PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — If you picked up the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on Thursday morning, you might have noticed that something was missing.
What you didn’t see were the names of the reporters who wrote each story. It’s called a byline strike.
“One hundred percent of the 150 members of the Newspaper Guild of Pittsburgh want to show management and our readers that 12 years of giving back to this company has to end,” Mike Fuoco, of the Pittsburgh Newspaper Guild, said.
Working without a contract since March, the employees are once again being asked to give back. Not only have they not gotten a raise in 12 years, they’ve actually taken a 10 percent cut in pay.
Fuoco, union head and reporter, says the company now wants unlimited use of stringers and won’t guarantee a full work week for union members.
“It wants more concessions on top of the 12 years of concessions we’ve given them, and we’ve drawn a line in the sand,” Fuoco said.
But the trouble between the ownership and its reporters and editors runs deeper than this current labor contract. A recent editorial in defense of President Trump reveals deep divisions — not only within the paper, but throughout the entire community.
An editorial published on Martin Luther King Day defended the president’s infamous remarks on Haiti and Nigeria, touching off a firestorm — including a response from the Pittsburgh Foundation, which accused the paper of condoning racism.
The paper’s ownership hasn’t responded to the criticism and had no comment on the byline strike Thursday.
“The paper is trying to be sort of more things to more people perhaps than it had been in the past,” Fuoco said.
The once-liberal Post-Gazette had been counterbalance to the conservative Pittsburgh Tribune under the ownership of the late Richard Scaife.
Robert Morris University journalism professor Anthony Moretti says the Post-Gazette has moved steadily to the right under publisher John Robinson Block, trying to satisfy the region’s left-leaning city and more conservative suburbs.
“Maybe this is, let’s tack a little right, hoping to get a few more subscriptions without angering the traditional base,” Moretti said. “In many ways, they resemble to some extent the out political parties.”