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Image Comics workers form a union, Comic Book Workers United

Comic Books

Image Comics workers form a union, Comic Book Workers United

‘Our workforce, and the comic book and publishing industry as a whole, is overtaxed and undervalued.’

Employees of Image Comics have announced that they have formed a union under the name Comic Book Workers United. They made the announcement via Twitter, and have created a website explaining the union’s mission.

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The declaration is signed by the following names:

  • Ryan Brewer
  • Leanna Caunter
  • Marla Eizik
  • Drew Fitzgerald
  • Melissa Gifford
  • Chloe Ramos
  • Tricia Ramos
  • Jon Schlaffman
  • Erika Schnatz

The tweet thread can be found following that initial tweet above. The full thread is also transcribed below:

We, the workers of Image Comics, have formed a union.

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.

Our labor is integral to the comic book industry. It requires specialized skills, dedication, and makes quality publishing possible.

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.

This should not be radical or revolutionary, and is, in fact, a natural development for a company that started the way Image Comics did.

In the early stages of organizing, we looked to Image’s founders for inspiration. Their dreams of self-determination and more equitable treatment in the industry they loved and helped make successful are also our dreams.

We are honored to grow their legacy by taking this step to give all comic book industry professionals, regardless of title, the same rights, guarantees, security, and protections which the founders sought when they broke away from the big two to start their own company.

In fact, several months into our organizing efforts, Jim Valentino made a comment on social media celebrating union accomplishments. That was the moment we knew this could work.

Despite years of union busting and anti-organization sentiments in the American workforce, we know that Image has, at its heart, a desire to be first when it comes to doing the right thing for comics workers.

That’s why we know we will win, because our success is the company’s success.

Our success is the creators’ success.

Our success is the readers’ success.

The organization has listed nine goals on their website, including “To foster a more competitive industry as a whole”, “The creation of a more transparent company culture”, and “A long term, actionable plan to address the overall lack of diversity in both general staff and management”.

We wish CBWU the best going forward and will follow this story as it develops.

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