Feb 13, 2019

BuzzFeed News employees vote to unionize after mass layofffs

Inside BuzzFeed headquarters in New York City. Photo: Drew Angerer via Getty Images

Employees at BuzzFeed News announced Tuesday they have voted to unionize with the NewsGuild of New York, claiming in a statement that they have "legitimate grievances about unfair pay disparities, mismanaged pivots and layoffs, weak benefits, skyrocketing health insurance costs, diversity and more."

Why it matters: This comes weeks after the company laid off more than 220 employees, or roughly 15% of its workforce, including jobs within its news division. It is a huge blow to BuzzFeed's leadership, which has in the past suggested that it could be a better advocate for employees than a union could be.

  • The lay-off process proved that may not be the case. Employees had to fight to be compensated for their earned paid time off after being fired. Leadership eventually caved, but the fight presented bad optics for BuzzFeed executives.

BuzzFeed News Editor-in-Chief Ben Smith said in a statement: "We look forward to meeting with the organizers to discuss a way toward voluntarily recognizing their union."

The big picture: Many media companies have unionized over the past few years in response to a rocky media landscape. Vox Media, Slate, Thrillist, New York Media and many other digital media sites have all voted to unionize over the past year.

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Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 10:30 p.m. ET: 1,273,990 — Total deaths: 69,444 — Total recoveries: 260,247Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 10:30 p.m. ET: 337,310 — Total deaths: 9,634 — Total recoveries: 17,461Map.
  3. Federal government latest: Surgeon general says this week will be "our Pearl Harbor, our 9/11 moment." The USDA confirms that a Bronx zoo tiger tested positive for coronavirus.
  4. 2020 latest: "We have no contingency plan," Trump said on the 2020 Republican National Convention. Biden says DNC may have to hold virtual convention.
  5. States updates: New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the state is "literally going day-to-day" with supplies.
  6. World update: Queen Elizabeth II urges the British people to confront pandemic with "self-discipline" and "resolve" in rare televised address.
  7. What should I do? Pets, moving and personal health. Answers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk.
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

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Intelligence community watchdog suggests Trump fired him for doing his job

Michael Atkinson, Inspector General of the Intelligence Community,at the Capitol in October. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

Intelligence Community Inspector General Michael Atkinson suggested in a statement Sunday President Trump fired him for acting impartially in carrying out his duties following a whistleblower complaint.

Why it matters: Atkinson alerted Congress last September to the complaint on Trump's correspondence with Ukraine's president, triggering an inquiry that resulted in the Trump's impeachment.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 35 mins ago - Politics & Policy

U.S. coronavirus updates: Death toll passes 9,500

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Recorded deaths from the novel coronavirus surpassed 9,500 in the U.S. Sunday evening, per Johns Hopkins data. The death toll in the U.S. has risen over 1,000 every day since April 1.

Why it matters: U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams said on Sunday this upcoming week will be "the hardest and saddest week of most Americans' lives" — calling it our "our Pearl Harbor, our 9/11 moment."

Go deeperArrowUpdated 2 hours ago - Health