Western PA Union Vets on Frontlines for Labor

When a union is in a fight, UVC knows how important it is to show up. That’s why we were proud to stand with unionized staffers of the Pittsburgh Post Gazette last Friday. For nearly a decade and a half, these workers have tirelessly covered the news--without enjoying a salary raise. That means that in real terms, these reporters are being paid less today than they were in 2006, an outrage given the current economic crisis. As one union officer appropriately concluded, journalists at the Post Gazette have “an overwhelming mandate to strike.” 

"The Allegheny Fayette UVC stood with the union members of the Post Gazette on Friday. In solidarity for fair wages and working conditions. The UVC members whose selfless dedication to the protection of our First Amendment rights believe that our freedom of speech and press is essential to democracy. The journalists, typesetters, and drivers deserve fair wages and benefits as they continue to provide fair and just news in print. Democracy depends on these women and men to continue to deliver their Pulitzer prize-winning journalism." said Craig Romanovich.

Union Vet Allegheny-Fayette Central Labor Council President Darrin Kelly

The rally last week also demonstrated that these reporters, photographers, and editors are not standing alone in their fight for better wages. Rather, there is a broad coalition of labor groups from across the Pittsburgh area supporting their efforts. Additionally, elected officials--including Mayor of Pittsburgh Bill Peduto and Lt. Governor John Fetterman--spoke at the rally and voiced their support for the journalists at the Post Gazette. The Allegheny Fayette UVC will continue to stand shoulder to shoulder with union members from across the region, standing in solidarity with the fight as it unfolds both on the picket line and at the negotiating table. 

UVC recognizes that treating journalists fairly is critical to defending the First Amendment. At a time when our democracy is under unprecedented pressure, it is absolutely imperative that citizens get the facts that they need. In countless newsrooms across the country, we have seen management cut jobs or wages in an attempt to divert attention away from their own poor reaction to the shifting media environment. But we know that such cynical maneuvers only serve to undermine quality journalism: when journalists are deprived of fair compensation, they face undue pressure that disrupts their capacity to inform the public. In fact, an academic study from Notre Dame and the University of Illinois found that there is a direct correlation between the decline of local newspapers and corruption in municipal government. 

The journalists of the Post Gazette have shown extraordinary patience in their continued negotiations with management. Over a month after receiving strike authorization from the Newspaper Guild national office, the local branch is engaged in an effort to find common ground with management and avoid a disruptive strike. UVC applauds the local’s perseverance, but we also know that a strike may be necessary before management appreciates the gravity of the situation. The newspapermen and women of the Post Gazette deserve a wage increase that will allow them to investigate, report, and distribute the news effectively. Anything less is an abdication of responsibility by the Post Gazette’s management.