Academic journal article Monthly Labor Review

Strike Ends at Pittsburgh Press

Academic journal article Monthly Labor Review

Strike Ends at Pittsburgh Press

Article excerpt

The Teamsters' union reached a settlement with the Pittsburgh-Post Gazette, ending a 6-month work stoppage that idled Pittsburgh's two daily newspapers. The settlement eliminated a major hurdle in the sale of the Gazette's city rival, the Pittsburgh Press. The E.W. Scripps Co., owner of the Press, had earlier reached an agreement to sell the newspaper to Blade Communications, Inc., owner of the Gazette, contingent on success by the Gazette in negotiating labor contracts with the Press' unions. The purchase also depended on financing and on approval by the Justice Department, which reviews sales of one newspaper to an other for potential antitrust violations.

The Teamsters struck the Press last May, protesting the planned cut of 450 Teamster jobs. The union represented 627 drivers and circulation workers who delivered the city's two daily newspapers, which were managed under a joint operating agreement for printing and distribution by the Press of both newspapers. The striking Teamsters and members of nine other unions had been working without an agreement since December 31, 1991, when contracts covering 1,250 workers expired.

Officials of the Press said they wanted to save $25 million by streamlining its delivery system, eliminating 450 delivery and 4,500 youth carrier positions and directing the remaining drivers to drop newspapers at about 30 distribution centers for pickup by adult carriers.

The walkout prompted the shutdown of both newspapers. After the strike began, the Press stopped publishing, but reportedly used its editorial staff to put out an alternative, smaller newspaper, the Allegheny Times. The Gazette published a free, two-sided publication that it has distributed at major commuting points in the Pittsburgh area.

When the Press hired temporary workers to replace the strikers, the Teamsters feared that their members would be permanently replaced. …

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