BuzzFeed News Union members walked off the job Dec. 2 to demand a fair contract, the same day shareholders will vote to take the company public. 100% of union members are participating in the 24-hour work stoppage.
After two years of fighting for a fair contract, they are calling on management to negotiate adequate pay raises, affordable health care, a sensible policy on “outside work,” and a prohibition on using traffic and revenue metrics as a basis for issuing discipline to workers.
They walked off the job to demonstrate how vital the reporters, editors, photographers, designers, and operations people are to making BuzzFeed the #1 site in time spent among Gen Z and millennials, they said.
“Management is touting BuzzFeed as the future of digital media, while at the same time proposing to control our personal online activity,” politics reporter Ema O’Connor said. “Is that what they think the future of digital media should be?”
The company is targeting a $1.5 billion valuation, but they have refused to move from their proposal of a guaranteed wage increases of just 1% per year and a salary floor of only $50k. “That is not a sustainable living wage, and it is not enough to attract a true diverse talent pool that’s crucial to the future of BuzzFeed,” union members said in a press release.
“We deserve a strong contract that protects us and ensures a fair and equitable workplace for everyone in our unit,” said senior technology reporter Katie Notopoulos. “It’s been years — it’s time for BuzzFeed to get serious at the bargaining table. We are.”
Throughout the day, the BuzzFeed workers will share testimonials about why they walked out and the value of unionizing. They also will hold a rally on Twitter Spaces at 12 p.m. ET, which supporters are encouraged to attend.
Union members are asking supporters to tweet that BuzzFeed News employees deserve a fair contract, tagging “@bfnewsunion” and using the hashtag “#BFNWalksOut.”
“BuzzFeed’s founding mission seeks to spread truth and joy,” said Susan DeCarava, president of NewsGuild of New York. “The truth is BuzzFeed’s influential and unique reputation is nothing without its workers, whose fight for a fair contract have continuously been stalled.”