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Pittsburgh Post-Gazette agree to accept severance offers, dissolve their unit

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Teamsters drivers agree to accept severance offers and dissolve their unit
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Teamsters drivers agree to accept severance offers and dissolve their unit 02:21

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- Teamster drivers who struck the Post-Gazette 18 months ago have agreed to accept severance offers from the newspaper and dissolve their unit. 

Striking reporters, editors and photographers are disappointed the Teamsters have thrown in the towel but the Newspaper Guild of Pittsburgh vowed to continue their fight against Post-Gazette management despite decreasing chances of a settlement. 

"We're fighting for what's right and that's something that's factual and true regardless of anything else," said Natalie Duleba of the Newspaper Guild. 

But chances of a settlement grow ever dimmer with management under little pressure to settle. Even after 18 months, much of the public is unaware of the strike, because half of the staff declined to join the picket line and the paper has never ceased publication. 

The lack of a unified front has eroded the union's leverage and led to bad blood between former colleagues, the strikers publishing the names of non-strikers, calling them scabs.

"Well, they have crossed the picket line, that's the definition of what a scab is, is someone who is working at a struck paper," Duleba said. 

Over the strike, the number of those on the picket line has diminished. Some have left town for other jobs while others have gone back to the Post-Gazette newsroom. The paper has also made new hires replacing vacant positions.

The thirty or so remaining strikers are looking to the National Labor Relations Board to step in and require Post-Gazette management to return to the bargaining table and reach a settlement. 

"It's really hard to see how the strike is going to end without the federal government stepping in and resolving it," said Andrew Conte with Point State Park University. 

Andy Sheehan: "Given up hope?" 

Duleba: "Absolutely not. Hope is still there. You can't kill hope that's founded in what's right. 

But chances of a negotiated settlement have all but disappeared and the strikers are now pinning their hopes on an intervention by the National Labor Relations Board. 

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