After three months on strike, unionized HarperCollins employees will return to work on Tuesday, February 21, after voting 194-10 to ratify a labor agreement with the publisher that includes a higher minimum salary and new benefits.
“We are pleased that the agreement was ratified," HC said in a statement. "We are excited to move forward together.”
According to Local 2110 of the UAW, the union that represents unionized HarperCollins employees, the contract "achieves improved compensation and benefits, including higher minimums, guaranteed annual increases for everyone rated above 'unsatisfactory,' two hours of overtime without approval for lowest paid employees, improved union rights with release time during work hours, paid time to participate in the joint labor-management committee and company’s diversity initiatives, improved paid time off, and ability to continue to work remotely until July 1."
About the terms of the contract, Local 2110 UAW president Olga Brudastova said that employees "are very proud of this agreement."
"Our members fought tooth and nail for every letter of it and the result goes beyond the many improvements we've won in this contract," she said. "I am confident this will lead to a long-lasting change in work culture at HarperCollins and perhaps in publishing at large."
The hope is to show publishing employees that they have more options beyond just "stick it out or leave" explained Brudastova. "There is now a third option of collective action and standing up together for what is right."
Negotiations between HarperCollins and its employee union began December 2021, with unionized employees worked without a contract from April 2022 until walking out in protest on November 10, 2022.
The HarperCollins Union represents more than 250 employees in editorial, sales, publicity, design, legal, and marketing departments at the top publisher. Currently, HarperCollins is the only major book publisher in the U.S. with a union.
This article has been updated with further information.