Comic Book Workers United Union File Labor Dispute Against Image
Last year, the Comic Book Workers United announced themselves as a union. Made up of the dozen or so staffers working at Image Comics, they voted by a supermajority to declare the formation of a union. That vote was not voluntarily recognised by Image Comics, but earlier this year, it was ratified officially.
Now, the union has filed a claim against Image Comics with the U.S Government's National Labor Relations Board. The legal filing claims that Image Comics has engaged in "unfair labor practices", that Image Comics retaliated against union bargaining members, and that Image interfered with the exercise of employees' rights by intentionally disseminating misinformation. No further details are given. The CBWU did not respond to inquiries, and Image Comics did not choose to comment. The filing has been recognised by the United States Government National Labor Board, which is now investigating the matter. The papers as filed are reproduced below.
The goals of the Comic Book Workers United are set out below:
- To foster a more competitive industry as a whole through salary and workload transparency for all existing and proposed job titles. Employees industry-wide should know what they and their peers are working for and what they can expect from future employment.
- Improve staff morale through annual staff and management reviews to assess performance, workload, and whether there is a clear need to expand a department, craft a new role, or increase compensation for employees who have taken on a larger quantity or more complex suite of tasks.
- The creation of a more transparent company culture through monthly all-hands meetings, so all staff can better understand both the current and future priorities, responsibilities, and workloads of other departments.
- Increase knowledge retention through the implementation of detailed record keeping and procedure documentation for all tasks deemed essential to any given role. These documents are to include detailed and explicit descriptions and instructions for all expected job duties.
- Improve career mobility for all staff through stricter adherence to the company's stated intent to offer open positions up to qualified existing employees prior to opening them up to the public.
- The continuation of remote work for any employee who requests it and the creation of a detailed policy outlining how the company provides reasonable accommodations and supplies for remote employees. The pandemic has removed the necessity for the company to pay for a central office space, utilities, etc. With employees in some cases now shouldering one hundred percent of costs that should be shared by the employer, costs such as internet, power, furnishings and other office supplies, computer hardware and related maintenance costs to work from their own personal devices, the company must outline an equitable arrangement for sharing a reasonable percentage of those costs.
- Better overall product through the immediate addition of staff, particularly in Production and Marketing departments. Our creators, retailers, and readers can expect white glove attention for all the books we publish; books which will go to press with fewer errors, fewer delays, and a more robust marketing presence due to a more strategic approach to staffing, in reasonable proportion to the actual quantity of output we generate.
- A long term, actionable plan to address the overall lack of diversity in both general staff and management. The authors, artists, and readers who bring comics to life have never been homogenous and the stories we publish can only be improved by staffing our organization in a way that more accurately reflects the demographics of our creators, our readership, and the nation as a whole.
- Renewed commitment to company values through the addition of a collective voting option to immediately cancel publication of any title whose creator(s) have been found to have engaged in abuse, sexual assault, racism and xenophobia, homophobia, transphobia, anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, ableism, etc. until such time as said creators have engaged in meaningful reparations toward affected person(s).