HarperCollins workers approve potential strike

Jul 5, 2022, 11:15 AM | Updated: 1:00 pm

The union representing more than 250 HarperCollins workers says those employees have overwhelmingly voted to strike if the publisher doesn’t meet contract demands.

The United Auto Workers Local 2110 said that 99% of the workers, mostly women, voted to authorize a strike in a bid to secure better pay and benefits, additional diversity and stronger union protection. The union said it will announced a deadline for an agreement soon.

The employees work across editorial, sales, publicity, design, legal, and marketing departments.

Workers say their average salary of $55,000 is not enough to keep up with inflation nor meet the cost of living in the cities where they work. The union says annual salaries start at $45,000.

“Most of us earn low salaries that are unlivable in major cities like New York and Boston,” said Laura Harshberger, a senior production editor and the union chairperson. “Our compensation doesn’t reflect our education and skills, or our contributions to the financial success of the company.”

HarperCollins is based in New York City.

UAW Local 2110 wants HarperCollins to include in the bargaining unit employees from the Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Books and Media division, which it acquired just over a year ago. It also wants the company to recognize the seniority of New York staff brought over from HMH.

The union said the lack of racial and ethnic diversity at HarperCollins has contributed to “historically low wages.”

News Corp., which owns HarperCollins, said the publisher posted record profit in fiscal 2021. News Corp. reports full-year 2022 financial results early next month.

A spokesperson for HarperCollins said the publisher does not comment on negotiations, which began late last year when a one-year pandemic extension of the contract was about to expire.

The union says HarperCollins employees have had a union for 80 years and is the only major book publisher in the U.S. to be unionized.

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HarperCollins workers approve potential strike