Butler Eagle publisher defends decision to print Post-Gazette during labor strike | Pittsburgh City Paper

Butler Eagle publisher defends decision to print Post-Gazette during labor strike

The Butler Eagle's president and publisher has defended his company's decision to print the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette while its workers strike in the face of calls from union members to extend their pickets to its Butler County office.

President Ron Vodenichar issued a lengthy statement Thursday saying, by keeping a product on the shelves, he's helping the Pittsburgh paper's chances of surviving beyond the strike.

"It is our firm belief that if the Post-Gazette fails to distribute a print product for any length of time it would cause the end of the Post-Gazette," says  Vodenichar, president and publisher of Butler Eagle. "Only through the assistance of a third party will the jobs of the workers - and maybe even the future of the company - survive."

The Newspaper Guild of Pittsburgh issued a press statement Wednesday morning calling out the company for undermining its strike efforts, and stating members would begin picketing its office.

“Newspaper Guild journalists have joined this picket line and withheld our labor alongside our union siblings as we escalate our fight to have our collectively bargained contract restored and look toward our next contract to secure journalism in the Pittsburgh region,” said Newspaper Guild of Pittsburgh president Zack Tanner in a press release. “We’re fighting for better wages and affordable healthcare for every single worker at the Post-Gazette. The power is in our hands, not the Blocks.

Workers in the Post-Gazette's printing, design, distribution and ads departments have been picketing the company's Northside office for two weeks, after turning down a health coverage proposal that would impose significant premium raises.

Journalists joined the strike Tuesday at noon, vowing to support the other workers and to call attention to their own unfair labor claims.

In addition to the Butler Eagle, the county's daily newspaper of record, the Eagle Printing Company owns the Pittsburgh City Paper and prints content for other regional publications.

Former CP Editor in Chief Lisa Cunningham resigned her position Wednesday following disputes with the company over how to cover its involvement in the strike.

In a public statement shared to social media after her departure, Cunningham said she condemned the company’s actions.

"Let it be clear that I do condemn Butler Eagle’s decision to print the Post-Gazette during a strike, and I condemn any business that allows its employees to work under abusive conditions."

Butler Eagle management declined to comment at this time on Cunningham's departure.

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