Image Comics Workers Have Officially Certified Their Groundbreaking Union

Image Comics Workers Have Officially Certified Their Groundbreaking Union
Image: Comic Book Workers United

After formally announcing the formation of Comic Book Workers United late last year — the first specific union to support workers within comics publishing — workers at Image Comics have voted to officially certify their union in the results of a secret ballot.

The vote’s results — 7-2 in favour of organising — were announced today in a move that officially certifies CBWU, which was formed with assistance from the Communications Workers of America. The successful vote entitles CBWU to recognition from Image Comics, which would allow the union to establish a bargaining committee and begin negotiating a contract for its members. The publisher, which was founded on principles of creators working for Image retaining the rights to any work they created, has failed to voluntarily recognise the union and enter negotiations since workers at the company announced the formation of CBWU at the start of November 2021, instead choosing to participate in the formal secret ballot process with the National Labour Relations Board.

“The workers of CBWU have been hoping for voluntary recognition from Image Comics in lieu of a redundant vote,” a statement given yesterday by CBWU ahead of the vote results via their website reads in part. “However, we remain #drawninsolidarity and are confident that we will maintain the supermajority we began with back in November 2021.”

With that supermajority now maintained, the comic book industry now formally has its first union for workers employed by comics publishers. In an industry that has been historically resistant to unionization, even as other creative and adjacent fields around it have come to embrace unions, CWBU is currently a rarity. Creative talent in comics currently don’t meet the broadcast or print requirements to unionize with either branch of the Writer’s Guild of America, and the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America only voted to admit writers of comics and graphic novelists in May 2020. The process of creating requirements for those specific creatives in the field to join the union was still underway as of the time the workers of CWBU — which doesn’t cover creative talent, but instead direct full and regular part-time employees at Image, such as production artists, sales coordinators, members of the marketing team, accountants, and more — announced their formation.

We’ve reached out to Image Comics for a statement on the vote result, and will update this post if and when we hear back.