Welcome to the National Writers Union

The National Writers Union UAW Local 1981 is the only labor union that represents freelance writers.

Now, more than ever, with the consolidation of power into the hands of ever-larger corporate entities and with the advent of technologies that facilitate the exploitation of a writer’s work, writers need an organization with the clout and know-how to protect our interests. One that will forge new rules for a new era.

Combining the strength of more than 1,200 members in our 13 chapters with the support of the United Automobile Workers, the NWU works to advance the economic and working conditions of all writers.  Our members also directly benefit from the many valuable services the Union offers—including grievance assistance, contract advice, and much more—while actively contributing to a growing movement of professional freelancers who have banded together to assert their collective power.

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Special Announcements

06/19/2015 - 10:03pm

STAND UP FOR CHARLESTON

 The massacre of parishioners and their pastor in an historic African-American church in Charleston, SC, is just the most recent example of growing racist terror in this country. It brings to mind the bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, AL, in 1963. Then, grown men planted a bomb that killed four young girls in Sunday school. Now, a rabidly racist boy, wearing the insignia of apartheid South Africa, has murdered nine adults.

Between Birmingham and Charleston, there have been countless racist killings of young black and Hispanic men and women in New York, Ferguson, MO, Cleveland, LA, Florida, Detroit, Texas, Baltimore, and beyond. Dating back at least to the murder of Trayvon Martin, the victims have been killed either by police or racist civilians.  We are not seeing an aberration—the actions of “bad apple” cops or “crazed gunmen.”  Rather, we are seeing a revival of racist lynchings, the 21st-century version of “Strange Fruit,” which Billie Holiday recorded in the 1950’s as a commentary on black men hanged by violent white mobs.

Jim Crow and racist violence have been pushed back before by a movement of working people and youth, in the streets, offices, schools, and communities. We cannot stand by and wring our hands. We have to figure out a way to make the NWU and other unions a positive force in the fight to end this growing reign of terror, just as we stepped up to organize during the last Civil Rights movement. Think what it would mean if transit workers in the major cities or auto workers in GM, Ford, and Chrysler, walked off the job in a one-day national strike to end racist terror.

As modest as our effort may be, we will create a proposal to take action against these killings when our National Executive Committee meets next week. I also urge every NWU member to organize your friends and colleagues to take part in any national actions that are called. Let’s do our best to be our best.

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06/09/2015 - 4:06pm

To General Secretary Gamal Abdalrahim 

The National Writers Union stands with you in your call for a national strike on June 10, to protest the mass dismissal of journalists in many media, the rampant job insecurity and the continued jailing of journalists.  The ruling last May of Egypt's Supreme Administrative Court, that "striking is a crime and obeying superiors an obligation," is a violation of Egypt’s constitution and negates all international conventions on labor laws and the right to strike, which have been signed by Egypt.

Journalists here face similar threats to our jobs and ability to make a living, without facing the extreme threats of mass jailing, for now. But the trend internationally is clear and unmistakeable. And we stand with you and all of our Sisters and Brothers in Egypt and around the world.

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06/05/2015 - 11:15am

The National Writers Union and all of our freelance members want to congratulate the staff writers and editors at Gawker Media on their union victory and welcome them to the rank and file of organized labor. As workers in the creative economy, we know that all too often our work is undervalued by those who profit from it the most. We also know that the best way to share in the wealth that our labor creates is to organize.

The Writers Guild of America-East understands this more than most. Their members are among the highest paid writers in the world, because generations of writers before us did the hard work of organizing, bargaining, and even going on strike to build the foundation that today's film and TV writer's careers are built upon. Gawker writers are taking the first step in what can become a movement of digital writers that will also be able to share in the wealth that we create. We are proud to stand with you and be a part of that movement. Getting there won't be easy, but if we don't follow the lead of Gawker Media  writers and editors, we will never get there at all. 

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06/04/2015 - 7:23am

By Alexandria Faiz

The National Writers Union co-sponsored “Finding Security in Unsafe Passages” at the United Nations, where ABC’s Jon Williams served as moderator. The recent event marked World Press Freedom Day, and served to raise awareness of the End Impunity campaign sponsored by the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ).

More than 700 journalists have been killed for bringing news and information to the public over the last decade, according to the IFJ. However, only one in 10 of those cases led to a conviction.

