I wasn’t aware that the HarperCollins union was on strike until about a month after they went on strike. Maybe I’m behind the times, or perhaps I’m not alone and some of you were unaware this strike has been going on since November 10, 2022. When I found out about the strike in December, I wanted to support the workers but had gotten some conflicting and confusing information. Since then, I think I have sorted things out by following the union on social media (Instagram and Twitter) and DM’ing them with a couple of questions. At least for now. After more than 50 days with no word from HarperCollins, there has finally been word that they will be meeting at the bargaining table soon. Hopefully, things go well for the workers as they are not asking for much.
Believe it or not, the most significant bone of contention seems to be the starting salary of $45,000 a year. The union is asking for a starting salary of $50,000 a year. This, considering most of this work gets done in and around New York City seems more than reasonable. It’s also important to note that many authors, big names and small, are supporting the union and their strike. My heart goes out to new authors and those that aren’t big names, but in the long run, I’m hoping things work out for the workers and therefore the authors will have better support from their publishing team.
So what does the strike mean for readers and reviewers? Because the workers are trying their best to be heard while also knowing their problems with the publisher will negatively affect authors, they aren’t asking for a full-fledged boycott. They are not asking us to not buy the books, but they are asking us to hold our reviews and sharing until the strike is over. Which means, go ahead and buy those debut authors. Read those books from underrepresented communities. Just hold your excitement and opinions for a bit.
One of the problems I ran into is not realizing how many imprints fall under HarperCollins. At one point it was also being said that Harlequin was not falling under the strike, but later I found out they are. That’s why there have been some reviews posted by me before I found this information out. The union shared this graphic regarding the imprints under HarperCollins.
I have some ARCs from these imprints through NetGalley so instead of posting my review I let them know I am supporting the union workers and will post my review once things are resolved. The books I’ve purchased previously or have from the library that I haven’t posted my review yet are also being held until the resolution. It drastically messed with my calendar I keep, I didn’t realize how many books I read that fall under the HarperCollins umbrella. But that’s small beans in comparison to how important it is for the workers to be treated fairly.
We’re each going to do what feels right, but growing up in the Detroit area and having worked in as an administrative assistant in a union hall, I believe in the good unions do for workers and will stand by them whenever it’s in my power. I decided to do this post in case there are others reading this who weren’t aware of the strike or what the union is asking from us in terms of support. And please remember, I am just giving you information I’ve picked up over the last month. The best place to go for more information is straight to the source. Their social media pages have a lot of information and updates.
**Please, if you notice that I got anything wrong in this post, send me a message. I don’t want to spread misinformation. I also don’t want to inadvertently cross the picket line.
Great post! There’s so much to learn about this strike.
Yes, there are so many layers to it all with all the different facets of the company. Makes it hard to keep track.
What a fantastic post. I didn’t know about this industrial action but will be trying to follow your example and pause reviews for HC books.
I figured there had to be at least some people who didn’t know. It’s not a flashy headline so it doesn’t get a lot of attention.
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