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Wednesday, July 15, 2020

New owner moving Deadspin to Chicago amid issues with labor union


The new ownership group in charge of well-known blog Deadspin has not been able to make progress in its negotiations with unionized employees who are currently on strike, and the CEO of the company is now moving the operation to a new city.

G/O Media CEO Jim Spanfeller wrote a letter to the Writer’s Guild of America, East on Friday informing them that Deadspin is moving its headquarters from New York to Chicago. While Spanfeller said the offer for former Deadspin employees to return to their positions in the New York offices still stands, he said the company feels it has “reached a point where our discussions (with the union) are no longer productive.”

Spanfeller said the revisions to the collective bargaining agreement that the WGAE is seeking “place virtually full operational control of the brands in the hands of the bargaining unit.” As an example, he cited the WGAE’s request that the writing staff be given veto power over who might be hired as their boss. He also pointed to the fact that freelance writer Alan Goldsher quit an hour after posting his first story for Deadspin over what Spanfeller describes as “being harassed incessantly.”

In response, the WGAE issued a statement saying C/O’s actions on Friday “undermine all of our efforts to find a workable solution.”

Deadspin staffers quit en masse back in October after longtime editor Barry Petchesky said he was fired for “not sticking to sports.” C/O seemed to want Deadspin to be a sports site and stay away from being a producer of liberal/progressive content, which sparked outrage among writers. Now, it would appear Spanfeller wants to trend toward starting fresh with a new staff.

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