Striking workers at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette have won what appears to be a significant legal victory.
Geoffrey Carter, an administrative law judge with the National Labor ‘Relations Board (NLRB) ordered the Post-Gazette to resume bargaining within 15 days of a union request to do so, the NewsGuild reports.
Carter also ruled that the newspaper had bargained in bad faith since 2017, and ordered it to rescind unilateral working conditions it had imposed in 2020 and to restore the Guild’s 2014-17 contract.
In addition, Carter ordered the Post-Gazette to “make whole” workers who lost wages or benefits caused by the conditions imposed in 2020.
The newspaper is expected to appeal the ruling to the entire five-member NLRB board, then, depending on the outcome, to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, according to Pittsburgh Union Progress.
By itself, the NLRB has no power to enforce the ruling, Pittsburgh Union Progress continues.
Meanwhile,110 Post-Gazette workers are continuing a strike that has been going on for three months.
Carter also determined that security guards employed by the Post-Gazette “illegally photographed workers in October 2020 while they were participating in protected union activities outside the home of PG publisher and co-owner John Robinson Block,” the union says.
However, Carter did not find the company illegally surveilled workers in an episode in September 2020.
Pittsburgh Union Progress also states that the company’s actions, “viewed as a whole, evidence an intent not to reach an agreement.”
The unilaterally imposed conditions include control over employee pay, healthcare, dental, vision and life insurance programs.
“Today is a monumental victory for Newspaper Guild of Pittsburgh workers,” states Zack Tanner, Newspaper Guild of Pittsburgh president. “This ruling undoes years of illegal behavior by the Post-Gazette and tells it loud and clear that when workers stand and fight together, they win.”Last week, the NewsGuild asked the Justice Department’s anti-trust division to probe the purchase by Block Communications of the Pittsburgh City Paper earlier this month. The union argues that the acquisition is part of a “continued quest to consolidate the Pittsburgh news market.” Block already owned the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.