MF: “Number one, we haven’t voted to strike yet. We authorized a strike vote. Soon, we will know what our members do. … If we strike, what we want to do is try to bring the PG ownership to its senses. This is a union town. This newspaper has been part of the fabric of Pittsburgh for 234 years. We are loyal, talented, award-winning journalists. We want to work this out. If we strike, we want it to be a shock to the system for them. It will show them we are the heart and soul of the PG, and we want to work this out. Want to get back to the negotiating table.”

The newspaper won a Pulitzer Prize in 2019 for its coverage of the Tree of Life synagogue shootings, and several employees were finalists for a Pulitzer Prize this year.

Q: Does the guild have plans to put out its own newspaper or online publication if it goes on strike?

Fuoco declined to answer.

Q: Do you think the PG could continue to put out a newspaper during a strike, and what would you say about journalists crossing a picket line?

MF: “I know they have said they will try to put out a product. I can’t imagine what that would look like without the talented journalists of the Newspaper Guild. There will be no votes [against a strike], but I anticipate the no votes won’t be crossing the picket line.”

Guild members met by video chat for two-and-a-half hours on Wednesday, with more than 100 members on the call. Fuoco said some members voiced concerns about the possibility of a strike, but they were focused on their personal economic concerns and not whether the guild has valid reasons to go on strike.

Q: Will other unions support the strike?

MF: “I can’t speak for them.”

McConnell said it would make sense for CWA President Chris Shelton to wait and authorize a strike by both the Typographical Union and the Newspaper Guild at the same time, but he does not know what will happen.

The Post-Gazette reported that three other unions already have ratified contracts.

Q: Many people rely on the Post-Gazette for local news. If the guild goes on strike, what would that mean for news in Pittsburgh?

“Nobody wants to go on strike. In some ways, it’s the last best hope we have. This is something that is solely on them, and it’s solely on them to resolve the situation. For three-and-a-half years, we have expressed to them formally, informally, behind the scenes, any way you can possibly imagine, our willingness to work things out. They for whatever reason, and we feel it’s to get rid of the union, have refused to respond in kind. … They’re on the wrong side of history. They need to get on the right side of history. If we vote to go on strike, we see it as a sad necessity.”

The founding director of the Center for Media Innovation at Point Park University, Andrew Conte writes the On Media column at NEXTpittsburgh with support from The Heinz Endowments. You can find all of his columns here, and you may reach him at PittsburghPublicEditor@gmail.com