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Posts Tagged ‘John “Rick” MacArthur’

MacArthur Responds to Harper’s Union

Earlier today we told John “Rick” MacArthur that it was his move in the war of words between himself and the union at Harper’s. Well, he might hate the Internet, but he must read us, because he has issued a reply to the writers who signed the union’s letter.

MacArthur’s bottom line: The signers of the letter must not know the facts, because he’s in favor of the union, and any layoffs have nothing to do with its formation.

As the back-and-forth continues, it’s worth wondering if the environment at Harper’s can ever recover from this, no matter what happens. A public spat between employees and employer is not something that typically yields positive results.

Check out MacArthur’s full letter after the jump – and since we said it to MacArthur before – your move, union.

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More Drama at Harper’s

We’ve been following the fight between the union at Harper’s Magazine and its publisher, John “Rick” MacArthur, since Gabriel Sherman first wrote about it. Today, Sherman says that the magazine’s union has ratcheted up the rhetoric. It has sent out a letter signed by 84 writers – including powerhouses Zadie Smith and Jonathan Lethem – that asks MacArthur to reconsider the expected firing of editors Ben Metcalf and Ted Ross. Both Metcalf and Ross are part of the union, which was created to change the direction MacArthur was taking the magazine.

Aside from asking that the editorial staff remain intact, the letter also requests that MacArthur opens up the magazine to outside funding. It closes with a “thanks for everything but you’re doing it wrong” statement:

We truly appreciate the space Harper’s Magazine has provided for our work and the generosity and commitment you have demonstrated over the past three decades. But we fear that in a publishing climate as precarious as this one, acrimonious staff relations and sustained losses of editorial experience can imperil any magazine. We do not claim to know the intricacies of the magazine’s financial situation, but it is our firm belief that its future depends on employing editors and researchers who enjoy a strong, secure, and harmonious working environment.

Your move MacArthur.