Bandcamp Union Accuses Songtradr of Unjust Labour Practices

Bandcamp United made the allegations in a new filing with the US National Labor Relations Board

BY Megan LaPierrePublished Oct 31, 2023

Earlier this month, Bandcamp laid off 50 percent of its workforce after being sold by Epic Games to B2B music licensing agency Songtradr. It was later revealed that leaders of Bandcamp United, the platform's employee union formed in March (and officially recognized in May) of this year, were disproportionately affected by the layoffs — and the union has now accused Songtradr of unfair labour practices in a new filing with the US National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).

Filed on Sunday (October 29), the Office and Professional Employees International Union (OPEIU) Local 1010 affiliates pointed out that all eight members of the Bandcamp collective bargaining committee were laid off. It goes on to argue that, since Songtradr didn't offer jobs to any of the committee members, the company was discriminating against employees based on their organizing activity.

"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 [via Billboard]. "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."  

As per NLRB's website, the government agency typically takes seven to 14 weeks to look into claims like this. OPEIU Local 1010 will resume talks with Epic Games management on November 9 to negotiate for severance for the employees who lost their jobs.

After the acquisition, Bandcamp United sent Songtradr a letter requesting that it recognize the union in addition to extending "[job] offers to all Bandcamp employees." A spokesperson for the licensing company responded by saying that Bandcamp required "some adjustments to ensure a sustainable and healthy company that can serve its community of artists and fans long into the future." They added that employees who don't receive job offers in the following weeks would "receive severance from Epic as part of their layoffs."

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