Andrew Limberg

Post-Gazette Employees 'Frightened And Appalled' After Incident Involving Publisher

John Block 'psychically manhandled' his daughter according to Michael Fuoco

February 14, 2019 - 12:52 pm

PITTSBURGH (Newsradio 1020 KDKA) - There has been tension at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette over the last few years with a lot of it stemming from the fact that journalists there have not had a contract there in almost two years, but a reported incident on Saturday night may have been the boiling point.

Michael Fuoco, reporter at the Post-Gazette and president of the Newspaper Guild of Pittsburgh says the paper’s publisher John Block entered the newsroom on Saturday night around 10 p.m. in an “altered state” with his 12-year-old daughter and caused a scene.

Fuoco says Block took issue with a poster in the newsroom that has been up for two months that says “Shame on the Blocks”. “The reason we put that up is because they have violated federal law in not paying the increases in our healthcare premiums.”

Fuoco, who was not in the newsroom during the incident, says that he got his information from journalists who were working at the time and they claim Block wanted a photograph taken of himself with his daughter in front of the “Shame on the Blocks” poster and  that he wanted the photo be put on the next day’s front page.

“His daughter understandably was embarrassed and didn’t want to be in the photograph and then he physically . . . he manhandled her she was crying. She was saying ‘daddy please no’ . . . and it was so appalling that a manager and a guild member had to intercede and get her away from him,” said Fuoco.

Fuoco then claims that Block then threatened to shut the paper down if the poster didn’t come down and said he would fire several people

The Saturday night incident has frightened some employees from returning to work and Fuoco says the union has recommended to the company that Block  get some kind of help,” adding a normal employee would not be allowed back in the building unless treatment was sought.

Fuoco says the company has yet to take action. Block publishing called the incident “an unfortunate exchange with employees” over financial issues. The union has filed an unfair labor practice. 

Fuoco says the altercation had “nothing to do with negotiations, this is a human story.”

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