'Pittsburgh Post-Gazette' On Strike, CWA Debuts Ads In Support

Newspapers have endured circulation and ad losses, resulting in layoffs nationwide. But strikes are fairly rare.

Today, the Communications Workers of America (CWA), which represents Pittsburgh Post-Gazette mailers, typographers and journalists on strike, released a radio ad in support.

The paper’s production, distribution, advertising and accounts receivable workers went on strike Oct. 6 to protest the termination of their healthcare by Block Communications, the newspaper’s owner. They are also concerned about the anti-worker culture created by John and Allan Block.

The strike now includes more than 100 workers across all departments of the newspaper and five unions.

The ad also has a video component, which gives a human face to the striking workers.



“We help our neighbors stay informed, day in and day out, but we haven’t had a raise in 15 years,” James “Hutchie” VanLandingham, a Post-Gazette mailer says in the ad. “And the owners of the paper, Block Communications, illegally cut our healthcare. We deserve better.  We deserve respect.”

VanLandingham is a third-generation, 28-year employee of the Post-Gazette. His family has more than 100 years of combined experience working at the paper.

Also featured is Kitsy Higgins, a single mother of two, who works as a advertising rep.

The spots are asking Pittsburghers: “If you subscribe to the paper, cancel your subscription. If you read stories online, don't visit the site until the strike is resolved.”

The striking unions include Communications Workers of America (CWA) Locals 14842 and 14827, The Newspaper Guild of Pittsburgh (TNG-CWA Local 38061), Teamsters Local 205/211 and Pressmen’s Union GCC/IBT Local 24M/9N.

In the past five years, newsrooms workers have filed multiple unfair labor practice charges against Block Communications. They are also putting out a strike newspaper: Pittsburgh Union Progress.

The National Labor Relations Board agreed with the NewsGuild that the Blocks acted in bad faith. An administrative judge will make a final ruling.

In recent weeks, Sen. Bob Casey, Rep. Conor Lamb and City Councilman Bobby Wilson joined workers on the picket line.

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