Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Planning Company-Wide Layoffs

PITTSBURGH, PA – Pittsburgh Post-Gazette executive editor David Shribman sent a memo to employees on Friday saying that management needs to "cut staff throughout the company" and blamed the newspaper's "revenue situation" as the cause of plans to lay-off Post-Gazette workers.

The Post-Gazette in Pittsburgh, PA, and The Blade in Toledo, OH, are owned by Block Communications Inc. of Toledo. Block says that it lost $11 million from 2003 through 2005, and lost $12 million through August 2006, for a total of $23 million.

Editor & Publisher magazine reported in June 2007 that Block Communications was holding $340 million in long-term debt.

The Post-Gazette cuts are expected to across all departments, including the newsroom.

Leaders of the Newspaper Guild of Pittsburgh are expecting a briefing from P-G management on Monday.

Teamsters Local 211 president Joseph Molinero told the Tribune-Review that between 10 to 20 Teamsters are expected to lose their jobs in circulation, transportation, and the stock room by the end of the year.

Members of the Newspaper Guild are the only Post-Gazette employees whose contract requires a buy-out offer before layoffs can happen.

Approximately 1,000 Post-Gazette employees are represented by unions or the Guild.

In 2006 Allan Block, chairman of Block Communications, threatened to sell the newspaper if it didn't get concessions from employees and unions.

Early in 2007 the paper's 14 unions reached agreements with Block that included job reductions, wage freezes and cuts, and an increase in health care costs for employees. That same year the Post-Gazette laid off approximately 80 workers in circulation, transportation, and in the stock room, warehouse, and garage operations.

The Post-Gazette has been Pittsburgh's largest circulation newspaper since Scripps Howard sold The Pittsburgh Press to Block Communications after a Teamsters strike in 1992. The two papers had been published under a joint operating agreement, but Block quickly folded The Press as soon as it achieved ownership and the smaller paper became the biggest daily in the Pittsburgh market. The Post-Gazette's latest circulation is 212,714 daily and 347,435 on Sunday.