Earlier in the week, the newly unionized editorial staff at Harper's wrote a letter to their publisher, John "Rick" McArthur. They were protesting the impending layoffs of literary editor Ben Metcalf and "Harper's Index" editor Ted Ross. In order to find an alternative to losing the popular workers, the union suggested a fund-raising drive. "Editorial costs can only be cut so far without damaging the quality of the publication," they wrote. "Because we do not wish to see such a venerable institution decline, we further ask you to explore fundraising options adopted by other not-for-profit publications and open the magazine's foundation to monies other than your own." According to the union, McArthur, who has already lost millions keeping the magazine afloat, refused to consider this. His lawyers pointed out that fund-raising is a time-consuming process, whereas layoffs are immediate. The union is now trying to prove that theory wrong: They've launched a pledge drive page to try and scrape together enough money in a few days to prove that fund-raising isn't just a pipe dream. "Please pledge what you can and pass this on, with the assurance that all funds promised here will be offered, in friendship, to the Harper’s Magazine Foundation," reads the note on the page. "If the pledges we garner are refused by the foundation, your generosity will cost you absolutely nothing; if accepted, they will help to sustain America’s oldest, and finest, monthly."
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