Seven Seas Entertainment Staff Move to Unionize
One of the bigger stories of this year is the unionization of Image Comics staffers in January. It now looks like another staff for Seven Seas Entertainment will be following them. The staffers have formed United Workers of Seven Seas (UW7S). With the Communications Workers of America (CWA), they are seeking recognition. It would be the first U.S. manga publisher to unionize. The CWA is the same union the Image staff, Comic Book Workers United, are a part of.
The UW7S website states,
The company has grown exponentially since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. But with rapid growth comes growing pains, and we, the workers of Seven Seas, have been shouldering much of that pain. We find ourselves overworked, underpaid, and we do not currently receive the benefits otherwise typical of the publishing industry.
With reported over 40 staff at the present, 30 have signed the statement on the UW7S website.
The union’s goals are:
- Healthcare, paid leave, & pension benefits
- Paid time off, vacation, & holiday breaks.
- Increased wages & transparent increase structure
- Reasonable workloads, no more crunch
- Secure employment status for all
- Protections & benefits for freelancers
- Clearly defined job roles & organization chart
- Training materials & onboarding
- A robust scheduling & admin department
- Management training for all managers & supervisors
- An end to exclusivity & anti-freelance contracts
- Anti-harassment/discrimination policies & process for submitting grievances
- Bonuses & vendor gifts
- Reimbursement for costs
- Inter-department communication
- Increase staff for overburdened departments
Many of the goals are similar to the Image staff and what’s interesting is a theme of lack of organization of procedure seems to be reoccurring.
Next steps would be the Seven Seas management voluntarily recognizing the union or requiring a vote which would be overseen by the National Labor Relations Board.
In 2021, staffers at the game publisher Paizo Publishing unionized under the CWA banner.