instructing web editors not to identify those who stormed the Capitol as Trump supporters
- Refused to engage in safe bargaining during the coronavirus pandemic
- Slashed another day of print so that the paper now prints just twice per week
- Laid off five Blade employees and denied them the full compensation they are owed
“We only want the paper to be great. We want BCI to respect the community,” said Lacretia Wimbley, a breaking news reporter and president of the Newspaper Guild of Pittsburgh. “We can’t get there when management shuts us out and refuses to negotiate in good faith with us.”
In Pittsburgh, management:
- Bargained in bad faith for more than three years before illegally declaring an impasse in contract negotiations and unilaterally imposing new working conditions on NewsGuild members.
- Denied across-the-board raises for 15 years
- Illegally slashed health care benefits and driven up employees’ health insurance costs
- Created a hostile work environment
- Shown intolerance on issues involving race, including blocking coverage by a Black reporter of stories related to Black Lives Matter protests
- Paid millions of dollars to the Nashville, Tenn. union-busting law firm King & Ballow
“Despite these attacks, NewsGuild members are standing firm,” workers said in a statement. “We won’t back down from these attempts to silence and intimidate us.
“We know that many in the community support our cause, and we call on them to join with us to save local journalism.”
Photo at top: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette workers protest outside the paper’s office.