Former employees of IBT Media, which owns International Business Times (IBT) and Newsweek, among other publications, are expressing their anger with IBT Media’s business practices on Twitter.
Some of those former employees have accused the organisation of giving out insufficient severance packages and questioned its alleged ties to a religious institution, which were revealed in a series of reports in 2014.
At the end of June, IBT Media laid off 32 journalists, reducing the size of the IBT newsroom by more than half. Cuts were made to the international, business, technology, media, and culture desks, among others. Only 23 employees remained after the cuts.
The company’s decision came after repeated assurances from management that IBT Media was in strong financial standing, according to the employees, leaving staff caught entirely off guard.
Tension between employees and company management heated up further when IBT decided to expand its team in Bangalore after making massive cuts to the New York office.
Owen Davis, the publication’s former finance and Wall Street reporter, accused the company of offering “awful” severance packages to laid-off employees, while making large donations to Olivet University, a religious college tied to IBT Media in 2014.
Erin Banco, a former international affairs writer at IBT, details her experiences covering stories abroad while employed at the company.
Aric Suber-Jenkins, another former reporter, accused the company of refusing to pay for travel expenses.
Cole Stangler, who covered labour and the workplace for the publication, touched upon the experience of working for a company whose founder advocates the belief that there is a “cure” for homosexuality, according to a Facebook post published by The Guardian.
Ned Resnikoff, another former IBT reporter, also blasted the company for its lack of communication regarding benefits for laid off employees.
IBT’s business practices were questioned as far back as 2014, when nine former and current IBT employees told the Columbia Journalism Review they were only paid once a month, which violated New York labour laws.
“In general, the Labour Law specifies how often a covered employee is to be paid. Manual workers need to be paid weekly while clerical, and most other employees, can be paid semi-monthly. The only employees that can be paid on a monthly basis are commission salespersons,” a spokesperson for the New York state Department of Labour told CJR at the time.
Also the subject of scrutiny were the company’s ties to David Jang, a controversial religious leader, as well as Olivet University, the college he founded.