Williams, now ABC’s managing editor for international news, once led a crisis management team at the BBC following the murder of one of his colleagues by terrorists, and the five-month kidnap of another colleague, who ultimately was safely returned.

Nearly 100 participants learned about the wide range of risks that journalists face every day. Susan Davis, NWU’s National Contract Advisor, discussed copyright issues; Frank Smyth from Global Journalist Security lead a safety demonstration; and NYU’s Charles Seife showed how confidential sources can be revealed by looking at the codes embedded in emails.

The Belgian and French ambassadors to the UN discussed their governments’ measures to protect press freedom. Besides the IFJ and NWU, the event was organized by the Communications Coordination Committee of the United Nations, and the Metro New York Labor Communications Council.

PEN America Center included the panel as part of their World Voices Festival.  The full session was webcast and archived on the UN’s website. NWU President Larry Goldbetter and I represented the IFJ as NGO representatives.

Alexandria Faiz, O.P. (@afaizop) is a writer, speaker, and business development consultant. She’s also a UN ECOSOC NGO representative for the IFJ and an NWU trustee.

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06/01/2015 - 7:36pm

By Timothy Sheard

I started Hard Ball Press out of desperation. My first four crime novels had gone out of print because either the publisher had shut down, or they had decided not to issue a paperback follow up to the hardcover.  So in the early days of print-on-demand, I began to put out my own novels, and then went on to publish those of others under my own imprint: Hard Ball Press.

My youngest son, Chris, who is an outstanding writer, inspired the name. When he was a boy, he drew a self-portrait from looking at his image in the mirror. On the T-shirt it said, HARD Ball.

I found there was great need for another independent publisher. At labor conferences, I often ran into authors who’d been rejected by mainstream publishers. They asked if I would be willing to release their books. Why not, I figured. Their work, like mine, represented a tale of social justice, which advanced our cause in the world.

From the beginning, I’ve given my authors the best royalties I can afford. They purchase books to sell at a 40 percent discount, which rises to 50 percent after they’ve bought 100 copies. I pay them 15 percent of list price for books that I sell at full price; 10 percent of list price when I sell to a bookseller or school at a discount; and 7.5 percent of list price when Amazon prints and ships their book.

I hire a freelance artist to design the cover. The author and I approve the artwork when we’re both satisfied. For a crime novel about a postal worker, I told the artist that I wanted a gun, bullets, a bottle of whiskey, and stamps. She came up with a brilliant cover; in fact, it’s one of my favorites. For a historical novel about coal mining, I paid the Abraham Lincoln Museum for the rights to reprint two images, and the font looks chiseled out of rock—a nice touch by my freelance book designer, who sets up the cover, spine and back for digital and electronic printing.

Hard Ball authors agree from the beginning to collaborate on the marketing, so we work together to find reviewers, radio-show interviewers, etc. Authors send me names and addresses, and I print and ship books. I follow up with phone calls, emails, etc., and have won some outstanding reviews for several releases. My first nonfiction book won Best Book in Labor Education from the United Association for Labor Education, and a new spiritual novel, Passion's Pride, was selected by Go On Girl! Book Club as its summer sci-fi/fantasy recommendation. And now I’ve started to publish children’s books that teach the next generation about the fight for justice.

Tim Sheard is a member of the NWU’s New York Chapter. Peruse his virtual bookstore at www.hardballpress.com

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06/01/2015 - 7:33pm

By Larry Goldbetter

President's Report: My Trip to Pakistan

More than 200 journalists traveled from around Pakistan to participate in the International Media Conference hosted by the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) and the Karachi Union of Journalists (KUJ) in Karachi last month.

The event underlined the International Federation of Journalist’s (IFJ) global campaign to end impunity against journalists, and drew attention to the 100 journalists killed in Pakistan over the last decade.

I was honored to represent the National Writers Union at the event. The international delegation included IFJ representatives from Canada, France, India, Iran, Kenya, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and the United Kingdom. Unfortunately our colleagues from Afghanistan, Somalia and Nepal were unable to attend for various reasons, including the Nepal earthquake.

Often caught in the crossfire between the military and the jihadists, our brothers and sisters in Pakistan face much greater challenges in doing their work than we do, and yet they are passionately committed to a free press, seeking out the truth, and defending the public’s right to know.

