BuzzFeed News Union Responds to Newsroom Cuts Announcement

Press release | BuzzFeed News Syndicate

Following CEO Jonah Peretti’s announcement on Monday that BuzzFeed plans to significantly cut its news division and offer voluntary employee buyouts, the BuzzFeed News Union, represented by The NewsGuild of New York, released the following statement:

“Once again, it’s clear that BuzzFeed management is still learning a fundamental truth about their newsroom: Now that we have our union, the days when they made unilateral decisions that affect our work and our lives are over. Yesterday we were told that management was aiming to empty our newsroom through voluntary buyouts in our offices of investigations, politics, inequality and science.

“Today we are making it clear to management: they are simply not allowed to do this without first reaching a full agreement on a collective bargaining agreement. And they are certainly not allowed to empty our newsroom with illegal union busting tactics. We will file an unfair labor practice complaint with the National Labor Relations Board and urge management to come to the table to reach a full and fair union contract.

“To announce a drastic reduction in our newsrooms after two years of negotiations and a year since the economy was put on the table is not only insulting, it is a regressive negotiation. Moreover, presenting these cuts as a fait accompli is an intimidation tactic that undermines the collective bargaining process. Management even went so far as to solicit union members for spoof conversations around takeovers. We will not tolerate it. This news from management is a proposal, not a mandate — and like any union proposal, anything we accept will be part of a strong union contract that reflects the value of our incredible colleagues.

“The bottom line is this: the information we deliver, including Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalism, is vital to the readers we serve; this gutting of critical departments is a loss for the communities in which we live and work. There is no doubt that this decision is devastating for our newsroom. But this isn’t the first time we’ve fought management over a bad proposal. At the height of the pandemic, management told us that it was not possible to preserve jobs and that layoffs were necessary. But through organization and strong pressure at the table, we won work-sharing for our colleagues, a program that saved jobs while meeting the company’s financial needs during the lockdown. We don’t settle for anything less this time around. We will be back at the table next Tuesday, March 29, to deal with this proposal in the context of our comprehensive CBA agreement. That’s why we unionized, and we won’t back down now.

Jon Schleuss, President of The NewsGuild-CWA, said, “BuzzFeed profits continue to soar and yet Guild members are fighting this same type of vulture capital and poor corporate governance across the continent. There is only one long term strategy and that is to invest in journalism. And investing in journalism means that workers have a say in the decisions that affect their lives and their work. Our democracy literally depends on it.

Susan DeCarava, President of The NewsGuild of New York, said, “This move by BuzzFeed undermines the dedication of hard-working journalists and devalues ​​the communities and readers they serve – all in pursuit of profit. Our members know that real value is built through a strong contract that recognizes the value of journalism and the workers who produce it, creating a sustainable future for all.