As unionized HarperCollins employees prepared to go on an indefinite strike November 10, a union representative said that the publisher has no plans to reopen negotiations with those employees, and instructed non-union employees not to mention the strike. Negotiations between HarperCollins and its roughly 250 unionized employees began in December 2021, and the employees have been working without a contract since April 2022.
"Late last week, the company communicated to us over email that they are not interested in scheduling more bargaining sessions and are rejecting our latest proposal," Olga Brudastova, president of the Local 2110 chapter of UAW (United Auto Workers Union), which represents unionized HC employees, said in a statement. "We now get information that management is instructing non-union employees to avoid any mention of the strike and is planning to override our members’ out-of-office messages that mention it."
In company-wide memo to employees, HarperCollins announced that they were unable to reach a bargaining agreement with the employee union, but made it known that the company has “implemented plans to ensure that operations continue uninterrupted during a potential strike.” (HC does not comment to media on ongoing negotiations.)
Recently released financials for the company's quarter ended September 30 reveal that revenue has declined by 11% after two years of solid growth. The company's earnings also dropped by 54%, to $39 million.
Last month, HC announced that an unspecified number of jobs were eliminated at the publisher to cut costs. The positions of six union members were eliminated in those cuts, the union said. The union has filed an unfair labor practice charge with the National Labor Relations Board in response to HC's failure to strike a deal.
"It is disheartening that their dismissal of employees who contribute to the success of HarperCollins extends to such extremes," said Brudastova. "We are confident that the denial will not last long, because our members make the company function on every level and are essential to the work of every department."
This story has been updated.