Spotted at Occupy Wall Street by the Observer: employees of News Corp-owned book publishing company HarperCollins are staging a rally next Wednesday, making this the latest union action to throw its lot in with OWS.
“Employees of HarperCollins have been working without a contract for almost a year,” the flier reads. “Management wants to eliminate guaranteed wage increases, double the cost of health benefits and eviscerate layoff and seniority protection.”
It continues, “HarperCollins is a highly profitable commercial publisher and is owned by RUPERT MURDOCH, poster child for the 1%’s greed. Please join us for a lunch hour rally in support of the dedicated HarperCollins staff.”
Unionized HarperCollins employees are members of UAW Local 2110 [disclosure: Village Voice union members are also represented by that union but have nothing to do with the HarperCollins rally]. According to UAW Local 2110 recording secretary Eden Schulz, the HarperCollins bargaining unit is about 200 people. “I wouldn’t say most of the positions are in the bargaining unit, but we represent a huge chunk,” she said. She noted that starting salaries at HarperCollins are about $30,000.
The HarperCollins ralliers seem extra-eager to bring all-purpose protesters Occupy Wall Street on board (“poster child for the 1%’s greed,” etc). Speaking about OWS, Schulz said that “we think a lot of the things they’re fighting for are the same things we’re fighting for. HarperCollins is owned by Rupert Murdoch, who’s a main target of Occupy Wall Street.”
The rally is during lunch, so it’s not actually a work stoppage.
We’ve put in a call with the head of H.R. at HarperCollins and will update if we hear back.
Update 4:57 p.m.: Erin Crum, a spokeswoman for HarperCollins, sent us the following statement:
HarperCollins is currently negotiating its labor contract with the United Auto Workers (UAW), Local 2110. We are offering a very fair and competitive package, one that will continue to make HarperCollins a great place to work for all our employees. We are committed to bargaining in good faith, and trying to reach a fair agreement with the union. Because HarperCollins believes it should only bargain with the union at the negotiating table, and not in the press, we are not able to provide additional details at this time.