UPDATE 11/5: Image Comics released a second statement on the formation of a union by its employees, revealing that they have chosen not to recognize it voluntarily and that a formal vote on its formation will take place. If Image had chosen to voluntarily recognize the union, they likely would have entered into mediation to work out the details. Since they have chosen to force a vote on the issue, it will require a majority of their employees to vote in favor of forming the union. In this case, Image will be legally bound to recognize the union. Their most recent statement reads as follows:
Earlier this week, the Communications Workers of America (CWA) filed a representation petition with the National Labor Relations Board asking for a secret ballot election so that eligible Image Comics office staff can determine s ‘they want the CWA to represent the NLRB is currently reviewing this petition to determine when this election will take place, where it will be held and who can vote … Everyone at Image is committed to working throughout this process, and are confident that resolving these efforts will have positive long-term benefits. ”
UPDATE 11/2 with the statement from Image Comics: “Image has always believed in the fair and equitable treatment of staff and has always strived to support employees to the best of our ability in their employment.”
The original story follows below …
Image Comics staff have announced that they have formed a union called Comic Book Workers United. The announcement was made on Twitter earlier today, with a summary and a link to their new website, which has a list of goals for the union. This is the first time that a large modern comic book publisher has had its employees unionized. The new union’s goals include pay and workload transparency, ongoing remote working options for employees, an action plan to address the lack of diversity, and the addition of a collective voting option. to immediately cancel the publication of any title whose creator (s) have been found to have engaged in abuse, sexual assault or bigotry.
“For years, comic book publishing workers have watched our professional efforts to support creators and delight readers,” says the Comic Book Workers United website. “Unfortunately, we also observed that the same work was 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 had to shoulder even more workloads. larger with fewer resources. Our workforce, as well as the comic book and publishing industry as a whole, is overtaxed and undervalued. This hurts not only staff, but also creators whom we are paid to serve and to the public whom they in turn work to entertain. ”
“We love what we do,” the opening statement from Comic Book Workers United continued. “But loving what you do doesn’t mean you can’t or shouldn’t ask for improvements in your working conditions. It is with that in mind and with great hope for the future of Image Comics and the future. ‘comic book industry itself that we announce our intention to form a union and ask for voluntary recognition. ” The website also notes that the organizers looked to the founders of Image for inspiration, referring to their choice to found Image at the height of their popularity rather than continuing to work for DC or Marvel. In addition, they noted that Image founder and former publisher Jim Valentino had recently spoken out in favor of unions on Facebook, which was cited as “the moment [union organizers] knew it could work “on their webpage.
Now that a union has been formed, Image management can choose to voluntarily recognize the union and enter into collective bargaining, or they can demand that a majority of employees sign union support cards. Once a majority of eligible employees have signed voter support cards, they are then sent to the National Labor Relations Board which then holds a formal vote.
In particular, Comic Book Workers United only represents the staff of Image Comics and not the creators of specific comic book series. Comic book creators are generally classified as independent contractors, who currently cannot organize into a union in the United States.
At the time of going to press, Image Comics management has not formally responded to the formation of Comic Book Workers United.