“It’s not all fun and memes,” the statement says. “Our staff has been organizing for several months, and we have legitimate grievances about unfair pay disparities, mismanaged pivots and layoffs, weak benefits, skyrocketing health insurance costs, diversity and more.”
The employees will work with NewsGuild of New York, a union that represents the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, and The Daily Beast.
“Our goals: to protect each other, reach a collective bargaining agreement, and make this company stronger,” the statement reads. “We will fight like hell for a fair deal while striving for a positive relationship with management — get you a union who can do both.”
Our staff is uniting to demand a contract that guarantees paid time off is actually paid. We demand an agreement that requires due process for termination, a diverse newsroom, reasonable severance amid layoffs, a competitive 401(k), rights to our creative works, and affordable health insurance. We believe it’s urgent that our management address unfair pay disparities. We also believe that employees on contract — permalancers, who are paid through a third party but are functionally members of our team — deserve the same treatment.
According to the committee, this most recent effort was already in the works when the layoffs happened. Many of the staff who were laid off last month worked on the national news team.
BuzzFeed employees have attempted to unionize before. In 2017, their efforts were publicized, and CEO Jonah Peretti pushed back. Senior technology reporter Davey Alba told the New York Times that this time around, “about 90 percent” of employees supported unionizing.
Organizers say that if the company doesn’t voluntarily recognize their union, they’ll hold an election with a National Labor Relations Board official present to facilitate a secret ballot.
“I am confident in management,” Alba told the Times. “I think that they will voluntarily recognize it.”