Stephanie Guerdan started working in the children’s books division of HarperCollins Publishers six years ago. It was a dream job, but not a dream salary. A salary of $33,500 (£28,750) a year was well below what one could live on in New York City, but Guerdan would not ask for more. I was afraid,” they said. “The publishing industry is really the industry where people say, ‘If you don’t want this, he’s got 500 people in line behind you.'”
Publishing has been known for decades for its low wages and overwhelmingly white staff. workers are fed up and are allowing indefinite strikes. On the sunny morning of November 10th, work was interrupted in our downtown Manhattan office. Employees like Gerdan, a union clerk, spilled into the streets to picket.
Olga Brudastova, president of Local 2110 United Auto Workers, the union in which HarperCollins workers are members, said:
More than 250 HarperCollins employees are unionized, including employees in editorial, sales, public relations, design, legal and marketing departments. The strike was approved by 95.1% of the vote last month. This is the result of 11 months of negotiations with HarperCollins management over his new contract and his one-day strike that occurred on July 20.
According to the union, the company’s average salary is $55,000 a year, and the majority of its employees are women. Rupert Murdoch’s Newscorp-owned HarperCollins posted record profits in 2021.
“We want to stay home as long as necessary,” said Guerdan. “After about a week, the company will really feel that we have lost all of our vital workforce. I don’t think you know what to do with them.'”
HarperCollins strike follows nationwide surge Support for trade unionswhich is 71%, the highest since 1965.
A company spokesperson said in a statement: We are disappointed that no agreement has been reached and will continue negotiations in good faith. ”
The author, published by the company, took to Twitter to express support for the strike. “Unlivable wages and intolerable conditions lead to burnout and turnover.” I have written Romance author Allie Serrin. “I support fair contracts for workers.” Artist and graphic novelist Bree Paulsen murmured: “@hcpunion provides my full support.”
Laura Hershberger, senior production editor at HarperCollins Children’s Books and union unit chair, worked in the publishing industry well into her twenties by living with her parents and running a retail business as a side business. “I was freelancing, on average, five to ten hours a week. This meant that my day job didn’t earn enough to live on.” It helped me supplement the facts,” she said.
Harshberger met a partner who works in the publishing industry. When her partner left the industry, she quickly doubled her salary. “Because of her, I can now continue my publishing work,” said Hershberger. “It doesn’t feel good. That’s the privilege aspect. It shouldn’t be just people with wealthy partners and parents who can stay in the industry. If you’re not paying people fairly, , it narrows our view of who makes the decisions about the books we publish.The reader loses out on it, and so does the company.”
Picket line staff said they were both nervous and anxious. They led chants and encouraged passing drivers to honk their horns and cheer. Others held up protest signs making fun of more famous titles, including a Maurice Sendak-inspired “Where The Wild Things Are Underpaid” banner and a quote from a children’s book written by Laura Numeroff. fair deal. ”
During a brainstorming session in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park, workers gathered to create signs. “What we do is challenging and very scary, but when we all come together, it finally feels good,” he says. “We feed on each other’s energy. We’re all smart, talented people, so sometimes that’s reflected in our signs.”
https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2022/nov/10/harpercollins-union-strike-publishing HarperCollins Unionists Go On Strike ‘Where Possible’ Over Wages | US Trade Unions