More than 150 literary agents have signed an open letter to the leadership of HarperCollins, in support of the HarperCollins Union strike. They have vowed not to submit work until the strike is resolved. It reads:
We, the undersigned literary agents, are writing to express our support for the HCP Union, now on strike since November 10. We and our clients have benefited greatly from the passion and expertise of HarperCollins’ staff, and we stand with them in their demands for a living wage, a more equitable and diverse workplace, and stronger union protections. Until an agreement is reached and the strike ends, we will not be submitting new projects to HarperCollins beyond those already under contract.
While many consider publishing to be a labor of love, we agents know how quickly that labor can lead to burnout, tension, missed opportunities for advancement, and mistakes. It is time our industry acknowledges the climate in which entry and junior-level employees now work and live. This generation of rising publishing professionals must contend with student loan debt, the rising cost of living, and the barriers inherent in working long hours without adequate compensation. These employees, many of whom bring with them the diverse viewpoints our industry lacks, have been essential to the production of the books we are so proud of. A successful HarperCollins, and a successful publishing industry, relies on our friends on the picket line, and so we stand in solidarity with them and ask that HarperCollins return to the bargaining table and grant them a fair contract. In the meantime, we will omit HarperCollins editors from our submission lists.
As advocates for our clients, we do not make this commitment lightly. Numerous books have been ushered into the world, with great success, due to the HarperCollins team, and we know there are many more to come. We hope an agreement can be swiftly reached so that we can all get back to doing the work we do best with our friends and colleagues at HarperCollins.
The letter is signed by members of KT Literary, Andrea Brown Literary Agency, Barry Goldblatt Literary, BookEnds Literary Agency, Donald Maass Literary Agency, Howard Morhaim Literary Agency, JABberwocky Literary Agency, Liza Dawson Associates, Root Literary, Sanford J. Greenburger Associates, The Bent Agency, The Knight Agency and many more. For a complete list, and more details, see the letter.
The employees of HarperCollins have been unionized for over 80 years, and are part of Technical, Office and Professional Union UAW Local 2110. They have been negotiating with management since December 2021, and have been working without a contract since April 2022, according to the union. They seek “higher pay, a greater commitment to diversifying staff and stronger union protection.” They have been on strike since November 10, 2022.
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