30% of Pittsburgh NewsGuild Crosses Picket Line on 2nd Day of Strike – Intercept Brasil to Shut Down

As the Brazilian Presidential

Folks, 

Greetings from Curitiba in the South of Brazil, where I’ve been out interviewing workers ahead of the Brazilian presidential election next Sunday. 

Sorry not to have more updates as I have been traveling and interviewing workers, but I will have more tomorrow and throughout the week. 


Intercept Brasil Closing a Week Before the Election 

With only a week and a half to go until Brazil’s runoff election on October 30, The Intercept Brasil is shutting down.

In 2019, the publication broke a crucial story that revealed how prosecutors knowingly suppressed  and fabricated evidence against Lula in an attempt to imprison him on false corruption charges. 

Lula’s imprisonment prevented him from running for president against Bolsonaro in the 2018 election. He later credited The Intercept’s reporting for helping lead to his release in 2019.

Now, as a major American donor pulls back funding from its American parent company The Intercept, Intercept Brasil has severed its connection with its American parent company. The two remaining reporters are launching their own publication and have put out an urgent appeal to raise $100,000. 

“This is not a false alarm,” wrote the remaining journalists in a public appeal. “Without your support, we will have to close.” 

People who want to donate to The Intercept Brasil can do so here. 

Dozens of Post Gazette Reporters Cross Picket Line. 

Back in Pittsburgh, the ownership of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette is claiming that approximately 40% of the members of the Pittsburgh NewsGuild have crossed the picket line on the second day of a strike. 

“Nobody can lose their job because they are not a union member,” company management wrote in an email to employees obtained by The Philadelphia Inquirer. “In fact, more than 40 Post-Gazette Guild members have already resigned from the union and are continuing to work.” 

However, union members have disputed this number and claim the numbers are lower. Sources within the Pittsburgh NewsGuild have told Payday Report that only 30 reporters have crossed the picket line. Tribune Review also confirmed that the union was closer to 30. 

When reached for comment early this afternoon about exactly how many members of the union crossed the picket line, the leadership of the Pittsburgh NewsGuild did not respond. However, they told the Tribune Review that they were confident more union members would rejoin the picket line as the strike progressed. 

The Pittsburgh NewsGuild voted 38-36 to strike. The strike vote came after members of five other unions at the Post-Gazette that work in production, advertising, and delivery decided to strike. However, members of the Post-Gazette union continued to work for nearly a week and a half until pressure from the other unions led them to strike yesterday. 

According to a statement released by a group of workers, who crossed the picket line, they feel that the CWA unfairly pressured them into striking with the other unions, two of which are also members of the CWA. 

“This vote was taken under the pressure of the Communications Workers of America, which threatened to unilaterally impose a strike on the local and remove its leadership if the vote did not conform to its wishes,” the group said in a statement.

For more, check out the Tribune Review. 

Full Disclosure: After Payday Report exposed how the former President of the Pittsburgh NewsGuild Michael Fuoco engaged in sexual misconduct, the current president of the Pittsburgh NewsGuild Zack Tanner sent me emails depicting how he would like me to die and to be sexually assaulted. I am currently suing him and three other union officers in Pittsburgh. 

The full lawsuit can be viewed here.


Rail Strike Deadline Set for November 19

Finally, a new deadline has been set for a rail strike on November 19. The Biden Administration had been fearful that a rail strike before the election could hurt them. 

The new deadline gives unions more flexibility to strike without being fearful that they’ll hurt Democrats’ chances to hold onto Congress in the fall. The major sticking point is being allowed paid time off when railroad workers are sick. 

”We think we should be able to be compensated for being sick. So, we don’t have to bring our illness to work with us,” Deven Mantz, North Dakota legislative director for the Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employees Division, told KFYR. 


For more on erratic scheduling issues, check out my piece from September.

Alright folks, I’m on a bus, but to Sao Paulo, but just wanted to give yinz an update on these two crucial stories. We will have more tomorrow. 

Donate to help us continue to cover the Brazilian Presidential election. Please, if you can, sign up as one of our 735 recurring donors today. 

Love & Solidarity, 

Melk 

About the Author

Mike Elk
Mike Elk is an Emmy-nominated labor reporter, who covered everything from the Brazilian labor movement to major league baseball and spent years covering union organizing in the South for The Guardian. In 2015, he used his NLRB settlement from being fired illegally for union organizing at Politico to start the crowd-funded Payday Report. He lives in his hometown of Pittsburgh but speaks Portuguese which he learned in journalism school in Rio de Janerio. Email: [email protected]

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