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Dec. 2, 2021, 2:01 p.m.
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LINK:  ➚   |   Posted by: Shraddha Chakradhar   |   December 2, 2021

Members of the BuzzFeed News union announced early Thursday morning that they’re striking today, which coincides with a shareholder meeting to vote on whether BuzzFeed goes public at a valuation of $1.5 billion. (Here’s what else it tried to sell potential investors on).

The union’s main demands, after nearly two years of trying to negotiate a first contract with the company, is that BuzzFeed offer more than 1% guaranteed raises every year and offer more than a $50,000 salary base for employees, especially since BuzzFeed’s offices are located in expensive cities like New York and San Francisco.

The union is also pushing back on other aspects of what they say BuzzFeed management is trying to do, such as creative control of employees’ work outside their regular job and disciplinary action for metrics and traffic.

How are the 60+ union employees (BuzzFeed as a whole has about 1,100 employees) who walked off the job being compensated for the time lost today? “We got an email from our deputy editor in chief this morning that was basically saying, you know, if you are walking off today, you will either need to take a PTO day or we’ll dock your pay, which is really frustrating for them to punish us for,” Addy Baird, who is a political reporter at BuzzFeed News and also a unit chair for the BuzzFeed News union, said during a Twitter Spaces event about the walkout.

“We are gonna win this, it’s just a matter of when,” Julia Reinstein, a reporter and member of the BuzzFeed News union’s bargaining committee, said to conclude the Twitter Spaces event.  “If they want to say that they’re going to dock our pay for a day or make us take PTO out? You know what fine they can do that. That is not going to stop us, and it’s hilarious if they think that it can.”

BuzzFeed News helped earn the publication its first Pulitzer Prize earlier this year, and is hoping to leverage that power to speed up negotiations with the company.

The walkout is only planned for the 24-hour period starting Thursday and ending Friday, and a BuzzFeed spokesperson told several outlets that a bargaining session is planned for next Tuesday. The deal to have the company go public, if voted up, is expected to close on Friday.

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