Digital Media: Buzzfeed accused of delaying tactics to frustrate recognition of workers’ union

Journalists at Buzzfeed accused management of refusing to meet with their representatives in an attempt to deny recognition of the recently formed workers’ union, which would legitimately negotiate for employees. The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) believes this is a clear example of union busting and urges the management to meet the union’s representatives and to respect workers’ fundamental right to organise in unions.

Buzzfeed Union logo

On April the 3rd Buzzfeed News Union’s journalists were supposed to have a crucial meeting with the media executives to move forward in its official recognition. Five minutes before the meeting was scheduled to begin, they were told that the managers would not show up. This behaviour is indicative of management's reluctance to recognise the union.

 

Buzzfeed News Union was formed more than seven weeks ago. Despite the fact that, in average, the process for recognition takes about 21 days, the management has not done it, leading journalists to denounce “weeks of frustratingly slow communication” and “union busting”.

The biggest sticking point is the company’s opposition to accepting an editorial unit, which would mean recognising the newsroom as a whole and not as individuals. However, employees say this would endanger media worker’s status by allowing Buzzfeed to easily exclude people by adding new titles or changing them. This is particularly worrying since Buzzfeed has recently made over 200 employees redundant.

NewsGuild of New York, who is backing the Buzzfeed union, said in a statement: “Contrary to the approach taken by their industry peers, Buzzfeed has responded to its employees’ request for recognition of their union by engaging in evasive tactics intended to delay and obstruct. Buzzfeed has a choice to make here: they can treat employees with respect by voluntarily recognizing the union, or they can define themselves as an outlier in an industry where union busting is not tolerated.”

The IFJ said: “We stand in solidarity with our colleagues from the Buzzfeed News’ Union and urge managers to respect journalists’ fundamental right to unionise. Strong unions that defend workers’ rights and decent working conditions in digital media are more needed than ever. Union busting is unacceptable”.

 

For more information, please contact IFJ on +32 2 235 22 16

The IFJ represents more than 600,000 journalists in 146 countries

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