Dear SPD Presses,

Below is the response current and former staff sent to the Poetry Workers Union on Tuesday, June 8th. It was not received in good faith, and we no longer feel the conversation happening on social media is constructive or truthful. We will be restarting our publicity programs in earnest and ignoring negative commentary. Our service is to you, our publishers, and we hope to have your support. We will provide updates once our mediation process concludes in July.


7 of 8 Current SPD Workers


Poets Union,
We are SPD workers writing to express our dismay at the recent calls to action made in our name. At this time, the Poets Union boycott does not align with our wishes or needs as workers. We are a fragile, overworked crew and fear coming forward publicly would expose us to online harassment, which is why we are writing to you anonymously. This letter has been endorsed by 6 of 8 current SPD workers, as well as 13 former staff members. (A note: 7 of 8 current workers oppose the Poets Union boycott.)

There are a few things that need to be clarified: 

Brent Cunningham was asked to step down from SPD in March. Due to his strategic hoarding of operational knowledge, it was not possible to have him immediately removed. However, since March, Brent’s involvement in SPD has been limited to a non-managerial role, essentially offloading information to ensure operations could continue. Brent’s connection to SPD will be finally and entirely severed by June 30th. 

We are a fractured organization in many ways, but one issue all SPD workers agree on is that there is no concern from staff about Jane Gregory, Trisha Low, and Andrew Pai. While many of us were harmed by Brent, it has been our experience that Jane, Trisha, and Andrew were advocates for SPD workers, who listened to us and made our labor feel valued. It is our fear that the former ED promoted staff to leadership as an isolating tactic, and we can attest that those with management titles were greatly limited in their ability to intervene. 

While the future of SPD is uncertain, we are doing everything we can to repair and transform our workplace. We are asking you to support us in this undertaking. This is no small task; it will take time and effort. Brent’s removal presents us with an opportunity to assert ourselves as workers, and to reshape SPD into an organization that serves our community and provides workers with dignity. There may come a time that pressuring tactics are necessary and if it comes to that, we hope that you will give us your support--but the call must come from us, the workers. The ongoing external boycott significantly weakens our negotiating position and lowers our standing with the board. Furthermore, without book sales and the ability to fulfill our grants, there will be no place left for us to work at, let alone anything to work on. As workers, we depend on this income. 

Finally, we want to thank you for your commitment and advocacy. We hope to have improved channels of communication moving forward. 


SPD Workers
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