HuffPost employees abruptly learned of mass layoffs after “being invited to a meeting” Tuesday and then being told to wait and see if they’d receive a layoff email, according to HuffPost politics writer Laura Bassett.
The layoffs come just weeks after BuzzFeed acquired HuffPost from Verizon Media. BuzzFeed CEO Jonah Peretti informed staffers that the layoffs will “fast-track the path to profitability” for HuffPost and that BuzzFeed doesn’t “have the resources to support another two years of losses,” according to HuffPost.
In total, 47 employees were laid off, the company reported. This equates to nearly 30% of HuffPost’s union, which slammed the decision in a statement. (RELATED: BuzzFeed Is Acquiring Huffpost As Struggling Media Companies Try To Kick-Start Growth)
“We are devastated and infuriated, particularly after an exhausting year of covering a pandemic and working from home,” the union wrote. “This is also happening less than a month after HuffPost was acquired by BuzzFeed. We never got a fair shot to prove our worth. These layoffs reiterate the importance of forming a union and advocating for our colleagues.”
“We are glad that we are protected by a collective bargaining agreement and that our colleagues will receive severance. Our union will continue fighting to make HuffPost a more just and equitable workplace, including pushing for clear and accountable commitments to hiring and promoting more people of color and for transparency around pay equity,” the statement continued.
Today, we learned that 33 of our unit members — nearly 30% of our unit — are being laid off. Our union’s statement: “We are devastated and infuriated, particularly after an exhausting year of covering a pandemic and working from home.” (1/x) pic.twitter.com/xphgR3F8UI
— HuffPost Union (@HuffPostUnion) March 9, 2021
Bassett also criticized how the layovers occurred, calling it “cruel and psychotic and ridiculous.”
“HuffPost employees, after a year of working through a pandemic that isn’t over, were invited to a meeting today with the password ‘spring is here,’ where they were told 47 of them would be laid off. They would only know if they still had a job if they didn’t receive an email by 1,” Bassett wrote.
That is cruel and psychotic and ridiculous.
— Laura Bassett (@LEBassett) March 9, 2021
In addition to the 47 U.S. employees laid off, BuzzFeed announced plans to shut down HuffPost Canada and HuffPost Quebec, according to Canadaland news editor Jonathan Goldsbie. These shutdowns come “two weeks after they filed for union certification” and “it’s believed that job losses may be total,” Goldsbie reported.