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Writer Wednesday: Update on the Harper Collins Union

Hello Authors and Welcome to another #WriterWednesday. Today, we get to finally celebrate some good news. Tuesday, February 21st, 2023, those Harper Collins employees on strike were able to return to work after the Union negotiated a contract with the company.

The thread of highlights includes a guaranteed starting wage of $50k by 2025, and $47,500 for 2023. New wage structure to make sure employees can earn up to $50k this year and are paid for overtime, $1500 ratification bonus for everyone on the bargaining team and guaranteed annual raises for everyone who is satisfactory or better in their performance review.

The union also made itself stronger, electing more stewards and securing the time to attend union meetings. Harper Collins will now distribute a union welcome packet and membership card to new employees.

The contract established a joint Labor/ Management committee to meet monthly or as needed and discuss the needs of employees with company leadership, while ensuring this committee's time and efforts were paid through wages.

There is more, including securing holiday pay for President's Day and Juneteenth, securing one paid Volunteer Day for employees to volunteer at a non-profit or charity, and an extension of the 'return to office' date to July 1st 2023 so employees can continue to work remotely if needed.

This is a huge win for the union, and honestly for Harper Collins. Improvements to employee livelihood and pushing for diversity within the company shouldn't have been such a hard fought battle but it was and the union took strides to make sure employees remained protected moving forward. This is the very purpose of unions and why so many corporations are trying to break them up. The fact that Harper Collins did come to the negotiating table in the end gives hope for unions moving forward and that better conditions can be fought for.

Not all the news is stellar. While Harper Collins did eventually come to the negotiation table, they still plan to reduce their North American workforce by 5% through layoffs and attrition by the end of June, citing a drop in revenue of 11% and earnings of 54% in the first fiscal quarter of 2023. Most major publishers did report a decline after 2021, which was one of their best sales years in recent memory. How this will play out with those employees returning to work is yet to be seen.

For now, this is still a big win for employees and the union will continue to fight for them.

Resources & Further Reading

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