Contact: Olga Brudastova, Local 2110 UAW
Email: [email protected]
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
HarperCollins Workers Announce One Day Strike on July 20
July 11, 2022, New York, NY__Unionized employees of HarperCollins Publishers will conduct a one-day strike on Wednesday, July 20. The announcement follows a 99% vote by union members to authorize a strike if the publisher does not agree to a fair contract.
The union, Local 2110 of the UAW, represents 250+ employees in editorial, sales, publicity, design, legal, and marketing departments. The union is bargaining for higher pay, improved family leave benefits, a greater commitment to diversifying staff, and stronger union protection. Negotiations started in December 2021 and unionized employees are currently working without a contract.
“We want an agreement with HarperCollins that will create a more accessible, equitable, and just workplace,” said Laura Harshberger, a Senior Production Editor in Children’s Books and the Union Chairperson. “We have a mandate from our members to strike because the company refuses to agree to a fair contract for the employees that make it so successful.”
The mainly women workers average $55,000 annually, with a starting salary of $45,000. Many employees cite pressure to work extra hours without additional compensation. The company, one of the top five book publishers globally, reported record-setting profits in the past two years.
The union also cites the lack of racial and ethnic diversity at the company, attributing this to historically low wages and the lack of real commitment to diversifying.
“Our members are tired of conversations about diversity and inclusion that leave the company unaccountable,” said Stephanie Guerdan, an Associate Editor in Children’s Books who has worked at HarperCollins since 2017. “We need structural change that starts with wages, union security, and policies that actually help marginalized workers thrive in the workplace. The company needs to commit to working with us as a union on these issues on an ongoing basis.”
“We have been bargaining with HarperCollins for over six months to reach a fair agreement,” said Harshberger. “Thousands of supporters in the publishing industry joined our members in signing a petition to the company urging them to settle a fair contract. We have no choice but to escalate our action by setting this one-day strike.”
HarperCollins employees have had a union for more than 80 years and it is one of the earliest unions of “white collar” workers in the country. It is part of Technical, Office and Professonal Union UAW Local 2110. Contract negotiations with HarperCollins management began in December 2021 when a one-year pandemic extension of the contract was set to expire. Currently, HarperCollins is the only major book publisher in the U.S. to be unionized, though book publishers in other countries have unions.
Local 2110 UAW also represents workers at the Museum of Modern Art, the Guggenheim, the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Columbia University, Film Forum, Teachers College, ACLU, Center for Reproductive Rights, The New Press, and many more. The union has a reputation for aggressive organizing and bargaining and progressive politics.