Comic Book Workers United, a union that is represented by the Communications Workers of America and was formed by Image Comics employees, accused Image Comics of unfair labor practices in a recent claim with the National Labor Relations Board.
The union was announced in November 2021, where they claimed, “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.”
The added, “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.”
They also shared a list of nine goals to their website, one of which includes “the addition of a collective voting option to immediately cancel publication of any title whose creator(s) have been found to have engaged in abuse, sexual assault, racism and xenophobia, homophobia, transphobia, anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, ableism, etc. until such time as said creators have engaged in meaningful reparations toward affected person(s).”
Another goal is “A long term, actionable plan to address the overall lack of diversity in both general staff and management. The authors, artists, and readers who bring comics to life have never been homogenous and the stories we publish can only be improved by staffing our organization in a way that more accurately reflects the demographics of our creators, our readership, and the nation as a whole.”
By January 6th, the union announced that they won their election “making Image Comics the FIRST unionized comic book publisher in the United States.”
They went on to state, “Winning this election is only the beginning — as always, we are #drawninsolidarity and are eager to continue working together with CWA on the next steps towards securing a strong, fair, and exemplary first contract for comic book publishing workers.”
Now, the Comic Book Workers United union accuses Image Comics of “engaging in unfair labor practices within the meaning of section 8(a), subsections (1) and (4) of the National Labor Relations Act, and these unfair labor practices are practices affecting commerce within the meaning of the Act, or these unfair labor practices affecting commerce within the meaning of the Act and Postal Reorganization Act.”
“[Image Comics] retaliated against bargaining unit members and Image Comic employees for commencing R-case 19-RC-285502 and participating in the procedure for Sub-Region 36 to evaluate the appropriateness of the bargaining unit,” Comic Book Workers United added.
They concluded, “[Image Comics] has interfered with the exercise of bargaining unit members’ and Image Comic employees’ Section 7 rights by intentionally disseminating misinformation.”
The complaint makes no mention as to what exactly the retaliation is they are claiming that Image Comics engaged in, but in one of the more recent issues of Hellcop, the Image Comics employees who are part of Comic Book Workers United were removed from the office credits page.
Back in December, the name of ten employees – Emilio Bautista, Ryan Brewer, Leanna Caunter, Marla Eizik, Drew Fitzgerald, Melissa Gifford, Chloe Ramos, Tricia Ramos, Jon Schlaffman, and Erika Schnatz – can be seen in the second issue’s office credits section of the title page.
However, in Hellcop #3, the names of these ten employees are no longer present on the title page.
What do you make of these accusations from Comic Book Workers United against Image Comics?