Overall, the stated goals of the group make Seven Seas sound like a supremely disorganized company: there’s mention of missed deadlines, a need for management to be trained to supervise successfully, a lack of transparency between departments, overwork and crunch work on deadlines, new hires being “set up to fail,” and job creep… and then there’s also being underpaid, on top of all of that, and receiving no benefits. I have to ask: is the job as unrewarding as it sounds from all of this?
There are aspects we love about working at Seven Seas Entertainment. If that were not the case, and if we did not believe the company is worth fighting to improve, then United Workers of Seven Seas would not exist.
However, as publishing and other entertainment industries have shown time and time again, it is all too easy to take advantage of passion. The employees and freelancers at Seven Seas Entertainment are all passionate, committed, and talented individuals who are experts in their fields. But when we started comparing notes, we realized overwork and burnout were not just individual problems; large workloads, poor communication, and lack of structure are systemic patterns throughout the company.
Our goal is to collaborate with the leadership of Seven Seas Entertainment to make the company rewarding to work at. Our vision is to make sure everyone is fully supported and taken care of so we can fully harness our passion and talent to create quality work while combating some of the more unfortunate aspects of our industry.
It feels as if Seven Seas is basically trying to have everyone work as a permalancer but blocking the one plus that comes from that position, which is that you have the opportunity to work elsewhere at the same time. Am I misunderstanding the situation?
This is more or less the situation. That is why job benefits for full-time employees and better protections for freelancers are a big part of our union goals. We believe Seven Seas Entertainment is capable of giving its workers the network of support they deserve. We are all dedicated to the work we do, and United Workers of Seven Seas (UW7S) believes people with proper support are more productive and able to produce higher-quality output – a.k.a. better books!
Are full-time employees treated as freelancers, contract workers, or permanent staff?
The workers at Seven Seas Entertainment are a mix of in-house contract workers and US W-2 staff, plus a large stable of freelancers who work essentially on a contract basis.
Full-time, salaried W-2 staff located in the US receive no benefits, except for a couple of rare exceptions. Since Seven Seas Entertainment’s workers are situated globally, some of the full-time, salaried staff outside the US are hired as contract workers. This is a common business practice for companies in the US, but one which prevents the granting of benefits.
From what the full-time, salaried, US-based employees who make up United Workers of Seven Seas have determined, certain freelancers work without formal contracts and all freelancers lack transparent rate structures.
UW7S wants to see everyone treated as equally as possible, though we acknowledge there are certain legal realities which must be accepted. However, no one is exempt from demands such as increased rates, greater transparency, and improvements to workflow and communications.