BuzzFeed News walkout: Journalists get off the job for academic recognition

BuzzFeed News journalists become impatient. It has been four months since they voted to form a union, but the company has still not officially recognized them.

Thousands of frustrated employees went off Monday afternoon to protest against the company's delay in recognizing BuzzFeed News Union. Journalists in New York, San Francisco, Washington, DC and Los Angeles stopped working at 2 pm to get the company's attention.

Leaders on the popular news site, which employs more than 200 journalists in the United States, have for several months come across union representatives on how many employees can join in the negotiating unit, according to a statement BuzzFeed News Union shared with Vox. The trade union, which is represented by NewsGuild in New York, says management continues to seek to exclude employees they claim are leaders or supervisors, even though no employees report to them.

BuzzFeed says it's not true and that the association is holding up the process. In an email to employees who were shared with Vox, BuahFeed's CEO Jonah Peretti said the Union would not accept a proposal to define which posts would be part of the negotiating unit before recognition and would not agree to honor individual contracts while negotiating a collective bargaining agreement.

"Despite what you can hear about the opposite, we continue to have continuous daily communication between our lawyers, and we are confident that the proposal provides a strong foundation for moving forward with collective bargaining," says Peretti in The company's offer will recognize 77 journalists in the negotiating unit – far fewer than the association wants.

The past few months have been "tense", the union said in the statement, and employees become frustrated. No other digital media companies say the statement has taken It takes a long time to recognize a union in the latest wave of labor that organizes in the news industry. Another option will require employees to seek recognition through the National Labor Union, a process that can take even longer.

Journalists on more than 30 digital newsletters websites have joined the last two years to ensure higher pay, benefits and retirement in a volatile industry that counted nearly 12,000 layoffs Last year, employees are more willing than ever to use aggressive tactics to get what they want. Earlier this month, more than 300 employees at Vox Media participated in a one-time work stoppage during the final phase of contract negotiations. (Disclosure: I am a member of Vox Media Union.)

BuzzFeed has been particularly resilient to the association's efforts earlier, with Peretti famously completing a conversation on the subject in 2015. BuzzFeed employees have since watched other media outlets successfully organize , and Monday's walkout shows they are prepared to take aggressive action to get the company to the negotiating table.

The news industry organizes faster than ever

The BuzzFeed output comes during a wave of union stations in the media industry. While newspaper journalists have a long tradition of organizing, digital news startups built a culture that faced a young, flexible, temporary workforce.

The idea that millennia would organize newsrooms was once considered terrible, especially as the overall membership union has fallen to US jobs.

In 2015, the Washington Post ran an article entitled "Why Internet Journalists Don't Unionize" and claims it has to do with a "generation of younger workers less familiar with unions that have built personal brands that they can transfer to other media companies. So writers are willing to spend long hours for low pay until they are poached by another place, which is the only way to get a raise, anyway. "

But those I am not so willing to do it anymore. Online journalists have become tired with constant industrial redundancies and unlivable salaries in expensive cities. The very public organization process at Gawker in 2015 gave a move. Staffers in places including Vice, ThinkProgress, HuffPost, Thrillist, Mic and Intercept soon unionized as well.

"In total, the number of Internet publishing unions has increased 20 times since 2010," according to a report by Harvard Business Review. It's an amazing increase, and for the most part, companies have quickly recognized their unions.

The benefits of unionization, which guarantee retirement and annual wage growth, have only become clearer over the past few months of layoffs. That was what encouraged BuzzFeed journalists to organize; They voted to unite in February, right after the company dropped out of 40 journalists. But it's more than that.

"We have legitimate reasons for unfair wage quotas, mismanaged fluctuations and redundancies, weak benefits, skyrocketing health insurance costs, diversity and much more," the association wrote in announcing the launch.

The Company, on the other hand, does not seem enthusiastic about the organization work. In April, leaders blew a planned meeting with union representatives. Employees ashamed them on social media, and so did New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio.

Since then, both sides have met and argued for how great the unit will be. Meanwhile, employees are busy and they are willing to disturb the business to get their points across. Since at. 14 on Monday, no fresh news stories were posted on BuzzFeed News.

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