Tag Archives: unions

Comic Book Men Production and Writers Attempt to Unionize

comic book menWhile a union dedicated to just comic creators has been discussed for decades (and probably be a while before one happens), the production and writing team behind the show Comic Book Men have been attempting to. The effort is being organized by the Writers Guild of America East.

Original Media is the company behind Comic Book Men, Swamp People, Inkmaster, NY Ink, LA Ink, Miami Ink, The Rachel Zoe Project and much more. In 2014, the writers and producers voted overwhelmingly to unionize and join the Writers Guild. The vote was 42 to 9. It was a part of a campaign by unions to organize writers in the reality television business. The goal is to provide the kind of benefits and working conditions writers on scripted shows receive. The claim is reality show writers put in long hours without extra pay (some work up to 70 hours a week) and denied insurance and other benefits.

Since then the WGA East has said that Original Media has “refused to bargain in good faith.” Original Media is also being investigated  by the National Labor Relations Board for “failing to bargain in good faith, and by the wage and hour authorities for stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars from their freelance workforce.” The Writers Guild has successfully negotiated collective bargaining agreements with at least three other nonfiction television production companies.

In 2013 the editorial crew of Swamp People walked off the job due to a dispute with Original Media. The walkout was due to “unfair labor practice … unlawfully interfer(ing) with employees’ rights under the National Labor Relations Act by interrogating employees about union organizing activity.”

The WGA East is currently running a campaign to have individuals post labor-friendly tattoos on Twitter and Instagram with the hashtag #InkMasterUnion to show support. Below is some suggested text from their alert.

  • Workers on @SpikeInkMaster deserve a fair contract. @OriginalMedia needs to ink a deal #InkMasterUnion
  • I have ink. I watch@SpikeInkMaster. I want @OriginalMedia to stop #Unionbusting & sign a fair contract #InkMasterUnion
  • I Support @OriginalMedia Workers right to a fair contract #InkMasterUnion

We have reached out to the stars of Comic Book Men and Kevin Smith for their comments. The show airs on AMC.

Fantasy Flight Announces Delay Due to Port Dispute

FFG-Logo-BlueFantasy Flight Games took to their site to announce the delay of numerous releases due to the dispute currently taking place between the Pacific Maritime Association and the workers of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union.

The labor dispute has hampered shipping causing delays not just for Fantasy Flight, but also Wizkids, and most recently IDW Publishing.

The following new products have currently been affected by the unloading complications:

  • Rogue Squadron cycle for Star Wars™: The Card Game
  • Fly Casual supplement for Edge of the Empire
  • First wave of Imperial Assault Ally Packs and Villain Packs
  • The Lost Realm deluxe expansion for The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game
  • Star Wars: Armada Core Set
  • Star Wars: Armada Dice Pack

The following product reprints have currently been affected and are delayed:

  • X-Wing Core Set
  • Y-Wing Expansion Pack
  • TIE Advanced Expansion Pack
  • Millennium Falcon Expansion Pack
  • Slave I Expansion Pack
  • A-Wing Expansion Pack
  • TIE Interceptor Expansion Pack
  • B-Wing Expansion Pack
  • TIE Bomber Expansion Pack
  • Z-95 Headhunter Expansion Pack
  • TIE Defender Expansion Pack
  • E-Wing Expansion Pack
  • TIE Phantom Expansion Pack
  • Imperial Aces Expansion Pack
  • The Genesis Cycle for Android Netrunner: The Card Game
  • Talisman Revised 4th Edition
  • Descent: Journeys in the Dark Second Edition
  • Elder Sign
  • Deathwatch

It is unknown when things might return to normal.

West Coast Port Issues Delay IDW Releases

IDW PublishingFor those who haven’t heard, there’s been massive issues with shipping in the United States due to a labor dispute that has slowed down, and at times shut down, the Long Beach, CA ports. The problems there have affected companies who rely on it to receive material from around the world. Wizkids and Fantasy Flight Games have both seen delays to their releases due to the issue. A strike in December delayed comics from IDW Publishing, and it looks like it’s happening again.

IDW has announced that the titles that were to arrive on February 18 won’t be making it. In an announcement they said:

Due to the ongoing problems at West coast ports, our normal shipping procedures have been completely interrupted, causing unpredictable delays. Regrettably, this has resulted in all our books planned for release on 2/18 to be delayed. We’ve looked at every possible scenario to prevent this, but the situation is completely beyond our control. We are taking steps to improve this for the immediate future, but the books and products that are currently on the water cannot be re-directed. We will be updating our weekly releases and keeping you informed as the situation works toward a resolution. We understand this is not an ideal situation, and apologize for any inconvenience this causes, and look forward to things getting back to normal in ensuing weeks.

