A chaser "Glow" in which I share my own perspective on the HarperCollins strike and answer an author's question about it
TL DR: the strikers' demands are not remotely radical; financing them would not be hard for a multinational corporation to do; I don't believe in "slippery slope" arguments.
On the matter of the HarperCollins strike, I don’t have much substance to add to Rachel Kambury’s excellent Tuesday guest column. Please read her heartfelt, eloquent, empathic editor’s note to authors on how her and the other strikers’ goals benefit us all.
Not much substance to add, yes. BUT WHEN HAS THAT EVER STOPPED ME FROM GOING ON AT LENGTH? Go, strikers, go.
Rachel’s being generous in her column.
She’s not noting that the strikers’ proposed pay increase involves raising the minimum salary at HarperCollins from its current $45,000 pretax to…$50,000. That’s it. In terms of company expense, it would, as publishing veteran Sophie Vershbow noted in Vulture, amount to less than what HarperCollins paid Jared Kushner in advance money for his recent book.
Mind you, HarperCollins is in a city where—according to a cost of living calculator developed by MIT—an adult with no kids can reasonably expect to live in a comfortable (if basic) manner at or after an income of $66,214 per annum.1
Fifty thousand per year in New York is not comfortable money. It’s “OK apartment with roommate and I can juuust about pay my student loans” money. It’s “I’d only have to take that second job if I wanted to start a savings account like some freak” money.
Oh, and by the way: the current average pretax salary at HarperCollins—average, not minimum—is $55,000.
Why on Earth is HarperCollins objecting to this?
Would you believe Rupert Murdoch has not called me about this yet to give me the goss? Weird. And the company’s been tight-lipped with public statements. So I can only speculate.