HarperCollins and UAW Local 2110, the union representing a group of more than 200 HarperCollins employees on strike since November, have announced a tentative agreement.
February 10, 2023
February 10, 2023: The Authors Guild welcomes yesterday’s joint announcement by HarperCollins and UAW Local 2110, the union representing a group of more than 200 HarperCollins employees on strike, reporting their tentative agreement. The agreement will raise minimum salaries for all levels of staff and provide for a $1,500 lump sum bonus to union members following ratification. It will run through the end of 2025.
We are grateful to all parties for meeting with us and the AALA on February 1 and for showing concern for the authors who have been impacted by the labor dispute. We hope the agreement resolves the union’s demands fairly, and we look forward to its final ratification.
February 1, 2023: Update on AG/AALA Meetings with HarperCollins Management and HarperCollins Union
In an unprecedented collaboration during an ongoing crisis in publishing, representatives of the Authors Guild and the Association of American Literary Agents (AALA) joined forces yesterday, January 31, in separate meetings with senior management at HarperCollins and with representatives of the HarperCollins union in an effort to urge a swift resolution of the ongoing strike. In both meetings, we explained that the continuation of the stalemate for two full months is causing significant harm to HarperCollins authors and their agents and will have long-term consequences for all involved.
The AG and the AALA stressed in both meetings that our intention was not to take sides but rather, like submitting an amicus curiae brief to a court, to advise both HarperCollins and the union about the damaging effects of the strike. Both the AG and the AALA reached out to our members ahead of the meetings to solicit feedback about how the dispute has impacted them and summarized the described experiences.
The Authors Guild relayed authors’ stories of being unable to reach their editors, their lack of any marketing support—even for imminent books and those just published—delays in publishing, and overworked and stressed editors, as well as a total lack of reviews, interviews, or events for their new books due to pressure for third parties not to support HarperCollins books. Authors used words such as “disappointing” and “devastating” when describing how, after years of working on their books and finally getting them to the point of publication, they now risk failing to reach readers due to no fault of their own.
AALA representatives expressed concerns about their members’ inability to get necessary marketing services as well as frustration with publication delays. Such delays impact authors’ and agents’ finances, causing potential long-term damage to writers’ careers and damage to their relationships with HarperCollins going forward. They stressed how weak sales performance on one book can impact an author’s entire career, since it may prevent the sales of future books and the ability to license the book internationally or option it for TV or film. The AALA Board delegation conveyed that in the recent follow-up to their December survey, anger and frustration are now dominating the discourse with deep concern regarding permanent damage to all if it does not resolve soon.
Most agents and authors who responded to our organizations’ respective surveys have supported the striking employees by deciding not to submit books to HarperCollins, and a large number of both agents and authors reported that they contributed to the strike fund. However, after almost two months, agents and authors are growing increasingly alarmed about potential consequences if the dispute is not promptly resolved. Many stakeholders in the publishing industry (which include not only authors, agents, and publishers but also editors and other vendors and employees) are committed to this industry because of their love of the written word; however, authors and agents are suffering financial and other losses as collateral damage in the underlying dispute. Both HarperCollins management and union representatives appeared to understand and empathize with these concerns.
Authors and agents with books currently in contract with HarperCollins who have not received necessary assistance or information about their work should first try to communicate with their editor, and if unable to reach them, are advised to contact senior management in the division.
Mediation is scheduled to begin today, February 1, and the AG and the AALA urged both sides to enter mediation in good faith. Hopefully they will be able to resolve this dispute and stem the harm being suffered by authors and agents and we can all get back to work.
We will keep you apprised as we learn more.
Thanks to the ninety authors who submitted comments about their experiences on Monday on such short notice. They were incredibly helpful in describing the impact of the ongoing strike on authors. We read some particularly moving comments in both meetings, but we did not share anyone’s names. We are treating all comments anonymously.
We also want to thank Council members Maya Shanbhag Lang (nominee for Guild president) and Jia Tolentino for participating in the meeting with HarperCollins, as well as the AALA board members who helped organize and attended the meetings.
Please note that the AALA is sharing a version of this update with their membership simultaneously.
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