Sen. Bernie Sanders offered a finger-wagging rebuke to BuzzFeed on Tuesday after their union blasted the company on Twitter for lack of progress in recognition talks.
“Let’s not forget that the middle class was built by organized labor. I am very concerned to see that @BuzzFeed still hasn’t recognized the union formed by its newsroom employees,” Sanders said in a tweet. “Our Workplace Democracy Act will put an end to corporations getting away with these stalling tactics.”
Sanders is running in a crowded field of Democrats this year seeking the party’s 2020 presidential nomination. Polls have consistently shown him among the most competitive early candidates heading into the first debate next month.
After several weeks of tense calm, BuzzFeed’s union reps opened up another salvo against the company this week, accusing them of unfair demands and stalling on talks.
“About a month ago, we shared news about progress towards recognition of our union. But since then, the company has dragged its feet and failed to address some of our most pressing concerns. It’s now been 112 days since we went public,” they said in a lengthy Twitter thread spelling out a list of grievances. “We need the company’s representatives to fully engage in a good-faith, detailed conversation and commit to solutions so that we can finish this recognition process and get to the real work — negotiating a collective bargaining agreement.”
Many of the concerns centered around which BuzzFeed employees would be welcome to participate in the union, with the thread suggesting the company was looking for a restrictive agreement that would keep out employees with “non-standard contracts.”
Bernie Sanders is now the second presidential candidate to have issued a formal rebuke to BuzzFeed over their failure to recognize the union. In April, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio (who is also running for president) got into a back and forth with the company over the union issue as well.
“Memo to @BuzzFeedNews: New York City is a union town. You didn’t just snub @bfnewsunion yesterday, you insulted all working New Yorkers. To the union: This city stands with you. To the management: Come. To. The. Table,” de Blasio said.
“This process is not going to benefit from the involvement of a deeply unpopular mayor who has expressed an open disdain for journalists during his time in office,” BuzzFeed shot back.
Unionization — always on the back-burner at BuzzFeed — came to the fore in a big way this year after the company was forced to layoff roughly 220 people, accounting for about 15% of all staff in January. BuzzFeed executives said at the time that the layoffs were necessary to hep position the company to become profitable.
BuzzFeed’s harshest critics over the union continued to emanate from the company’s own employees, who took our their knives for their employers with abandon after the union’s critical assessment of progress.
“BuzzFeed tries to portray itself as a woke company, but during this union process, executives continue to be disrespectful and dishonest to their own workforce. They need to step up immediately and fix this — recognize our union!” said reporter Dominic Holden in a tweet.
“Being gaslit by the company you’ve worked for for nearly 5 years is not a fun experience!” added reporter Ema O’Connor. “Pls, do your homework, participate in meetings, read our emails fully, be straightforward in your responses, and do what you say you want to do: Recognize us!”