You may have noticed that some local sports writers changed their social media avatars today and are tweeting at a guy named Jim Bankoff.
Bankoff is the CEO of Vox Media, which owns the SB Nation network of websites, represented in Philly by Bleeding Green Nation, Broad Street Hockey, The Good Phight, Liberty Ballers, and The Brotherly Game. SB Nation editorial staff unionized more than a year ago but have yet to reach a contract agreement with Vox, so today’s demonstration is a combined effort to get this thing moving and push Bankoff to respond.
BLG over at Bleeding Green wrote the following:
— Brandon Lee Gowton (@BrandonGowton) June 5, 2019
And here’s Michael Kist, who also writes for BGN, after the jump:
— Michael Kist (@MichaelKistNFL) June 5, 2019
The original Sports Blog Nation started back in 2005 and evolved into a massive network that employed a ton of part time writers, but basically paid them next to nothing. They were earning small stipends, generally being paid in opportunity and experience, an army of freelancers who were sports fans and/or just looking for a few extra bucks on the side.
Obviously it’s a bit more nuanced, but that’s the CliffsNotes version. It’s been a big, long mess behind the scenes at SB Nation, something which Deadspin has explored in the past.
A fair contract must have equitable salary minimums —
@voxmediainc has underpaid the lower rungs of its staff for far too long. This is important not only to reward the current staff, but also make Vox Media the best place to work in our industry.
@voxmediainc, our current merit-based system means salary increases are inconsistent. This must change, with guaranteed increases that match inflation, to ensure that Vox Media can employees maintain a reasonable living wage as the cost of living grows.
We work in an unstable industry. We saw this with
@voxmediainc‘s two rounds of layoffs last year. We need a fair and robust severance package to help soften the blow and ensure that workers are fairly compensated for the hard work they’ve done at Vox Media.
It looks like some, but not all of the Philly-based SB Nation writers are participating in the group effort. Bleeding Green seems well represented. Others have changed their avatars in solidarity but didn’t tweet at Bankoff.
If Crossing Broad writers decide to organize, we too will change our avatars and publicly lobby Kyle for four weeks of paid vacation, a 10% 401k match, and a monthly clothing stipend of $500.