Seven Seas Will Not Voluntarily Recognize its Union. Puts it to a vote.

Last week news broke that the staff of Seven Seas Entertainment were making moves to unionize. Dubbed United Workers of Seven Seas (UW7S), 32 of the 41 eligible members have signed union cards. Seven Seas had the option of voluntarily recognizing the union or forcing a vote. They manga publisher has decided on the latter and have hired the anti-union/union busting firm Ogletree Deakins to guide them.

In a statement, Seven Seas said:

We respect the rights of our employees to choose or not choose union representation. While we have been requested by a number of employees to voluntarily recognize the CWA as their legal representative—without an NLRB conducted election—we have decided to respect the right of all eligible employees to vote on this issue. Since unionization would affect more members of staff than those who have already come forward, an election will ensure that everyone has the opportunity to learn about their rights and the details of this process before they cast their vote through a governed process.

We have notified the NLRB that we are prepared to move forward with an election among an appropriate unit of employees, and we will, of course, abide by the outcome of the election.

 United Workers of Seven Seas (UW7S)

Seven Seas has said they have notified the National Labor Relations Board of the upcoming election, the next step for the formation of the union. More interesting Seven Seas also stated they believe more employees than those who requested voluntary recognition will be affected but didn’t go into details about that.

With 32 of 41 eligible individuals having signed union cards, the likelihood of the votes needed to form the union is high and Seven Seas is pushing off the inevitable. All that’s needed is a simple majority to be successful.

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.

In January of this year, Image Comics staff voted to unionize and have since filed a complaint over retaliation. In comparison, staff at Paizo Publishing, a game publisher, unionized in late 2021 and was immediately recognized by Paizo.