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Comics Union Files Against Image Comics Over "Groundless Discipline"

Members of Comic Book Workers United, have filed Unfair Labor Practice charges against their employer Image Comics.

Members of Comic Book Workers United, the first ratified comic book employee union in the USA, as previously covered by Bleeding Cool, have filed Unfair Labor Practice charges against their employer Image Comics with the National Labor Relations Board in response to what they describe as "capricious disciplinary actions, and targeted changes to job descriptions, alleging anti-union discrimination." This seems to mean that the CBWU accuse Image Comics of treating its members unfairly, and introducing work measures designed to make employees and eligible for dicspline from Image Comics, and such measures have increased, without notificating union represention.

Comic Book Workers United
Image Comics – Comic Book Workers uniter logos

The CBWU states the following; "Workers at Image Comics organized with the Communications Workers of America in November 2021 and ratified their contract—a first in the industry—in early March 2023. Workers had hoped Management at Image Comics would meet them at the highroad in working to build an inclusive company culture that respects the rights of workers. However, since the contract was ratified, the work environment at Image has become increasingly hostile, and has included:

  • Increasingly frequent and arbitrary disciplinary actions, while failing to give appropriate notification to Union Representatives;
  • A series of unilateral changes and discriminatory reductions in job descriptions of Union supporters;

"CBWU members have done their utmost to show through our actions that the intention behind organizing was to support each other and to continue bringing the highest level of professional care to the work of our creators. The deleterious results of these violations of federal labor law have left CBWU no choice but to again file ULP charges. Workers had previously filed charges:"

  • 8(a)(3) Changes in Terms and Conditions of Employment
  • 8(a)(1) Concerted Activities (Retaliation, Discharge, Discipline)"

Image Comics representatives did not reply to enquiries made by Bleeding Cool last night. The charges being claimed against Image Comics are below.

Violation of section 8(a)(1) of the National Labor Relations Act: Coercive Rules

  • Image created a work rule barring solicitation of other employees or dissemination of literature during work hours. CBWU believes this to have been a discriminatory effort to discourage and restrict the ability of Union members to engage in protected organizing activity.

Violation of section 8(a)(5) of the National Labor Relations Act: Refusal to Bargain/Bad Faith Bargaining

  • Image unilaterally implemented a new work procedure and initially rolled it out in a non-uniform fashion. The procedure was rolled out at different times, among different employees, with different instructions being given to different workers within the Bargaining Unit. The company refused requests to communicate with the Bargaining Committee over this change prior to implementation. Image Comics managers also misled certain employees to believe that this new policy was mandatory for all Union workers, but this is demonstrably false. The disorganization of the staggered rollout, despite being a clear failure on the part of Management, was used as a pretense for Management to issue more groundless discipline.
  • Disciplinary actions have increased exponentially, with insufficient justification, lacking a full and fair investigation, without notification of the Union, and without the opportunity of having a Union Representative present. Union Representatives have yet to receive a single formal notice of any disciplinary actions.

Violation of Section 8(a)(3) of the National Labor Relations Act: Changes in Terms and Conditions of Employment

  • Image unilaterally implemented a change which only materially affected 1 employee –  an elected member of CBWU's Bargaining Committee.

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Rich JohnstonAbout Rich Johnston

Founder of Bleeding Cool. The longest-serving digital news reporter in the world, since 1992. Author of The Flying Friar, Holed Up, The Avengefuls, Doctor Who: Room With A Deja Vu, The Many Murders Of Miss Cranbourne, Chase Variant. Lives in South-West London, works from Blacks on Dean Street, shops at Piranha Comics. Father of two. Political cartoonist.
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