It was recently announced that Image Comics will form their own union named Comic Book Workers United. The announcement was made on the publisher’s Twitter account and came with an official statement and a link to their new website. Said website also includes a list of goals that the union hope to achieve, which are as follows; “Salary and workload transparency. Continued remote work options for employees. An actionable plan to address a lack of diversity. And the addition of a collective voting option to immediately cancel publication of any title whose creator or creators have been found to have engaged in abuse, sexual assault, or bigotry.”
This is a fairly big deal, as it marks the first time in history that employs of a major modern comics publisher have unionized. had its employees unionize. The official statement that the publisher issued along with this announcement is as follows;
“For years, comics publishing workers have watched our professional efforts support creators and delight readers. Sadly, we have also watched that same labor be taken for granted at best and exploited at worst. Keeping our heads above water was the new normal before the pandemic and since its onset we have been expected to take on even larger workloads with fewer resources. Our workforce, and the comic book and publishing industry as a whole, is overtaxed and undervalued. This is detrimental not only to general staff but also to the creators we are paid to serve and the audiences they in turn work to entertain.”
“We love what we do, but loving what you do doesn’t mean you can’t or shouldn’t ask for improvements to your working conditions. It is with this in mind and with great hope for the future of Image Comics and the comic book industry itself that we announce our intent to form a union and request voluntary recognition.”
Now that this union has formed, Image are faced with the choice to either voluntarily recognize the union’s goals and begin bargaining with the union, or they can make it a requirement that a democratic majority of employees sign support cards in favour of the union. If the majority of the company’s employees sign the support cards, they will then be sent on to the National Labor Relations Board, who will then arrange a formal vote.
Image have responded with their own statement, simply stating; “Image has always believed in the fair and equitable treatment of staff and has always strived to support employees to the best of our company’s ability with regard to their employment.”
Another notable part of this story is the fact that Comic Book Workers United will only represent the employees of Image Comics and not the independent creative minds behind specific comics sold under the publisher. The reason for this is due to the fact that comic book creatives are officially classed as independent contractors, as opposed to company employees, therefore they cannot officially organize as a union in the United States.
As of the time of writing, Image Comics have yet to make an official decision on whether or not they will voluntarily recognize the newly formed union.
What do you make of this story? Let us know in the comments section below.
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