I had an opportunity to meet Iqbal Jaffri and Nasir Zaidi, two retired journalists who were tortured and whipped under Pakistan’s military dictatorship (1977-1988), and Fouzia Dahar, whose brother Shan was murdered in 2013. His killer(s) have never been arrested.

The conference opened May 1 with a big dinner on the lawn of the governor’s residence, and was attended by political and media dignitaries. The evening ended with a torchlight procession in honor of the journalists killed in Pakistan. The next two days were filled with workshops, presentations and debates. They included: “The Crisis of Impunity,” “Embedded Journalism and its Implications,” and “Gender and Media,” presented by women from Saudi Arabia and Pakistan. The number of women and young people in attendance was impressive. I gave a presentation on “Media Governance Reforms.”

We were treated to another feast on Saturday night, this one sponsored by ARY News and the ARY Digital network, and hosted by founder and president Salman Iqbal.

I can’t overstate how warmly our Pakistani colleagues welcomed and embraced the international delegation. We reassured them that they are not alone, and they inspired us with their bravery and camaraderie. They certainly deepened my commitment to international solidarity. Since my return, I have been in regular touch with a number of our colleagues through email and FB.

A couple of the PFUJ members live and work in the US. One publishes a paper in the Urdu language, which is distributed in New York, New Jersey and Philadelphia. Another works for Voice of America in Washington, DC. At least one colleague plans to visit New York over the summer, and I invited him to attend our Delegate Assembly. A woman sportswriter is hoping to cover the US Open in September.

I’m grateful to PFUJ President Rana Muhammad Azeem, Secretary General Muhammad Amin Yousuf, KUJ President G.M. Jamali, and General Secretary Wajid Raza Isfahani, for extending the generous invitation for  me to attend the conference in Karachi, and for taking great care of  me while  I was there. I’m also thankful for Mazhar Abbas, Farooq, Tahir and Jawaid, who all got me everywhere I needed to be. And of course all the brothers and sisters who made me feel at home. I intend to work even harder to convey the urgent message of the more than 10,000 members of PFUJ to our members and the broader community here in the US.

Pakistan photo: Top and bottom, Karachi, Pakistan; center, Larry Goldbetter with Iqbal Jaffri; Fouzia Dahar; banner of fallen comrades; Nasir Zaidi.

NWU SPONSORS SCRATCH ISSUE

In its first official act, the new National Executive Committee (NEC) voted to move forward with a strategic partnership with Scratch Magazine (scratch.net). This was a follow-up to the original presentation by the magazine’s co-founder and editor, Manjula Martin, at the National Executive Board meeting last November,  at which the leadership expressed support for developing a closer relationship between the two entities.

Scratch is about the business of our craft. The readers are all types of independent writers trying to earn a living doing what we love. NWU and Scratch share a general mission around empowering writers, while holding accountable the businesses that pay us.

Who Pays Writers, Scratch’s non-profit project, compiles data on pay rates and other economic issues directly from working freelancers—the NWU’s target audience.

Our next step will be to sponsor the Summer 2015 issue of Scratch, which will include: 

  • NWU logo and custom text at the end of each individual article
  • A mention of NWU in the body of the editor’s letter
  • Social media cross-promotion (Twitter once a day for the first week of the issue’s release. Stand-alone full-page ad in digital, PDF, and ePub editions)

Every NWU logo will be a live link to our new website. The summer issue will be entirely free to read, which means far more people will see it than when it is pay-walled. Free-to-read articles get, on average, about 7,000 page views per week, most commonly on iPhone/iPad apps, but also on the web. Vice presidents David Hill and Pamela K. Johnson will work with Manjula Martin on the logistics of our sponsorship.

 

 

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06/01/2015 - 7:30pm

By Lizette Wanzer

I’m re-entering civilization after a fertile six-week residency at the Virginia Center for Creative Arts (vcca.com). During my stay, I completed both a short-fiction collection, Gelatin Prints, and 75 percent of a series of lyrical essays called Jaywalking. I also read two poetry books and a fiction collection by Ha Jing, whose work has proved catalytic for mine.

VCCA is one of many artists’ retreats in the U.S. and around the world. I chose a six-week block of time—my longest residency to date. But an artist who is accepted may stay anywhere from one to eight weeks.

