I suppose the remaining employees have taken the layoffs as a sign that management IS their adversary.
Nah, basic economics says that now that the supply of employees at Buzzfeed has been reduced, the remaining employees have more leverage to negotiate with management as rugged individualists. /s
Businesses don't treat their customers as enemies, and their transactions with them as zero-sum. At least, successful businesses don't. They know that win-win is the way to success.
Unions, however, always seem to take the win-lose tack, which is why businesses don't want to deal with them.
This approach makes no sense.
The role of a union is to defend the interests of their members in particular and workers in general. This means that the job of an union also includes opposing management decisions that go against the best interests of the company's workers.
An union only has any semblance of value if it oposes management practices that hurt workers, such as laying off a significant portion of a company's staff when the company is not in financial risk.
Your pitch idea is utterly absurd because you can't convince a manager that eliminating 15% of the company's salary costs is a bad idea even if the alternative is keeping around workers that might not be needed in the immediate future.
The only way to avoid these whimsical lay-offs is if an union opposes these initiatives in a way that the corporation has more to lose if he pushes them ahead.
Sure, but going about it by antagonizing their customers is not productive.
Implicit in your argument is the idea that workers have nothing to offer in exchange. I don't believe that's true. Businesses are always offering more money and perqs to get better workers. Unions can endear themselves to business by offering things in exchange for what they want, and by being partners in the success of the business.
Being enemies is a doomed endeavor, and likely why unions have declined over the years, unless they got special government rules to keep them in place.
Businesses see unions as enemies and transactions zero-sum. They view paying better wages and improving working conditions or providing actual benefits as a loss, rather than creating a "win" for the people who comprise the company.
Why is this? Probably because the investor class "matters" more than the employee class, through some odd inversion where the people who actually add value and make the company work are subject to those who don't.
Or, we could just cut the verbosity and call it like it is: Business don't want to deal with unions because of unchecked greed.
Only because unions frame it that way. I used to work in a union shop, and the union members simply poured out their hate for the business on a daily basis. Who would want to do business with people that hate you?
> and transactions zero-sum.
Businesses that screw their customers don't last long.
Canada Post went on strike early winter as a pressure tactic because it knew the company would suffer going into the holiday season. Ultimately, that only screwed over the customers.
It was Buzzfeed News that released the unsubstantiated Steele Dossier and more recently unsubstantiated and refuted claims against Michael Choen.
They are not journalists, they are activists.
What exactly is your bias here?
That does not render the dossier unsubstantiated as you claimed because you have to evaluate the merit of each claim and use it as an avenue for further investigation. Which is exactly what the Wikipedia article you linked says: in that many claims have proven to be true over time despite some disinformation.
So can you tell me again what exactly makes it unsubstantiated?
It would be fitting that you would focus in on that paragraph on Wikipedia and not the fact that security professionals clearly took the document seriously enough to use it as a reasonable basis for investigation.
BuzzFeed was harshly criticized by several mainstream media outlets for releasing the dossier without verifying its allegations. Washington Post columnist Margaret Sullivan called it "scurrilous allegations dressed up as an intelligence report meant to damage Donald Trump," while The New York Times noted that the publication sparked a debate centering on the use of unsubstantiated information from anonymous sources. BuzzFeed's executive staff said the materials were newsworthy because they were "in wide circulation at the highest levels of American government and media" and argued that this justified public release. The dossier's publication by BuzzFeed has always been defended by Jack Shafer, Politico's senior media writer, as well as by Richard Tofel of ProPublica and the Columbia Journalism Review. Shafer defended the public's right to know about the allegations against Trump, and saw a parallel in Judge Ungaro's ruling in the defamation suit filed by Aleksej Gubarev.
Blend of stupidity and seriousness does BuzzFeed no favours
> an overwhelming amount of stupidity [the Guardian] has published
I think on BuzzFeed's part, at least the stupidity is intentional.
There's some serious bias on display in this thread, HN can do better.
If “not handling criticism on Twitter with tact” is a qualification for a job, I think everyone on twitter would be unemployed.
He didn't win that Pulitzer in BuzzFeed, but prior to that. It's his Pulitzer that gets associated with BuzzFeed (since he's now heading a team worthy of receiving Pulitzer nominations).
- Someone with first hand knowledge
Before anyone starts claiming this only happens to BuzzFeed and not BuzzFeed News, there's plenty of interviews of him discussing how there should not be any separation of editorial oversight and marketing as well:
These are just the "big controversies". They all have stories which slant in particular directions as benefits the paper, its owners, writers and editors.
