BuzzFeed News Union Workers Walk Out in Protest on Day of SPAC Vote

The union alleges that BuzzFeed management has offered members 1% annual guaranteed pay increases and said it hasn’t moved on a proposed salary floor of $50,000.

12/2/2021 8:18:00 PM

Members of the BuzzFeed News Union staged a walkout on Thursday following nearly two years of contract negotiations, the same day shareholders will vote on whether the company should go public through a SPAC

The union alleges that BuzzFeed management has offered members 1% annual guaranteed pay increases and said it hasn’t moved on a proposed salary floor of $50,000.

Updated Dec. 2, 2021 11:59 am ETMembers of the BuzzFeed News Union staged a walkout on Thursday following nearly two years of contract negotiations, a move that comes the same day of a procedural vote on whether to take the company public through a deal with a blank-check company.

“BuzzFeed won’t budge on critical issues like wages—all while preparing to go public and make executives even richer,” the unionsaid on Twitter.“There is no BuzzFeed News without us, and we’re walking out today to remind management of that fact,” the union said.

The union alleges that BuzzFeed management has offered members 1% annual guaranteed pay increases and said it hasn’t moved on a proposed salary floor of $50,000, which the union says isn’t enough to live on in major cities or “to attract truly diverse talent.” headtopics.com

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A bargaining session is scheduled for Tuesday, a BuzzFeed spokesman said. He said the company is still in early stage negotiations on wages and that it is meeting with the union every other week. The company said it gave the union its second counteroffer on wages last week and said the union hasn’t responded.

The spokesman also said that BuzzFeed and the union have already reached tentative agreements on issues such as remote work, a vaccine mandate, social media, harassment investigations and more.Addy Baird, chair of the BuzzFeed News Union and a politics reporter for BuzzFeed News, said the union gave management its initial wage proposal in April and management responded in July. The union responded to that proposal in September and heard back from the company late last month, she said.

The union also says management wants to regulate BuzzFeed News staffers’ creative work that employees do outside of their jobs and that management has resisted the union’s proposal for members to not be disciplined regarding traffic or revenue metrics.

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“In my seven years at BuzzFeed News, I’ve never faced an ‘or-else’ traffic quota,” Joe Bernstein, a senior technology reporter at BuzzFeed News,wrote on Twitter. “We’re walking off today, in part, to make sure our journalists never do.”

Read more: The Wall Street Journal »

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