The bucolic, rural surroundings of VCCA enabled us to minimize distractions and sharpen our focus. Over my time there, I met visual and conceptual artists, a photographer, three composers, several poets, and many writers. Each fellow received a bedroom and separate studio space. Nearly all of us logged long studio hours daily. We also made time to play, work out, watch thunderstorms, gaze at rainbows, and share our work. Bicycles were available, as were hiking trails, and twice a week runs to town so that fellows could go to the post office, the grocery store, the bank, etc.

Though we were at varying stages of our careers, each of us was a professional-level artist working at the peak of our abilities. Often, the most memorable part of our days was mealtimes, when we sat at roundtables, exchanging encouragement, industry advice, and war stories across disciplines. I was fortunate to meet several fellows from the Bay Area, where I live, and plan to keep in touch with them.

Other residencies I’ve been accepted to include the Blue Mountain Center (bluemountaincenter.org) and Horned Dorset Colony (horneddorsetcolony.org)—both in upstate NY; Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts (khncenterforthearts.org) in Nebraska; and Playa Summer Lake (playasummerlake.org) in Oregon. These places not only look for potential residents with serious talent and a commitment to their art, but also people who play well with others in close-knit communities.

To be considered, you generally have to submit an application, writing sample, artist statement, project proposal, biography, and references. But check a residency’s website for current guidelines and, if applicable, funding information. If you’re a writer who applies to many residencies, consider becoming a member of the Alliance of Artist Communities, which sends out notifications of upcoming residency deadlines, and lists many residency opportunities in the US and abroad.

 

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06/01/2015 - 7:29pm

THE AUTHOR’S NETWORK: ARE YOU IN?

By Karen Ford

It’s time to update the Authors Network (AN), which is a benefit to any member who must arrange their own promotional tour. Authors stay with other members around the country—or even around the world—as they travel and hold bookstore signings. 

If you’re willing to host an NWU author, please send the following information to me, Karen Ford, at kaford23@hotmail.com by Monday, August 3.
 
¤ your name

¤ city & state

¤ email and/or phone number

¤ additional information (e.g. no smoking, cats, dogs, handicapped accessible, stairs, etc.)
¤ name of bookstore(s) in your area

¤ bookstore contact info, including owner’s name, if known, and email and/or phone number
 
I intend to have the information updated and on the website by Monday, August 31. If you're interested in seeing what the current AN looks like, please check the members section of the website.  Thank you—Karen.

NYC PRO BONO RESOURCES

By Sofia Castillo

I’ll be a legal fellow at the Copyright Alliance over the next two years. As part of my work here, I’ll oversee a project that will launch this fall where Columbia Law School students, under the supervision of Cravath, Swaine and Moore LLP attorneys, will provide pro bono legal counsel to individuals and small businesses involved in copyright disputes in the New York City area. The goal of the program is to teach trial skills to students in the context of copyright disputes. Please see our website for additional details on the program.

For questions or inquiries, please contact me at scastillo@copyrightalliance.org.

 

 

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06/01/2015 - 7:27pm

FELICE WINS AWARD

Community and political activist Dave Felice of Denver’s Park Hill neighborhood won an award for news column writing in the Top of the Rockies journalism competition. He came in second place for his City Matters column, published in the Greater Park Hill News (GPHN). The contest was sponsored by the Society of Professional Journalists. A member of National Writers Union Local 1981, Felice competed in the category of 10,000 to 29,999 circulation. First place went to Neil Westergaard, editor of the Denver Business News, a paper with nearly 10 times GPHN’s circulation.

FORD IN THE SPOTLIGHT

Chicago chapter member Karen Ford was the cover story for a recent issue of South Side Weekly, a local newsmagazine covering that famed Chicago community.  The interview and a review of her book can be found on page 6-7 (southsideweekly.com). Scroll down to back issues and click on the cover for April 28th. She was also covered on Clara54 Writer's Blog, which introduces new authors. (clara54.wordpress.com/2015/05/08/introducing-chicago-author-and-journalist-karen-ford)

NOVEL IS BOOK CLUB PICK

NY Chapter member Cathie Wright-Lewis is thrilled that her sci-fi fantasy novel Passion's Pride (Hard Ball Press, 2015) has been selected as a summer read by Go On Girl!, the largest African-American women's book club. Wright-Lewis’ novel suggests a link between 9/11 and slavery. When the protagonist, a high school teacher in Brooklyn, watches the Twin Towers collapse, she imagines the spirits of the Africans who were enslaved and later buried at the foot of the World Trade Center, reaching up to comfort the souls of those leaping to their deaths. The teacher travels back in time to the 18th century NY slave auctions as she tries to understand America's history of racial injustice.