No. I reject the notion that Buzzfeed News is on any level professional. I accept that they work on the stopped-clock principal at best.
> “BuzzFeed’s description of specific statements to the Special Counsel’s Office, and characterization of documents and testimony obtained by this office, regarding Michael Cohen’s Congressional testimony are not accurate,” Peter Carr, a spokesman for Mueller office, said in the statement.
This is a very carefully-constructed statement. Note how it doesn't actually say BuzzFeed was wrong. It just says specific statements and characterization are "not accurate", but doesn't elaborate on what statements or characterizations, or on how inaccurate they are. This reads like a statement designed to placate Trump without actually refuting much of anything.
It literally says Buzzfeed's statements were inaccurate.
Well you could also see it as history repeating itself. We're only at the start of the new gilded age and now it's service workers and people higher up the value chain that are seeing the consequences of squeezes in the work place.
Maybe this time around it'll be IT workers and journalists who discover that organised labour exists.
There are plenty of examples of countries with strong unions, solid industry/services sectors and workers that aren't being exploited (read: underpaid, overworked, poor or unsafe working conditions, etc.). Every benefit you have as an employee that is enshrined in law was fought for by a union!
Public services that unionized saw costs go up and quality stagnate or decrease.
>There are plenty of examples of countries with strong unions, solid industry/services sectors and workers that aren't being exploited
Like what? Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland and Germany? Any countries without strong work ethics and a tradition of engineering excellence? As for the Northern European zone, how has wage growth been in there these past 40 years?
Yes. They DID. And since their heyday they've been sliced and diced at until there's nearly nothing left today.
>As for the Northern European zone, how has wage growth been in there these past 40 years?
Not a lot. But that's the case for all of the west, and certainly also for the US. Meanwhile, quality of life and happiness in those countries has risen. The US, on the other hand..
>>Not a lot. But that's the case for all of the west, and certainly also for the US.
Yes, and a large part of that is that any investor knows that any large stable concentration of skilled workers in the West will unionize and began extracting above market wages.
That's why the only unionized sectors in the West that have seen significant growth are those paid for by the taxpayer.
The platforms that exist today are in danger of capitulating because the common consumer of our zeitgeist no longer has the behavior to pay for what they use. Social media has absolutely destroyed what paying for a product means. The common consumer has become used to not paying online because they are the product.
These businesses are not sustainable no matter what in the current zeitgeist of ad money and social media. Besides the option of all journalists working for Twitter and Facebook which wouldn't be my pick... but that's another topic.
We need something radically different to offset that imbalance.
I prefer independants these days, folks on bitchute and youtube and etc. The "organized press" has been gunning for shutting down independants with crap like six degrees of hitler, like what happened with gab. But ultimately it has next to zero overhead to start your own "channel", and you find people that actually do a pretty decent analysis without being obvious political tools or otherwise completely manipulative all the time.
I'm afraid there's a a very clear correlation here that people seem to be in denial about. There isn't a problem with people paying for news. There's no problem with the internet and there's no need for new business models. News can be profitable and for some firms, it is. What's not profitable is freely distributed left-wing agenda journalism like Buzzfeed: the market is saturated, and the people who make it do it primarily for influence and not to build a business. As a consequence they not only woefully over hire, but they are also loathe to put up paywalls and take other obvious steps more conservative, more business oriented media outlets have been willing to take.
A simple contrast is between the Guardian, which had as of a few years ago over 1000 journalists, no paywall and massive losses, with the Times, which turned a profit. To illustrate the irony here is an opinion piece in the Guardian asking whether this "joltingly unlikely thing" is "worth it":
> Murdoch’s flagships are locked behind a barrier that throttles traffic and, arguably, relevance. But they made £1.7m last year.
Well, is being a sustainable business worth it? Is it better to be able to pay the bills or be "relevant"? These are probably not questions most working people have the luxury of asking, and given the state of the Guardian's finances, soon it won't be a luxury they have either.
There was a similar thread on HN talking about this very subject. If a news source is behind a paywalled subscription model - even if they promise unbiased, non-partisan investigative journalism, how many would actually deliver this and not compromise the trust of their readership? How many would even dare to promise this in the zeitgeist of fake news and gear their business model around this? At the moment it's a risk that no credible news source wants to take.
Sign me UP!
...And so you mean the company would fold. What would be good about that?
The reason the US software industry has been getting stronger and producing ever greater numbers of high paying jobs is that it enjoys the efficiencies of a free market in labor, aka it's not dominated by monopolizing unions.
The Screen Actors Guild is a counterexample for both points - Hollywood continues to be world-leading, and top actors continued to be paid well, while even the actor you've heard the least of has a minimum wage, down to rules around how many times they can be called-back for an audition.
