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HarperCollins Authors Are Turning Down Awards in a Show of Worker Solidarity

UAW 2110 logo behind a row of arms holding up books. Image: UAW 2110, Alyssa Shotwell.

Since November 10, the unionized members of HarperCollins (owned by Rupert Murdoch’s Newscorp) have been striking. Both the one-day strike and, now, the indefinite strike come after almost a year of bargaining between the members of the UAW 2110 union (representing 250+ employees) and HarperCollins. In addition to fairer baseline compensations and union protections, UAW 2110 is demanding family leave benefits and clear, direct initiatives to address gaps in racial diversity in hiring and book acquisitions.

While most of the asks are directed at reviewers, freelancers, and HarperCollins employees, many authors are speaking up and using their platforms to show work solidarity with members of UAW 2110.

Book awards & an surprise take over

As authors are being nominated for awards and best of lists of the year, they are accepting congratulations while simultaneously voicing support for the strike. However, those nominated for The Book Shimmys are sharing that if they win, they will decline. EpicReads (a part of HarperTeen marketing, which puts on The Book Shimmys) is run ultimately by HarperCollins. Members of the department are on strike, so The Shimmy is possibly using scab labor.

Some of the many, many authors nominated this year that have used this spotlight to show support for the HarperCollins workers include Aiden Thomas, Diana Urban, Skye Quinlan, Kelly Andrew, Jen Ferguson, Jenna Vorlis, Edward Underhill, Sonora Reyes, Natalia Sylvester, Dahlia Adler, and Mike Lasagna. This is a big deal regardless, but especially for those nominated who are debut authors. The news comes at the same time over 160+ literary agents signed a letter threatening to blacklist HarperCollins.

Disrupting award shows and promotional events isn’t the only way authors and those in the industry are showing support. Just two weeks earlier, Franny Choi used an Instagram “take over” for HarperCollins marketing to bring on a UAW 2110 member to speak on an Instagram Livestream. Her book of poetry was published under Ecco, which is an imprint of HarperCollins.

How to support UAW 2110

The main way to support them if you’re outside of publishing and not connected in any way is to stay informed by engaging with their social media. This includes sharing their graphics, talking about the strike at book events, and emailing both [email protected] and [email protected] in support of the strike. If you’re in New York City, you can come in person to picket at 195 Broadway.

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - NOVEMBER 15: Employees of HarperCollins Publisher participate in a strike outside the company's offices in Manhattan on November 15, 2022 in New York City. The strikers, who work in a variety of departments at the company, have been bargaining for a union contract since December 2021. Salary, and a commitment to diversity and union security rights are some of the demands the workers have presented to the company. The union, Local 2110 of the UAW, represents more than 250 HarperCollins employees in the design, editorial legal, marketing, publicity, and sales departments. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
(Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Today is Giving Tuesday, so if you want to chip in a few dollars to help sustain their strike, they are accepting check donations and supplies at the picket line. UAW is asking readers to refrain from boycotting HarperCollins titles. This will ultimately hurt authors, so they suggest (at the moment) to continue buying from indie sellers and sharing support of the strike.

(via Twitter, featured image: UAW 2110, Alyssa Shotwell)

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(she/her) Award-winning digital artist and blogger with experience and an educational background in graphic design, art history, and museum studies. A resident of the yeeHaw land, she spends most of her time watching movies, playing video games, and reading.