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Union leaders warn Post-Gazette newsroom of possible layoffs

Newsroom employees at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette were warned by union leaders that the company may resort to layoffs months after it moved to cut costs through buyouts.

“We are hopeful there are no layoffs, but we don’t know whether there’s going to be,” Michael A. Fuoco, president of the Newspaper Guild of Pittsburgh, said in a statement Tuesday. “If there are, it would be most unfortunate.”

The union told its members in an email Monday that “there might be staff cuts to editorial departments that could involve layoffs” and that another round of buyouts could be on the table next year. Fuoco declined to comment further on the issue “because it would only be speculative.”

Post-Gazette marketing director Tracey DeAngelo declined to comment Tuesday. Attempts to reach Executive Editor David Shribman and Joseph H. Zerbey, who oversees the Post-Gazette and its sister paper, The Toledo Blade, were unsuccessful.

The guild represents newsroom reporters, photographers, copy editors and artists at the Post-Gazette.

The warning about possible layoffs follows a round of voluntary buyouts that the guild said was offered to 120 editorial employees in July because weak revenue and a difficult advertising climate were hurting the company. It is unclear how many employees accepted that offer, which was scheduled to be completed in late September, but the goal was up to 21.

Decisions to reduce staff are up to the parent company, Block Communications, and the buyouts were part of a labor union deal struck after a year and a half of negotiations.

Chris Fleisher is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7854.


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