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BuzzFeed staff interrupts despite constant pressure to unionize

BuzzFeed News employees were released Monday from the newsroom to seek recognition from a union employee who had announced his training in February, following massive layoffs at the corporate level. .

The walkout takes place in the four US offices – New York, Washington, California, Los Angeles and San Francisco – and a rally is planned in front of the Manhattan office, according to a copy of the NewsGuild-CWA union press release.

BuzzFeed employees claim that management has refused to recognize the proposal of bargaining unit employees and insisted on a much narrower scope of eligibility for the union.

Employees claim that BuzzFeed management is also "trying to exclude workers who claim to be executives, supervisors or confidential people, even though these journalists do not manage their employees and are not at home. current confidential information, "according to a group statement.

A spokesman for BuzzFeed said the problem had been solved and that this offer would be recognized to journalists and editors working in the United States who do not manage the staff, as well as "most other permanent non-managerial employees", including including designers, staff members, art and photo.

"As noted by the union, many employees in management positions continued to show strong interest in joining, so BuzzFeed enabled them to convert from their management roles to" individual contributor "roles and agreed to create a handful of non-executive editor positions, "said a spokesman.

BuzzFeed announced it has proposed to "voluntarily recognize the union".

"It has been almost two weeks since we are on the table and we hope they will accept it," the spokesman said.

BuzzFeed CEO Jonah Peretti emailed employees on Monday, which was shared with The Hill. He states that the company's offer is "both sensitive to the demands of our employees and attentive to the functioning of the company".

"Our offer is good and it stays on the table today," wrote Peretti. "Since we made our offer on June 4, press staff refused to accept it and instead seek to impose additional requirements that threaten our progress on voluntary recognition."

Peretti said the union "insists that the company withdraw from the recognition agreement the list of job titles that would be excluded from the union." The list is important, he said, because "the company needs a reliable and consistent way to identify employees and new employees who are included and excluded from the bargaining unit."

The other outstanding issue, he said, concerns employees with individual contracts or who can sign one before the collective agreement, he said. According to Peretti, BuzzFeed proposed "a compromise allowing employees to enter into individual contracts and to be part of the unit".

"However, News staff seeks to control the company's ability to offer individual contracts for the entire period leading up to the adoption of a collective agreement." This is not acceptable to us, as a company or world class press organization, "he said.

BuzzFeed News Union tweeted Monday afternoon that the company had offered "an unacceptable agreement to take or leave," and said the management "was moving away from the negotiating table.

"We demand that they continue to work with us to reach a voluntary recognition agreement that will do justice to this newsroom," the union said.

In the union's statement and on Twitter, BuzzFeed News reporters expressed gratitude for their work but frustration for management.

"As a BuzzFeed employee for more than six years, I am deeply committed to the company and its future, which is why I am so committed to organizing in the newsroom," said Rachel Sanders, Editor-in-Chief. head of culture at BuzzFeed News. "I hope the BuzzFeed management will see an opportunity to show that it respects and values ​​its employees, rather than reacting out of fear, and I hope they'll come back to the company." table so that we can have a real conversation. "

Scaachi Koul, a culture writer, said she "loved her job and would like to come back", accompanied by a photo of the walkout.

Jane Lytvynenko, a BuzzFeed Canada reporter, said the BuzzFeed Canada union was in solidarity with the US union.

Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), A presidential candidate and staunch defender of the working class and a supporter of trade union and union groups, supported the organizing efforts of BuzzFeed workers. Sanders' presidential campaign was unionized last month.

Vox, another digital news media, announced last week that management had agreed to a temporary syndicate contract after a 29-hour negotiation and a discussion with the entire newsroom.

-Updated at 14:37

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