As BuzzFeed draws closer to SPAC deal, press workers stage walkout

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

The union said 61 employees took part in the 24-hour strike to demand better wages and working conditions at the digital media company.

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

The walkout aims to “remind us that there is no BuzzFeed News without us as we fight for our first collective agreement,” the union said on Twitter. The group, which is part of the News Guild of New York, said it had been negotiating a contract for almost two years.

The protest came on the same day that a Special Purpose Acquisition Company (SPAC), called 890 Fifth Avenue Partners Inc., is set to vote on the merger with BuzzFeed.

The deal, announced earlier this year, is expected to close in the fourth quarter, giving BuzzFeed a valuation of $ 1.5 billion.

BuzzFeed, a New York-based information and entertainment media company, said it employs 1,100 people and will grow to 1,400 employees next week after acquiring Complex Networks, a youth network that offers content from fashion, food, music and sports, in the amount of $ 300. million business.

BuzzFeed News employees who participated in the walkout represent about 6% of the company’s total employees.

“A bargaining session is scheduled for next Tuesday where we hope the union will provide a response on these issues,” BuzzFeed said in a statement. “Before that, the company is preparing to take an incredibly exciting step forward: becoming the first publicly traded digital media company and acquiring Complex Networks. We couldn’t be more excited about what lies ahead for BuzzFeed and its people.

The company said it was offering a minimum pay increase of 2.5%, including a guaranteed pay increase of 1% and the remainder distributed across the unit based on merit.

But the BuzzFeed News union said it was concerned the company had pushed back its demand not to discipline workers on trafficking and income measures.

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

BuzzFeed has over the years become a major player in the digital media space. It was originally established as a lab in New York’s Chinatown, where he experimented with the ways people interact with content online.

Its brands now include BuzzFeed News, HuffPost, and the Tasty Food Network. In June, BuzzFeed News won the Pulitzer Prize for International Reporting.


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