HarperCollins’ Latest Announcement Shows Why the Union Strike Is So Important
HarperCollins is engaged in some dirty tactics
Unions are great. HarperCollins’ employee union has been on strike since November 10, and recently it appears that there’s been some positive forward movement on that front, mainly because both sides have agreed to enter into mediation. This is a huge deal because up until now, HarperCollins has refused to engage with the union since before it went on strike. Per Publishers Weekly:
The memo seemed to strike a different tone than the open letter from CEO Brian Murray published early last month, in which he argued that the union’s demands for livable wages “failed to account for the market dynamics of the publishing industry” and the company’s “responsibility to meet the financial demands” of its business stakeholders. In contrast, Magariño’s memo said that HarperCollins is “optimistic that a mutually agreed upon mediator can help find the solutions that have eluded us so far. HarperCollins has had a union for 80 years, with a long history of successful and fair contract negotiations. The company has the exact same goal now, and is actively working to achieve it.”
I tried very hard to find a reputable source on Murray’s full comp package as CEO of HarperCollins because I am morbidly curious. I wish I could share that information with you, but I was unable to find any reliable data, but suffice to say, I doubt he is hurting for money.
Notice the date, Jan 26, because on Jan 30, HarperCollins announced that it would lay off 5% of its workforce in North America by the end of the current fiscal year. Per Publishers Weekly:
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.” He pointed to problems at Amazon as the primary factor behind declines in sales and earnings in the quarter ended September 30, but noted that a hoped-for rebound has not occurred in the current quarter: “we must pause to recognize the depth of the core issues we currently face,” he wrote, at what he described as “what he called “a critical juncture for the organization.”
Look, I know intimidation tactics when I see them, and what is this but a BS intimidation tactic to give HarperCollins a leg up when they go into mediation with the union? I’m not alone in thinking this, either:
Edward Underhill is a published author (with Macmillan press I might add.)
The union is on to them, too. The account then went on to list multiple 6 and 7-figure deals with authors HarperCollins made over the past couple of years, including Ron DeSantis.
What is it about having so much that makes you want to give so little when you’re in a position of power?
Tomorrow on Feb 1, the mediation begins, and the striking workers want to get back to work. They want a peaceful resolution to the strike. They also want to be paid a living wage for the work they do. Don’t we all?
(featured image: UAW 2110, Alyssa Shotwell)
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