To keep things fair, they will also be delaying their digital releases that week as well.

With all the delays, which costs publishers money, you wonder if it’s finally at a point it might be cheaper to print domestically?

Catch below the jump to ge tthe full list of titles that won’t be making it to shelves.

Read more

Listen to the Archived Broadcast of Graphic Policy Radio With Guest Tom Christopher

Monday night has come and gone and so has the latest episode of Graphic Policy Radio with guest comic creator Tom Christopher.

As an artist Tom has been involved in Fanzines, Underground Comics and the New Wave comics movement, but he is probably best known for his seven year run as inker on Marvel?’s Silver Surfer. Since then he has worked on a variety of titles from Marvel and DC including Spider-Man, X-Men, Superman and Batman. He is also a writer penning the definitive biography of Beat Generation writer Neal Cassady and documented early comic book history.

Tom recently was involved with a comic produced by IBEW Local 1245 to teach new union members about the history of the union and what it means to be a union member and we talk about that comic as well as political comics throughout the year.

It was a great discussion with lots of tidbits of history.

Graphic Policy Radio With Guest Tom Christopher

GP Radio pic MondayIt’s Monday which means a brand new episode of Graphic Policy Radio, This week we have a guest, comic creator Tom Christopher.

As an artist Tom has been involved in Fanzines, Underground Comics and the New Wave comics movement, but he is probably best known for his seven year run as inker on Marvel?’s Silver Surfer. Since then he has worked on a variety of titles from Marvel and DC including Spider-Man, X-Men, Superman and Batman. He is also a writter penning the definitive biography of Beat Generation writer Neal Cassady and documented early comic book history.

Tom recently was involved with a comic produced by IBEW Local 1245 to teach new union members about the history of the union and what it means to be a union member.

We’ll be talking about his career and that latest project as well as unionization in the comic book industry.

So join us this Monday and chat with us by calling in at (619) 768-2952 or chatting on Twitter @graphicpolicy.

Listen in LIVE! And join us by chatting with your questions.

IBEW Turns to Comics to Teach About Unions

Comics345_000Though comics might be known for their spandex and capes, they have a long tradition of being used for political and educational purposes though. The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) has turned to comics to tell the story of the hero of the “union men and women who made the American middle class.”

Local union chapter Local 1245 in Vacaville, California earlier this year published First Day. It’s a 20-page comic that goes over the history of Local 1245 and the labor movement. It’s given to all new members in their orientation packets and so far the reaction has been positive.

The comic was created by the communications director of the local union Eric Wolfe and artist Tom Christopher.

“First Day” tells the story of a new employee at California utility PG&E. The worker tells his son about the IBEW and all the good benefits that being a member bring his family, while recounting the struggles that helped create the labor movement and Local 1245.

This was part of an effort to engage younger members in new ways. This is needed as the utility industry, of which the IBEW is involved, shifts it’s demographics as older employees exit the work force and new members join. The goal is to educate this younger generation about Unions, something many have no experience with.

This is a first step though. Wolfe wants to use the comic book format in other literature like training materials.

The IBEW represents approximately 750,000 active members and retirees who work in a wide variety of fields, including utilities, construction, telecommunications, broadcasting, manufacturing, railroads and government.  The IBEW has members in both the United States and Canada and is one of the largest organizations within the AFL-CIO.

I wish they had something this cool when I joined a union many years ago and great to see a forward thinking use of the comic medium!

(via the IBEW)

Around the Tubes

It’s a new day, did you listen to our awesome episode of Graphic Policy Radio last night? No? Well you missed out!

Around the Tubes

The ComiChron – Flags waving: Justice League of America #1 sets new high marksAmerica!

ICv2 – Warners Loses One in Supes Fight Luther!

Bleeding Cool – French Creator Unions Reach A Deal Over Digital Rights Interesting stuff.

The New York Times – Miles to Go Before He Sings I now have a mission. We will get him to sing.

Bleeding Cool – Nike’s Iron Man Air Force 1 Sneakers Kind of want?


Around the Tubes Reviews

CBR – Dial H #10

The Beat – Relish

The Beat – Shadowman #5

Port Strike Delays Some December IDW Releases

In the wake of the strike that closed the L.A.-Long Beach Port last week, IDW is informing fans and retailers that some of the titles scheduled for release on December 19, 2012 will not be available for purchase until January 2 or, in some cases, January 9, 2013.

Additionally, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Secret History of the Foot Clan #1, originally scheduled for release on December 26, 2012, will be moved to January 9, 2013.

