Image Comics Is Refusing to Voluntarily Recognize Its Workers' New Union

Image Comics' workers want to form a union, but the publisher isn't going to voluntarily recognize them.

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The Image Comics logo, a white letter "i" with the word "image across the bottom," against a black background.
The Image Comics logo.
Image: Image Comics

Earlier this week, the workers of Image Comics announced the formation of the Comic Book Workers United, a unionization effort pushing for a number of significant changes in the workplace related to equity, accessibility, and transparency within the company. Along with a list of goals and reasons for unionizing, CBWU also publicly shared its request that Image Comics voluntarily recognize it and begin talks about hammering out a contract that would be a first for the industry.

Though Image was initially reluctant to comment on CBWU’s formation and whether it would recognize the union, the company subsequently said in a statement that it has “always believed in the fair and equitable treatment of staff and has always strived to support employees” to the best of its ability. The most straightforward and immediate step Image could take to support its employees and their decision to become a union shop would be to simply acknowledge the union, and start communicating in good faith with the bargaining committee.

Instead, though, Image has opted to bring the National Labor Relations Board in as a third party. In a statement provided to Motherboard, Image explained that it would like to hold a secret ballot vote overseen by the NLRB to determine whether the Communications Workers of America union should represent them.


“Earlier this week, the Communications Workers of America (CWA) filed a representation petition with the National Labor Relations Board asking to hold a secret-ballot election so that eligible members of the Image Comics office staff can determine if they want the CWA to represent them in their employment with Image,” Image said. “The NLRB is currently reviewing that petition to determine when that election will be held, where it will take place, and who can vote.”

When io9 spoke with CBWU earlier this week via email about the push to organize, it said that Image had not yet been in direct contact about voluntary recognition. CBWU hoped, however, that Image will come around to seeing things from its perspective.


“We are asking Image to voluntarily recognize our union and encourage our supporters to please ask them to do the same,” CBWU said. “The outpouring of support so far has been terrific, but some people may think that this is all over already. It’s only just begun.”

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