Staff at BuzzFeed Canada have voted 87.5-per-cent in favour of ratifying their first collective agreement, which was more than two years in the making.
The three-year deal includes gains in pay and workplace protections, editorial independence provisions, as well as improvements in benefits and hiring practices.
The eight editorial staff at BuzzFeed’s Toronto operation, who officially became members of CWA Canada Local 30213 (the Canadian Media Guild) in March 2019, began negotiating three months later.
Bargaining committee members and the entire unit worked hard and pulled together to get a contract that includes much needed improvements in working conditions, and forms a good foundation for their work with the digital media company.
The agreement includes:
- A 3% salary increase over the duration of the agreement and adjustments to fix current wage disparities;
- A minimum of 5% increase upon promotion;
- Improved benefits;
- Language for conversion to full-time employment;
- Provisions to protect members against harassment in the workplace;
- Editorial independence provisions, including credit for all published work and right to withdraw byline;
- Improved policies on overtime, vacation and leave;
- Severance and recall rights, including for temporary employees;
- Transparent hiring practices, and recruitment from underrepresented groups;
- Improved union rights with regards to grievance and representation in the workplace.
The agreement achieves several objectives set out in a mission statement issued by the BuzzFeed Canada staff when they filed to unionize in February 2019. In that pre-pandemic time, they said they wanted to secure their working conditions and improve transparency through collective bargaining: “The ongoing volatility of the industry makes it necessary for workers to have a voice.”
Meanwhile, their colleagues in the United States, who formed the BuzzFeed News Union with CWA Local 31003 (the NewsGuild of New York), continue bargaining to reach a first collective agreement.