Along with the time lost by the strike at America’s largest cargo shipping complex, the impact of this delay is furthered by the holiday schedule of IDW’s global distributor. As Diamond Comic Distributors does not ship books during the last week of December, IDW will miss out on a last opportunity to get the December 19 and 26 books to retailers and fans before the New Year.

“It’s frustrating to have circumstances be out of our control,” said IDW’s CEO and Publisher Ted Adams. “It’s a shame to be unable to get these books—which were completed well in advance of their ship date—in the hands of fans and retailers. Fortunately, however, we’re still left with a very strong slate of titles to finish out 2012 and lots of great books for everyone to enjoy in the New Year.”

The strike, which began November 27, was launched by a group of 800 clerical workers on after contract negotiations broke down. Contract discussions had been under way since 2010. At issue was job security. “A particular sticking point in the talks was the employers’ demand that they not be forced to replace retiring workers or provide temporary staff to cover workers on leave if they thought it wasn’t necessary.”

Dockworkers, who are members of the ILWU local, honored the clerical workers’ picket lines which shut down 10 of the 14 terminals choking off container traffic. In a typical day, the ports handle $1.125 billion worth of cargo moving in and out of the country.

Late Tuesday, December 5, the two sides came to terms after Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa stepped in. The negotiation contract still needs to be voted on and the six-year deal would be affective retroactively, 2010, and extend to 2016.

Comics are usually printed abroad in China or other countries where printing and labor are cheaper.

Below is a list of the revised release dates for the titles in question.

Archie: Best of Dan DeCarlo, Vol. 1 TPB
Classic Popeye #5
Joe Palooka #1
Judge Dredd #2
Judge Dredd: The Complete Brian Bolland HC
Killogy #2
Locke & Key: Ω #2
Magic: The Gathering – The Spell Thief #3 2nd Print
Mars Attacks #6
Snake Eyes & Storm Shadow #20
Sparrow Box Set
Star Trek 100 Page Winter Spectacular
Star Trek: TNG/Doctor Who: Assimilation2 #8
Star Trek: TNG: Hive #3
TMNT Classics, Vol. 3 TPB
Top 100 Fantasy Movies
Transfusion #2
Transformers: More Than Meets the Eye #12
True Blood: Where Were You HC

Complete Dick Tracy, Vol. 14 HC
Doctor Who #4     
Dungeons & Dragons: Forgotten Realms HC
G.I. JOE: Cobra #20
G.I. JOE/Danger Girl #5
Godzilla #8
Godzilla: Half-Century War #4
Mars Attacks Popeye One-Shot
My Little Pony #1 2nd Print
My Little Pony #1 Complete Box Set 2nd Print
My Little Pony #2
Star Trek Ongoing #16
Transformers Prime: Rage of the Dinobots #2
Transformers: Robots in Disguise, Vol. 2 TPB
Transformers: Prime Season 2 TPB
Wallace Wood: Woodwork HC

Adventures of Augusta Wind #3
Classic Jurassic Park, Vol. 5 TPB
Classic Popeye #6
G.I. JOE: Cobra Son of the Snake TPB
Gil Kane’s Amazing Spider-Man: Artist’s Edition HC
The Hollows #2
Jinnrise #1
Joe Palooka #2
Kiss #7
Li’l Abner, Vol. 5 HC
Love and Capes: What to Expect #6
Mars Attacks Kiss One-Shot
Popeye, Vol. 1 TPB
TMNT Adventures, Vol. 3 TPB
TMNT: Color Classics #7
TMNT: Secret History of the Foot Clan #1
Transformers: Regeneration One #87
Transformers: Robots in Disguise #13
Transformers Spotlight: Thundercracker

Marvel Comics Teams With Komen. Do They Have a Progressive Problem?

English: pink ribbon

(via Wikipedia)

Marvel has announced they are teaming up with Susan G. Komen For the Cure in October for a little pink-washing to raise awareness during National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.  They’ll be sporting pink covers on some of their comics (you can see examples below) as well as including educational material  in the form of a one page advertisement as well as material on their social networks to raise “awareness” about breast cancer.

Dan Buckley, Publisher & President of the Print, Animations & Digital Divisions of Marvel had this to say:

Marvel is proud to partner with Susan G. Komen For the Cure to support their unparalleled efforts to raise awareness about the risk of breast cancer to both women and men. We’re in a unique position to educate all our fans and increase awareness of the ways to fight—and reduce– this risk of this disease by utilizing our comics and online presence.

