Employees at Drawn & Quarterly, the Montreal-based literary graphic novel publisher, and its sister bookstores have been certified as a union by the Administrative Labor Tribunal of Quebec, under Canada's Fédération du Commerce of the Confédération des Syndicats Nationaux.
"We welcome the workers of Drawn & Quarterly. The Federation is proud to welcome such a committed group among its ranks," said Serge Monette, v-p of the Fédération du commerce, in a statement. "They make Drawn and Quarterly the essential institutions that they are."
D&Q employs roughly 15 workers across the publishing house and two bookstores, a representative for the Federation told PW. In Quebec, unlike in the U.S., the Tribunal Administratif du Travail, its labor board, automatically recognizes any union that has a majority of workers sign union cards.
According to a press release issued by the union, the workers "seek to foster transparent and reciprocal lines of communication between employees and employers, as well as secure a more active, consultative role in their employment conditions." The release notes that D&Q's workers "admire and commend their employers' dedication to compensating artists above current industry standards," and that the union "appreciates that D&Q empowers its employees to make substantive decisions that impact the selection of titles published and stocked."
While "working with the publishing team and D&Q authors is a joy," one publishing assistant, commenting under condition of anonymity, said in a statement, "we often work long hours and engage with the comics industry outside of our jobs because we are passionate about bringing excellent comics to readers without additional compensation. While there are lots of opportunities to take on more responsibilities and learn more skills in the publishing office, there are rarely paths to promotion for assistants. It's hard to see or commit to a future if there are not transparent conversations about what all our learning and acquired skills might lead to."
Drawn & Quarterly did not respond to request for comment before press time.
D&Q was founded in 1990 in Montreal, and over the ensuing three decades grew into one of the most respected publishers of literary graphic novels in North America, publishing such creators as Lynda Barry, Michael DeForge, the late manga artist Yoshihiro Tatsumi, Adrian Tomine, and Chris Ware. The publisher also has two bookstores, Librairie Drawn & Quarterly and La Petite Librairie D+Q, both in Montreal. Since 2015, it has been led by publisher Peggy Burns and her husband, executive editor Tom Devlin, following a decision by founder Chris Oliveros to step down and focus on his own work as a cartoonist.
This article has been updated with further information.