Pittsburgh Post-Gazette journalists, already on a voluntary byline strike, are said to be contemplating walking out and starting their own newspaper.
According to a source, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette union members secretly plan to walk off their jobs and start their own paper. This news comes days after PG Newsroom voted “No Confidence“ in their publisher Block Communications, Inc. (BCI) followed by a byline strike. The plan is fueled by the fear of uncertainty within membership and loss of newsroom staff.
A journalist with over a decade of experience spoke to Jekko on earlier this week the condition of anonymity explaining the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (PG) Newsroom is planning to walk out. At that time, the source said that staffers will announce the founding of a new newspaper as a spiritual successor to the Post-Gazette.
The union’s last press release claimed BCI has, “…created a culture of fear, hostility, and intimidation in the newsroom.” In addition, working conditions have stagnated or have deteriorated. The PG Newsroom staff has not received a raise in 14 years, their health care benefits have been cut, and pensions have been frozen.
As an employee of a competing media company, you’re not supposed to care what happens at places like the P-G. I’ve worked in this market for a long time and for me I’ve had moments of resentment toward editorial employees there because they were making “big money” at a union shop and I was making, let’s just say less than big money. But the fact is, none of us make what we deserve. We’re all in the same boat, but we’ve been conditioned not to throw our enemies a lifesaver. When you get down to it, though, we all have the same two goals: To provide the public with accurate, useful and important information and to make enough money to support our families.
That’s become harder to do because of wage freezes, layoffs, union-busting, and lower starting salaries. What’s going on at the P-G is not OK and those of us who care about this business need to step up and support the workers at the paper.
Here at the Pittsburgh Current, many of us have decided to show our solidarity with P-G staff by withholding our bylines from stories in our Dec. 10 issue. The symbolic gesture is not mandatory, contributors can decide for themselves if they want to take part.
As the Pittsburgh City Paper reminds us, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette was awarded a Pulitzer Prize earlier this year due to the efforts of its staff despite the newsroom drama.
Elsewhere in the Pittsburgh area…
Unitarian Universalist Church of the South Hills will host
“An Evening with Rob Rogers” from 6:30 to 8 on Dec. 4.
Rogers will talk about his current book, “Enemy of the People: A Cartoonist’s Journey,” and discuss the state of cartooning today.
After 25 years as the award-winning editorial cartoonist for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Rogers was fired in June 2018. He recalls that the firing was the result of drawing unflattering cartoons about President Donald Trump. His story made international news and garnered him support from around the world.