Normally, I’d praise a company for teaming up for this type of education program, but Marvel’s teaming up with Susan G. Komen For the Cure is the latest example of their working with less than progressive organizations and companies.

In February, Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation changed their grant regulations and those changes seemed to only affect their contributions and working with Planned Parenthood, an organization that’s seems to have come under greater attack from the right in recent years.  That decision came shortly after Komen unveiled a new partnership that strengthens its ties to the George W. Bush Institute.  The reality was some of the (Republican) higher ups at Komen weren’t happy with Planned Parenthood focusing 3% of their time on abortion services (contraceptive offerings make up more than 33% of its work) and decided to ignore the 97% of their other work helping women, including education about breast cancer.

As you can imagine shit hit the fan, Komen took a dive in donations and support and they backpedaled and refunded Planned Parenthood with a rather poorly thought out statement.  The decision makers left the organization as well as some board members, but the damage was done in the public’s eye, especially for me, a progressive who has raised money for Komen and donated to Planned Parenthood. Their actions showed I couldn’t trust them.

Komen has also been accused of “Pinkwashing.”  That’s when a company or organization claims to care about breast cancer by promoting a pink ribbon product, but at the same time produces, manufactures and/or sells products that are linked to the disease. Many products that Komen puts pink ribbons on actually have pthalates that are hormone disrupters and may cause cancer. I don’t know first hand if Marvel falls into that category (I’d have to imagine pthalates are in some products they sell or have licensed though).

How about Marvel donates some portion from the sale of those comics to some worthy breast cancer prevention causes as well?

But, this post isn’t about Komen, it’s about Marvel and their teaming up with questionable organizations and companies.

To promote The Avengers, Marvel teamed up with Walmart.  That was smart in that the store is a leader in toy sales, but, they have an abysmal record in so many ways.  We could do entire posts (and there’s entire organizations) dedicated to Walmart’s record, but here’s some of the hits as provided by Walmart Watch:

  • 196,000 is the estimated number of U.S. jobs lost from 2001-2006 as a result of Walmart’s imports from China
  • The company has written hundreds of press releases and thousands of blog posts, but made little actual progress in reducing the environmental impact of their products.
  • Walmart’s health care plans fail to cover hundreds of thousands of associates. In 2009, Walmart claimed that 52% of associates were covered under their healthcare plan. The company has refused to disclose coverage rates for its 1.4 million U.S. employees since then.
  • Walmart stopped offering health insurance to part-time employees (working less than 24 hours per week) in 2012
  • Taxpayers are forced to provide healthcare for Walmart’s Associates. Hundreds of thousands of Associates and their family members qualify for publicly funded health insurance. Indeed, according to data compiled by Good Jobs First, in 21 of 23 states which have disclosed information, Walmart has the largest number of employees on the public rolls of any employer.
  • Walmart has reportedly been covering up widespread bribery in Mexico.
  • The Walmart PAC and the Walton family give big money to politicians who oppose LGBT rights
  • The value of Walmart to the economy will likely be less than the value of the jobs and businesses it replaces.
  • Walmart costs taxpayers an estimated $1 billion per year subsidizing low wages and benefits.
  • Although the company will often cite higher numbers, the average Walmart Associate makes just $8.81 per hour according to a study published by Bloomberg News. An employee who works Walmart’s definition of full-time (34 hours per week) makes just $15,500 per year. That means hundreds of thousands of people who work full-time at Walmart still live below the poverty line.
  • Walmart was the defendant in the largest class action gender discrimination lawsuit in history, Dukes v. Walmart. The plaintiffs alleged Walmart discriminated against women in promotions, pay, and job assignments. The U.S. Supreme Court dismissed the lawsuit in 2011 for technical reasons and many of the plaintiffs are in the process of filing smaller suits.

And that’s just a few highlights of why Walmart sucks.  I wonder if Marvel took any of this into account?  But then, Marvel isn’t all that great when it comes to creators that have worked for them.  You have their ongoing battle with the Kirby family, then their counter suing of Gary Friedrich (the creator of Ghost Rider) who is destitute and whose health is failing and then they scored their movie overseas avoiding U.S. unions… you wonder how “progressive” they really are?  Maybe we can ask their buddy, Republican Mayor Michael Bloomberg who they’ve worked with a lot over the years on various initiatives?

I think Marvel needs to look around and think that with their great power comes some responsibility.  Their words are great, it’s their deeds that need to reflect those more.

The “Komen covers” will appear on Avengers #31, Captain America #18, Captain Marvel #5, Fantastic Four #611, Invincible Iron Man #526, Mighty Thor #21, Uncanny X-Men #20, Wolverine #315.