Post-Gazette warns union members of possible layoffs
The Pittsburgh-Post Gazette has warned its union that newsroom layoffs could be coming by the end of the month.
The company, owned by Toledo-based Block Communications Inc., sent a formal notice to the Newspaper Guild of Pittsburgh about the potential for cuts late last month, guild President Mike Fuoco said.
“As a formality, the company sent us a letter, as required by contract, toward the end of last month, giving us a required 30-day notice that there could be layoffs,” Fuoco wrote in an email. “Simply put, this means that contractually there could be layoffs, but not necessarily that there will be.”
It’s uncertain how many jobs are at stake. No number was given in the letter to the union, which Fuoco said was “pro forma.”
Attempts to reach Post-Gazette general manager Lisa Hurm and marketing director Tracey DeAngelo by phone and email were unsuccessful.
The warning follows a round of voluntary buyouts that the guild said were offered to 120 editorial employees last summer. It is unclear how many workers accepted that offer, but the goal was up to 21.
The guild represents 157 newsroom reporters, photographers, copy editors, artists and other staffers at the Post-Gazette.
If the company follows through on its warning, it would be the first time in Fuoco’s 32 years at the Post-Gazette that union employees were affected by layoffs, he said.
Twice before, in 2010 and 2008, the union received the same warning and the company did not follow through, he said.
“My hope is that record will remain unblemished,” Fuoco said.
Chris Fleisher is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 412-320-7854.