The free market relies on free association, equal footing, and complete information for both parties. For most people, the business has a significant power advantage. Moreover, management is organizing together in order to depress wages through non-poach agreements - why shouldn't the workers work together as well?
Numerous industries in both the private and public sector have declined since being unionized.
Germany seems to have strong unions and a strong auto industry, but the German economy as a whole has suffered decades of wage stagnation. One outperforming industry alone doesn't negate the broader correlation between restrictive labor laws, and degraded economic performance.
>>The free market relies on free association, equal footing, and complete information for both parties.
A free market merely means anyone is free to offer their products/services, and everyone is free to take the best offer on the market.
There are plenty of market failures and government-imposed market distortions, but the idea that locking the market down with one-size-fits-all labor relation rules is going to mitigate the harm of these distortions is unbelievable. It's just going to make industry less effective, and in the long run, less beneficial to its workers.
If employees in department X at firm Y wish to unionize, they elect one democratically. This often involves affiliating themselves with an established union (choosing the affiliate is part of the formation/election process). If a majority of employees in department X vote for unionization, a contract between all employees in department X and management is negotiated. This newly elected union is now considered the exclusive representative of all employees covered by the agreement (i.e. in the bargaining unit). This has the following key implications:
1) No other unions may be formed within this department, and all negotiations between management and covered employees must go through the union.
2) The union has a legal obligation to fully represent each one of the employees in department X fairly and equally. In the states that allow it, this means that even if an employee in department X is not a member of the union, the union still must represent and negotiate on behalf of them as if they were a dues-paying active member. Employees who feel they are not being represented can sue their union for inadequate representation (in the same way that you can sue an incompetent lawyer).
(Point #2 is designed to balance out the problems that could come with just point #1.)
I go into all of this to contrast our system with Germany's system, where no exclusive representation exists. Some employees in a department may be represented by union X, others by union Y, some may be non-union. The company that employs them will have to negotiate three different contracts to keep this theoretical department running.
This system has its upsides: German unions never have to negotiate on behalf of non-members. It can also get extremely complicated. A large company may have to juggle many contracts just for one type of employee. The union that represents some arbitrary group of employees might change from year to year. These are just a few things that American companies don't have to deal with.
Maybe this is the system we have to move to in America post-Janus? I don't know, but it's worth remembering that exclusive representation was designed as a convenience to management in simplifying negotiations; I don't think our corporate leaders would prefer it at all.
Sure, but what do you see as the difference in representation from person to person? Something that's beneficial to one worker (better conditions, more pay, etc) is almost always beneficial to their coworkers, too. Isn't negotiating a contract to the benefit of any of the workers pretty much automatically to the benefit of all of them?
> Employees who feel they are not being represented can sue their union for inadequate representation
This sounds like one of those facts which is technically true but practically useless. I googled it and found a number of answers that all say essentially: the courts recognize that unions have finite resources, and grant them leeway in choosing what to pursue. You probably will never win a case against your union, even for just being bad at what they do, unless they specifically discriminated against you on the basis of a protected class.
I've never heard of it happening, and I can't find any cases on the internet, either.
> This system has its upsides: German unions never have to negotiate on behalf of non-members.
What does this mean in practice? "We'd like better working conditions, but only for the names on this list"?
There are laws that mandate that from a certain size on employees have voting rights in management boards.
In general the relationship between employees and employers is a little more cooperative compare to the US.
Any my understanding is that in Germany, unions have much more direct influence over company decision-making than American unions. IANAL, but I've heard German-style unions would be illegal in the US.
 I say appear because I've only been (somewhat) involved with American-style (mostly from the management side)
If you claim they don't, then you can't draw that conclusion for unionized journalists either
But it's pretty hard for owners to prevent this kind of outcome. You are legally restricted from exercising your right to free association and only employing people who oppose unions, if you ever become an owner.
There’s often very little reason not to join a single company union. Not joining means your coworkers will already dislike you, and typically your pay will be higher anyway. This makes single company unions incredibly easy to form strong monopolies on their employers labor supply.
Contrast this to monopolies in the greater market, a company typically needs to dominate the entire industry to form an effective monopoly.
Effectively unions limit a company’s labor supply to a single supplier - the union - despite there often being hundreds of other near identical suppliers/unions in the greater marketplace. Imagine if you could only buy smartphones from Apple, and other people could only buy smartphones from samsung. That’s effectly what single company unions accomplish. Quite miraculous.
Therefore, that is not at all what Buzzfeed's journalists are organizing here.