The union is calling on Blade management, Block Communications and the law firm they represent for refusing to negotiate remotely during a pandemic.
TOLEDO, Ohio – Editor’s Note: The above video aired January 7, 2021.
The union, which represents journalists who work at The Blade, has filed an unfair labor practice against the newspaper and its parent company Block Communications. The union refuses to negotiate safely during a pandemic.
The Toledo News Guild released a statement on the lawsuit alleging that the newspaper’s management and an attorney at King & Ballow, which represents The Blade, have insisted that negotiations take place in person and indoors throughout the pandemic.
“This was part of their campaign to destroy our union, impose their will and conditions on us, and fight back dissent over unethical practices in the newspaper and block interference with the editorial independence of Blade journalists,” the statement said.
A call for comments to The Blade was not returned at the time of publication.
The lawsuit comes weeks after Blade journalists held a byline strike after workers called their coverage of the violation of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 as censorship.
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The guild’s statement went on to say that proposed alternatives, such as outdoor meetings, were rejected while a lawyer refused to wear a mask during negotiations.
Attempts to bring in a federal mediator have been sunk by Block Communications and its attorney as federal mediators are banned from meeting in person during the pandemic, according to the Gilde.
“Insistence on face-to-face negotiations during a pandemic is ruthless and irresponsible. It has also hampered negotiations. The agreed negotiation dates last week were rejected by the company because they demanded that we negotiate personally even after a pandemic.” The greatest snow events in Toledo history. A company official said funky he would fly his attorney into town overnight during a snow safety emergency to negotiate in person the next day rather than negotiating remotely, “the statement said.
The guild also called on Block Communications for requiring sales reps who were successfully working remotely to report to the office during a level 3 snow emergency.
The union argued in the statement that the NewsGuild-CWA negotiates with dozens of newspapers and media outlets across the country, while remote negotiation is used almost everywhere.
In addition, Block Communications – which also owns the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette – uses remote formats to negotiate with the Pennsylvania branch unions.
Eventually, the guild said the refusal to negotiate remotely prevented members from safely following contract negotiations.
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