A ROOM OF HER OWN

Lizette Wanzer completed an intense, 6-week residency at the Virginia Center for Creative Arts, where she had ample time and space to focus on fiction and essay collections. She plans to begin marketing her fiction project in July. www.linkedin.com/in/lyzettewanzer, https://www.amazon.com/author/lyzette-wanzer

BARKER MAKES BOOKLIST

Member M.P. Barker’s novel Mending Horses (Holiday House, 2014) has been named one of Booklist’s top 10 Historical Fiction for Youth for 2015. A publication of the American Library Association, Booklist calls the work “a skillful evocation of race, class, and gender in 19th-century New England.” tinyurl.com/kpo6nqz

ROSENTAL BIRDWATCHER BIO REISSUED

Lyons Press, an imprint of Rowman & Littlefield, is set to re-release, Birdwatcher: The Life of Roger Tory Peterson, in paperback and e-book in June 2015. In the book, I chronicle the life of Peterson, the foremost environmentalist and naturalist of the 20th century. He invented the first field guide to birds—writing, illustrating and/or editing Peterson guides to a whole range of natural history subjects. Peterson was an indefatigable author and speaker; wildlife artist and photographer; and a mentor to young naturalists. The book is the product of intense research, including interviews with nearly 120 people around the world.

 

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05/29/2015 - 3:09pm

Book TV in New York City
 
Sat. 10 am
Re-airs Sun. 11 am ET
   
Book TV provides taped coverage from the publishing industry's annual convention, BookExpo America, as well as LIVE author call-in segment with publishers and authors of current and forthcoming books. Our schedule includes:

Panel: Women and Leadership in Publishing
LIVE call-in on publishing with Jamie Raab, president and publisher, Grand Central Publishing, and Susan Weinberg, group publisher, Perseus Books
Panel: Innovation and Data in Publishing
LIVE call-in with Chris Hedges, Wages of Rebellion: The Moral Imperative of Revolt
Panel: Diversity in Publishing
LIVE call-in with Garry Kasparov, Winter is Coming: Why Vladimir Putin and the Enemies of the Free World Must Be Stopped

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Union News

07/27/2011 - 6:24pm

By Wendy Werris
Jul 27, 2011

In a move as significant for its breadth as its implications for the future of book coverage, the Los Angeles Times book review laid off all of its freelance book reviewers and columnists on July 21.

Susan Salter Reynolds was with the Times for 23 years as both a staffer and freelancer and wrote the “Discoveries” column that appeared each week in the Sunday book review. She was told that her column was cancelled and will not be replaced by another writer. “I don’t know where these layoffs fit into the long-storied failure at the Times,” she said yesterday, “but these are not smart business decisions. This is shabby treatment.”

Jon Thurber, editor of the book review, explained to Reynolds last Thursday that all books-related stories will now be done in-house, and that the decision to cease eliminate non-staffers was based on his freelance budget being cut. Richard Raynard’s popular “Paperback Writers” has also been eliminated. As children’s books editor at the Times for the last several years Sonja Bolle, who most recently wrote the monthly “WordPlay” column, said, “This indicates an even deeper contraction of the business, a continuation of a process at the Times that doesn’t stop here.” Bolle is most concerned about the shrinking coverage of children’s books. “This is a great loss for readers,” she said of the elimination of her column.

Four staffers remain in the book review section: David Ulin, Carolyn Kellogg, Nick Owchar, and Thurber. In December 2009 the Times laid off 40 features writers, including Reynolds and Bolle, but brought many of them back to work part-time. “We were paid about one-third of what we had been making, and lost our health insurance,” Reynolds says. "Then two months ago we were shifted to freelance status, which meant none of us were allowed to enter the Times building.” Thurber did make an exception for Reynolds so she could come to the office to pick up the multiple review copies she received daily in order to produce her column.

When contacted, Thurber deferred to Nancy Sullivan, the Times’s v-p of communications. “This was a cost-saving move,” she said, “strictly related to our budget.” Sullivan would not provide details on the number of freelancers who were eliminated last week. “Staff writers from outside the book department will take over for those who left. We have not changed our commitment to book coverage or the amount of space the Times will devote to it.”

