NEW YORK — More than 150 workers on strike against HarperCollins and their supporters held an enthusiastic protest in front of Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp — the parent company of the publishing house — Jan. 18, the 50th day some 200 workers, hourly employees in editorial, sales, publicity, design, legal and marketing, have been on strike. They are fighting for higher pay and union security.
Chants of “One: we are the union; two: a little bit louder; three: we’re out here fighting — for our contract”; “What’s outrageous? No pay raises”; and “People power, workers power, union power” rang out. Another rally is set for Feb. 2.
“We have a right to earn a living wage and decide on our union structure,” Laura Harshberger, a senior production editor and chair of the bargaining unit in United Auto Workers Local 2110, said, welcoming people to the rally. “We drive their profit. We love reading and literature and books. We want to be able to work — but with dignity and for fair pay. We won’t be broken.”
Rachel Kambury, an associate editor in the nonfiction department, is a picket captain. “We are striking for the future of the industry,” she said. “You can’t afford to live in New York City on the wages we get.”
“It’s hard for anyone who doesn’t have another source of income to make it in the industry. Passion doesn’t pay the rent,” said Deanna Bailey, who works in marketing. The publishing companies claim your first 10 or so years is basically an apprenticeship.
Hundreds of agents and authors are honoring the strike and withholding submissions to HarperCollins. Some of them joined the rally.
On Jan. 26 the UAW and the bosses agreed to federal mediation in hopes of resolving outstanding issues.