Payday Wins Settlement Against NewsGuild & Donates All the Money to Young Latino Journalist Fund

Payday Report Founder Mike Elk on the GM picket line (Zach Roberts/Payday Report)

Last night, Semafor’s Ben Smith broke the story that I had settled my lawsuit with the NewsGuild after a nearly three-year legal battle. 

The case stemmed from a physical assault and violent graphic emails sent to me that mocked me an autistic and depicted how this local union leader wanted me to die. This happened after I exposed former Pittsburgh NewsGuild President Michael Fuoco, whom the New York Times labeled “the Harvey Weinstein of Pittsburgh.”

This settlement is a big victory for neurodiversity and disabled rights.  On a personal level, I can’t remember a time when I felt so happy! It’s been a long fight, and after 3 years, it is finally over!

I want to praise newly elected CWA President Claude Cummings for stepping in to resolve this matter. As the first Black president of CWA, he is committed to creating an inclusive atmosphere not just for people of color but for women, immigrants, and even autistics like me. Diversity matters in union leadership, and Claude Cummings has shown a real commitment to changing CWA.

My lawsuit wasn’t about making money for me, but making the labor movement more inclusive. Therefore, I have decided to donate the entire settlement to Casa San Jose, an immigrant resources center in Pittsburgh. Together, Payday Report and Casa San Jose will use the money to train young Latinos to cover the stories happening in Pittsburgh’s growing Latino community.

I want to thank the readers of Payday Report, who stood by us throughout this three-year legal battle. I especially want to thank Clarissa León, whose leadership as an editor helped me so much during this period.

Latino reporters matter not just for covering Latino issues but also for encouraging diversity in the newsroom, including neurodiversity. This is why I’m so excited to turn something so negative into a positive by donating my settlement to create a fund to help young Latino journalists in Pittsburgh.

To celebrate the settlement, I am throwing a party at Murphy’s Taproom in Regent Square, the neighborhood where I grew up in Pittsburgh, starting around 7 this coming Saturday December 9th. Hope yinz all come down.

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About the Author

Mike Elk
Mike Elk is an Emmy-nominated labor reporter and alumni of the Guardian. In addition to filing over 1,800 stories from 46 states, Elk was the only American reporter in the room with Lula on the morning of the election & traveled with him to the Oval Office. Credited by the Washington Post for being the first reporter to track the strike wave systematically, Elk started Payday Report using his NLRB settlement from being illegally fired for union organizing in 2015. He lives in his hometown of Pittsburgh and works frequently in Rio de Janeiro, where he attended college at PUC-Rio. He speaks both Portuguese and Pittsburghese fluently. His email is [email protected]