07/22/2011 - 4:39pm

There was a "status conference" July 19th in New York in the ongoing Federal copyright infringement lawsuit against Google for scanning millions of books without the permission of the copyright holders.

The parties to the lawsuit asked for more time to try to negotiate a new settlement proposal. Judge Chin scheduled another hearing for September 15th, but suggested that if the parties had not reached at least an agreement in principle by then, he would set a schedule for the case to move forward toward discovery, briefing, argument, and decision of the legal issues without an agreed-upon settlement.

Law Prof. James Grimmelmann, who spoke at the NWU's forum on the case last year, has more about the hearing in his blog:
http://laboratorium.net/archive/2011/07/19/gbs_status_conference_opt-in_settlement_in_the_wor

Earlier this year, Judge Chin agreed with the NWU and numerous other writers' organizations from around the world that the previous settlement proposal was not "fair and adequate".  But Google, the Association of American Publishers, and the Authors Guild (whose membership is limited to authors of books published by major publishers with substantial advances, unlike the NWU which is open to all writers) have continued to exclude the NWU and all other interested parties from their ongoing negotiations.

The NWU is continuing to monitor the case, and will advise our members on future developments.  Backgorund information incluidng the NWU's submissions to the court is available from the NWU Book Division at: http://www.nwubook.org

07/15/2011 - 5:07pm

BBC journalists in one-day strike

BBC Television Centre The BBC has apologised to viewers and listeners
for any disruption
Continue reading the main story
<http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-14152795?print=true#story_continues_1>

Journalists at the BBC have begun a 24-hour strike in a row over
compulsory redundancies.

Members of the National Union of Journalists (NUJ) voted in favour of
industrial action last month because a number of World Service
journalists are facing compulsory redundancy.

The NUJ has warned that the strike will cause "widespread disruption" to
radio and TV programmes.

A BBC spokesman said the corporation was "disappointed" by the action.

Viewers and listeners saw some changes to BBC output on Friday morning
as a result of the strike.


BBC journalists in one-day strike
BBC          Television CentreThe BBC has apologised to viewers and listeners for any disruption
Continue reading the main story
Journalists at the BBC have begun a 24-hour strike in a row over compulsory redundancies.
Members of the National Union of Journalists (NUJ) voted in favour of industrial action last month because a number of World Service journalists are facing compulsory redundancy.
The NUJ has warned that the strike will cause "widespread disruption" to radio and TV programmes.
A BBC spokesman said the corporation was "disappointed" by the action.
Viewers and listeners saw some changes to BBC output on Friday morning as a result of the strike.

07/14/2011 - 4:09pm

Forty years after it was first published, the book Occupied America: The History of Chicanos has been banned, and its author, Rudolfo Acuña, widely published professor and prominent immigrant-rights activist thinks he knows why.

To Acuña, a member of the National Writers Union, UAW Local 1981, it boils down to two things: numbers and control. He says that banning his book and shutting down an ethnic studies program that has been widely successful in Arizona are part of an effort to undermine social inclusion and financial uplift for Chicanos, or people of Mexican descent. Not only has his work come under fire, but Acuña has received numerous death threats from unidentifiable individuals who are at odds with his commitment to improving the system of education and living conditions for Chicanos. 

This work is very much tied to the immigration issue, which Acuña, who was born in Los Angeles to Mexican immigrants, says, "puts panic in people [and makes them think] 'We're losing our country.'"

This might be why so many politicians have rallied against his groundbreaking work in Chicano Studies - an academic program he helped develop in the late 1960s at California State University, Northridge. While this initiative remains the longest running and largest such program, many others have since been established at universities across the country, and even some middle and high schools. 

Not everyone is so keen on seeing Chicano studies expand. Among the program's most vocal critics is Arizona's attorney general, Tom Horne, who has called it a sort of "ethnic chauvinism." He has also claimed that the program is "an officially recognized, resentment-based program," even though the National Education Association has shown that such curriculum instead increases interracial understanding and significantly enhances students' interest in academic pursuits. 

07/14/2011 - 4:01pm

On June 21, 2011, just before heading on to the Delegate Assembly in Detroit, 1st V.P. Ann Hoffman and I met at the Executive Office Building in Washington, next door to the White House, with President Obama's lead advisor on intellectual property enforcement and policy issues.

