Buzzfeed News staff in the US and Canada have revealed plans toÂ unionise in the wake of large-scale cuts to the digital-only newsÂ publisher.
The company announced last month that it was cutting its workforce by 15 per cent worldwide, including 17 editorial roles in the UK alone.
US and Canadian staff organisers revealed their efforts to unionise in a letter shared online yesterday, raising concerns about benefits, â€œpay disparitiesâ€� and the handling of job cuts.
Staff at Buzzfeed Germany also set up a â€œstaff councilâ€� at the start of this month and will be involved in talks with the company, according to Buzzfeed Germany reporter Pascale Muller.
Buzzfeed UK voted against union recognition under the National Union of Journalists in July last year, with just four staff voting in favour.
In a statement demanding the company immediately recognise its union, the US Buzzfeed News union said: â€œOur staff has been organising 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.
â€œSo we’re forming a union of US news employees with the Newsguild of New York, which represents other vanguard reporting outlets, including the New York Times, Reuters, the Daily Beast, and Los Angeles Times.â€�
The union added that it â€œbelieved in this companyâ€� despite the fact it had â€œfucked up a few timesâ€�.Â It said it had been meeting for several years and had â€œramped upâ€� efforts to unionise before the latest job cuts.
The Buzzfeed Canada union said in a blog post that most of its ten staff had signed up for the Canadian Media Guild.
It reiterated some of the issues flagged by the US union, adding: â€œWe also have serious concerns regarding contract and freelance work, as well as equal distribution of benefits.â€�
In a statement, Buzzfeed editor-in-chief Ben Smith said: â€œWe look forward to meeting with the organisers to discuss a way toward voluntarily recognising their union.â€�
Buzzfeed chief executive Jonah Peretti has previously said he didnâ€™t think â€œa union is in the best interest of Buzzfeed or our employeesâ€�, claiming unions did not â€œreflect the fluid and flexible way we workâ€�.
Picture: Reuters/Brendan McDermid
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Source: Digital Journalism