As BuzzFeed nears the SPAC deal, news workers are staging a strike

BuzzFeed News employees left their jobs Thursday as the company plans to trade on the stock exchange.

The union said 61 employees took part in the 24-hour work downfall to push for better wages and working conditions at the digital media company.

The union said their employer only offers a 1% guaranteed annual raise and a minimum salary of $ 50,000, which the guild believes is too low for people in cities like San Francisco, Los Angeles and New York.

The strike is said to be “a reminder that without us there will be no BuzzFeed News while we are fighting for our first collective agreement,” the union said on Twitter. The group, which is part of the News Guild of New York, has been negotiating a contract for almost two years.

The protest came on the same day that a special purpose vehicle (SPAC), 890 Fifth Avenue Partners Inc., is voting on a merger with BuzzFeed.

The deal, announced earlier this year, is slated to close in the fourth quarter, giving BuzzFeed a valuation of $ 1.5 billion. Some investors are withdrawing their money in the SPAC and reducing BuzzFeed’s cash receipts, the Wall Street Journal reported Thursday.

BuzzFeed, a New York-based news and entertainment media company, claims that it has 1,100 employees and will grow to 1,400 next week after it bought Complex Networks, a youth network of fashion, food, music and sports content, for US $ 300. Dollar has taken over. Million deal.

The BuzzFeed News employees who participated in the strike make up about 6% of the company’s total workforce.

“A negotiating meeting is scheduled for next Tuesday and we hope the union will provide an answer to these questions,” BuzzFeed said in a statement. “Before that, the company is preparing for an incredibly exciting milestone: becoming the first publicly listed digital media company and taking over Complex Networks. We couldn’t be more excited about everything that is ahead of BuzzFeed and its staff. “

The company said it offers a minimum wage increase of 2.5%, including a guaranteed 1% wage increase, and the remainder is spread across the unit based on performance.

However, the BuzzFeed News union said it was concerned the company had rolled back its demand not to discipline workers on traffic and sales metrics.

“If they want digital media to be modeled on BuzzFeed, then they have to do better,” said Ema O’Connor, a political reporter for BuzzFeed News, at a Twitter Spaces event Thursday hosted by the union. “The traffic discipline – all of these things are the horror show version of what people think is digital media, and so we have to convince them … that’s just not acceptable.”

BuzzFeed has grown into a major player in the digital media space over the years. It was originally founded as a laboratory in Chinatown, New York, where it experimented with the way people interact with content online.

Brands now include BuzzFeed News, HuffPost, and the food network Tasty, among others. In June, BuzzFeed News won the Pulitzer Prize in International Coverage.

BuzzFeed posted revenue of $ 90.1 million for the third quarter, up 20% year over year, but posted a net loss of $ 3.58 million for the quarter, according to a regulatory filing.

Comments are closed.