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HarperCollins union ratifies new contract

Feb 17 2023

After three months on strike, unionized HarperCollins employees will return to work on February 21 after voting 194-10 to ratify a labor agreement with the publisher that includes a higher minimum salary and new benefits.

“We are pleased that the agreement was ratified," HC said in a statement. "We are excited to move forward together.”

According to Local 2110 of the UAW, the union that represents unionized HarperCollins employees, the contract "achieves improved compensation and benefits, including higher minimums, guaranteed annual increases for everyone rated above 'unsatisfactory,' two hours of overtime without approval for lowest paid employees, improved union rights with release time during work hours, paid time to participate in the joint labor-management committee and company’s diversity initiatives, improved paid time off, and ability to continue to work remotely until July 1."

In terms of minimum salaries, the lowest salary, $47,500, will increase to $48,500 in January 2024 and go up to $50,000 in January 2025.

Deal reached in HarperCollins strike as publisher has another bad quarter

Feb 10 2023

After three months of negotiations and two weeks after announcing plans to resume labor negotiations, HarperCollins has reached a tentative agreement with its employee union, Local 2110 of the United Auto Workers.

In a February 9 announcement, the union said that the agreement calls for unspecified increases to minimum salaries, which currently start at $45,000. The new deal also includes a one-time, $1,500 lump sum bonus to be paid to employees from the union's bargaining unit once the contract is ratified. The contract will extend through December 31, 2025.

Macmillan and Hachette raise starting salaries

Feb 09 2023

Macmillan Publishers will increase its entry-level base salary to $47,500, effective April 1. Additional adjustments will be made to current salary bands to reflect this change. The previous starting salary was $42,000.

The change comes on the heels of Hachette Book Group's announcement last week that it will increase its entry-level starting salary in New York City and other "high-cost office locations" to $47,500.

HarperCollins and Penguin Random House have starting salaries of $45,000, while Simon & Schuster's base salary rate is $50,000.

The 250 members of the HarperCollins union have been on strike since November 10 demanding that the Murdoch owned company raise its minimum starting salary from $45,000 to $50,000; address the lack of diversity in its workforce; and provide more security for unionized workers. HarperCollins is the only major book publisher in the U.S. to be unionized.

HarperCollins USA cuts 5% of workforce

Jan 31 2023

HarperCollins, which laid off a "small number" of workers last fall, is taking more drastic steps to reduce its workforce, and plans to cut 5% of its employees in North America by the end of the current fiscal year, which ends June 30. Some jobs were eliminated today.

In a memo to employees, HC CEO Brian Murray wrote that the sales surge the industry and HarperCollins experienced during the pandemic has “slowed significantly as of late.” In addition to lagging demand, Murray pointed to “unprecedented supply chain and inflationary pressures.

HC has a worldwide workforce of about 4,000, with its largest operations located in the U.S. and Canada. The news of the layoffs comes a few days after HC said it had agreed to work with a mediator in an attempt to end the ongoing strike by some 240 union members.

HarperCollins, striking workers agree to federal mediation

Jan 27 2023

HarperCollins Publishers and the union representing some 250 striking employees have agreed to enter into federal mediation, the first sign of a possible settlement since the work stoppage began in early November.

“We are excited to have this opportunity to continue bargaining with HarperCollins and hope they finally are ready to put a fair offer on the table,” Olga Brudastova, president of Local 2110 UAW, said in a statement Thursday. “We have been on strike for over two months at this point. It is time for us to resolve any outstanding differences and attempt to reset our relationship.”

HarperCollins, owned by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp, issued a statement saying it hoped that meeting with an outside mediator would provide “a path forward.” The publisher had not met with union negotiators in months.

Who wins in the HarperCollins Union labor dispute?

Jan 18 2023

As the HarperCollins labor dispute rolls into a new year, the company's unionized employee strike is now the longest in the union's more than 80-year history at the top publisher. Since the initial employee walkout on November 10, the dispute has caught the attention of all publishing sectors, with many anticipating the outcome as a test case for how labor unions could change business operations. But for many publishing industry veterans, whether that change is positive or negative remains to be seen.

Indeed, some smaller independent publishers—mostly outside of New York City—are concerned that the public nature of the strike, with wage demands made public, is raising unrealistic financial expectations. Smaller publishing operations can't afford to match wages at the Big Five publishing companies. Moreover, despite the double-digit profit margins that the publicly-traded publishers have posted in recent years, publishing is generally a low margin business. Sales gains during the initial years of the COVID-19 outbreak notwithstanding, the industry typically has marginal growth in annual sales, and “flat is the new up” has long been an unofficial business slogan. A lengthy, very public strike only adds to the industry's challenges, with many agents and authors wanting the dispute to be resolved quickly and immediately so the industry can get back to business...

Debut author talks about conflicted feelings being published by HarperCollins while employees are on strike

Jan 17 2023

Today, my first novel is being published. It’s the culmination of seven years of work and, uh, a large number of years of dreaming of writing a novel. Publication day for a debut novel can be a little overwhelming, I’m told—you’ve got all those TV news producers begging you for interviews. (They haven’t called me yet, but I assume they will soon.) Overall, though, pub day ought to be a time of joy, if slightly nervous joy: A thing you made, and care deeply about, is finally making its way into the world!

But for me, and for a lot of other authors this winter, publication day is feeling a little bittersweet. That’s because we’re being published by HarperCollins.

About 200 HarperCollins publishing employees, primarily younger assistants and associates, have been on strike since November. Their demands are not outlandish and reflect the issues facing junior employees across publishing: They want the company’s minimum starting salary increased from $45,000 to $50,000. They want the publisher to address diversity issues at the company. They also want to ensure all eligible employees are in the union.

Source: Slate

The HarperCollins Strike Approaches 50 Days: ‘$45K Is Just Not Enough to Live on in NYC’

Jan 17 2023

When Wednesday arrives, 200-odd members of the HarperCollins union will have been on strike for 50 days, the latest action in an industry that has in recent years seen workers call for (and sometimes win) higher pay, amidst a broader push for racial equity within publishing.

The demands of the HarperCollins union, part of Local 2110 of the UAW, are simple: higher pay for entry-level employees, a greater commitment to diversifying its workforce, and an end to the union's status as an open shop, which currently bars the union from collecting dues from all employees who are eligible to join. HarperCollins, a subsidiary of Rupert Murdoch's News Corp, is the only one of the "Big Five" publishers whose workers are represented by a union, some form of which has been in place since the 1970s. (Some things never change: In 1977, the last time the union went on strike, workers held signs reading, "Editors can't eat prestige.") 

Unlike the union's strikes in the '70s, which ended after a few weeks, management today seems determined to wait out the striking workers. Recently, we spoke with Laura Harshberger, the union chair and a senior production editor with HarperCollins's children’s books division, on what the union wants, how the strike has impacted HarperCollins, and why the stakes of this strike are much bigger than just pay issues at the company. As Harshberger put it, "We believe that this is our only opportunity to make real change in this industry."

Source: Hell Gate

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