Seven Seas Entertainment workers form the first manga-related alliance

An image of the Seven Seas Entertainment logo on a black sailboat next to the United Workers of Seven Seas sticker on a cat wearing an eye patch.

The image: Seven Seas Entertainment / United Workers of Seven Seas / Kotaku

Last week the workers in Seven Seas Entertainment, a Los Angeles-based publishing company that sells licensed manga, web comics and light novels from Japan, has formed the United Workers of Seven Seas Alliance. The union claims that Seven Seas employees and freelancers are “overworked” and “underpaid”. But the company refuses to voluntarily recognize the union.

Since its founding in 2004, Seven Seas Entertainment has become the “number one independent publisher” in the world thanks to the licensing of popular manga such as Come on, Dark, The devil’s grimoire and as an LGBTQ +-oriented manga Bloom In You and My lesbian experience with loneliness. While the success of Seven Seas, especially during covid, has led to an increase in staff from 10 to 40, UW7S says it has also allowed employees to “embrace” the company’s growing pain without receiving “benefits that would otherwise be” typical of the publishing industry ‘.

On UW7S ‘ website, union workers listed their goals, the main ones being benefits such as health care and paid leave, UW7S policies claim that Seven Seas has no policy for, nor does it offer such benefits in its contracts. Other union goals include a reasonable workload, increased wages and protection for freelancers.

“We work closely with Communications Workers of America (CWA), which has helped organize and represent other workers in the entertainment and publishing industry,” UW7S said on its website. “As a union, we strive to negotiate better working conditions for both Seven Seas employees and the many freelancers who make this company what it is.”

In response to UW7S, Seven Seas released a statement to Anime news network on Saturday, saying it would not voluntarily recognize UW7S.

“We respect the rights of our employees to choose or not to elect a union. Although we were asked by a number of employees to voluntarily confess [Communications Workers of America] as their legal representative – without [a National Labor Relations Board] elections – we have decided to respect the right of all eligible officials to vote on this issue, “said a statement from Seven Seas.

The company said it had already notified the National Labor Council of the upcoming election, adding that it believed more employees would be affected than those who had requested voluntary recognition, but did not specify how.

my box turned to Seven Seas for comment.

Today on Twitter UW7S said that Seven Seas Publishing is using the time between elections to rent “disintegration of trade unions “ Ogletree Deakinswhich according to Business Insiderwas accused of holding PowerPoints against “fear of fear” unions amid IKEA’s efforts to unite workers in 2015.

Despite his frustration with Seven Seas’ refusal to voluntarily recognize the union and hire Ogletree Deakinssaid UW7S my box he is confident that he will eventually win recognition, even if Seven Seas forces the issue to run for NLRB.

“We already have 32 of the 41 eligible members with signed union cards,” UW7S said my box “And we firmly believe that unionization is the best way to ensure fair treatment of all freelancers and employees, as well as the continued success of the company as our industry continues to thrive.”

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