From Adweek | The Ziff Davis Creators Guild Walks Out in Protest of ‘Bad Faith’ Bargaining


The following story originally appeared on Adweek

Members of the Ziff Davis Creators Guild staged a walk out this morning, in response to what it calls bad-faith bargaining by Ziff Davis and its general manager Mike Finnerty, said ZDCG member Anna Rose Iovine.

Ziff Davis voluntarily recognized the ZDCG more than two years ago, but since then the two parties have been unable to reach a contract that establishes the $65,000 salary floor that the ZDCG has asked for. The guild represents the editorial staffs of four publications: Mashable, PC Mag, Ask Men, and Geek.

On April 9, the ZDCG published an open letter, sharing stories from five anonymous members of the guild that described various instances of financial hardship caused by underpayment

One member testified that she relied on the free snacks provided in the company office for two of her three daily meals, while two members said they had hesitated to start families for fear of financial shortcomings. Others shared their fear of a medical emergency, which they claimed could send them into bankruptcy. 

Update: The Ziff Media Group has offered this statement:

“At Ziff Media Group, we have an amazing team of employees, including our guild members, that drive our culture and business. We are very disappointed that the ZDCG has taken this action and decided to negotiate publicly vs. at the bargaining table. Since the immediate and voluntary recognition of the ZDCG, we have been actively communicating and negotiating with the guild. We have consistently negotiated in good faith despite the guild not providing us with a complete set of proposals, including wages, until late January 2021. We have and continue to make enormous progress and have reached tentative agreements on a wide range of issues. We strive to create a fair and equitable work experience inclusive of employee benefits and wages that align with the roles and markets we are in. Our next bargaining session is scheduled for Wednesday April 21st and we expect to make meaningful progress then.”

The ZDCG has filed several charges of unfair labor practices with the labor board due to the “unlawful behavior” of Ziff Davis management, Iovine said.

The financial background of J2, the parent company of Ziff Davis

Ziff Davis is a subsidiary of the Los Angeles-based technology company J2, which generated $1.4 billion in revenue in 2020, according to Business Wire. 

Its digital media division, which includes the ZDCG member publications as well as non-guild publishers like IGN, RetailMeNot, and others, generated $139 million in operating income. In 2020, the combined web properties of J2 attracted approximately 9.1 billion visits and 31.5 billion page views. 

“As J2 revenue soars, even during a pandemic, it’s become increasingly glaring that our wages don’t reflect the value we bring to the company,” the ZDCG said in a statement.

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