As you may have seen on Book Twitter today, the unionized workers of HarperCollins are striking to secure a fair contract, livable wages, and a more equitable publishing industry.
Some 250 employees—across the editorial, publicity, sales, marketing, legal and design departments—agreed to go on an indefinite strike after negotiations with the company stalled.
As reported by the New York Times early today:
Olga Brudastova, the president of Local 2110 of the U.A.W., which represents unionized HarperCollins employees, said that the union had decided to go on an indefinite strike after negotiations with the company stalled. The union is proposing that HarperCollins raise the minimum starting salary to $50,000, from $45,000. It has also demanded that the company address the lack of diversity in its work force.
Publishing has long been an underpaid, predominantly white industry, based in a city where the cost of living is prohibitive for many. HarperCollins made upwards of $2 billion in profit last year, and is owned by NewsCorp, whose ghoulish nonagenarian overlord Rupert Murdoch is worth somewhere in the region of $17 billion. So there’s that.
The 250 striking workers represent only a small percentage of HarperCollins’s 4000-person global work force, so this is very much a David Vs. Goliath struggle, but the underdogs do have the support of a large number of prominent authors (as well as, it must be noted, an even larger number of agents, editors, and other industry professionals).
Here’s just a small sampling of that high-profile solidarity.
— Lauren Groff (@legroff) November 10, 2022
— Alexander Chee (@alexanderchee) November 10, 2022
— Daniel José Older (@djolder) November 10, 2022
— Jonathan M. Katz (@KatzOnEarth) November 10, 2022
— Frederick Joseph is on Mastodon (@FredTJoseph) November 10, 2022
very much supporting the @hcpunion strike, which starts today. Everyone deserves fair wages & fair contracts, including the largely underpaid people who work extremely hard on the books we love pic.twitter.com/IWbooSoHLX
— R.O. Kwon 권오경 (@rokwon) November 10, 2022
As an author, what I do is only part of what brings a book into the world. The people who do all the other parts deserve fair wages, benefits, and a workplace that values diversity. I support @hcpunion‘s effort to get all of these for its members. Good luck to them. https://t.co/dj2lMjT44Q
— John Scalzi (@scalzi) November 10, 2022
solidarity with the @hcpunion workers fighting for a fair contract, livable wages, and a more equitable publishing industry. if you’re able to give, here’s the strike fund pledge form: https://t.co/jbsSYfAq6h https://t.co/ou6R8Rm131
— Nicole Chung (@nicolesjchung) November 10, 2022
— Angie Thomas (@angiecthomas) November 10, 2022
authors of the world stand up, our books don’t even exist without the workers at the publishing houses and we know this. solidarity with the HarperCollins union! https://t.co/BMnvcZ5Pxf
— The Mountain Goats (@mountain_goats) November 7, 2022
— Chuck Wendig (@ChuckWendig) November 10, 2022