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Bandcamp Union Accuses Songtradr of Unfair Labor Practices

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Bandcamp United, the Bandcamp employees union, accused Songtradr of unfair labor practices in a filing with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) on Sunday (Oct. 29). 

Epic Games announced that it was selling Bandcamp to Songtradr at the end of September. Subsequently, more than half of the Bandcamp staff was laid off, including all eight elected members of Bandcamp’s collective bargaining committee. The NLRB filing, from OPEIU Tech Local 1010, argues that since Songtradr did not offer jobs to any of the committee members, the company was discriminating against workers on the basis of their labor activity.

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“I voted for our collective bargaining committee to represent the needs of my colleagues to Bandcamp management,” Rochelle Shipman, a bargaining unit member, said in a statement. “There has been little transparency from Epic and Songtradr about their decision-making criteria throughout this process, and it’s hard to see how this hiring decision could have been made randomly.”  

A representative for Songtradr did not immediately respond to a request for comment. According to the NLRB’s website, the organization typically takes between 7 and 14 weeks to look into claims.

Bandcamp workers filed with the NLRB to authorize a union election this past March. Bandcamp United was recognized in May and began to negotiate with Epic Games in August. 

After the Songtradr purchase, Bandcamp United sent the company a letter asking it to recognize the union as well as “extend [job] offers to all Bandcamp employees.” In response, a spokesperson for Songtradr said that “based on its current financials, Bandcamp requires some adjustments to ensure a sustainable and healthy company that can serve its community of artists and fans long into the future. Those that don’t receive offers within the next few weeks will receive severance from Epic as part of their layoffs as communicated on September 28.”

According to OPEIU Tech Local 1010, the bargaining committee will resume talks with Epic Games management on Nov. 9 to negotiate severance for the employees who were fired.

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