This meeting was a follow-up to comments on writers' difficulties enforcing our rights that we submitted in 2010, shortly after the creation of the office of the Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator: http://www.nwubook.org/NWU-ip-enforcement.pdf

The office of the IPEC doesn't carry out enforcement actions itself, but exists to coordinate the Administration's executive actions -- including copyright and other IP-related law enforcement -- and legislative recommendations such as those on future copyright "reforms": http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/intellectualproperty/

We received no response to our initial written submission, and writers' interests (especially vis-a-vis publishers and distributors) were not reflected in IPEC reports and strategic recommendations.

Accordingly, we requested a face-to-face meeting with the IPEC office. Somewhat to our surprise, we found the door wide open. (Not literally, of course -- admission to the building required not only an appointment and "screening" at the entrance to the White House compound but detailed submissions of personal information, in advance, to the Secret Service.)

We met for the better part of an hour with the head of the office, the "IP Enforcement Czar" herself, Ms. Victoria Espinel, along with four of her staff advisors she had invited to provide expertise on specific aspects of IP enforcement ranging from copyrights to international law. All had read our comments in preparation for the meeting, although they still seemed to be surprised when we began our presentation by identifying publishers and distributors as the most significant infringers of writers' copyrights.

06/03/2011 - 5:49pm

New York City June 1 - At a brief status conference this afternoon, Google, the Authors Guild and the American Association of Publishers asked
Judge Denny Chin for additional time to explore settlement possibilities. Judge Chin scheduled the next status conference for July 19.

There's more on the google Books hearing from Publishers Weekly:
http://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/by-topic/digital/copyright/article/47490-no-progress-on-google-book-settlement-talks-tone-changing-.html

05/26/2011 - 11:08am

The Executive Committee of the Union of Cyprus Journalists is greatly concerned and expresses its abhorrence over incidents of violence against Turkish Cypriot journalists by the so-called “police” in the occupied part of Cyprus.

Following a second bomb attack against the car and the life of a Turkish Cypriot colleague and the shooting attack against the offices of a newspaper, an assault against journalists by “policemen” of the occupation regime comes to clearly confirm that freedom of the press is under undisguised persecution in the occupied part of Cyprus.

The latest incidents of violence against journalists came about when Turkish Cypriots colleagues, covering a protest march by employees of the so-called “Turkish Cypriot Airlines” made redundant by its closure, were beaten and had their cameras damaged by “policemen” trying to prevent them from carrying out their work.

The Union of Cyprus Journalists strongly deplores raw violence and stresses that it will report on the above mentioned actions against freedom of the press to all European and world journalists organizations.



The Executive Committee
of the Union of Cyprus Journalists

05/16/2011 - 5:19pm

When:  Sunday, May 29, 2011

What:  The first  "Net Needs News Day." 

Who:  Association of American Editorial Cartoonists. Has invited members to simultaneously publish a cartoon about how the web is mostly useless without original reporting generated by newspapers.  (Note: Cartoonists are participating on their own.)  Society of Professional Journalists President  Hagit Limor will blog on this topic at www.spj.org.

Why:  Increase public's awareness and appreciation of journalism and its vital role to information on the worldwide web (95% of all original content online.)   

2nd reason: SPJ recently favorited a motion graphics video on the same topic for its new channel for journalists. ("The Fat Lady Has Not Sung: Why the Internet Needs the News" is also airing at Stanford University graduate classes) : http://www.youtube.com/user/spjournalists#p/a/f/0/PRdUTWn-Zvo     

Where:  As many newspapers as possible.

Contact:  Sharon Geltner, Froogle PR, geltner@netneedsnews.net.  

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05/06/2011 - 12:09pm

Situation of NWU member highlights benefit of Union Plus disaster help program

The case of At-large co-chair James Sandefur, whose family suffered losses in the recent tornadoes, highlights the benefits available to NWU members through Union Plus, a wide-ranging program for members of the UAW and AFL-CIO.

One program offers a $500 grant to any member suffering a documented financial loss as the result of a FEMA-certified natural disaster or emergency.  That program is available only to members who have participated for 12 months or more in the Union Plus credit card, mortgage or insurance program.

For more information on the disaster relief program, go to http://www.unionplus.org/money-credit/natural-disaster-relief-fund.

Remember too that Union Plus has a free prescription drug discount card for NWU members and their family members.  Go to unionplus.org and log in as a member of the UAW, then go to health benefits and download your cards.