Univision Cuts 200 Jobs, Fusion Hardest Hit

Weeks after its employees voted to form a union, Univision announced its plan to lay off nearly 6% of its workforce, or up to 250 people, hitting its Fusion brand the hardest.

The layoffs, and an impending restructuring, are “in response to difficult times, challenging times,” Isaac Lee, Univision's digital, entertainment and news chief, told The Washington Post.

Univision reportedly suffered a third-quarter loss of $30.5 million, or an 8% decline in revenue.

As part of a “broader streamlining of operations,” Fusion and the Root will become part of Gizmodo Media Group, the former Gawker sites Deadspin, Jezebel, Gizmodo, Lifehacker, Kotaku and Jalopnik, Lee said in a memo. Univision acquired Gawker Media for $135 million this summer.

Lee added that those working for the former Gawker sites would not be affected by the layoffs.

However, other positions across Fusion’s business, operations and editorial divisions are being eliminated. The cuts are likely tied to the acquisition of the Gawker-related sites, which attract a young and diverse audience in numbers that Fusion, Univision’s Millennial-focused site, struggled to draw.

In the memo, Lee said Fusion will focus more on social justice issues and strive to be "a hub” for investigative work.

I n October, Fusion employees announced their intentions to unionize, after Univision recognized Gawker’s incoming union after it was acquired.

However, after organizing with the Writers Guild of America, East (WGAE) -- which has represented other digital media companies, such as The Huffington Post and Vice Media -- Fusion employees reportedly received push-back from its parent company.

Univision warned that a union would negatively impact benefits, hiring and firing and communication between writers and editors, as well as cap salaries.

Lee said those employees who had voted to join WGAE and were being laid off would be given the same severance as other union employees within Gizmodo Media Group.

It’s a tough season for media companies. The Wall Street Journalcut entire sections of its newspaper and underwent a round of layoffs just before reporting a 21% loss in advertising revenue in its most recent quarter.

The New York Daily Newswarned that a round of layoffs could come before the end of the year, if enough staffers did not choose to take a voluntary buyout offer.
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